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 SOUTH BATAN ISLAND
South Batan Island Tour is usually conducted either on the 2nd day of your Batanes trip or on the 3rd day. There are about 18 destinations we’ve been to when we had the tour on our third day in Batanes.
Mahatao View Deck
First on our list was Mahatao View Deck where you’d get to see the beautiful coastline of Mahatao, one of the municipalities in Batan Island. Facing the West Philippine Sea, waters splashing on the ridges is a beautiful sight to behold.
Just beside the Mahato View Deck, we went down a stairway leading us to the view of Chawa Cave, where it is said to be home of bats.
Mahatao Boat Shelter Port
About 5 minutes away from Mahatao View Deck, Mahatao Boat Shelter Port was next on our list. We were told that Batan fishing and passenger boats are kept inside this protected port during typhoons to avoid destruction of the vessels.
San Carlos Borromeo Parish Church
Still in the municipality of Mahatao, San Carlos Borromeo Parish Church also known as Mahatao Church, was the first church we’ve visited for the South Batan Island Tour.
Though we didn’t enter the church as it was closed, we happened to witness locals and children playing around.
Homoron Blue Lagoon
Homoron Blue Lagoon was said to be visited by Spanish priests during the Spanish Occupation in the Philippines. They used to take a dip in the blue waters of the lagoon.
Homoron White Beach
Next on our list was Homoron White Beach, which is just 5 minutes away from Homoron Blue Lagoon. The view of the horizon from the shore will make everyone, who visits the place, want to stay longer.
The Old Spanish Bridge
A quick visit to the Old Spanish Bridge reminded me how influential the Spanish Occupation had been to our country. To think that even in the most secluded area like Batanes, the Spaniards left something to mark their reign over the Philippines.
The Oldest Stone House of Dakay
Probably the most visited house in Batanes, the House of Dakay existed since 1887. Being the oldest stone house in the province, tourists come to visit this humble home of Dakay’s descendants. Yes, there are people living inside and tourists can enter but we opt not to because we felt like we’re breaking in someone’s privacy so we just had a photograph outside.
San Jose de Ivana Church
San Jose de Ivana Church, also locally known as the Ivana Church, is the second church we’ve visited.
Port of Ivana
Just in front of Ivana Church, Port of Ivana is located. Fishing boats bound to the waters of South China Sea and passenger vessels bound to Sabtang often start their sail in this port.
Honesty Coffee Shop
Honesty Coffee Shop is just about 50 steps away from Port Ivana. So while waiting for our friends piloting their drone, we quickly visited this unique shop of Elena and Jose Gabilo.
Started operating on September 23, 1995, its main purpose was to serve travelers to and from the Island of Sabtang. As time passed by, snacks and souvenirs were added so tourists can take a break and buy their souvenirs.
Honesty Coffee Shop is definitely not for dishonest people because as it name implies, anyone who gets something from the store should pay in the drop box. Yes, no one is there to collect your payments so honesty of everyone who happen to drop by will be tested.
San Antonio De Florencia Church
San Antonio De Florencia Church, also locally known as the Uyugan Church, was next on our list. It was established 1871, still during the Spanish Occupation in the Philippines.
Most tourists just ignore Muchung Hills so if you happen to have your South Batan Island Tour, make sure to stop by and appreciate the view of rolling hills along the National Road.
It was a nice view to witness horses freely roaming around and eating grass in the sunny afternoon.
Just about a few minutes from Muchung Hills, we stopped by the road and our guide pointed us towards a small abandoned village near the coastline, the Song-Song Ruins. It was said to have been a residence district to the native Ivatans back then until a disastrous tsunami wave wiped out the village in 1954, leaving the ruins of stone houses along the shore. At present, the village is just inhabited by cows, goats and alike.
Our Lady of Miraculous Medal
Our Lady of Miraculous Medal or locally known as the Itbud Church was the second to the last church we’ve visited for the South Batan Island Tour.
Alapad Hills and Rock Formation
Famous for its big rock formation visible from the highway, Alapad Hills is also one of the must-go tourist attraction in the province.
We were told that the film of Richard Gomez and Dawn Zulueta, “Hihintayin kita sa Langit“, was the first movie shoot in Batanes and the memorable scenes were captured in Alapad Hills. Since then, Batanes had always been one of the desirable shooting location of filmmakers.
San Lorenzo Ruiz Church
San Lorenzo Ruiz Church or locally known as Imnajbu Church was the last church we’ve visited for the day. You see, every municipality has a church and looking back at history again, they were all established during the Spanish Occupation in the country. Despite the hardships the Filipinos went through during those times, it is very eminent that they left us with the western belief and religion of Roman Catholicism. We were told that the first mass in Batanes was held in this church.
Racuh a Payaman
Last on our list, but definitely not the least, was Racuh a Payaman. It was the best place I’ve seen in Batanes or rather, I’d like to say so far in the Philippines!
It’s vivid lush green rolling hills everywhere made me drop my jaw as my eyes devoured its beauty.
With the view of Mt. Iraya and the Diura Beach from atop, I could say it was the best memory I would remember in my visit to Batanes.
THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND
- South Batan Island Tour is a whole day activity.
- I suggest you eat a heavy breakfast or bring snacks and sandwiches because you will have your lunch at a later time.
- Visitors have the choice to go around Batan via rented bicycle, motorcycle, tricycle or private vans.
- If you plan to tour around South 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 1,500/ 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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