Enchanting, captivating, beyond compare, are just some of the words used by people to describe Batanes. This island-province is situated at the northernmost part of the Philippines, just below Taiwan.
It is comprised of 10 islands – Batan, Sabtang, Itbayan, Dequey, Siayan, Mabudis, Ibuhos, Diogo, North Island, and Y’ami. The capital Basco, Sabtang, and Itbayan are the only three that are currently inhabited.
Because of its geographical location, it is so easy to overlook Batanes; however, this province has a lot to offer. Its historic churches and fortress, lighthouses, green plains and peaks perfect for trekking and biking, can leave you in awe. The natives of this place are called Ivatans; they can be the friendliest, most accommodating and honest people you will ever encounter.
Since the province is composed of several little islands, it is but natural to find beaches here and there. When traveling to Batanes, do not miss the chance to visit its three main beaches- Valugan, Nakabuang, and Di-Atay. Each beach has its own character and provides a different kind of retreat.
Located in Basco, the capital of Batanes, this unusual beach is also known as the boulder beach because of the millions of boulders on the shore. The boulders and small rocks that blanket Valugan beach have been smoothened by the breakers and wind over a long period of time. The boulders and rocks were disgorged by the nearby volcano, Mt. Iraya as early as 400 A.D. Mt. Iraya provide a picturesque backdrop of the beach. If you want to capture one of the best views of Batanes on your camera, never miss this destination. You should also try to experience the sunrise here, which is nothing short of as magical as it is spiritual, as various orange, purple and blue hues of the sky provide a striking contrasts to the dark boulders and white fog that swathes the sea.
Famous for the Ahau Arc – a natural rock formation in the form of an arc adorned with growing grass – Nakabuang beach on Sabtang Island is one of the most pictured Philippine beaches. If you are looking for a spot to swim, picnic or spend a relaxing afternoon, this beach is very ideal. Visitors on a Batanes island tour usually have their lunch arranged here. The regularly served local steamed lobster dish is heaven in your mouth.
If beach-combing is your thing, be sure to spend an ample amount of time on Di-Atay Beach. This cove, with its multi-hued rocks and white sand is an irresistible respite. It is very scenic and is a popular picnic area. On a beautiful sunny day, the water is calm and waves appear like white foams when they touch the shore. On a cloudy day, the waves slamming against the rocks can go as high as 30 feet reminiscent of a scene in an English medieval-set movie. Di-Atay is conveniently located just approximately 10 kilometers from Basco, along the national highway between Mahatao and Ivana.
If these beaches are not enough respite on your travel to Batanes, you may want to explore other beaches around the area like the Bamboo Beach, Mananoy Bay and White Beach.