After Batanes and I met, I’ve known to myself that I just can’t stop babbling about my whole experience on this island. The island is just that enchanting that I don’t even want to leave. While visiting the enticing Batanes tourist spots, it can even make you think “Am I really in the Philippines?.”
Yes! Batanes Island is so unique that I even doubt I’m still in my own country. From places to foods and to its local people, Batanes serves the greater best!
Nonetheless to say that the Philippines is mostly known and famous for its gorgeous beaches, but treat Batanes differently. Beach should not be your game on this Island. Even though there are few beaches in town but that’s not it, the island is full of historic places and attractions, vast rolling hills, perfect green lands surrounding the town, unique boulder beaches, and a whole lot more.
Am I spilling too much now? Alright, let’s up my game now by introducing you to the Batanes Tourist Spots. Truthful to say you’ll regret not visiting!
If you are planning to visit the province of Batanes, or what more already booked a flight in here, then you should definitely scroll down and check all the top places to go. Might also check my complete itinerary article in Batanes which is a comprehensive guide for first-time visitors.
3 Island of Batanes
Batanes is composed of three(3) inhabitable islands namely: Batan, Sabtang and Itbayat.
The highlight of this article will be focused on Batan(North and South) and Sabtang Island.
To make it more clear, I am going to provide you a Batanes tourist map which can make it a lot easier for you to plan your vacation. Isn’t that great?
Vayang Rolling Hills
This rolling hill is located at the northwest of the Batan Island. This place is extremely beautiful by showcasing the wide green hills blending with a slightly curvy and zigzag road. This tourist spot can offer you an exhilarating view from left to right with lushes of green surrounding the town. There is also an awesome view of Mt. Iraya, and a scenic beach view from the west philippine sea.
This rolling hill is only 2.4 km away from the town proper where you are probably staying and can be reached by a motor ride in 7 mins. If you are an adventurous person, you can even reach this by walking for 30 mins.
Since this is at the west side of the island, then it can be a perfect place to catch the sunset!
Valugan Boulder Beach
You see, the beach in Batanes isn’t your typical beach. Instead of white sand, it is composed of different sizes of boulder stones along the beach.
As of its historical event, when Mt. Iraya erupted way back in 400AD, the spews which were carried by the sporadic current of the sea have arrived and met with the shore of Batanes island, creating massive counts of boulder stones.
This unique beach eventually made its name towards the island and made it to the list of the famous destinations included in the North Batan tour.
See what is included at the North Batan in my comprehensive North Batan Tour.
Related Post: Batanes 2020: North Batan Tour
If you are a morning person then getting to Valugan Boulder Beach early is a unique way to catch the sunrise as it is perfectly located at the eastern part of batanes island.
Chadpidan Boulder Beach
If you’ve gone to the Vayang rolling hills, you can see the view of Chadpidan Boulder Beach from there.
Same with Valugan, this beach has a long stretch of countless boulders by the shore.
This may not be that famous as compared to the Valugan Boulder beach, but this is definitely worth visiting too.
Visit Chadpidan by going to the northern part and passing by the Vayang rolling hills. If you want to experience sunset by the beach then spending it at Chapdipan beach should be your best option.
Basco Lighthouse at Naidi Hills
This famous lighthouse that serves as the navigational facility for the fishermen was built during 2003 and stands now at one of the historical places in Batanes, the Naidi Hills.
Naidi is an Ivatan word meaning former human settlement. The hills have perfect elevation to overlook the Basco town proper.
What made this place historical? In 1920, the wireless American telegraph tower was stationed on top of the Naidi hills in which it serves as the main communication facility. However, it was bombed by the Japanese forces in 1941 while its footings and remains are still visible up to now.
Dipnaysupuan Japanese Tunnel
Another historic place on the island is this Japanese tunnel, which was created during the Japanese colonial period.
Dipnaysupuan is just one of the several tunnels built then but this remains to stand and accessible making it one of the famous Batanes tourist spots.
Its design is very strategic in that it has 5 different entrance/exit points and there is an underground tunnel deep inside it that serves shelter for the Japanese army.
As per the locals, other tunnels remain hidden and they haven’t been discovered yet at this current period.
The tunnels in Batanes were said to be the idea of the Japanese but were built with sweat and blood by the Ivatans. The foundations of these tunnels were made by the boulder stones and were manually picked up by the Ivatans from the beach shore up to the hilly mountains of the island. Impressive locals right?
I was actually impressed when I saw that the cemented parts of the tunnel are still intact despite how many years have passed.
If you are a person interested in history, better get your own local tour guide and you won’t regret it. They know all historic events in Batanes and personally I really enjoyed listening to them.
Mt. Charmel or Tukon Chapel
While Batanes is perfectly known to have several stone houses in town, did you know that there is this one and only church that adopted the traditional architecture of the Ivatan houses?
Our Lady of Mt. Charmel or du Tukon Chapel embodies the traditional Ivatans stone house while sitting at the top of the hill at Sitio Tukon in Chanarian, Batanes. It was built in May 2008 but was destroyed during the super typhoon that struck Batanes way back 2016.
At the backdrop of this chapel, an enormous greenish land will welcome you proudly. This really makes sense that Batanes is indeed a beautiful town and a nature perfect island.
PAGASA Weather Station
Everybody knows that PAGASA is the main weather facility and is spread across the country, one of those stations is located at the highest point of Mahatao Town in Batanes.
It is indeed always amazing to see radars and other weather equipment which this station has. However, a typhoon named Ferdie struck Batanes and destroyed this part of the Island.
Even then, the station still remains a part of the tourist spot during the North Batan tour because of its spectacular 360 scenic view of the Mahatao.
Fundacion Pacita is widely known as a nature lodge area in Mahatao, Batanes with a huge hint of art and nature-inspired things in its whole vicinity. This is formerly the home of the acclaimed Filipino visual artist named Pacita Abad. The whole house was revamped by her brother and brings its own idea in the place’s architecture and design.
If you want to experience a whole point of serenity plus a breath-taking view in every angle, then Fundacion Pacita is perfect for you. The lodge is kind of expensive but you’ll know it’s worth it just by the picturesque view and by knowing the mission of the lodge.
Well, It’s said that the earnings of this lodge will be given to the artistically inclined people of Batanes for their education.
Basco Batanes Arch
While it’s not really special to see an arch but the Basco Batanes Arch should be the living proof you’ve been on the Island. This arch serves as the starting point of your North Batan Tour which significantly specifies Batanes is embracing your presence in the town.
The Basco Arch is a simple tourist spot along the corner of the road intently built as a welcome message for the tourist. It has a simple view deck where you can oversee the beach, hills, and the Basco town proper.
Mount Iraya is one of the active volcanoes in the Philippine Island and is located at the northern part of Batan in Batanes Island. This is the highest point of Batanes with 1,009 meters high. The beautiful Mt. Iraya is one of the scenic views that you can just spot on every angle of Batan Island. Truly this mountain can make every tourist spot in Batanes perfectly picturesque with her in the background.
Its peak is rarely seen because of clouds hovering at the top everytime. But one perfect day I was able to capture the tip of the mountain without the clouds surrounding, what a perfect timing!
For hikers out there, the island also offers hiking adventures in this mountain for half a day. So if you are a traveler and a hiker too, better pack your hiking gears and never miss reaching the peak of Mt. Iraya.
Indeed, North Batan showcases a lot of historical sites in Batanes. If you want to know more of the activities and tour experience in North Batan, you check my article here Batanes 2020: North Batan Tour
Chawa View Deck
This view deck is your first stop when you do your South Batan Tour. After an 8 minute ride out of the town of Basco, an attractive mountain cliff view in Chawa View Deck can make you awe. As it is facing the South China sea, then it’s a definite spot to catch the sunset.
Aside from it, what makes this view deck popular is the 100 steps stairs down the cliff and enjoy the coast with large rocks for you to stand on. While at the top of the view deck serves a few benches where you can relax and enjoy the view. A grotto is also sighted at the view deck.
San Carlos Borromeo Parish Church
This is the first church of Mahatao Batanes built-in 1787. But is considerably small and composed of not so impressive material which was unfortunately destroyed by the typhoon during 1872.
In 1873, under Fr. Crescencio Polo, the San Carlos Borromeo Parish Church was rebuilt in a baroque style and design. Now it is considered as a national cultural heritage treasure.
Also located at the church is the so-called blank book library, this is where every tourist can visit and write on the blank book pages. It can be any message or letter you want.
Tayid is one of the three famous lighthouses in Batanes and is situated in the town of Mahatao. Same with Basco Lighthouse, Tayid is also seated at the top of the hill.
While it’s architectural design is somewhat different because of its hexagonal body making it’s aesthetic a little bit edgy as compared to Basco Lighthouse.
As if the location of this lighthouse is so picturesque, the locals even put a nice bench blended with the view of Tayid at the back and is a great photo shooting area by the tourists. At the back of the lighthouse, a very nice view of Batanes can also be captured.
Diura Fishing Village
If you want to have a historical experience, then visiting the Diura fishing village is a great option. You’ll see a very simple old-fishing village of the people called Mataw, yet it is fascinating to see how they can preserve such culture up to now.
It is actually a great experience if you happen to visit during the start of the fishing season which falls from April to June. With that, the village people offer a butchered pig or cow as an offering, this is their tradition which is a belief to them for a rich catch of fishes.
Raku-a-idi Spring or Spring of Youth
Along the way after visiting the Diura village, getting to Spring of Youth is a must. This is located near the beach shore of Mahatao serving you gorgeous pool of spring water.
Definitely has the most idealistic location as you can enjoy a breathtaking view of the ocean while relaxing at their spring.
Know also that in order to reach this place, you have to trek for at least 30 minutes so better reserve your energy in this fountain of youth because you never know when you’ll actually regret not visiting this place, just like someone I know.
Yes! it’s me! I deeply regret not dropping by here, so I made a promise to myself that Spring of Youth is my priority at the moment of my return to Batanes.
Rakuh-a-payaman or Marlboro Country
If you suddenly knock on google and ask for Batanes, the Rakuh-a-payaman or Marlboro hills will always pop-out on every search page. This means that this is the iconic tourist spot and has always been the image of Batanes Island.
Marlboro hills present a wide vast of greenish pastureland and are a home to different animals such as goats, carabaos, etc. This is the place where you can devour the true beauty of Batanes and realize its limitless scenic visuals.
During our tour, I personally love the Marlboro hills all throughout and even explore it the second time around during our last day. That’s how the place grows to me and intently takes my breath away with every angle I move wanting to see its widest beauty. So it is my most recommended tourist spot to never ever ignore visiting!
Imnajbu Church or San Lorenzo Ruiz Church
The San Lorenzo Ruiz Church located at the sitio of Imnajbu is known to be the root of Christianity in Batanes. This is where the first mass and baptism was held and celebrated by the Ivatans.
The church is small while wrapped by a tiny greenish garden.
Just right across the San Lorenzo Ruiz Church was the Imnajbu beach. Named after the Sitio of Imnajbu in Uyugan Town, which is considered as one of the smallest barangay in Batanes.
The beach is very simple showing a long stretch of shore and a viewpoint of hills with scenic rocks engaging with the giant waves from the Pacific ocean. The Imnajbu beach is rich in rocks and pebbles where the locals can just get and use it to build their own homes in the town.
Alapad Rock Formation
The “Blow UR Horn” sign is sprinkled across the Island of Batanes, every corner while hitting the road you’ll encounter this rectangular yellow sign. But despite this countless signage, there is this one that grabs the attention of many.
And what makes this signage famous? Well, it sits at a very strategic location with beautiful hills at its right side and a majestic background of the gigantic Alapad Rock Formation. This spot makes it a perfect photo op for tourists.
Muchong or Motchong View Point
The Muchong View Point is another hilly scenic place to go to in Uyugan town just almost the same with the mini hills in Alapad Rock Formation.
Though it may not be as vast as Marlboro, this hillside has its unique presence. If you go by the end of the hills, a series of rocks formed by this area, while the rocks, hills, and sea collided at its best. Large sea waves are trying to bind with the hills making it a very spectacular scene. I knew it would also be a great setting for a prenup photoshoot though.
Ruins of Songsong
Songsong is a little sitio in the town of Uyugan. In an unfortunate event during the 1950s, a tsunami or tidal wave have sealed and destroyed the barangay which makes it a ghost town because of the ruins formed from the damaged homes of the locals.
However, the barangay locals themselves are now trying to rebuild their town. Despite being tagged as the ghost town, it’s hard to miss this place. Plants and flowers are blooming in this area as if trying to represent that the sitio can bloom at its finest again.
Honest Store or Coffee Shop
This Honesty Store in the town of Ivana totally represents the kindness of Ivatan people. From the name itself “Honest”, this store makes it a very unique concept where there is no storekeeper.
The tourist can drop by and check out what’s in store, mostly coffee drinks, of course, some cookies, and biscuits, and finally souvenirs. It’s admirable that the logbook at the corner is the only proof that someone bought something in the store. The guess will log what she bought and put the payment in a box, and here’s another thing, you get your own change too!
You see how Ivatans are very kind and honest, not just that, since they’ve purposely built it for the tourist as well means they are a bunch of people who also give their wholehearted trust to the tourist.
San Jose de Ivana Church
This 230+ years old church is located in the town of Ivana. Since then, it purposely serves the people of Ivana, Uyugan, and Sabtang. But why Sabtang? Isn’t it at the other island, well yes, but before their people were forced to settle at Ivana.
The old church which was, of course, renovated already to continue its service is very hard to miss because of its facade visuals. While some of the ruins of the church that was destroyed by the earthquake in the 2000s are still there.
House of Dakay
This goes down to one of my favorite tourist spots in Batanes. The House of Dakay is not just a famous stone house in Batanes, this traditional Ivatan house is a very treasure of Batanes.
With this house standing still preserves the historical arrangement of the people in Batanes. A traditional house of Ivatan is a representation or a symbolic act of Ivatan’s perseverance.
The said house is built back in 1887 and originally owned by Luisa Estrella, but is passed down to her favorite nephew, Jose Dakay, which were the house named after. What makes it a symbol of strength for Ivatan’s is its withstanding ability that endured the killer earthquake in 1918. This is one of the only five houses that stood still during that moment.
If you are visiting the old house, make sure to be polite and kindly ask for the permission of the current owner, though they are mostly allowing the visit it is always good to be polite if you’re in someone else’s house, right? They’ve also allowed us to borrow the Ivatan’s traditional clothing called the “Vakul” for the women and “kanayi” for the men. There is also a donation box at the left door of the house.
Maydangeb or Homoron White Beach
Finally, if you are missing that white beach then Homoron Beach is right on the track and one of the last stops during the South Batan tour. The beach represents a white beach, high trees, and a cliff at the backdrop making it a perfect stop who is longing for the beach vibes.
The Homoron beach has the friendliest waves in town, this is where the locals or even tourists can enjoy swimming. And if you really are in your swimming game then head you can head at the mini blue lagoon next to the beach.
Homoron Blue Lagoon
So we’ve experienced different kinds of tourist spots in Batanes, but this time it’s a little bit special, why? Because how come can you expect a lagoon in this area? Yes! We have a secret and mini lagoon in Batanes and it’s called the Homoron Blue Lagoon which is located just beside the Homoron Beach and beside the road cliff boundary of Mahatao and Ivana.
So if you’re a swim lover, better visit the Blue Lagoon featuring natural pools from the rocky coast that was sandwiched by the cliffs.
Loving the majestic scenic views and attractions in South Batan?
Check my comprehensive South Batan Tour! 2020 Breathtaking South Batan Tour | Top Places to Visit
This island is only a 30 minutes Faluwa boat ride from the Ivana Port in Batan Island. The tourist spots can be made a half-day tour or you also have the option to have an overnight stay on the island.
Again, this tour is the one I deeply regret as well, besides the Spring of Youth it’s the Sabtang Island tour that I have missed experiencing. Which is why I totally made a promise to go back to Batanes asap!
So to make in more enticing for you and to not make you regret and be like me, here’s a sneak peek of the tourist spots to head on to Sabtang Island.
Nothing beats the Island of Batanes in showcasing different kinds of architectural designs of the lighthouses. Sabtang Lighthouse is a little bit different from its brothers in Basco and Mahatao, its body is made with rocky stones and pebbles which is an inspired look of the traditional Ivatan house architecture.
Traveling to Sabtang invites great scenery as you will be welcomed by this famous lighthouse situated just beside the port and standing still by the end of the cliff which was being splashed on by large waves from the ocean.
If Batan has the Homoron white beach, then Sabtang proudly has the Morong Beach which in my preference is a lot more beautiful because of its wide vicinity of white sand.
What makes it a lot more captivating is the naturally formed rock that embodies an arch shape, this blended with the Morong Beach if seen from afar. This natural arch rock is named as the “Nakabuang Arch”
The beach is perfectly ideal for beach lovers out there because of its gentle waves and calm presence of the ocean. Unspoiled blue waters are very much inviting for a great swim on this beach. So better not ignore and pack your favorite swimsuit to perfectly blend with the Morong beach’s beauty.
Sabtang Island Stone Houses
While Batan has the House of Dakay as a representation of the traditional Ivatan house, Sabtang eventually has common stone houses across the Island. This is by far you can see a village that showcases the iconic Ivatan’s old traditional home.
St. Thomas Aquinas Chapel
This small white church is located at the Sitio Savidug Village. This chapel is just right along with the stone houses. The chapel is very small from my point of view but probably serves just right for the small town of Sabtang Island.
Let’s hop now on the famous rolling hills in Sabtang. Well yes, if Batan has the Marlboro iconic hills, then Sabtang also has these majestic and unspoiled rolling hills, probably a much more non-touristy than the Rakuh-a-payaman in Batan Island.
There are these small differences with the hills at Batan because Chamantad boasts these rocky cliffs, white beach view, and unending rolling hills.
As for the last stop of Sabtang Island in the east side is the simple village of Chavayan that flashes several old Batanes stone houses as well. Some of the village people are shy and rarely display public affection, so if you are visiting the Chavayan village make sure to not make any distracting noises that can disturb the locals.
Chavayan Village is a must tourist spot if you want to experience a feeling of going back to the historic events, the old village itself is picturesque enough to reminisce that old era.
Are you convinced enough that Batanes Island is not just your typical Island in the Philippines?
Batanes has still so much more to offer that I may not be able to talk about, but if you have additional off the beaten path in Batanes you happen to know, just simply contact me here or send me a message directly on my email address and share me your experience so we can include it here in the list! Sounds good?
Lastly, if you actually happen to decide to come into Batanes, check out my full itinerary where I cover our own experience in the town as well as the budget spent, which I’m sure you want to know, right?
You can also free to make my itinerary your baseline and change some stuff to include in your perfect Batanes trip and fulfill your bucket list!
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