batanes racuh a payaman marlboro

Batanes: South Batan Day Tour and Itinerary

For our third and last day in the northernmost province of the country, we finally had the chance to explore the southern part of Batan Island. Our tour guide said that this area has more beautiful sights than the North. I was doubtful when she said that. Here’s why I was convinced after our South Batan tour.

South Batan Day Tour

Chawa View Deck

view from the top of chawa view deck south batan tour

After our 8 am call time, we headed straight to Chawa View Deck. After reaching the cemented view deck facing the West Philippine Sea, I thought this was already it.

Turns out, we still have to go down to experience more of this place. Thank goodness the stairs were already cemented or I would probably take longer going down, taking care not to slide straight to the rocky bottom.

Waves crashing the rocky shore met us and we took care not to be swept away to the sea. To the right, our guide showed us a cave that probably was used during the wars as a hideaway.


Mahatao Shelter Port

mahatao boat shelter port batanes

When we got to Mahatao Boat Shelter, there was no one and not much boat inside. Secluded by the hills, this shelter was opened to protect the boats, especially during typhoons and storms. From there we saw another lighthouse being constructed.


Tayid Lighthouse

One of Batanes’ functioning lighthouses, Tayid in Mahatao looks out a breathtaking view of seas and rolling hills. The hexagonal tower is capped by a red-painted room that overlooks the Pacific Ocean.

From there, you can also view Mt. Iraya.


Racuh a Payaman (Marlboro Country)

The hills are alive with the sound of music! Racuh a Payaman, commonly known as Marlboro Country, is one of the reasons why I wanted to go to Batanes. I once saw a photo of the rolling hills with a view of the ocean into the horizon and from there, it was high up on my travel list.

It is a communal pastureland for the locals’ cows, goats, and even horses. When we were there, we saw all three animals grazing around the verdant landscape and ignoring the tourists.

Being near the cliffs, the wind was strong as well as the sun as there is no shade to protect you from the UV rays. We were lucky that we got it all to ourselves. But the strong winds deterred us from going near the cliffs facing the Pacific Ocean.

And oh, you can see both Mt. Iraya and Tayid Lighthouse from here! Picture perfect indeed.


Imnajbu, Alapad Pass, and old LORAN station

After frolicking in the rolling hills, we headed to the famous spot where Dawn Zulueta ran to Richard Gomez’s arms in the movie “Hihintayin Kita sa Langit” thus giving birth to the meme “I-Dawn Zulueta mo ko!“. It is located in Barangay Imnajbu in Uyugan. Aside from Alapad Hills, there is also the famous rock formation cutting across the road, called Alapad Pass. The other half of the rock formation goes straight to the sea.

We had the chance to go up a small rock formation facing the sea and watched as the strong waves crashed on the beach, spraying us with the salty water. From here, we also saw the old LORAN (Long Range Naval Station) which was being converted into a National Museum branch.

We also passed by San Lorenzo Ruiz Chapel, the site of which was where the first Catholic mass in Batanes was held.


Songsong Ruins

It had started to rain so our earlier plan of walking along the beach and around the ruins of Songsong was canceled.

Klook.com

Honesty Coffee Shop

At last, when the rain had stopped we finally reached the famous Honesty store. The group before us was just leaving so we had the whole store to ourselves.

No one mans the store and it relies on the customers’ honesty. That concept is what made it famous around the country.

House of Dakay

house of dakay traditional ivatan house batanes

What makes the House of Dakay a stop in the South Batan Tour is its uniqueness. It is one of the oldest surviving stone houses in the province.


Old Spanish Bridge

old spanish bridge batanes

Tired of walking, we chose to admire the Old Spanish Bridge from afar. This bridge made during the Spanish colonial times is one of the few still intact up to this day. It stands over Tuhel Creek and is made using lime and mortar. Cement has been used to strengthen and stabilize the bridge.


Homoron Blue Lagoon and White Beach

homoron blue lagoon batanes

It is easy to see why Homoron Blue Lagoon and White Beach are the favorite swimming and picnic spots for locals. The pristine waters alone are inviting. Even though both are accessible from the road, it is secluded enough that you’ll get your peace.

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Mahatao Church (San Carlos Borromeo Church)

mahatao church san carlos borromeo batanes

Our last stop for the day is a National Cultural Treasure and one of the old Spanish Colonial Era churches. Painted white with accents of blue, San Carlos Borromeo Church, also known as Mahatao Church, is probably the most beautiful church in Batanes for me.

White and wood dominate the interiors, while the ceiling is made from cogon.

Within the church’s premises is where you’ll also find the Blank Book Archive (Maywang a Libro Du Vatan). In this library, you are free to write on the blank pages of the hardbound books you will see here. It’s interesting to see what others have written or drawn in the pages of the other books.


Lunch at Paulvana’s

Traditional Ivatan food at Paulvana's Mahatao Batanes
Traditional Ivatan food at Paulvana’s

At last, we had our late lunch at Paulvana’s which is just near Mahatao Church.

For more on what we ate, you can check WHERE TO EAT IN BATANES.


What else to see on your South Batan Tour?

From Mahatao, you can head to Diura Fishing Village on the eastern side. You can watch the Mataws (fishermen) with their catch of the day, like Arayu (Dorado) or Dibang (flying fish) depending on the season.

Sometimes, you can also see these fish hanging out to dry when the fishing season has ended. They also have a ritual to start the fishing season called Kapayvanuvanua.

From the village, you can head to the famous Spring of Youth/Fountain of Youth (Ranum Ni Kumalakal/Racuh-A-Idi Spring of Wellness). The spring pool overlooks Mt. Iraya and is believed to have healing properties.

Both of these destinations are not usually included in the packaged tours. You can talk to your tour operator if you want to add these or you can also DIY them.


South Batan Tour and Itinerary

Here’s our South Batan Tour Itinerary for your reference. Take note that your travel agency or tour guide’s itinerary may vary from this.

0800 HCall time
Start of South Batanes TourChawa view deck
Mahatao Boat Shelter
Tayid Lighthouse
Racuh a Payaman (Marlboro Country)
Imnajbu
Old Naval Base
Alapad
Uyugan Church
Song song ruins
Honesty Cafe
House of Dakay
Bridge of San Jose
White Beach
Blue Lagoon
Mahatao Church
1300 HLunch
1530 HSwimming
1800 HDinner

Watch this video of our Batanes tour:


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.

Where to stay in Batanes?

We stayed at 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.

 

CLICK HERE FOR MORE BATANES TRAVEL GUIDES: 

Batanes travel guide and sample itinerary
Sabtang Island Travel Guide
North Batan travel guide
where and what to eat in batanes

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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.