Ten years ago, Filipinos are unexcited about traveling to other places in the Philippines. For most, if not all, it isn’t travel at all if not to an international destination. What’s the use of riding the plane if you’re not leaving your home country and going to go through the immigration, right? It always has to be in another state for it to count. Back then, airfares are much more costly and airlines didn’t know how to market Philippine destinations like Batanes.
In this article, we’re going to go further and talk about Batanes, the Hidden Gem of the Philippines and the True Frontier of the North. Comparatively, it is not as often visited by tourists as those famous beach destinations, probably because it’s too far. Also, tickets are more expensive and most of the time there is a typhoon hitting the archipelago. Another reason could be people are unaware of the activities you’ll enjoy when you go there. If you find yourself among that population, continue reading this article for ideas.
Starting with the facts
Let’s kick off with the specifics. The total population of Batanes is 17,000. These locals inhabit 3 islands out of the 10. Batan Island is home to 12,000 people, while 2,000 of the population live in Sabtang, and 3,000 in Itbayat. Batanes is the country’s smallest and northernmost province also known as “Nature’s Playground.”
Experience Scotland here
Batanes is so beautiful it is named “Scotland of the Philippines,” as it looks far different from the rest of the country. As an effort to preserve its glorious and rare flora and fauna, terrain, and more, the government declared it as a Protected Landscape and Seascape. It also features limestone cliffs, a diverse marine life, and breathtaking panoramic views. You’d enjoy great scenery while moving from one place to another in Batanes. To add, it is much closer to Taiwan than you think, so you can enjoy the beauty of Scotland while breathing the air of Taiwan!
Things to do in Batanes
Walk to a lighthouse
Be ready with your poses because there are lighthouses everywhere in Batanes! Perfect for your Insta feed. The Basco lighthouse built in the 2000s offers tourists a spectacular view of the sea. On the other hand, you can see the Sabtang lighthouses if you want to have a feel of the Spanish colonial times in Batanes.
Visit World War II memorials
Sure, Batanes is so beautiful and peaceful today, but it was also ravaged by war before. Touring the islands, you’ll see old Japanese hideouts dug by Ivatan hostages and concrete remains of the American radio center. They had to dedicate a place underground to keep their Japanese captors from the Americans. Sad, but see how accommodating the Ivatans are from the beginning?
Bike through the Hills
Don’t know how to ride a bike? Before visiting Batanes is the best time to learn how! Through a bicycle is the best time to enjoy the neighborhood. Rolling hills is steep, but the exertion is absolutely worth it with the view of the East Philippine Sea.
Try on Chavayan-crafted goods
You haven’t really been in Batanes without a photo of you wearing the lion mane-like wigs of cogon grass. Ivatans wear this woven headgear in Chavayan in Sabtang. Too bad the seasoned weavers are finding it difficult to pass their skill to their children, so visit now while Batanes still has it!
See a traditional Ivatan house
Being able to see and touch an artifact makes every trip worthwhile. Coming inside an Ivatan house is absolutely the best way to have a taste of the Ivatan culture and history. It was an idea of our Spanish friends before to use limestone walls in building houses as protection to the frequent earthquakes.
You’ll be more lured into booking that flight to Batanes and planning your itinerary when you hear there is hardly any crime on the islands. This is because the locals don’t feel the need to steal and they know doing so would harm the entire place collectively. They care for and want to protect the name of Batanes that much. Who wouldn’t want to meet and be with these types of people, right? Truly, Batanes is a must-have in everyone’s list of places to see in their lifetime!