Jun 3, 2014

BATANES : Stunning SOUTH BATAN on Day 1

A tour of South Batan marked our Day 1 in Batanes. By 9am, after checking in at Batanes Seaside Lodge, a knock on the door signaled that our tour guide has arrived and ready to pick us up. Wearing a welcoming smile and a pleasant vibe, he introduced himself as Mr. Ryan Lara Cardona, our pointman while in Batanes. I knew then, we're in good hands. We hop in the van and met the rest of the group, a friendly duo and a newly wed couple, who we'll be spending our time with while exploring Batanes.

The weather was perfect, the location dreamy and at every turn, our eyes feasted on the stunning panoramic vistas of the ocean and the hills while navigating the rugged cliff roads of Batan Island. Suddenly, fresh crisp cold air filled our lungs, and a feeling of exhilaration became everyone's mood during the entire tour.

Follow my narratives as I chronicle the stunning sights of South Batan that put us all in awe of BATANES.


Also known as Mahatao Viewdeck, this spot offers the perfect vantage point to have a spectacular view of Batan Island facing the South China Sea. You can go down the cliff using the concrete stairs, dip your feet in the waters or you can try fishing. They also said, you can witness a beautiful sunset while on this viewdeck.
Chawa Viewdeck, South Batan, Batanes


From the road, I peek down into this interesting port seemingly hiding from the whole scene. We learned that this port is where inter-island motorboats and fishing vessels dock to escape from inclement weather.
Mahatao Boat Shelter Port, South Batan, Batanes

TAYID LIGHTHOUSE (a.k.a. Mahatao Lighthouse)

This hexagonal lighthouse perfectly resting on top of a hill was built in 2000 but is still not functional due to incomplete facilities. However, it has become a popular tourist attraction in the area, a perfect addition to complement the stunning view of the rugged mountain cliffs facing the South China Sea with grazing cows around, a sweeping panorama of the Pacific Ocean and a beautiful landscape of labyrinth-like hedgerows when you turn your gaze around.
Tayid Lighthouse, South Batan


At Mahatao Town Proper, we saw the San Carlos Borromeo Church, declared a National Cultural Heritage Site that was first built in 1787 and had endured several renovations. There lies as well the oldest Spanish lighthouse (the uppermost photo of the collage) that we could've missed if not pointed out by our guide.
Mahatao Town Proper, San Carlos Borromeo Church, Spanish Lighthouse


It's a short strip of white sand beach on one side and a concealed blue lagoon on the other side where locals and tourists alike can enjoy a dip. Just be mindful that although it may look calm at the moment, the waters can turn rough, without warning.


RACUH-A-PAYAMAN (Marlboro Hills)

This is probably the best spot to have a breathtaking panoramic view of the Tayid Lighthouse on your left, Mt Iraya on your right and the Diura Beach below. I can just lie here all day and marvel at the beauty of nature at its finest. It's also a communal pastureland where livestock come to graze.
Racuh A Payaman (Marlboro Hills)


They refer to this spot as Imnajubu point or Alapad Pass. The road cuts through a small hill forming what they call Alapad Pass and revealing a rugged sculpture along the roadside and a beautiful seascape when you pass through the winding road. It's an interesting attraction you shouldn't miss.
Alapad Hills/Pass, Batanes


It's been featured countless times in local magazine shows and to be actually here sipping the instant coffee I made and bought seemed surreal. It's actually a sari sari store, but without a shopkeep. You take whatever you want and drop your payment in the designated payment box. Honesty is the norm in this quaint province and that admirable trait goes beyond this cafe. It's the same way everywhere in Batanes.
Honesty Coffee Shop, Batanes


House of Dakay or Vahay ni Dakay is the oldest surviving stone house in the Batan Island of Batanes. Built in 1887 and remained standing even after an 8.3 magnitude earthquake leveled the town of Ivana in 1918. It has been declared a Unesco World Heritage Building. That's Lolo Francisco in the photo below, the current occupant of the House of Dakay.
House of Dakay, Batanes

We're done with South Batan by 5pm. Our Day 2 itinerary involved SABTANG Island and you can expect more stunning sights to come on my next post. Cliche as it may sound, South Batan tour of Batanes took our breath away.

Day 2 Itinerary : FALUWA RIDE and SABTANG TOUR


  1. Many people in my line of work would say "these are prime locations for golf courses and high-end resorts", but the ethical, nature-loving side of me says, "Nah, don't you dare even think about it or else..."! The lay of the land is absolutely gorgeous :)

    Honesty Coffee Shop is a relic in these times. Don't you just wish that honorable trait is the norm everywhere? I heard there are similar places like this in some rural towns in Japan.

    Would love to try to live in that "House of Dakay", in all its austere and spartan charm. It seems to embody what can be called "payak na pamumuhay". Thanks, Shie! :))

    1. It's good to know that Batanes has been declared by UNESCO as Protected Landscape and Seascape, they wont dare, haha!

      Indeed, if only that's the norm, this world will be a better place :)

      Why not! It'll be a worthwhile experience. You can do that in Sabtang Island in one of the stone houses that offers homestay. We were originally planning to do that but due to the lack of time, we cancelled. Maybe next time.

      Thanks to YOU! My Batanes dream just came true :))


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