Whether you’re in Batanes for 2 days or 2 weeks, joining a tour group or going DIY, these are the stunningly gorgeous spots that will make you fall in love with the Philippines’ northernmost province — so much so that you’ll start keeping an eye out for seat sales the moment you get back home!
Basco Lighthouse and Naidi Hills
The iconic Basco lighthouse is one of the highlights of the North Batan tour and is the perfect place to watch the sunset. It can also be reached by a leisurely 30-minute walk from the town center.
The Fundacion Pacita Batanes Nature Lodge was the home of acclaimed artist Pacita Abad and is now an exclusive (and expensive) boutique hotel. Its proceeds fund projects for Ivatan artists, educational grants, and eco-tourism programs.
Chapel of Our Lady of Mount Carmel
A charming little chapel built in the tradition of old Ivatan stone houses, the breathtaking views from its beautifully built doors and windows will make you believe there is a God.
In these sprawling emerald hills — a pasture for goats, cows and carabaos (Philippine water buffalo) — you could point your lens towards a random spot, take a random shot, at a random angle and focus, and your photo would still come out perfect.
When Mt. Iraya erupted all those years ago, it rained molten rocks on Batan island’s east coast, eventually leaving behind the boulders that now adorn this beach. The stones, waves, and surrounding cliffs are particularly gorgeous during sunrise.
Visit this secluded strip of sand on a misty morning and you’ll never want to leave.
Boat Shelter Port
A touch of Venice! Functionally, this port is where marine vessels seek refuge during inclement weather, but the profusion of outrigger-less boats floating on a watery avenue will no doubt remind visitors of a certain Italian city.
Alapad Hill and Rock Formation
Aside from the chance to see goats risking their lives to graze on steep hills, this spot also offers views of grass-cloaked mountains, glorious cliffs, and waves furiously crashing against stoic rocks.
Chawa Viewing Deck
From this vantage point — often the first stop on the South Batan tour — one can behold otherworldly cliffs, sun-kissed hills, deep blue seas, frothy waves, and the majestic Mount Iraya.
Racuh a Payaman
Its colloquial name, Marlboro Country, is pretty apt: Racuh a Payaman has just the sort of vast, rugged, grassy terrain through which the Marlboro Man can be expected to gallop. Although horses have been known to graze here in the past, nowadays the primary residents are carabaos — and tourists marveling at the stunning views.
Tayid (Mahatao) Lighthouse
The original lighthouses in Mahatao were two stone structures situated several meters apart: once their two points of light converged, sailors knew they were at the right spot for entering the town port. This newer, prettier lighthouse is perched on top of the Mahatao mountains and commands views of sprawling hills and sparkling seas.
The last of three lighthouses in Batanes, this edifice is the most prominent feature of the Sabtang coastline and is as picture-perfect as its two counterparts in Batan island.
Traditional Ivatan stone houses, separated from the sea by a row of coconut trees and a beach dotted by fishing boats, transport the wanderer back to simpler times.
Brightly colored windows add a touch of whimsy to sturdy stone dwellings built by Ivatans in the shadow of legends.
Morong Beach and Mahayaw Arch
It’s hard to resist taking a dip in the cool, clean waters of this fine, white sand beach — or taking a selfie with the Mahayaw Arch as the perfect natural frame.
If the wind here doesn’t blow you away, the view undoubtedly will: behind you, towering rocks, under which goats and carabaos contentedly graze; before you, craggy slopes and grassy hills recalling landscapes from Lord of the Rings; and below you, a steady procession of unruly white waves stemming from seas of crystal blue.
Maywang A Libro Du Vatan
Leave a piece of yourself in Batanes. This archive of blank books, located within the grounds of the San Carlos Borromeo Church in Mahatao, lets you leave a message, a prayer, or…anything, really, within the pages of any book you choose. I randomly pulled out book 156. Or was it 165?? I guess I’ll find out when I return.
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