Batanes is the northernmost province of the Philippines, only 190 km (120 miles) south of Taiwan. This province has a unique landscape, a combination of tropical Philippines and New Zealand. It is also home to the Ivatan people, who only at the beginning of the 20th century started seeing themselves as Filipinos.
Batanes’s popularity is constantly growing as a tourist destination. For decades this group of islands was considered by locals “the paradise of the north”, now gaining recognition among foreign visitors as well. Our agency will make a custom package for your trip to Batanes, so you can discover one of the Philippines’ most unique islands.
Staying on Sabtang and Itbayat, the other inhabited islands, is also possible. Keep in mind electricity is not always available, and the accommodation is very basic. If you want to make a night in either Sabtang or Itbayat, our experts will easily coordinate it for you.
All these packages include airfare, transfers hotels and tours. Everything can be fully customized to fit your preferences. We promise to help you build the perfect Batanes itinerary, allowing you to have fun and get the best deals.
Whether you are already in the Philippines or still planning your trip, We can help you explore this paradise on your vacation. Add any of the tours described below and we will build an authentic travel plan that actually works and suits you personally.
**Once you have selected your desired items, your package will be reserved, and one of our agents will get in touch as quickly as possible – to help modify it to your personal needs and expectations before any payment is done.**
What To Do In Batanes?
This north-most archipelago of the Philippines is also the smallest, made out of just 10 islands; the most scarcely populated with only 17,000 people; the most remote and by far the windiest province in the country. All these factors shaped Batanes to be very different from mainland Philippines.
While staying in Batanes we recommend you visit all three inhabited Islands, exploring all they have to offer. Taking a guided tour is advisable for a hassle free experience. Moreover, a local guide will ensure you’ll get a glimpse into Batanes’s secret gems. Maximize your stay and let us book some tours for you in one of the province’s main islands.
Being the windiest part of the Philippines, the wind played a key part in shaping the landscape. Nowhere in the country will you find grassy green sloping hills and mountains, which resembles a tropical version of New Zealand. When you’ll get around you will see a lot of cattle grazing on the hills, as it is the province’s no. 1 export.
Batanes is heaven for nature lovers. Hiking and mountain climbing is a must, in destinations like Mount. Iraya (1,517 mt. 3 hours to summit), Vayang rolling hills and Marlboro Hills in Batan; Chamantad cove and Tinyan Viewpoint in Sabtang; and Rapang Cliffs, Torongan Hills in Itbayat; and much more.
Be sure to do some caving, in the Torongan Cave, and explore the beautiful beaches and lagoons in the Islands. Morong Beach, Diura Beach, Homoron white beach, the Spanish Lagoon and the famous Valugan Boulder Beach are only a few of the amazing beaches you’ll find while exploring these islands.
Batanes has a lot to offer, so take a guide with you for at least parts of the islands, to make the most of your stay. If you feel like you want to visit the uninhabited islands for a truly secluded atmosphere we can arrange for an island hopping tour for you.
Get Familiar With Local Culture And History
The Ivatans are descendants of the first people to populate this archipelago. They were the first Austronesians to migrate to the Philippines from Formosa. The Ivatans only started to feel affiliated to the Philippines relatively late, and due to the provinces remoteness, it was very difficult to control and colonize this province. That’s why the locals managed to preserve their indigenous traditions and lifestyle.
When exploring Batanes, you’ll notice that their traditional houses are different from the rest of the Philippines. The typical Bahay Kubo is built from bamboo, while houses here are made of stone to withstand the rough winds. The village of Savidug Barrio is an excellent example for stone building. The village is made almost entirely from traditional stone houses.
Savidug also has the most beautiful remains of the Idjangs, the ancient Ivatan settlements. These were built on the mountains’ summits, and used as fortresses in times of need. Also be sure to check Songsong out, as it is a traditional village completely deserted on 1950 due to a tsunami striking it.
Another famous landmark of Batanes are the lighthouses in the three inhabited islands. They are all picturesque in a way suitable for postcards. The Basco lighthouse is in the charming Naidi hills, just outside of Basco town. It is built on the remains of the old lighthouse, near some WW2 ruins. The other two lighthouses are the Tayid Lighthouse (in Mahato, Batan) that you’ll notice while in Marlboro Hills, and the beautiful Sabtang Lighthouse, best viewed from the nearby port. All of them are open to tourists, and provide a great viewpoint of the islands.
Batenes was the first American soil the Japanese Imperial Army conquered on WW2. Despite being a strategical point, after securing Manila this archipelago was left alone. Regardless of that, the Japanese army built refugee tunnels for their forces in Tukon Hills. The Dipnaysupuan Tunnel is a must see destination for visitors in this area.
Eco-Tourism in Batanes
Batanes is a great destination for eco-tourism. The community is a sustainable one, with the islanders producing most of their food for consumption. Being isolated from the mainland for so long helped them grow a very independent culture. They have never been a significant participant in the larger market economy of the rest of the Philippines.
There are no tourist district here, so when you visit you get intimate with the local culture. You can go as far as living in their traditional stone houses, as some are open to home-stays. Participating in the local daily activities, like living with local families, farming, trying the local cuisine is also possible. Living among the Ivatans is a great way to help the local culture preserve itself rather than being subject to change.
We can help you integrate eco-tourism packages in your Batanes trip, or your full Philippines itinerary.
How Does Batanes Fit Into Your Travel Plans?
Batanes is a very remote destination. There is no way to get there from the mainland other than taking a flight from Manila. It stands as a standalone destination for tourists, which you can add to any package and combine with other destinations.
If you love getting up close and personal with nature, local culture and people, and want to see a different side of the Philippines, Batanes might be just for you. Make sure you have enough time for it, because less than three days will not be close to enough. If you want to make Batanes a part of your travel itinerary, let us know so we could incorporate it in the best way possible.