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Architect's Travel Bucket List Series: Philippines (Province of Batanes)

Updated: Oct 13, 2022

The Province of Batanes

BATANES, also known as the "Home of the Winds," is the northernmost province of the Philippines and the smallest in terms of population (18,831 as of the 2020 census) and land area. It is well-known for being one of the most peaceful provinces in the Philippines.

The Province is made up of ten islands located between the vast expanses of the Bashi Channel and the Balintang Channel, where the Pacific Ocean and the South China Sea meet. The only inhabited islands are the three largest, Batan, Itbayat, and Sabtang. Basco, the capital, is located on the island of Batan.


The entire Province is on the UNESCO tentative list for World Heritage List inscription. Batanes is well-known for its beautiful waters, rugged terrain, and clean environment. It is also known for the distinct culture of the Ivatans, the island's original settlers. It is also rich in marine resources, including some of the world's rarest sea corals.


Summer is the most popular season for relaxed tourists. If you enjoy adventure, the best time to visit Batanes is between July and October. However, if there is a typhoon, avoid going because you might get stranded and miss out on the beautiful scenery.



ARCHITECTURE

First, let's take a look at some Batanes architecture on the island:

A Sinadumparan Ivatan house is one of the oldest structures in the Batanes islands. The house is made of limestone and coral and the roof is made of cogon grass.


The houses were created to withstand the region's extreme weather, which includes typhoons, earthquakes, scorching humid summers and monsoon rains.


This demonstrates how the Ivatans made an effort to develop environmentally friendly solutions to the region's severe weather problems.


Take pictures if you see one because they are only found in Batanes!



ACTIVITIES

1. Visit Racuh A Payaman (Marlboro Country)

Racuh A Payaman is a well-known tourist attraction in Batanes. It is a large communal pasture land with livestock grazing freely on the small plain, primarily cows and carabaos. The scenery, seascape, and rolling terrain are stunning, especially at sunrise.


Arrive between 8:00 and 10:00 a.m. to get the best shots and avoid crowds. Wear your most comfortable hiking shoes due to the long distances required to reach the ideal picturesque backdrop.


2. Wear the vakul headdress and kanayi vests – Symbol of Survival

It is the Ivatans' one-of-a-kind all-weather headgear and vest made of shredded leaves from an impressive palm found only on Sabtang island. These headdress and vest protected the Ivatan farmers from the heat of the sun and rain. Another environmentally friendly invention used to adapt to changing weather conditions. Wear it, smile, and strike a pose.


3. Visit the Tayid Light House and take in the 360-degree view

Tayid lighthouse is situated on a hill and provides a 360-degree view of Mt. Iraya, the West Philippine Sea, and Mahatao. This structure, which faces the Pacific Ocean, is best seen from Rakuh a Payaman. Take in the breathtaking scenery and smell the ocean and fresh air.


4. Put your honesty to the test in Batanes' Honesty Coffee Shop

Take a break after admiring the breathtaking views and enjoy a cup of coffee in this one-of-a-kind coffee shop where no one is looking. Take a look at their souvenirs as well. After that, simply go through the price list and place your money in a jar. Always remember that the best policy is honesty!


5.Visit the Chawa View Deck for a panoramic view of Batanes

The Chawa View Deck is located on South Batan Island in Batanes. It provides a panoramic view of the seaside as well as undulating green hills and rock formations. There is also a winding staircase going down. The best place to take pictures is in the middle of the road; just keep an eye out for cars!


6. Discover Morong Beach

Morong Beach is one of the province's most popular beaches, and it is known for the large rock formation known as Nakabuang Arch. Bring your swimming gear because the powdery white sand and gentle waves will entice you to swim. Don’t forget to take a picture in the arch because it is a popular spot.



ACCOMMODATION
  1. Batanes Seaside Lodge and Restaurant is the province's first hotel. If you're on a tight budget, this is the place to be. This hotel is well-known for its welcoming and accommodating staff. The rooms are adequate in size and well-kept, but they could use an upgrade. Its main branch is on the national road that runs alongside Basco Bay. Basco Town is the other location. Both are only a short distance from the airport.

  2. Octagon Bed and Dine is in the town of Basco, Batanes, which is home to the majority of the establishments and shops. It's also close to the municipal building, the street market, and the town center. You will be able to enjoy the breathtaking scenery all around you, as well as the famous lighthouses, breaking waves on the rocks, and historical stone houses, from their outdoor deck. Great sunset view.

  3. The Fundacion Pacita Hotel is located in Barangay Chanarian, Tukon, Basco, Batanes. This establishment offers bed and breakfast services. This is popular with tourists, despite the fact that it is a little pricey, because it provides visitors with the best scenic place to stay in Batanes. It can only accommodate a limited number of guests, so reservations are required. Below the restaurant is an art gallery. The best experience you can have in this hotel is waking up to a beautiful sunrise and feeling the cool sea breeze as you sip your coffee.


TRANSPORTATION

Batanes is approximately an hour and 45 minutes by plane from Manila. There are only a few flights available, so plan ahead of time.


The abundance of transportation options makes it simple to explore Batanes. To get to the tourist attractions, you can take a tricycle. Another option is to rent a bike and go for a ride. You must pay the environmental fees before exploring the island and its communities. Jeepneys are available for inter-city travel.


If you're heading to Sabtang, make your first stop at Ivana port. The boat departs at 6 or 7 a.m. and returns between 1 and 2 p.m. The boat fare is P100. Make sure you have a contact who can pick you up from the port and bring you back to your hotel.



FOOD

Tamiduk, also known as pako or fiddlehead fern, is the most famous food in Batanes. It is a popular vegetable in the province. It is most commonly prepared by sautéing it in garlic and onions.

Here are some restaurants that are famous with tourists:

  1. Marconines Canteen is located near Rakuh a Payaman. It serves both local and international cuisine. Enjoy your meal among the greens while admiring the views of Rakuh a Payaman. Try their seafood and classic dishes, such as the beef steak and caramelized wakay.

  2. The Octagon Bed and Dine is located in Sitio Disong, Brgy. Kaychanarianan, Basco, Batanes It is a seaside restaurant on the national road. The location offers a breathtaking view of the sea. They serve traditional Filipino dishes such as Enchaladang talong, lechon kawali, and their own version of adobo (Luñis). During peak season, reservations may be required because it is a popular tourist stop. Their dining tables are made from old sewing machines, which is a unique feature.

  3. Casa Napoli is located at Bernardo's Hotel on National Road in Basco, Batanes. They serve Italian cuisine. If you're craving pizza, this is the place to be. Because they make everything from scratch, serving your food may take some time. They also use ingredients that are fresh and locally available, if not from their own garden.

  4. Pension Ivatan is located directly across from the Basco Airport. They are well-known for their specialty, the Ivatan Platter. It includes Uvud Balls, Payi (Lobster), Fern salad, Grilled Flying Fish, Grilled Tuna, Vunes, Luis, Inihaw na Tadyang ng Baka, and Turmeric rice. Their prices are also reasonable, and their portions are generous. You should try their paco salad and halo halo.

TIP:

Because credit cards are not widely accepted, bring cash in small denominations with you. Asking for help or support when you need it is not a problem because the locals are welcoming and friendly.


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