chamantad tinyan sabtang island batanes

Batanes: Sabtang Island Day Tour and Itinerary

Sabtang Island is the third biggest inhabited island in Batanes. Taking the boat from Basco (Batan Island) to Sabtang Island was one of the things we were not looking forward to in our three days in Batanes.

Not a fan of deep waters, my mind was filled with dread just thinking about the faluwa ride across the often treacherous waters of the West Philippine Sea and the Pacific Ocean. Just two days before, there was a typhoon passing through Batanes. But with the sun shining and the glistening waters looking calm enough, maybe luck was on our side.

We were picked up before 6 AM at Marfel’s, the accommodation we stayed in while in Batanes. Still sleepy, I tried to take in the jaw-dropping sights along the way to Ivana. Those spots were part of the South Batan Tour.

Ivana Port, Basco, Batanes

ivana church batanes

Upon reaching Ivana Port, we hurriedly went up the stairs of San Jose de Ivana and looked around. Located in front of the port, this church looks like one of the newer churches judging from its facade. So we were surprised to learn that its foundation is already more than 200 years old. The tower-like campanile was built separately and offers a nice view from the top. The floor tiles were amazing, a good submission for #ihavethisthingwithtiles.

READ: North Batan Tour, Batanes, Philippines

Alas, our brief respite from the morning sun finished with our guide’s call that told us that we were ready to board the faluwa, a traditional boat in Batanes without an outrigger that could withstand the waves.

Travel tip: If you’re coming from abroad, it’s recommended that you have overseas health insurance before you embark on your adventure.

On the way to Sabtang, aboard a faluwa in the West Philippine Sea.

Donning our life vests, we tried to pick the “best” spot and braced ourselves for a bumpy ride after saying a short prayer. We need not have worried for the waters were indeed calm. The smooth waves lulled me to a light nap.  The only noise heard throughout the 30-minute ride was the loud engine hum.

Docking in San Vicente Port, Sabtang Island, Batanes

I was jolted awake by our guide pointing out the big cross on top of Sabtang Island.

Upon docking in San Vicente port, I asked her about the seemingly new lighthouse in the distance. It is located on a private property hence it can’t be visited and that fact weirded me out. I always thought lighthouses were government property. *shrugs*

Shaped by nature.

I wanted to ride the local tricycles with a cogon roof but was outvoted. So we went in our airconditioned van to our first stops – Morong Beach and Nakabuang Arch.

The naturally formed arch is one of Sabtang’s popular spots and is also called Mahayaw Arch. The surrounding beach, Morong Beach, is made of fine sand perfect for walking barefoot.

On the way to the Tourism Office, we passed San Vicente Ferrer Church and Conscience Cafe, Sabtang’s answer to Honesty Cafe.

A look back in time at Savidug

After registration, we continued our journey to Sabtang’s villages. On the way, our guide pointed out the island’s idjang – an ancient fortress used during colonial times.

Compared to the more modern Batan, walking along the narrow streets of Sabtang felt like being transported back in time. Rows and rows of traditional houses made of limestone, boulders, and corals with cogon roofs lined the streets of Savidug, a glimpse into Ivatan culture and traditions. These houses can withstand storms and earthquakes and are built to last.

Another highlight in Savidug is the St. Thomas Aquinas Chapel painted in white and blue, and the Beaterio which is popular as a movie filming location and photography spot.

The hidden village of Chavayan

The drive to Chavayan was very photogenic. With lush mountainside on the right, and the cliffs and seemingly endless open waters on the left.

“You are very lucky”, I remarked to our guide as I stared off into the horizon. “Your province is very beautiful”, I added.

“Yes, we are. But still, some prefer to move to the cities.”, she said, answering my earlier question before we left Savidug, why we didn’t see people around the village.

The “Blow your horn” signage was once again present on the road leading to the quaint village of Chavayan. It is the only road going in and out of the small village.

Welcomed by a small marker, our guide told us to look up. “What do you see?”, she asked while pointing out a mountaintop. We chuckled as we all answered that it looked like the mountain had a monster face.

Inside a small hut, the Sabtang Weavers Association displays their wares – an assortment of products made from cogon, abaca, and other small tourist souvenirs.

Driven by curiosity, I watched an older lady as she weaved a vakulan Ivatan headdress used by women to shield the locals from the harsh elements, as my friends inspected the fridge magnets on display.

After buying a few souvenirs, we walked the narrow streets of Chavayan. One thing you’ll notice is how this tiny fishing village, seemingly lost in time, is nestled between the mountains and the sea. The Ivatan houses here are also more preserved than the ones in Savidug, with some reaching a hundred years old already.

We capped off our visit in barangay Chavayan with the only remaining church in Batanes with a cogon roof – Sta. Rosa de Lima Chapel.

The raw and rugged Chamantad-Tinyan

sabtang island day tour itinerary travel guide batanes

On the way to Chamantad-Tinyan, we were again amazed by the jaw-dropping sight outside our window. Lush mountains, fine white sand, clear waters, and the white waves. It was as if Batanes was showing off, except this is how it has been ever since.

Chamantad-Tinyan, our last stop before lunch, actually consists of Tinyan Viewpoint and Chamantad Cove. It was a bit of a walk until you saw the cove but as soon as you get off your transportation, you’ll surely say that the word beautiful is an understatement to describe the place.

The view made me speechless for a few minutes. Braving the heat and the strong wind was worth the walk on the rolling hills to reach the cove. The grassy slopes serve as a pasture for goats, so you’ll encounter goat dung along the way.

Too bad we didn’t have much time, for I wanted to go down the beach of Chamantad Cove. The raw and rugged beauty of this place enthralled me, making it my favorite spot in Sabtang.

I was quite sad to go but swore that I’d come back here and stay at least one night on the island.

We had our lunch at a small hut facing the Savidug breakwater. The lunch was arranged by our tour guide ahead of time so we didn’t have to wait a long time for the food. Nothing better than feasting on good food with a picturesque view!

There and back again

Alas, it was time to go back to San Vicente port and take the faluwa again back to Ivana Port in Basco. Even though the Sabtang day tour only lasted for half a day, it was one of the most memorable day tours I’ve had. So much so, that I wished to come back soon enough!

Sabtang Island Day Tour Itinerary

Day 2 Sabtang Island

0600 HCall time
0620 HIvana Port | visit San Jose de Ivana Church while waiting for the boat
0645 HETD for Sabtang
0715 HETA Sabtang San Vicente Port
0720 Hstart of Sabtang Tour
Nakabuang Arch, Morong Beach
Sabtang Church
Tourist Information Center (registration)
Sabtang Idjang
St. Thomas Aquinas Chapel
Tinyan viewing
1100 HLunch break
1300 HETD for Ivana Port
1330 HETA Ivana Port
Marfel Lodge (refresh/free time)
1800 HTawsen souvenir shop
1900 HDinner (D’Island restaurant)

Quick Guide to Sabtang Island, Batanes, Philippines

Where to stay in Sabtang:

You can stay in Sabtang in the following DOT-Accredited Accommodations:

Here are more accommodation options in Batanes:

Book your flights to Batanes Search FlightsImage

Book your tours via Klook

Travel tips

Internet and ATM:

Bring cash for there are no ATMs in Sabtang. Mobile networks and the internet are weak and intermittent at best.

Check here for more Batanes tips, expenses, and the rest of our 3-day itinerary in Batanes!

Click PLAY for our Batanes video below!

Have you been to Sabtang Island, Batanes? What do you think? 


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.


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