Gifted with picturesque landscapes, Batanes is a haven of changing moods. The weather is warm most of the time, sometimes cool and crisp and other times unfavorable. But the beauty of the place will make your heart jump for joy. Batanes is peaceful and laid-back, the perfect retreat where you can sit back, relax and enjoy the cool breeze and the heat of the sun.
Apart from the friendly locals, what’s most amazing about this province are the historical sites and landmarks from the Spanish era and World War II. The old structures are still originally preserved and untouched.
Still not convinced? Here are more reasons why you will fall in love with Batanes and why you should not skip this place the next time you visit the Philippines.
1. Breathtaking Views
With clear blue skies and lush rolling hills, Batanes will remind you of a young Julie Andrews singing to the tune of “The Hills Are Alive” in the 1965 musical drama film “The Sound of Music.”
Apart from the lush greenery and the fantastic panoramic views, a walk up to the mountains will give you the opportunity to hear the relaxing sound of the wind and enjoy the crisp countryside breeze. The best place to experience this is in Racuh A Payaman, otherwise known as “Marlboro Country.”
2. Well-preserved Traditions
Batanes has a very rich Ivatan culture and is considered as one of the very few provinces to preserve its old traditions and heritage. Get to know the interesting Ivatan culture and have a friendly chat with the locals of the Diuria Village.
With them, you can learn the art of crafting a vakul – a traditional headdress worn by the Ivatans that protects them from the sun and rain. The vakul is also used when they are working in the fields.
3. Historical Attractions
Batanes may be geographically separated from the rest of the Philippines, but the place was also ravaged during World War II. You can find traces of the brutal war at the American radio center’s concrete remains and also at the historic Japanese hideout.
Moreover, you can find plenty of Ivatan houses and brightly-colored churches that were built in the 17th century such as the Mahatao church. You’ll also be amazed to see the majestic lighthouses — Naidi Lighthouse in Basco and the Tayid Lighthouse in Mahatao.
4. Stunning Beaches
Batanes has an extraordinary coastline filled with numerous beaches. Escape to the hidden coves, cream sand beach and boulder beach — all of them are masterpieces created by the elements. In Sabtang, there’s a naturally made stone arch that became an icon and symbol of the island, the Mahayaw Arch.
Tourists use this arch as a cooling shade and also, as a lunch spot. Situated just in front of the arch is Morong Beach — a short stretch of white beach with fine sands that are fairer compared to other beaches in the province. The waves are less ferocious so you can go for an afternoon dip.
Another scenic spot is the Valugan Boulder beach – a one-of-a-kind natural beauty as it has no sand but is surrounded by boulders of igneous rocks. Swimming is strictly prohibited as the waves are strong and you can get smashed into the big boulders at the shore.
5. Friendly Ivatans
The Ivatans are extra helpful and friendly and they would be more than willing to lend you a helping hand. They would spend extra time with you just to have a little chat and to know if your tour went well. They find it easy to smile at strangers. They would also welcome you to their homes and share fascinating stories.
6. Delish Local Treats
Batanes isn’t a gourmet hotspot but over the years, the local cuisine has evolved. But despite the influence of modern times, the local cuisine has retained its uniqueness. Try Chinavules, steamed young gabi leaves infused with diced ginger, onion, garlic, and salt. If you love sweet treats, try Uvud balls — a tempting dessert made from meat balls smothered in coconut meat strips.
7. Zero Crime Rate
Who wouldn’t love to visit a place that is beautiful and safe like Batanes? Violence is rare in this very peaceful province. Petty theft is also very uncommon. You can barely find prisoners in prison cells. What’s more, there’s the Honesty Store & Coffee Shop that doesn’t have a cashier or staff. You can easily drop your payments at a designated box.
Deemed as the Scotland of the East, it’s no wonder that the postcard-worthy topography of this province continues to attract visitors every year. Whether you’re a photography enthusiast, a foodie, a history nerd, or just basically a travel junkie, you will definitely find your bliss in this dream destination.
With a rustic feel and a laid-back view, Batanes will give you a comforting respite away from the hustle-bustle of the city. It may not have big shopping malls or Starbucks but it has all you need to pause, reflect and appreciate life a little bit more.