Vayang Rolling Hills

Batanes Day 1: North Batan Tour

As flights from Batanes to Manila operates early morning, the recommended first day activity in exploring the beautiful Batanes is to start with the North Batan Tour. It serves as the perfect prologue to the province’s attractions.

Upon arrival in Batanes, we relaxed for a few hours at our home stay. We took our lunch afterwards at D’ Island Lodge and Restaurant before officially staring our tour.

During our exploration of North Batan, the weather was cool and cloudy with frequent on and off rain showers. Hence, you will notice that our photos were not the usual, bright and sunny photos.

Listed in order of our visit, below are the attractions that will be seen and/ or experienced in the Batanes’ North Batan Tour.

 

North Batan Tour

 

1) Basco Welcome Arch

Basco Welcome Arch

Although welcome arches are common structures for visitors, having a photo with Basco’s welcome arch is a must. This noticeable landmark is unique since they added Batanes’ stone elements in it. Also, it is a great proof that one has really been to Batanes.

 

The Batanes welcome arch is also a good stopover, because it has a viewing deck. From it, one can see a spectacular view of the ocean, the Basco sea port and even this islet.

View from Basco Welcome Arch

2) Mt. Carmel Chapel (or Tukon Chapel)

Tukon Church

There are several existing churches, chapels and cathedrals in Batanes. However, as an iconic structure of the Island province of Batanes, this is not to be missed.

Spearheaded by the Abads (the most prominent and powerful family in Batanes) and nearby communities, the chapel’s design was based on traditional Ivatan houses. Its other name Tukon Chapel was coined from “tukon” which is an Ivatan term for “mountain.” It fits its name as the chapel is perched on a hill with a picturesque scenery that is truly astonishing.

As Batanes is regarded as one of the best locations in the Philippines to get married, couples who wish to have a small intimate wedding ceremony may opt to have it here. The chapel’s rustic beauty has also attracted film producers to shoot a Philippine box office hit, You’re My Boss.

 

3) Basco PAGASA Complex (Weather Station)

Basco PAG-ASA Complex

Next stop is the Basco PAGASA (acronym for Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration) Complex. This is the northernmost doppler radar station of the country to track typhoons that enter the Philippine area of responsibility.

As this weather station is also located on top of a hill, it offers stunning views of rolling hills and “liveng” which is crisscrossing hedgerows.

 

4) Fundacion Pacita

Fundacion Pacita

A trip to Batanes is never complete without stopping by at Fundacion Pacita. Once a home and studio of Pacita Abad, an internationally renowned contemporary painter, it is now a boutique hotel. It also houses the colorful artwork of Pacita Abad. As it is beautiful at every angle, this accommodation is usually fully booked despite its steep price.

 

Within the vicinity, these wonderful, colorful mosaic tiled walls can be found. The Café du Tukon is also located within the area which offers local Ivatan cuisine and the best desserts in Batanes.

Fundacion Pacita
Fundacion Pacita

 

Our tour guide, Kuya Kio, picked some Mulberries within the area for us to try. We’ve never tasted one as it’s not available in our region. And we never knew that mulberries can grow here in the Philippines.

By the way, we learned that mulberries’ leaves are what silkworms eat. If Batanes can have a mulberry plantation and silkworms can also thrive, perhaps producing handmade silk can be an additional income for them. They will have to acquire the skill though in producing it.

Mulberries

 

5) Dipnaysuhwan Japanese Tunnel

Located in the hills of Tukon, the Dipnaysuhwan Japanese Tunnel was a shelter house for soldiers during World War II. It has five doors and consists of a series of chamber, a bunker that serves as a lookout spot and a water reservoir. Currently, it is being maintained by the Municipal Government of Basco in partnership with the Youth Ambassadors For Christ (YAFCO).

It is best to have heavy duty flashlights or head lamps at hand as the tunnel is enveloped in almost complete darkness. The eerie feeling this tunnel gives off adds thrill to this very short adventure.

Dipnaysuhwan Japanese Tunnel

 

Always remember to slowly and carefully walk as some steps can be slippery. Please also watch out for your head as there are sudden low ceiling areas.

Dipnaysuhwan Japanese Tunnel
Exiting the tunnel is a refreshing feeling as one reunites with mother nature.
Dipnaysuhwan Japanese Tunnel

 

We just can’t let this photo opportunity slip when we saw this carabao-drawn carriage. Well, we tried using a human alternative for a carabao, but it can’t be drawn because the cart has no wheels. Too bad. It would have been fun to play.

Dipnaysuhwan Japanese Tunnel

 

6) Chanpan/ Valugan Boulder Beach

This beach is locally known as Chanpan Beach, and is popularly known as Valugan Boulder Beach. Instead of sand, this beach has huge boulders of igneous rocks spewed by Mt. Iraya and smoothed by China Sea and Pacific Ocean waves.

And although not readily apparent, it is a sacred fishing port of the Ivasay fishermen. Their traditional fishing season called “Paypatawen” usually starts in March and ends in May. Practicing this has made fishing sustainable and adherent to their traditional laws and customs.

In exploring it, do not get near the edge of the beach as you may be swept away by the strong crashing waves. It is indeed impossible to swim here. We learned though that it has been a subject of several award-winning national photography contests. It is also a fantastic spot for shooting the sun rise.

Chanpan/ Valugan Boulder Beach

 

A fun thing to do here is to find small stones and pile it as high as you can. After doing so, you must try to make it fall down with one hit of a stone. If successful, the local told us that we can make a wish.

Chanpan/ Valugan Boulder Beach

 

With or without an opportunity to make a wish, it is fun to just play in this boulder beach.

Chanpan/ Valugan Boulder Beach

Of course, it’s also a great place to relax. There is a calming effect in just sitting by the boulders, watching the breathtaking Pacific Ocean, and listening to the sound of waves.

Valugan Boulder Beach

 

7) Vayang Rolling Hills

Vayang Rolling Hills is probably the most photographed and most visited attraction in Basco. This is attributed to the fact that it is the nearest site within Basco proper where the three major island municipalities (Batan, Sabtang and Itbayat) can be seen all at once. Its seemingly endless waves of verdant rolling hills and the picturesque view of the sea add to its attractiveness. This perfect combination of landscape and seascape truly makes it a remarkable sight.

Vayang Rolling Hills

Vayang Rolling Hills

 

We really wanted to stay here as the place is so tranquil and we can’t help but marvel at God’s beautiful creation.

Vayang Rolling Hills

 

It’s truly a gorgeous landscape for city people like us. However, for Idiptans (residents of Diptan of Brgy. San Antonia farmers), it’s their ordinary pastureland as seen in the photos below. Can you spot the carabao?

Vayang Rolling Hills

 

It is important to note that parts of the rolling hills are covered with cogon grass or also known as blady grass.

Vayang Rolling Hills

 

These cogon grasses are used by Basco people for thatching their roof. This is because it is known to repel the punishing sun rays and stormy weathers.

Cogon grass

 

8. Naidi Hills and Basco Lighthouse

Certainly, the North Batan Tour will never be complete without seeing the Naidi Hills and the Basco Lighthouse.

The Basco Lighthouse is the first lighthouse built among other lighthouses in Batanes. Although a 6-story building, its viewing deck is located on the 5th level. Most people stay in this place to watch the sunrise or sunset. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to see the sunset because of the gloomy weather.

Basco Lighthouse

 

We were able to see a spectacular bird’s eye view of the Basco town and Mount Iraya from the lighthouse on it’s one side.

Naidi Hills

 

In addition, we were able to see a panoramic view of the rolling hills of the Batan island and the Baluarte Bay on another side.

North Batan

 

The Naidi hills where the lighthouse is situated also has a story behind its name. Naidi is an old village coined from the Ivatan terms, “Na” which means past and “Idi” which means settlement. The Naidi hills was also a site of the American telegraph facilities. In fact, one of the bunker ruins they left behind was converted into a restaurant and named as Bunker’s Cafe.

Bunker's Cafe

We learned that Bunker’s Cafe is normally closed at day time and only opens around sunset time until evening. As it’s an open air cafe, previous diners got to have a perfect view of the sunset and got to experience a moonlit dinner. We heard that they serve good food. However, the locals told us that it’s already closed down for business. I wonder why it closed down when it had positive reviews from diners. Anyway, if it was still open, we would surely have capped off our North Batan Tour with a dinner here.

 


So these are just some of the famous attractions and landmarks that one can visit when doing the North Batan Tour.

 

Which of these attractions do you want to see in person?
And if you’ve already been to Batanes, which is your favorite attraction for North Batan Tour?

We love hearing your thoughts in the comment section below.

31 Responses to “Batanes Day 1: North Batan Tour”

  1. Batanes looks like a majestic place to visit! I like all the beautiful nature photos you got and the Japanese tunnel is intriguing. I bet the food was amazing as well! Do you have a favorite dish from Batanes?

    Zaria

    Reply
    • Thank you for your comment. I personally don’t have a favorite dish from Batanes. However, the dish that I enjoyed the most was the coconut crab.

      – Me-An Clemente

      Reply
  2. Omyyyy! Batanes has been on my bucketlist for so long and looking and your photos and reading all about is making me want to book a ticket asap!

    Reply
  3. Of course, Batanes is everyone’s dream destination. I hope I can visit it someday and I will make sure to take a photo op on that welcome arch! Hihi

    airinaapril.blogspot.com

    Reply
  4. Wow! Just by looking at each photo you’ve featured here, it’s so amazing how Batanes preserved its nature like beauty that would fascinate not just the tourists but also the people who live there. take note of the arch, too!

    Reply
  5. Batanes is one of the places I would really love to see! I cannot wait to go there and explore the many wonderful things there with my boys. Everything looks beautiful and every place is like straight out from a postcard. 🙂

    Reply
  6. jean dalida

    Batanes is on my bucket list. Too bad that I wasn’t able to score sale seats last time. Thanks for sharing this! Love it!

    Reply
  7. Such comprehensive list of must see Batanes’ destination. This place is really on top of my travel bucket list! I agree with what mentioned about having the locals cultivate silkworm to produce silk as an added income for them.

    Reply
  8. hey! those are great activities po. have not visited batanes yet but If we have time, I will surely do atleast some of your activities. *kainggit naman*. haven’t been to any beach this summer season. hahahaha

    Reply
  9. Lovely pictures. It is just wonderful that there are other things like piling of stones to make a wish. I think there is also a hearsay about throwing it to the ocean? I dunno, hahaha. Anyway, its fun travelling especially if you’re with someone special. More adventures to the two of you!

    Reply
  10. Batanes has been on my travel list. Its looks breathtaking. Your pictures are lovely and so is the write up.

    Reply
  11. Great blog you have here.. It’s difficult to find high-quality writing like yours nowadays.
    I honestly appreciate individuals like you! Take care!!

    Reply
  12. Pretty! This has been a really wonderful article. Thank you for
    providing this information.

    Reply
  13. Hello! This post could not be written any better! Reading
    through this post reminds me of my old room mate! He always kept chatting
    about this. I will forward this post to him.

    Fairly certain he will have a good read. Thanks
    for sharing!

    Reply
  14. Hi, Modesta 🙂 I designed it and had it coded with a website developer. Thank you for noticing our blog. -Me-An

    Reply
  15. Batanes is one of my sought after destinations in the Philippines. I’d love to go on this tour as it seems like you’ve seen so much of it and the history of the island. Maybe in the near future! Hopefully!

    Reply
  16. What a wonderful place to go for a vacation! Too bad it’s very far away from Italy but if I’ll ever go to the Philippines I’m definitely squeezing in a visit there!

    Reply
  17. I envy you 🙁 hehe exploring the Batanes has always been on my bucket list but my problem is that it is too expensive to get there haha.. You guys surely had a blast here and your pictures clearly show how rewarding this trip is .. hopefully I’ll get a chance to travel that far too

    Reply
  18. Batanes is one place that is in our bucket list. In fact we are exploring if the HR community we manage can hold a “voluntour” event in one of the communities there. Based on photos, I find the landscape stunning.

    And I would like to experience myself the culture of honesty, according to feedback from friends who visited the place, and find out how they are able to maintain it, if true.

    Reply
  19. Because of you, Batanes is now a destination I would love to go to. I have … I noticed something on that islet and am very curious. That square thing, it looks like a door or entrance?

    Reply
    • Great observation, Sir Robert, it really is an entrance. However, our local guide said that people seldom go inside. It also gets submerged when it’s high tide. Thank you for asking 🙂

      Reply
  20. *sigh* Batanes, my dream destination. I feel like I should go visit here for a week before working abroad. I probably will with regular-priced tickets since SkyJet has recently stopped giving low-priced promos. It must be because of the high demand.

    I didn’t know we have mulberries here in the country as well. Can it be cultivated in other regions? I love your photos of North Batan and of course the photos of you together. 🙂

    Reply
    • Actually when we bought our Skyjet tickets it was priced around 10k since it was pretty difficult to get the low-priced promos for a family group. For the mulberries, I was surprised too that we have it here and as to its cultivation, I’m not really knowledgeable on such.

      Anyway, thank you for checking out our blog post 🙂

      Reply
  21. Oh my goodness. These photos look so breathtaking! I would really want to to visit Batanes soon though!!! Also, I’m curious. Did you guys use a tripod for photos you both are in? 🙂

    Reply
  22. You have such a great blog! I have always been interested in going to Batanes since I watched the movie of Toni Gonzaga and John Louyd Cruz where they went to Batanes. I would also like to see the “Honesty Store.” What month did you visit Batanes? The place is very popular being a place most of the time affected by typhoons.

    Reply

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