Sabtang Island is the third largest island in Batanes inhabited by the local Ivatans. With a total of 6 barangays, its population only plays around 1,621 as of 2015 making it a zero-crime community.
WHAT TO SEE IN SABTANG ISLAND
Sabtang Island Tour is usually conducted either on the 2nd day of your Batanes trip or on the third. We’ve had it on our second day and there were 9 destinations we’ve seen in total.
First on our list is Morong Beach. It took us about 15 minutes tricycle ride from the Municipal Tourism Information Center. Its beach cove is a long stretch of white fine sands.
Nakabuang Arch in Morong Beach
If you’d ask me, what are my favorite backdrops in Batanes for my photographs, I’d say Nakabuang Arch or Ahaw (Natural Stone Arch) in Morong Beach is included on my top 5 list. It is an iconic spot in Sabtang that you don’t want to miss!
Next on our list was the Sabtang Lighthouse. We were told that the lighthouse is not functional at the moment and we were surprised that it was inside a private property of the Faberes Family. So we were asked to pay Php 50 which was later on returned to us by Kuya Jimmy, our tricycle tour guide driver (but more on that later).
We took so much time capturing moments on our first two destinations that our tour guide decided to bring us to Tinyan Hills first, skipping Barrio Chavayan and Barrio Savidug, making them last on our list. With its landcape of green rolling hills from left to right, it was called by the locals as the “New Zealand of Batanes“.
Before going down the hill and up, we tried out wearing the traditional headdress of the Ivatans — the Vakul (for females) and Kanayi (for males). We were told that these are used as protection from the sun and as holder for root crops after farming out in the fields.
Chamantad Cove from Tinyan Viewpoint
Atop Tinyan Hills is the famous Tinyan Viewpoint where one can overlook the Chamantad Cove about a hundred feet below.
Your Batanes trip would not be complete without visiting this village in the Island of Sabtang.
Famous for the old stonehouses lined up the narrow streets, Barrio Chavayan must never be missed!
Sabtang Weaver’s Association
You can also find the native Ivatans weaving Vakul and Kanayi inside this little kubo. We were told that it takes them a week to complete a single headdress.
Sta. Rosa de Lima Chapel
The only church in Batanes, Sta. Rosa de Lima Chapel , that is still roofed with cogon grass can be found in Barrio Chavayan. We were told that cogon is a very high quality material that could withstand unfavorable weather conditions especially in Batanes and will last for 25-30 years.
Another village in the island of Sabtang famous for Ivatan houses is Barrio Savidug. As for our last destination in our Sabtang Island Tour, we visited one of the abandoned stonehouse. We were told that the pre-nuptial shoot of the singer Yeng Constantino was held here.
HOW TO GET TO SABTANG
From Basco, you first have to either ride a jeepney (Php 28) or hire a tricycle (for Php 200/tricycle) to take you to San Vincente or Radiwan port in Ivana. Then from the port, you need to board a ferry to bring you to Sabtang Island. Make sure to be there at least by 6:00 AM because the first boat trip will be at 6:30 AM. Ours left at 7:00 AM already but to be sure, just be there early! I’m not sure how many trips they have from/to Sabtang Island but we were told that the last trip from Sabtang Island to Batan Island is by 12:30 PM.
THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND
- Sabtang Island Tour can either be a half-day or a whole day activity. Those who choose to have a whole day activity must stay in Sabtang Island overnight because last trip back to Batan Island would be at 12:30 NN.
- Getting around Sabtang Island can be done by booking a tricycle tour. You may contact Kuya Jimmy Hornedo (+639182116156).
- Half-day tricycle tour (good for 2-3) will cost you Php 1,000 and a whole day tricycle tour (with additional trip to Nakanmua and Sumnanga Fishing Village) will cost you Php 1,500. Van can be rented as well if you are more than 5 and up. We were told it costs Php 2,000 for half-day tour and Php 3,000 for a whole day tour.
You might want to check out A 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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