The larger part of the Batan Tour is South Batan. It was my third day in Batanes, I didn’t rent a mountain bike this time but instead, I joined the same group that I was with on my Sabtang tour. Unlike its northern counterpart, some of the sites in this region are distant from each other. Most of the roads leading to the landmarks are along the coast; I was already in for a treat with the beauteous view of the hills, cliffs, blue skies and the big blue Pacific Ocean and South China Sea even before we get to our journey’s end. They say that if you have been enthralled by North Batan wait until you see the South.
Chawa or Chanarian View Deck
Nearest to Basco, it was our first stopover for the day. There is an image of the Virgin Mary on the view deck and some seats if you wish not to go down the cliff because mind you, though it would be nice to experience what it’s like near the rocks with the sea splashing on it, it is taxing to go back up.
San Carlos Borromeo Church - Blank Book Archive
It was first built in 1787 with light materials. In 1789, the stone edifice was established. It was declared by the National Museum as a National Cultural Treasure on July 31, 2001. Just next to the church was the blank book archive - a room filled with books with blank pages, where one can put in whatever is on their mind. It was still closed when we got their so we weren’t able to get in. So, I guess it would be a great excuse to go back, don’t you think? 🙂
Standing tall facing the majestic Pacific Ocean is Tayid Lighthouse on the hills of Mahatao. Unlike the Basco Lighthouse where you can easily walk up to it from the town proper, Tayid Lighthouse is more difficult to reach without a vehicle. But like the former, it would not disappoint and would make your eyes marvel of what it has to offer.
Mahatao Boat Shelter
It is where fishing boats take cover when the weather becomes punitive.
San Jose de Ivana Church
The church was declared a National Historical Landmark by the National Historical Commission of the Philippines in 2008. Originally built as a chapel in 1787 the stone structure was constructed in 1797.
Honesty Coffee Shop
It is located just a few steps away from Ivana Port and San Jose de Ivana Church. Unmanned at all times, the owner just comes in on certain times to refill the goods. If you want to buy any of their products, just take what you want and record it in their logbook and drop your payment in their cash box. You should prepare the exact amount but if you don’t have exact change, anything is excess is regarded as tip. This is how trustworthy the Ivatan’s are. The store has been very successful that most home stays have embraced its concept to their own businesses.
It was built in the 17th century by the Spaniards to link villages and to encourage locals to go to church. It is still being used until now. Our tour van just passed by in front of it but we didn’t go down anymore.
House of Dakay
Built since the 18th century, it is the oldest stone house in Batanes and had survived a lot of natural calamities including the 8.3 magnitude earthquake in 1918. It has been declared as UNESCO World Heritage Building. The original owner was Luisa Estrella then later on willed it to his nephew Jose Dakay Estrella to whom it got its name. Now, the house is still occupied by the only living descendant of the Estrella’s but tourists are welcome to come in for photo ops, just have to ask for permission.
Homoron Blue Lagoon and White Beach
It is sort of a hidden lagoon, before we were able to reach it we need to go downhill passing through some bush. The lagoon is in between cliffs with several big rocks scattered all over it. Our guide said that we will be going to the next site, he then led us through a small cave, its opening fits one person at a time, it was about 8-10 meters in length, 3 meters wide and 3.5 meters high and a few minutes later, voila we emerged at the White Beach. No picture of the white beach though.
Sitio Song-Song Ruins
A tsunami in the 1950’s struck this town where everything was wiped out and has been a “ghost town” since then. The residents were relocated to a different province but came back eventually. Unfortunately, I was not able to take some pictures.
Alapad Hill – Alapad Pass Rock Formation
This road cutting through the hill is located in the town of Uyugan. It is a famous spot and everybody knows it as a location of a local movie.
Marlboro Country - Racuh A Payaman
This is where we had lunch in a nearby hut. I have experienced tranquility in feeling the strong wind on my face, seeing nothing but the green grasses cloaking the hills, grazing cows and clear skies. From this vantage point is an astounding sight of Tayid lighthouse, Mt Iraya and the Pacific Ocean. What a nice place to end our tour.
Have you been enthused to pay a visit in Batanes?
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