Batanes | North Batan Island Tour
For its seemingly surreal landscape, Batanes is any shutterbug’s paradise. In the island of Batan alone, everywhere you look around is a sight worth the click. And on north Batan Island lies some of the iconic landmarks that have won the hearts of all its visitors.
Everyone gets through Batan Island, where the capital town of Basco & its small airport are located. It is the 2nd largest & the most populous island among the 10 isles in the northernmost part of the Philippines.
North Batan Island — half paradise, half love!
Because of its excesses of beauty, tours in Batan are geographically divided into north Batan Island & south Batan. Every package you avail from your tour operator usually takes you to the highlight sights in both tour categories. If you wish to see them all, you have to stay in Batan for at least a week.
Here’s the list of attractions in north Batan Island to inspire you in crafting your most dreamed about Batanes getaway.
Basco Lighthouse on Naidi Hills
No trip to Batanes is ever complete without visiting the icon of Batan Island, the Basco Lighthouse perched atop Naidi Hills. It overlooks the breathtaking Pacific seascape, the manicured hedgerows surrounding its emerald mountains & the imposing Mt. Iraya.
It is also a favorite spot for plane watching early in the morning & catching sunset over a cold bottle of beer.
Vayang Rolling Hills
This grazeland is where the earth meets the sea & the sky. Bask on the vast carpet of verdant greens punctuated by buffalos, horses, cows & herds of sheep. It is best visited early in the morning when the sun illuminates its wave of greens with soft light.
Mt. Carmel Chapel on Tukon Hills
Fashioned after the traditional stone house of the Ivatans, the chapel of Mt. Carmel has recently been a popular spot for luxury destination weddings. Its location on the winding summit of Tukon Hills with a 360-degree view of the Pacific Ocean & West Philippine Sea makes it truly an idyllic place to get hitched!
Dipnaysupuan Japanese Tunnel
During World War II, the Japanese imperial army dug this network of tunnel in Tukon Hills to serve as their shelter & lookout post. It has several chambers & built so low. If you can hold on to a duck walk, then this spot is worth exploring inside.
Fundacion Pacita is the most luxurious hotel in Batanes. It was once the art workshop of the late artist Pacita Abad. Today it has expanded into a full-service hotel replete with villas showcasing Ivatan aesthetics.
Since it is an exclusive property, daytrips or walk ins is not easy. But you can dine at Café du Tukon to gain entry & take a glimpse of what beauty hides inside its acres of art complex.
PAGASA Weather Station
Because Batanes is always battered by Pacific storms, its weather station gained curiosity among travelers wondering what life is like looking out for storms in the northernmost territory. While some sections are restricted, the ones open to public offer a panoramic view of the island’s vast backdrop.
Basco Town Center
Basco is a quaint town laid out in neat spacing. At the heart of the town is the public plaza flanked by government offices, the church & commercial establishments. The streets are narrow & reminiscent of a time-warped townscape dominated by old Japanese bikes, heritage buildings & homes framed with blossoming gardens.
Santo Domingo Church
This 18th century Spanish stone church was dedicated to the Immaculate Conception of Mary, the patroness of Batanes Prelature. It also bears the name Santo Domingo or Basco Cathedral. The church is beautifully constructed in lime, sand & stone.
Valugan Boulder Bay
All roads lead to Valugan Boulder Bay at the crack of dawn on north Batan Island to catch the wonderful sunrise creeping in the horizon. Meaning “east” in Ivatan language, Valugan is a cove-like shingle of boulders spewed by Mt Iraya’s eruption in 15th century.
Chadpidan Boulder Beach
If there’s Valugan on the east, there’s Chadpidan on the west. This long stretch of boulder-hemmed coast evidences the wrath of Mt. Iraya’s explosion centuries back in time.
Nakamaya Burial Grounds
Located way north & hidden among the thick foliage & razor-sharp cliffs on the northwestern end is the ancient burial site of the first people of Batanes. Interestingly, their stone graveyards are shaped like boats testifying to their prehistoric records of seafaring.
Batan is a volcanic island & nowhere is this showcased than the mighty Iraya that looms in the background. It is a 1,000-meter active volcano that made its last cataclysmic eruption in 1454. Hikes to Mt. Iraya is possible but must be arranged with a special Iraya guide.
Yaru Nu Artes Gallery
Inspired by the abundance of unique panoramas & exquisite culture, Batanes is home to some of the country’s young artists. They are collectively called Yaru Nu Artes whose masterpieces have landed in adored galleries in the Philippines. Their gallery in downtown Basco is a landmark in itself too.
The tour on north Batan Island is just half of the spectacle of Batanes’ so-called “mainland”. But these alone are wondrous experiences you’ll never get anywhere in the Philippines.
Book your Batanes adventure with Wakay Tours.
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Betwixt and between the arthritic 40 and a horrendous body mass index of positive 30, escapism and yummyeology are my real-life double post-graduate degrees conferred with the highest honors. I lived nearly half of my life in fancy suitcases, jetsetting between reality and fantasy... read more