48 Hours in Batanes, Philippines: 10 Cool Things To Absolutely Do

Introduction

Nestled in the northernmost part of the Philippines lies the charming and picturesque province of Batanes. Known for its breathtaking landscapes, rugged coastlines, and unspoiled beauty, a visit to Batanes is like stepping into a postcard-perfect paradise. With only 48 hours to spare, here are 10 cool things you absolutely must experience in Batanes.

1. Explore the Rolling Hills of Batan Island

The rolling hills of Batan Island are a sight to behold. With their emerald green hues, they provide a stunning backdrop that will make you feel like you’re walking on top of the world. The popular spots like Marlboro Country and Vayang Rolling Hills offer panoramic views of the surrounding landscapes, making it an excellent spot for Instagram-worthy photos. The cool climate and fresh air add to the allure of these hills, making it the perfect place for a leisurely hike or a picnic with a view.

2. Marvel at the Majestic Basco Lighthouse

Perched on top of Naidi Hill, the Basco Lighthouse stands tall as a symbol of Batanes. Offering panoramic views of the Basco town, the South China Sea, and the neighboring islands, it is the ideal spot to catch a stunning sunrise or sunset. Climb up the lighthouse and soak in the breathtaking vistas that stretch as far as the eye can see. The Basco Lighthouse not only provides a picturesque backdrop but also acts as a guiding light for ships navigating the treacherous Batanes waters.

3. Visit the 17th Century San Carlos Borromeo Church

A visit to Batanes is incomplete without exploring its rich cultural heritage. The San Carlos Borromeo Church in Mahatao is a testament to the province’s deep-rooted history. Built during the Spanish colonial era in the 17th century, this well-preserved church showcases a fusion of Spanish and Ivatan architectural styles. Whether you are a history buff or simply appreciate stunning architecture, a visit to this charming church is a must-do. Take a moment to admire the intricate details and the peaceful atmosphere that surrounds this historical landmark.

4. Immerse yourself in Ivatan Culture at the House of Dakay

Step into the fascinating world of Ivatan culture by visiting the iconic House of Dakay in the town of Ivana. This traditional stone house, established in 1887, is the oldest house in Batanes and has withstood countless storms that have battered the islands. The House of Dakay gives visitors a glimpse into the traditional way of living in Batanes. Marvel at the sturdiness of the stone walls and experience the simplicity of the house’s design, which is both functional and beautiful. Exploring this living piece of history showcases the resilience and resourcefulness of the Ivatan people.

5. Take a Boat Ride to Sabtang Island

A short boat ride away from Batan Island lies the enchanting Sabtang Island. This small island, with its picturesque beaches and traditional stone houses, is like a time capsule that takes you back in time. Experience the rural way of life as you walk through the cobblestone streets and interact with the friendly Ivatan locals. Sabtang Island is also home to UNESCO-listed stone houses in the idyllic village of Chavayan, where you can witness the locals crafting traditional Ivatan headgear and weaving vakul, a traditional rain gear made from dried palm leaves.

6. Marvel at the Natural Arch Formation of Morong Beach

Nature’s artistry is on display at Morong Beach, where a magnificent natural rock arch has formed through years of erosion by the relentless sea waves. This awe-inspiring arch stands tall amidst the crashing waves, creating the perfect backdrop for photographers and nature enthusiasts. Take a leisurely stroll along the pristine white sands, dip your toes in the clear turquoise waters, or simply sit and marvel at the beauty of this natural wonder. Morong Beach is a visual treat that perfectly captures the untamed beauty of Batanes.

7. Trek to Mt. Iraya’s Summit

For adventure seekers and nature enthusiasts, a trek to the summit of Mt. Iraya is an absolute must. Towering at 1,009 meters above sea level, this dormant volcano offers a challenging yet rewarding experience. The trek takes you through lush forests, steep paths, and rocky terrain, providing a glimpse of Batanes’ diverse flora and fauna. On a clear day, the panoramic view from the summit is nothing short of breathtaking, allowing you to see the entire Batan Island and even neighboring islands like Itbayat. Remember to bring a guide and appropriate equipment for a safe and enjoyable hiking experience.

8. Indulge in Authentic Ivatan Cuisine

No visit to Batanes is complete without savoring the flavors of Ivatan cuisine. Try dishes like “uvud” (Ivatan-style pork adobo), “tatus” (coconut crab), and “uvang” (Ivatan-style noodles). Ivatan cuisine is known for its fresh ingredients sourced from the land and sea, resulting in unique and flavorful dishes that reflect the island’s heritage. Head to local eateries and try these traditional dishes to immerse yourself in the local culture and culinary traditions of Batanes.

9. Capture the Beauty of Racuh a Payaman (Marlboro Country)

Racuh a Payaman, also known as Marlboro Country, is a vast expanse of rolling hills dotted with cattle grazing peacefully. This scenic spot is reminiscent of the Marlboro cigarette advertisements, thus earning its nickname. As the wind brushes against the tall grass, creating a mesmerizing flow, it feels like you’ve stepped into a different world. Don’t forget to bring your camera to capture the natural beauty of this breathtaking place. The combination of the cool breeze, the rolling hills, and the grazing cattle make Racuh a Payaman a true visual delight.

10. Unwind at the Serene Valugan Boulder Beach

End your 48 hours in Batanes by unwinding at the Valugan Boulder Beach, one of the island’s most tranquil spots. This beach is covered with large boulders that have been shaped and polished by centuries of volcanic activity. The crashing waves against the massive rocks create a soothing and melodic ambiance, allowing you to disconnect from the world and find serenity. Take a leisurely stroll along the beach, listen to the sound of the waves, and let the beauty of Batanes wash away all your stress.

In conclusion, 48 hours in Batanes is barely enough time to scratch the surface of the beauty and charm this province has to offer. From the rolling hills to the friendly locals, from the cultural heritage to the delicious cuisine, Batanes will captivate your heart. So, pack your bags, immerse yourself in the enchanting landscapes, and embark on an unforgettable journey to this hidden gem in the Philippines.

Sources:

– Basco Tourism Office: https://www.bascotourism.net/
– Ivatan Foundation: http://www.ivatanfoundation.com/
– Batanes Travel Guide: https://www.lonelyplanet.com/philippines/northern-luzon/batanes
– Philippine Airlines: https://www.philippineairlines.com/