Batan Island, though considered only as the second largest island of Batanes next to Itbayat Island, is considered as the main island of the most beautiful group of islands I’ve been to yet in my motherland. The provincial capital of Basco resides in this approximately 20-km long and distorted dumbbell-shaped island.
WHAT TO SEE IN NORTH BATAN ISLAND
North Batan Island Tour is usually conducted on the 1st day of your Batanes trip. There are about 9 destinations we’ve been to in North Batan.
Valugan Boulder Beach
One of the scenic views that you don’t want to miss in Batanes is the seascape of Valugan Boulder Beach.
With boulders sitting along the bay, it is quite difficult to stride the length of the beach but it is already satisfying to sit by one of the boulders and enjoy the horizon as the waves randomly hit the edge of these huge rocks.
Dipnaysupuan Japanese Tunnel
Batanes is not just about rolling hills and beautiful seascape. Just like any other city and province in the country, Batanes was once occupied by the foreign forces. During the Spanish occupation in the Philippines, a governor in the name of Jose Basco y Vargas sent an expedition to Batanes to formalize the reforms he established to free the economy from Mexican and Chinese trade. Thus, the capital of the province was named after him.
During the World War II, when Japanese occupied the country, one of the provinces taken down was Batanes. The Ivatan natives back then were forced to dig down tunnels as hide-outs for the Japanese military. Dipnaysupuan Japanese Tunnel is the most famous underground passage in the province, with 5 connecting entrance and exit points, that served as refuge to the Japanese occupants.
Located in the northern part of Batan Island and standing about 3 thousand feet high, Mt. Iraya is the first view you can see once the plane you’re boarding lands on Basco.
Almost everywhere in Batan Island, Mt. Iraya is visible and the best view might be just on top of the Dipnaysupuan Japanese Tunnel where you’ll be approximately 7 km away but a clear line of sight makes it a picturesque view from above.
On top of Tukon Hills, Tukon Church should also be in your Batanes bucketlist. Also known as Mt. Carmel Church, Tukon Church will definitely be one of the cutest churches or chapels you will see in the country.
Made up of piled stones like that of the traditional Ivatan houses, its minute charm will captivate your heart.
Batanes, being frequented by typhoons, is being monitored actively by Basco PAG-ASA. After visiting Tukon Church and before we head out for lunch, we had a quick visit to the northernmost PAG-ASA station in the country.
From Basco PAG-ASA, one can have a wide angle view of the Mahatao Hedgegrows from left to right. The green landscape from above is indeed a beautiful sight.
The Basco Lighthouse is a popular landmark in Basco, next to Mt. Iraya. As described in the marker, this lighthouse, standing at 66 feet, was constructed in March 2003 to serve as a navigational facility for local fishermen and at the same time as a tourist attraction.
The Basco Lighthouse is situated on top of Naidi Hills. Naidi means formal human settlement. As stated in the marker, pre-colonial Ivatans lived sporadically in small communities all over the islands which was headed by a chieftain known as “mongpus” and Naidi was the residence of an Ivatan chieftain named Boyas.
The elevation of Naidi and its vast landscape view of Basco makes it a strategic location for chieftains to look over the town.
Vayang Rolling Hills
Vayang Rolling Hills, with its endless waves of rolling hills combined with the perfect landscape of the city and the impressive coastline of the province, is the best vantage point for viewing the municipality of Basco.
THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND
- North Batan Island Tour is a half day activity. It can be completed in just 3-4 hours the least. So I would recommend that you start early, have your lunch, rest for the next 2-4 hours in your hotel or lodges and then come back to either the Basco Lighthouse or Vayang Rolling Hills to wait for the sunset.
- Visitors have the choice to go around Batan via rented bicycle, motorcycle, tricycle or private vans.
- If you plan to tour around North Batan Island by bicycle, make sure you’re full of energy because honestly speaking, it is very challenging to bike around the island especially because of the numerous uphill and downhill routes to the destinations. If you’re going solo, might as well rent a motorcycle (ask your hotel contacts if they have motorcycles for rent). The best choice if you’re two and up would be to book a day with the tricycle drivers for only Php 1, 000/tricycle. We had our tour with Kuya Froilan Castillo (+639303715359/+639062065663). He is the president of BATODA (Basco Tricycle Operators and Drivers Association) so I’m sure you’d be safe. You can also contact Kuya Lito Alcantara (+639162291080). If they’re not available, better ask your hotels or lodges if they offer tours. We booked in Marfel’s Lodge and they have their own tricycle tours.
You might want to check out A Complete Travel Guide to Batanes, Philippines for the suggested itinerary, budget breakdown, travel tips, contacts and more!
Thank you for reading and I hope to have inspired you to travel more.
P.S. Leave no trace but memories.
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