A total of ten islands make up the region known as Batanes. Batanes is in the northern most part of the Philippines and is actually closer to Taiwan. The islands rest in the China Sea and are subject to major changes in weather due to its path of storm and natural disasters. Fighting and wars that lasted 100′s of years have turned over ownership of these islands over and over again. WWII changed that and its final embrace by a country ended in the hands of the Philippines.
Unique and beautiful structures include several Spanish era bridges which are still in use today. Several lighthouses sit on the cliffs of a few islands
Only two of the islands are inhabited, though a few others are spotted with tiny villages here and there. The two major islands have good roads and can be toured in car or passenger van. Be sure to stop and view the magnificent Ivantan homes which mimic those of Scottish lowland houses. The oldest of these types of homes is known as Dakay House. Built in 1887 this private home is the only remaining structure of a massive earthquake which struck the region in 1918.
Places of Interest in Batanes:
● House of Dakay (1887) a UNESCO heritage building.
● Lighthouses of Batanes
● St. Dominic de Guzman Parish Cathedral
● Mt. Iraya – A 1008-meter mountain on Batan Island.
● Mahatao View Deck
● Burial Caves – Pre-historic burial caves in the town of Itbayat.
● Sumhao Wind Power Plant
● Nakaboang Beach, Ark & Cave
● Songsong Ruins
● Beaches – Chadpidan Beach, White Beach and more.
● Payaman – known as “Marlboro Country”, a pasture overlooking farm fields & the Pacific Ocean.
● Land area: 230 square kilometers, Population: 18,000
● Literacy rate: 95%
● Major industry: Garlic and cattle
● Language: Ivatan (an Austronesian language, with pidgin Spanish and Chinese accent).
Hotels and Inns in Batanes:
● Brandon’s Lodging – 11 tastefully decorated rooms each with TV, aircon and toilet & bath. Contact: Madeleine Siazon at +63 919 366 2158 for reservations.
● Batanes Resort – P550 /day and up. Tel. # 9229621 local 327 (Ivatan Center, Q.C.)
● Batanes Seaside Lodge P450 /day and up Tel. # 0981-993613
● Ivatan Lodge – P100/1 pax, P400/ 1 or more pax/day. Email: ivatanlodge@ yahoo.com
● Shanedel’s Inn – P200 /day 0920-4470737
● Troy Lodge – near airport Tel. # 0920-4470726
Unique and beautiful structures include several Spanish era bridges which are still in use today. Several lighthouses sit on the cliffs of a few islands. These warning signals have been in use for years to help assist the 1000′s of ships which pass through these waters. Other structures include Spanish era churches, the most famous of which is the Mahatao cathedral where the revolution of 1898 occurred.
The islands rest in the China Sea and are subject to major changes in weather due to its path of storm and natural disasters
Those looking for a superior place to stay should look into the Fundacion Pacita. This was originally the home of world famous artist Pacita Abad. Pacita is a local Ivantan. Ivantan’s are native people who have lived in this region since prehistoric times. Pacita Abad is one of the most famous of all and her residence has now been turned into a nature lodge. This premier hotel is adorned with unique features and works of art by her. The proceeds of the hotel are given every year to new and inspiring Ivantan artists. Put Fundacion Pacita on your travel plans as the views are endless and the place will simply take your breath away.
Wars, weather and time have brought Batanes to its knees but in sight of it all these islands are so untouched they seem like no part of the Philippines at all. Many would call this place a home for retirement but those who go here find themselves wanting for more. Don’t let the sparse islands fool you take a trip to Batanes Islands and roam the hillsides of a place where time stood still.