Top 10 Places to Visit in Batanes, Philippines

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Is Batanes really that beautiful as you see in Social Media? Yes! The rolling hills, the mountains, the ocean – a visit here makes you feel like you’re walking into The Sound of Music. It’s nearly impossible to put into words how beautiful it is so let me just share a few pictures from my trip way back in 2014. If you are you one the lucky seat sale abangers who got a cheap airfare from Cebu Pacific pr Philippine Airlines, then check out this list of things to do in Batanes that you should absolutely follow!
Welcome to the northernmost province in the Philippines!
1. Naidi Hills and the Basco Lighthouse 
Basco Lighthouse in Naidi Hills is probably the first thing you will see once you get to Batanes. Only about 10-15 minute walk from downtown Basco, this lighthouse is the best place to view the whole Batan Island and get a glimpse of the nearby Sabtang Island. Aside from the lighthouse, you will also find an old American bunker which was converted into a café. Its location was the original site of the first lighthouse in Batanes. Later, it was used as a Telegraph Facility during the American Occupation until it was destroyed by the Imperial Japanese Army in World War II.
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This was our favorite spot in Basco.
2. Stone Houses of Basco
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Biking in Batanes? Check!
3. Honesty Coffee Shop
Honesty Coffee Shop is not your typical coffee shop. This coffee shop and sari-sari store combined located near the Port of Ivana is always open and unmanned. Customers do everything on their own, from making their own coffee, preparing their own snacks to computing their total bill. Everyone is expected to be honest and as one of the wall signages say, “This store is too small for dishonest people.” Batanes has zero crime rate so let’s keep it that way. 
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My friends Beb and Amy with their vakul
4. Stone Houses of Chavayan Village in Sabtang Island
Located in the island of Sabtang, Chavayan is a village full of traditional Ivatan stone houses with thatched roofs made from Cogon Grass. With the arrival of the Spaniards, lime was introduced for Ivatan houses. They used meter-thick limestone walls, while still retaining the thatched roofs, to withstand strong winds. The scenery in the village hasn’t changed much since the Spanish Colonial Era. Here, you will also see how the traditional Ivatan headdress called Vakul was produced. At the entrance of Chavayan, you can make a quick visit to the Sabtang Weavers Association where you can buy vakul as a souvenir (approx.. 200-300 pesos).
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my friends and I at Chavayan Village
If a day trip is not enough for you, then you may stay for the night at one of the local homestays in Chavayan for only 150 pesos. I don’t have any contacts in the village, so if you are interested, ask your tour guide or the tourism officers at Sabtang Visitors Center upon arrival from Batan Island.

5. Tukon Chapel in Basco
Mt. Carmel Chapel, more popularly known as the Tukon Chapel, is one of the most iconic attractions of Batanes. The chapel was made by the order of Batanes representative Florencio “Butch” Abad in order to fulfil his parents’ dream of having a church near their home. Inspired by the traditional Ivatan stone houses, the chapel was made from stacking boulders and local wood works with the addition of beautiful stained glass windows. This chapel sits on a hilltop which provides stunning views of the hills, the Pacific Ocean and the West Philippine Sea. 
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the beautiful Tukon Chapel of Batan
6. “Blow Ur Horn” (it's an official road signage) along the road cliff

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Blow UR horn is an official road signage in Batanes. Cool, no?
7. Marlboro Country (Racuh A Payaman)
At the southern part of Batan Island, Racuh A Payaman, dubbed as the “Marlboro Country” of Batanes, takes center stage. It provides a breath-taking panoramic view of its surrounding rugged cliffs, verdant rolling hills and raging waves against the shore. This is, for me, the best attraction in Batanes.
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This hills are alive at Racuh A Payaman.
8. Valugan Boulder Beach
Just south of downtown Basco along Contra Costa Road, Valugan Boulder Beach is one of the top tourist destinations in Batanes. Famed for its countless boulders which came from an eruption of Mt. Iraya hundreds of years ago, the beach is a favorite of landscape photographers because of its awe-inspiring sunset and sunrise view. The main drawback of the area is that its strong and forceful waves make it impossible for swimming. But fret not, Valugan Boulder Beach is a perfect spot to just hang out and do nothing. Just like the other beaches in Batanes, this one do not have the usual tourism infrastructure so make sure to keep the area clean and keep your garbage with you.
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raging waves at Valugan Boulder Beach
9. Mahayaw Arch and Morong Beach in Sabtang Island

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Our tour guide Kinoy 
10. Vayang Rolling Hills
Another well-loved rolling hills in Batanes is Vayang Rolling Hills, which is located near downtown Basco. Its seemingly endless verdant rolling hills with amazing views of the West Philippine Sea makes it one of the island’s best attractions. With the recent completion of the concrete road from downtown, getting to Vayang Rolling Hills has been easier and more comfortable. Delivery of services to nearby towns has also been improved. 
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Amy and Beb at Vayang Rolling Hills

Have you been to Batanes? What are the places you love that are not included in this list? Let's chat down below!

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