Batanes e-book author Ferdz Decena takes us to the right spots in Batanes for an even more memorable experience of the northernmost Philippine province, and for them fantastic Instagram snaps.

Rapang Cliffs in Itbayat Island

Batan Island

Biking northern Batan

1. White Beach: calm seas
and a blue lagoon


Visit Maydangeb Beach, 9km from the town proper and halfway between Mahatao and Ivana. Locals call this roadside attraction White Beach, a compact beach with crushed coral sands and calm waters—atypical in Batanes—good for swimming. At low tide, it exposes a blue lagoon accessible through a small cave passage.

2. Sunset at Chadpidan Boulder Beach
If you can’t answer the wakeup call for the sunrise at Valugan Boulder Beach, head to Chadpidan Boulder Beach at sunset instead. This western counterpart is a mirror image of famous Valugan’s rocky shoreline.

3. Bike the northern loop
Pedal your way up to Tukon Hills. Build up on adrenaline on the steep road headed towards Tukon coming from the national road turn near Batanes Resort. Let loose and allow gravity to take you for a ride on the hilly descending slopes. The joyride passes through FundacionPacita, Radar Tukon, Tukon Church and the Japanese tunnels. Descend towards Valugan Beach to cool off with the relaxing sea breeze. Cap the afternoon with a sundown ride to Naidi Hills up to the rolling hills of Vayang in time for sunset.

Sabtang Island

Staying in a local’s home in Sabtang via an organized homestay is the best way to immerse in the Ivatan way of life



4. Experience village life in Sabtang

Trips to Sabtang are usually for a day tour only but those who want a glimpse of Ivatan life can stay overnight in a stone house. Chavayan and Savidug villages offer homestay in a native stone house.

5. Snorkel at Lukoy Beach
A fine stretch of white beach in Savidug fabled for its healing waters when dug deep from the sands near the shoreline. Lukoy Beach is another local favorite but Wakaii Catering now takes tourists there to enjoy swimming and snorkeling close to the rocks.

6. Climb an idjang


Oftentimes appreciated from afar, the stunning idjangor hill fortresses are archaic dwelling places of the Ivatans. There are accessible idjangs in Savidug. Ancient stone steps not readily visible from a distance lead to these marvelous structures. The summit has columnar stones with holes believed to be a refuge of locals at times of inclement weather and offers stunning views of Sabtang’s coast.

7. Take the old Procession Trail 
Ever
wondered how Sabtang locals traveled from one village to another before the roads were paved and motorized transportation became available? There’s a path they call the Old Procession Trail that connects the Chavayan and Sumnanga villages. The 5km trail cuts through deep forests and climbs a 250-meter high mountain and several hills and one can view Vuhus Island from the summit. To this day, an annual procession of Sabtang’s image of the Blessed Mother still takes place on this trail, the pilgrims negotiating the beautiful nature-laden trek replete with local birds.

8. Sit and chill on a lighthouse
If you’ve always been seeing lighthouses from afar, now’s the time to come up close. In Sabtang, one can hang out beside a lighthouse perched on a picture-perfect hill in Malakdang. The Faberes Family offers a humble homestay in the same location where you can wake up to views of the hills and the lush surroundings. Explore the two secluded coves within the grounds.

9. Island hop to Vuhus

Discover cattle life in ranch island Vuhus, home of the Vuhustapa (cured beef ). Aside from enjoying taking snaps of dozens of cows, take a dip in the island’s white beach. You can brave snorkeling in the sea channel between Vuhus and Sabtang islands but be sure to get a local guide who’s familiar of the sea and weather conditions.

Itbayat Island

Climb Tayawun Rock, Batanes’ iconic natural rock formation by the sea, for that hard to beat profile snap

10. Get to the edge at Rapang Cliffs
Batanes is never short of otherworldly landscapes and the Rapang Cliffs are
one of its most captivating. Named after “Karapangrapangan,” which means fingers, the jutting cliffs resemble fingers penetrating the billowing scenery. One can stand at its highest peak at about 400ft above sea level and feel like staring at the very edge of the earth.

11. Jump into a whirlpool
in Paganaman


Unleash the daredevil in you and jump along with Itbayat youngsters in a natural blue whirlpool at Paganaman Port. The rising and ebbing of the sea will spit you back on land. Not for the faint of heart and unskilled swimmers.

12. Find your rock 

Itbayat is a giant, upturned coral of an island with stunning rock formations. Stand by its natural arc along the cliffs or come face-to-face with a gigantic formation called Tayawun Rock that seemed to have detached itself from the cliffs— the latter also not for the faint of heart.

Get there
SkyJet Airlines flies daily from Manila to Batanes. Book a SkyJet flight now.

Sleep
For homestays in Sabtang Island, cotact Harold Gobotero, who can also assist for tours. Tel +63998 408 3800, email [email protected]

Tours
For Lukoy Beach attractions, contact Wakaii Catering. Tel +63928 689 9390, +63908 527 1313

For Itbayat tours, book the island’s one of four certified guides through Jojo Labrador. Tel +63920 660 3801

Who is Ferdz Decena?
Ferdz Decena is the travel blogger behind Ironwulf.net, one of the pioneering travel blogsites in the Philippines. Among his many milestones are winning the Best Travel Blog award at Nuffnang’s First Asia-Pacific Blog Awards in 2009, and authoringtwo Batanesebooks.

Story and photos by Ferdz Decena
This story was first published on June 18, 2018.