Batanes, the Philippines’ northernmost and smallest province, is a dreamy destination that’s part of almost every Pinoy traveler’s bucket list. Honestly, who can blame them? With its vast verdant hills, clear blue waters crashing into rocky shores, and warm and welcoming locals, Batanes is definitely a pocket of paradise.
Small as it is (with a total land area of 219 square kilometers), Batanes has plenty of natural and cultural wonders to offer. The three main islands of Batan, Sabtang, and Itbayat are the location of idyllic villages, museums, churches, hills, rivers, and beaches to visit and enjoy. For first timers, it may be wiser to book a Batanes tour package. This way, you can both save money and get to visit all the must-see spots and attractions. Speaking of which, here are just a few of Batanes’ hundreds of breathtaking sights.
These rolling hills and sprawling meadows (complete with roaming cows!) in Uyugan, South Batan, are more popularly known as Marlboro Country or Marlboro Hills. Indeed, Rakuh-a-Payaman looks so much like the setting of the infamous cigarette advertisement. The lush green fields and hills are complemented with the clear blue skies, wispy white clouds, and the crashing waves of the Pacific. It will leave you awestruck for a few moments, for sure, just taking in the sights and breathing in the fresh air. The pictures truly don’t do it justice; you have to visit Batanes and see just how majestic Rakuh-a-Payaman is for yourself.
Located in North Batan, the Basco Lighthouse is situated atop the Naidi Hills. It’s another well-known and often-visited tourist spot in Batanes, and it is also Basco’s most famous landmark. The spot used to be where the Americans established telegraph facilities in order to connect Batanes to the central government during that American colonial era. The facility remained there until it got bombed by the Japanese Imperial Army during the Second World War.
Basco Lighthouse or Naidi Hills Lighthouse stands about six stories tall (66 feet), with a viewing deck on the fifth floor. Here, you can enjoy panoramic views of the glorious sky and landscape, as well as sweeping vistas of the West Philippine Sea, Mt. Iraya, Batan Island, and Sabtang and Itbayat Islands.
Mt. Carmel Church
Also located in Basco, Mt. Carmel Church was constructed using traditional Ivatan stone houses as a design inspiration. The church is also called Tukon Chapel, an apt name since “tukon” means “mountain” in Ivatan, and the building sits on top of a hilly area near Mt. Iraya.
The Abads, the most prominent clan in Batanes, spearheaded the project with the help of the local community’s carpenters, craftsmen, and stoneworkers. The church was completed in May 2008 and has since become a popular venue for weddings. Photographers also love capturing the beautiful views of the West Philippine Sea and the Pacific Ocean from the strategic vantage point of the church.
Valugan Boulder Beach
The Philippines is known for its many white-sand beaches, and all of these are quite beautiful in their own right. If you’re looking for something more unique, however, Valugan Boulder Beach might just be the place for you. As its name suggests, Valugan Boulder Beach doesn’t have sand; instead, it has huge boulders and stones, which are the products of past eruptions of Mt. Iraya. Swimming is not recommended here, though, since the strong waves are a bit too much to handle for anyone. However, you can still roam around and hop on the boulders to take photos. The rock balancing art pieces, in particular, are popular subjects, as are the foamy waves crashing on the shore.
Homoron Blue Lagoon
Located in Mahatao, the Homoron Blue Lagoon sits between rocky cliffs along the road connecting Mahatao to Ivana. During the Spanish colonial era, the Spaniards had exclusive access to this area. This earned the lagoon the moniker “Spanish Lagoon.” Unlike most of the waters surrounding Batanes, the waters in Homoron Blue Lagoon are pretty calm and are thus perfect for swimming. The sloping, rocky path to get to the pool is a little obscured, though, so hiring a tour guide would be a good idea.
All the gorgeous tourist spots mentioned here are in Batan, but there are definitely more places to visit in Batanes. Dequey Island, Morong Beach, Chavayan Village, Malakdang Lighthouse, and Sumnanga Village are waiting for you in Sabtang. Moreover, the Agosan Rock, Kumayaskas Underground Stream, Port Mauyen, Mt. Riposet, and Siayan Island are some of the must-visit locations in Itbayat.
It’s time to book that flight you’ve been planning to take to Batanes. You owe it to yourself to see this breathtaking Philippine province in person, so you can fully appreciate its natural beauty and well-preserved culture.