Have you ever been to a place where only tranquility and relaxation matter? Well, you can find one in the Philippines! Located in the northernmost part of the country; Batanes is among the top tourist destination due to the natural beauty of its landscapes that it offers. Where The Pacific Ocean meets the West Philippine Sea, Batanes island is absolutely such a haven place for photographers, nature lovers, ocean lovers, and even those who are fed up with urbanized life.
Batanes is nearer Taiwan than Luzon where in fact it is just 190 kilometers north. Meanwhile, mainland Luzon is about 280 kilometers away from Appari, located on the northernmost tip part of mainland Luzon. Here are the following things to do in Batanes.
Try on their traditional clothing
Your visit to Batanes wouldn’t be complete without wearing vakul or kanayi. These are the traditional clothes of Batanes. Actually, vakul and kanayi are worn by the farmers in order to protect themselves from the heat of the sun. I believe that some of the locals are still wearing these gears up to date. Although they are not getting usual anymore because of the modernization.
You may rent these traditional clothes if you visit Basco Lighthouse or the Savidug Stonehouse Village on Sabtang Island.
Go swimming at Spring of Youth
Spring of Youth is one of the best places that you should not miss out on when in Batanes. Dip yourself in a natural spring while staring at the wonderful view of nature. It has such an amazing backdrop of Mt. Iraya and the turquoise sea of Batanes island.
Take note that the Spring of Youth tour is different from Batan Tours – North and South Tours. You may need an additional Php 500 (as of writing) for this tour which is good for 2 people. For additional information, it takes about 15-20 minutes to trek in order to reach the Spring of Youth. I highly recommend you visit it early in the morning in order to avoid the crowd. This is truly worth visiting!
Dine, buy souvenirs at Honesty Shop
Don’t forget to drop by at Honesty Shop to dine in or buy some souvenirs! Honesty Shop is one of the top attractions in Batanes. This is a self-service store where nobody will assist you inside. You just have to leave your payment at the counter area. Please remember that the store is too small for dishonest people.
Sunrise at Tayid Lighthouse
South Batan tour is probably your final stop as you wrap your Batanes trip. I highly suggest you start the tour early in the morning. You can watch the sun as it rises, witness the waves of the blue sea slapping the shore, embrace the chilly climate, and stare at the green sceneries around the area.
Sunset at Valugan Boulder Beach
Valugan Boulder Beach is one of the nearest beaches in the town of Basco. It is part of the North Tour. Valugan beach is a long stretch filled with boulders that caused by Mr. Iraya’s eruption in 400 AD. In the Ivatan language, “Valugan” actually means “East”.
You can watch the sunset at Valugan Boulder Beach after a long tiring day of your tour. Either way, it is also possible to watch the sunrise here.
Unfortunately, the waves here are too strong that it is impossible for everyone to go swimming. Despite that, this is one of the most relaxing places to visit in Batanes – where you can find peace and relaxation. A special type of peace that you may find in the endless movements of the sea’s waves.
Ride the traditional Ivatan boat
Faluwa is the traditional boat of Ivatan. This is surely one-of-a-kind experience when in Batanes. If you ever plan to visit Sabtang or Itbayat, you will surely experience riding a faluwa. Expect the huge waves during the ride.
You may either visit Sabtang Island or Itbayat Island by faluwa. If you want to visit Itbayat Island, it takes 4 hours to get there via faluwa. It is highly recommended to visit the island especially if you are staying in Batanes for a week. I really want to visit Itbayat the next time I visit Batanes, but I do have motion sickness! Huhu, too bad for me.
Visit Sabtang Island
Should you not miss out on visiting one of the inhabited islands in Batanes, apart from Basco. Sabtang is a small island that is just 30 minutes away from Batan Island. The island may be small, but it has a lot to offer. It has such fantastic views more than you have imagined.
Walk along the streets of Basco
Batanes is known for having its zero crime rate. With that, it is possible to walk along the streets of Basco even at night. You will definitely feel safe on this island.
Go biking around Batan
There are shops offering bike rentals in the town of Basco. So if you want to try other things to do in Batanes, you may go biking around the town. Why not? It might a good experience for you to try!
Trek at Vayang Rolling Hills
Where mountains meet the sea – this is how I can totally describe Vayang Rolling Hills. It has such a panoramic beauty that everyone would fall in love with! The area is surrounded by green grass and trees, and clear blue skies. In addition, you can witness the crystal clear turquoise waters of the West Philippine Sea.
There is nothing much in particular to do here; just simply sit back and enjoy the stunning views of the hills and the sea! This is the best place to appreciate God’s amazing creation! Oh, Marlboro Country is also a must-visit! That’s part of the Southern Tour, anyway.
Visit Savidug Village in Sabtang
Make sure that you don’t miss out on visiting the oldest village on Sabtang Island – Savidug Village. According to our tour guide, this place has to be the smallest population on the island. This is where you can find the oldest stone houses on the island. Savidug Village implies the early life of Ivatans and how rich it is in terms of history.
Immerse yourself in this ancient village filled with beautiful and historical stories as you walk around the village. Walking along while wearing the traditional clothing of Ivatan.
Explore the Japanese Tunnel
Behind these enchanting lush green scenery of Batanes, there is a piece of history that lies underneath, it depicts the World War II and the Japanese occupation in the Philippines.
This Japanese Tunnel used to become a hideout of the Japanese soldiers during World War II. It is possible to enter this tunnel with a tour guide, but entering alone is strictly prohibited. There’s nothing much inside the tunnel aside from rocks. It’s really dark inside so make sure to bring a flashlight with you.
Try local foods
Indulge yourself with delicious local food in Batanes! There are so many foods to try everywhere. Every meal we tried was totally palatable. One of their popular dishes is the grilled flying fish. Make sure to try that when in Batanes!
Go hiking at Mt. Iraya
Located on the island of Batan, Mt. Iraya is the northernmost active volcano in the Philippines. Yup, it is possible to hike up Mt. Iraya which is according to our tour guide. If you are up for a more challenging activity, hiking Mt. Iraya could be your best option.
If you are active in water sports activities, scuba diving is definitely one of the best things to do in Batanes! Not to mention that the island is dubbed as the Protected Landscape and Seascape by the government. With that being said, Batanes boasts prolific marine life that every diver would definitely get crazy about! This is surely one thing that I would love to do when I go back to Batanes!
Why visit Batanes?
My friends and I visited Batanes and stayed on the island for 4 days and 3 nights. For this reason, I have learned a lot of things about why Batanes is a top must-visit destination in the country. Here are the following reasons why you must visit Batanes.
- You can find utter serenity on the island of Batanes. You can be free as a bird on this island!
- The island is truly breathtaking and picture-perfect. Everything around you is mesmerizing.
- Locals are very welcoming to tourists. They always smile whenever you talk to them.
- Life on the island is so simple that you would be considering staying here for good. (I wish I could!)
- Batanes Island’s timeless beauty is undeniable – its own charm is truly enough to say that this island is one of the most beautiful islands of the Philippines.
- Its spectacular mountain ranges, azure seawater, dreamy, historical towns and villages – some people might have thought that you are in the Philippines. Batanes is such a magical island that would certainly leave you speechless!
Best time to visit Batanes
I highly suggest you visiting Batanes around November-February or March-June.
Do’s and Dont’s when in Batanes
- Avoid littering. Littering is strictly prohibited by the government.
- Be mindful of what you wear. As much as possible, try to dress accordingly and conservatively.
- Ivatans are known to be very practical when it comes to resources such as food. So try to at least finish everything you have on your plate in order to avoid food wastage.
- Ask the locals before taking a photograph of them. Respect and be sensitive.
- Do It Yourself tours are not highly encouraged. Make sure you have already coordinated with a tour guide before arriving in Batanes.
Batanes is truly a paradise island. If you haven’t been here yet, I hope you find this article convincing to visit the island soon!
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