Batanes | South Batan Island Attractions
If you like the verdant rolling hills & the quaint ambience of north Batan in my other post, you’ll fall in love with south Batan island even more!
The southern tail of Batan, the capital island of Batanes basks on unapologetically excessive beauty. From emerald mountainscape & sparkling coasts to charming lighthouses & heritage sites, this side of the island is paradise.
South Batan Island, half-oasis, half-madness
It took me several visits before I was able to complete all the attractions in south Batan island. And in every trip I made, there was always something new to explore. Even the ones I’ve seen & photographed always had a beautiful difference.
Here is the complete list of attractions on south Batan island, the best half of the most coveted travel destination in the Philippines.
Romantic. Enchanting. Charming. This is Tayid Lighthouse perched atop a hill overlooking Madi Bay. Come here at sunrise & be in for a natural lightshow treat as the sun slowly showers its colorful palettes into the earth.
Often called Marlboro Country, this grazeland on the endless waves of green is a popular landmark in Batanes. With stowed cows & horses, Racuh-a-Payaman is also adoringly described as the New Zealand of Batanes.
Chawa Viewdeck is set on the craggy outcrops of its long & narrow coastal road. It offers a fantastic view of the sea lashing against the boulders below, the lush mountain backdrop & a faint seaside townscape in the western horizon.
Mahatao Shelter Port
Boats seek shelter from storm in this small sea inlet naturally gated by stone hills & concrete wall defenses. To many, it may just be an ordinary port but when it gets filled with refugee boats, it becomes a sight to behold.
Not to confuse with the 200-year old small lighthouse by the museum, Mahatao had built a new & taller lighthouse near the Shelter Port. Tourists find it far beyond the romance of other lighthouses because it’s within a messy shipyard. But when you come at sunset, the drama unfolds.
San Carlos Borromeo Church
The Dominicans founded San Carlos Borromeo church in 1787. It was constructed in stone & lime with its interiors decorated in Baroque style. Today, it still keeps its original bell that dates back to 1874 in a unique belfy called the españada.
Homoron Blue Lagoon
Hidden by the rocky outcrops between the towns of Ivana & Mahatao is Homoron. This shallow lagoon was once reserved for the Spanish friars as their bathing place but today it is a favorite tour pitstop for quick cold dips.
Often called as White Beach, Maydangeb is a small but sparkling patch of white sand hemming this part of south Batan island. Untouched & quiet, this beach by the bend is truly adorable.
Idjang in the Ivatan language is fortress. In prehistoric times, their ancestors lived on stone citadels overlooking the sea. These ancient settlements are well preserved to this day. Among them is the idjang on the hills of Napantao between Mahatao & Ivana.
House of Dakay
The House of Dakay is one of the oldest surviving traditional Ivatan homes in this side of south Batan island. It was one of the few houses that stood in tact after a massive earthquake hit the island in 1918. Owned by the family of Luisa Estrella, this stone house in Ivana is already more than 200 years old.
Spanning hundreds of years now, Tuhel Bridge in the town of Ivana was constructed as early as 1802. It is just 12 meters but back in the Spanish era when coastal roads were not yet fully linked, this bridge connected some sitios to the rest of the island.
The old adage, “honesty is still the best policy” is nowhere more amazingly practiced than in Batanes. And in the town of Ivana, a store runs without any attendant. Customers are left to help themselves & just leave the payment in a box. Owned by the Gabilos who just live next door, they say God is their CCTV.
San Jose de Ivana Church
Dedicated to Saint Joseph, the church was built by the Dominicans as a chapel in 1787. But in 1795, it was reconstructed in stone & lime to serve a growing flock from Ivana, Uyugan & Sabtang, the island across. At the back of the church lie the ruins of its original church & convent that have been enveloped by thick foliage.
Diura Fishing Village
The Ivatans are known to be skillful seafarers & its special breed of fishermen live in a closed community called Diura. It is the site of a prehistoric ceremony called Kapayvanuvanua during the opening of the dorado fishing season.
People believe it as the fountain of youth hidden in the mountain near Diura. Racuh-a-idi is an endless stream of cold spring running into a pool overlooking the sea. This is the Ivatans’ version of an infinity pool, but more beautiful.
Unknown to many tourists, Isded Beach is hidden from the roadside by thick rows of cogon & razor-sharp rocks. This spot makes its debut here on this post & only Wakay Tours arranges a sidetrip to this hidden beach.
The coastal town of Uyugan was swallowed by a huge tsunami in the 1950s & left the small village of Songsong in a creepy ruin. Today, this site remains a memorial of the harrowing tales of survival of the Ivatans in the south.
While not a popular picnic site, Uyugan Beach is a long shore of white sand beach peppered by washed away corals & shells. If you come at high noon, this beachline glistens even from afar in a blinding beauty.
The small town of Uyugan is the homeland of age-old stone houses. Walking inside the village is like taking a journey back in time. It feels like touring a live museum or in a huge movie set. Uyugan locals also keep many of traditional Ivatan crafts & folk customs.
Often missed by other tour operators as they rush to Alapad Pass, Mutchong Hilltop is one amazing sight that you shouldn’t miss in the south. It offers a relaxing & breezy sight of the island’s winding pass, a hill enveloped in a grass carpet & so many things wonderful. Just whisper this to your Wakay Tours guide & he’ll gladly pull over on this spot.
Ivana Sunset Beach
I coined this term as Sunset Beach because in all of Batan island, the best sunset is here in Ivana. Before sundown, all tourists are back in Basco town. But if you want to see a spectacle of harboring light creeping against the silhouette of Sabtang island, then this is the place to be.
This road on the southernmost tail isn’t only famous for its breathtaking panorama and the narrow pass that cuts through a huge rock that looks like a toad. It was also where the famous Filipino movie “Hihintayin Kita sa Langit” was shot. So if you feel like remaking that windswept scene of Dawn Zulueta & Richard Gomez, you’re in for a treat.
Don’t rush Batanes because there’s so much to see here. For its unique splendor, no wonder South Batan island is everyone’s favorite.
You’re one step away from getting the best Batanes adventure deal.
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