Batanes, the northernmost province in the Philippines, is a surreal wonderland that may have existed in your dreams even before your eyes have feasted on it. Billed as the “Scotland of the East”, Batanes is a burgeoning tourist destination that will surely give you a slice of heaven on earth. Famous for its distinct landscapes and spectacular natural wonders, this remote utopia dazzles travelers with its breathtaking boulder-lined shores, deep canyons, rolling hills and steep cliffs. What’s more, this otherworldly destination flaunts lovely historic houses and a plethora of wondrous stone houses.
Must-do experiences in this province
The province is indeed an open-air museum that promises a visual delight to everyone. But, there is more to this remote paradise than its awe-inspiring sights. From sampling mouthful goodies to cultural immersion, there are a lot of things to enjoy in Batanes. Here are some experiences that you must do, as you visit this nirvana.
Visit the Marlboro country
Aptly nicknamed as “Marlboro Country”, Racuh A Payaman is verdant area that will remind you of a young Julie Andrews singing “The Hills are Alive” in the 1965 musical film called “The Sound of Music”. Praised for its marvelous scenery, Racuh A Payaman boasts eye-catching mountains, slopes, hedgerows and hills with livestock grazing on its lush grass. Of course, a visit here also lets you feel the gentle countryside breeze and listen to melodious sound of the wind.
Experience its preserved culture
Thanks to its isolation and distance, the province remains one of the very few places in the country to maintain its traditions and preserve its heritage.
Swing by its pristine white sand beaches
There is no shortage of stunning unspoiled beaches in Batanes. To me, the best beaches to visit in this province are the Valugan Boulder Beach and Morong Beach.
Speaking of beach, don’t forget to go to Chanarian beach in the afternoon, and catch sight of its legendary sunsets. While there are a lot of spots to witness this natural phenomenon, the Chanarian Beach is the best place to see the glorious sunset of this destination. With its long fine stretch of light blackish sands paired with pebbles, the beach definitely makes a great venue for sunset viewing and refreshing late afternoon dips.
Make sure to sample their local seafood, especially their mouthwatering lobsters. To enjoy the best seafood staples in this haven, check out Pension Ivatan, Doque Grill Xaus and Hiro’s Café.
Pay homage to its Spanish colonial era churches, including the Sta. Rose de Lima, San Vicente Ferrer Church, Sta. Maria de Mayan Church, and many more. Also, don’t forget to take pictures of its traditional stone Itavan houses and historic lighthouses.
About the locals
The Ivatans, the province’s dwellers, are arguably the warmest and friendliest people on the face on the earth. Whenever they see you, they will always give you a warm greeting and a friendly smile. Plus, these people are very generous and courteous. As a matter of fact, some of them will offer tokens and delicacies from their province.
How to get there
The fastest, easiest and most convenient way to reach this destination is by air. But sadly, the flight options bound for this destination are very limited. As far as I know, only Skyjet Air and Philippine Airlines cater commercial flights to Basco, the province’s capital town. As for the travel time, it normally takes 70 to 110 minutes to reach Basco from Manila via air.Flights bound for Batanes are, for the most part, expensive. On the bright side, travelers can save a fortune from their airfare by booking early. Likewise, they should catch promo fares while they are still up for grabs by stalking Philippines Airlines on Twitter and Facebook.
Book Your Trip: Logistical Tips & Tricks
Shop for Travel Essentials
Book your flight
Find cheap flights using SkyScanner. This search engine is are our favorite, making sure you get the best deal for tickets all over the world. They are great at aggregating flights from multiple providers.
Book your accommodations
If you're looking for a hostel, you should book it with Hostelworld. If you want to stay somewhere else, book with Booking.com. Their hotel system usually offers the best rates out of any provider worldwide.
Don't forget travel insurance
Protects yourself against illness, injury, theft, and even cancellations with travel insurance. You're buying comprehensive protection in case anything goes wrong. We never recommend traveling without it. We’ve been using World Nomads, a great company, with great service and highly recommend them.
- World Nomads (for everyone below 70)
- Travelx Insurance (for those over 70)
Disclosure: Some of the links above may be affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, we earn a commission if you make a purchase. We only recommend products and companies we use and the income keeps the community supported.