Batanes: North Batan Tour and Itinerary

After finally landing in the smallest and northernmost province of the Philippines, we were stoked! We couldn’t contain our excitement and started touring the province’s second-biggest island – Batan! Out of Batanes‘ 10 islands, only three are inhabited and Batan is one of them. So here’s our first day, covering the North Batan Tour and Itinerary.

Exploring Batanes: North Batan

After checking in at Marfel’s Lodge, our rented van driver and guide picked us up to start our tour.

The capital of Batanes, Basco, is located in North Batan where the province’s airport can be found. Beside the airport is Mt. Iraya, making it hard to fly to this province, especially when the weather is not ideal.

You can explore Batan island via tricycle or bicycle (if you’re up for it!) but we chose a van since I was traveling with my three friends and they’re not as used to DIY and budget travel as I am.

SEE ALSO: BATANES 3 DAYS ITINERARY, EXPENSES AND TIPS

The attractions in Batan island are divided into two — North and South. So what did we see on our first day in Batanes?


North Batan tour and attractions

Vayang Rolling Hills and Mt Iraya

Batanes Vayang Rolling Hills Mt Iraya
Mt. Iraya (photo by Darlene Madrid – pointandshootwanderlust.com)

Cliche, but you’ll be singing “The hills are alive with the sound of music“. That or you’ll be shocked and speechless once you see the entirety of Vayang Rolling Hills.

The lush pastoral landscape certainly has that effect – green rolling hills, strong winds, grazing cows, hedgerows, and blue skies. We were lucky that when we got there, there were only a few other visitors and there were more cows than people!

Mt. Iraya (photo by Darlene Madrid – pointandshootwanderlust.com)

Beyond the hills with different shades of green lies the West Philippine Sea. In the distance, you can also see the majestic Mt Iraya and Chadpidan Boulder Beach. You can also see the other islands if it’s not cloudy.

Mt Iraya (approximately 1,009 masl) is still an active volcano, although its last eruption was way back in 1454. Like Mayon, you’d be lucky to see Mt Iraya in its full glory and without cloud cover. If you’re a mountaineer and willing to brave the thickly forested climb, a guide is required if you want to hike up the summit of Mt. Iraya.


Naidi Hills and Basco Lighthouse

Basco lighthouse (photo by Darlene Madrid – pointandshootwanderlust.com)

This iconic white and red lighthouse built in 2003 can be seen amidst the rolling hills in Naidi. The viewing deck offers a panoramic view of Basco town proper and the surrounding landscape.

Besides the lighthouse is a former American bunker that is now a restaurant called Bunker’s Cafe. People come here not just for the food but more so for the view during sunset.

batanes view from naidi basco lighthouse bunkers cafe
Photo credit: pointandshootwanderlust.com

 RELATED: WHERE TO EAT IN BATANES


Mt Carmel Chapel (Tukon Church)

batanes mt carmel chapel tukon church facade
Mt. Carmel Chapel (photo by Darlene Madrid – pointandshootwanderlust.com)

Perched on a small hill in Barangay Chanarian, what made this small church stand out is because of its boulder walls, the only one of its kind among the churches in the province.

Inside, you’ll be amazed by stained glass windows, carved wooden doors, and the handpainted ceiling. Officially opened in 2008, it is now one of the famous churches to get married at. It was also made even more popular by a local rom-com movie.


Radar Tukon (PAGASA)

Batanes pagasa radar tukon
PAGASA Batanes (photo by Darlene Madrid – pointandshootwanderlust.com)

The PAGASA (Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration) of course has its own weather station in the northernmost province of the country.

Batanes, which is surrounded by the South China Sea and the Pacific Ocean, is often on the path of typhoons and a reference point in the north for storm updates. Located in the hills of Tukon, it overlooks Mt Iraya and the rolling hills with its hedgerows (liveng).


Idjang Viewing

batanes north batan idjang
Idjang Viewing (photo by Darlene Madrid – pointandshootwanderlust.com)

Along the way, our guide pointed out the Basco Idjang in the distance. Idjangs are ancient Ivatan stone fortresses and habitations.


Fundacion Pacita Batanes Nature Lodge

Photo by Darlene Madrid – pointandshootwanderlust.com

Sitting on a hill with a view of the sea is the former home and studio of the acclaimed artist, Pacita Abad. Now a luxury accommodation, it pays homage to Ivatan art and heritage and also has a gallery that showcases the artworks of Pacita Abad and up-and-coming local artists.

Its location and the surrounding verdant landscape are certainly a good inspiration for creating paintings and even photography. It was too picturesque for words! Too bad that when we went there, the lodge was closed from August 1 to October 30. This is to allow three months of rest for the facility and for the plants, soil, and land to recuperate.


Dipnaysuhwan (Dipnaysuhuan) Japanese Tunnel

batanes north batan dipnayshuwan japanese tunnel entrance
Entrance to Dipnaysuhwan (photo by Darlene Madrid – pointandshootwanderlust.com)

If there were no people outside the entrance of the tunnel, I would have easily overlooked it. A small hole beside the roadside under a tree root and stones, leads you further underground.

I’m not a big fan of caves and tunnels for they make me feel claustrophobic. So after opening my flashlight app, I went with our guide inside the tunnels that used to be the shelter of Japanese soldiers during World War II. We went around different doorways and chambers and exited on top of a hill, which was probably the lookout spot of the Japanese soldiers.


Valugan Boulder Beach (Chanpan)

Valugan Boulder Beach (photo by Darlene Madrid – pointandshootwanderlust.com)

When we think of the word beach, immediately what comes to mind is powdery sand, coconut trees, and idyllic waves. But Valugan Beach offers something different – boulders from the 15th-century eruption of Mt. Iraya.

Smooth andesite rocks litter the area where the sand should dominantly be, making the path to the water tricky to walk on. The waves crash angrily to the shore, a clear warning that swimming here would be near impossible.

Boulders notwithstanding, I was jumping for joy (again) when we reached this unique beach. A masterpiece of Mother Nature. There’s something so hypnotic about watching the fierce waves kiss the shore (and rocks).


Basco town proper

batanes basco our immaculate conception church
Our Lady of Immaculate Conception Cathedral, Basco, Batanes (photo by Darlene Madrid – pointandshootwanderlust.com)

After resting for a bit at Marfel’s we decided to rent some bikes from the neighbors and explore the town proper. Since I was a pansy-ass for not being able to brave the bike, I walked instead while my three friends biked. We stopped by the first Catholic church in the country built in the 18th century, Our Lady of Immaculate Conception Cathedral, then headed back to our guesthouse.


Our Batanes North Batan tour and itinerary:

batanes basco port
Basco sunset (photo by Darlene Madrid – pointandshootwanderlust.com)

Day 1 North Batan

0600HETD NAIA 3
0745HETA Basco Airport
0800HArrival at Marfel Lodge Annex (pick-up c/o Marfel)
1030H Start of North Tour (Vayang Rolling Hills | Naidi Lighthouse)
1230HLunch (6 to 8 Panciteria)
1315HMt Carmel Chapel
Radar Tukon (PAGASA)
Idjang Viewing
Fundacion Pacita
Dipnaysuhwan Japanese Tunnel
Valugan Boulder Beach
1500Hend of tour
1500HMarfel’s Lodge (start of free time)
bike around the Provincial Capitol, plaza, Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception Cathedral, port, Shanedel’s Inn
1830HDinner (Octagon)

Who to contact for Batanes tours?

Click here for the list of DoT (Department of Tourism) accredited travel agencies and tour operators in Batanes as well as more suggested itineraries.

If you prefer to book via Klook, check out these tours:

Klook.com

Where to stay in Batanes?

batanes basco town proper view from naidi lighthouse
view of Basco town proper from Basco lighthouse

We stayed in Marfel’s Lodge and would love to do so again. But here is the list of DOT-accredited accommodations in Batanes that you can choose from.

Here are more accommodation options in Batanes:

Booking.com

Have you been to Batanes? How was your experience? πŸ™‚

LIKE IT? PIN IT!

Darlene is currently on the road again and traveling full-time after being an expat/overseas Filipino worker in Qatar. She's rediscovering what it means to travel solo and in her 30s while working on her blogs.

Comments

  • This is so beautiful! Looks like such an amazing place to explore. Added to my bucket list! ☺

  • Katchutravels

    Reading this from India, makes it handy for lists of places to visit when I come over that side of Asia. The images of the green mountains meeting the blue seas is so fantastic. It’s so beatiful for a day hike where one would be in constant awe of the sea being nearby!

  • Ah! The northernmost part of the Philippines. One day, mkakapunta din kami jan! hehe. I have not secured a ticket yet, hopefull in the next upcoming months. Plus, Jane is still taking up classes, it would be hard to get a leave considering she’s graduating. I’ll ask you personally if I have anymore questions not covered on your blog Da! πŸ™‚

  • I love your pictures.It looks so postcard perfect .The colours look so nice.The lighthouse looks similar to the one in Marina beach in Chennai

  • Jane / Lomaunelmia ja unelmalomia

    I hadn’t heard of that place before but all the views are so beautiful and not touristy which is always a huge plus. I wouldn’t dare to go to a cave though. I would love to visit Philippines one day, but we are so far apart, me being here in Scandinavia.

  • Had no idea where Batanes was before I read this blog. Glad that i did because we’re going to go to the Phillipines in March and might visit πŸ™‚ From your pictures it looks beautiful!

  • Batanes is really my dream place to visit. I love how you have tucked the places together and had a great list of places to visit and experience in Batanes. Truly, Batanes is naturally stunning at its own right. The panoramic view is really beyond compare. I also love all your beautiful photos. Thank you so much for sharing your itinerary with us, this will surely be a help If I fly to Batanes soon.

  • Indrani

    Yet another amazing place to visit in Philippines.
    When ever I visit I will be lost over which place to holiday first. I will look out for this Batanese tour… definitely a wonderful thing to do.

  • Sandy N Vyjay

    Philippines never ceases to amaze. Just when you thought that you had read all there was about this beautiful country, another unknown treasure pops up. The Batanes are one such treasure. Lovely natural landscapes and the churches look divine. Another jewel in the crown of the Philippines.

  • I never considered this as a destination for my travels, but now it’s on the list! Is it very touristy?

    • During the summer months it can be a little crowded. But since there’s a lot of land, there’s a lot of room for everybody. The high price of the flights, deter a lot of visitors, though.

  • I have always wanted to travel to Batanes. The view is effortlessly beautiful!

  • Rachel Silverwood

    This certianly sounds like a magical place!! Adding it too my never ending list, love how you’ve laid the information out aswell πŸ™‚

  • Wow! I never heard of this place before!! It looks amazing and it doesn’t seem touristy? And I just checked google maps and I was surprised that it’s located between Taiwan and the main island of the Philippines. Definitely a place worth checking out next time πŸ™‚

  • Looks really amazing! Great pictures πŸ™‚

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