Heritage Sites Conservation

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BASCO, Batanes October 24 -- The local committee for Batanes World Heritage, the office of the Congressman and the Batanes Heritage Foundation Inc. conducted a seminar workshop on the management and conservation of world heritage sites last October 21 to 23.

The seminar workshop aimed to teach the stakeholders how to manage and conserve their cultural heritage. It was a three-day seminar-workshop which was attended by stakeholders, namely, national government agencies, non-government organizations, local government units and the academe.

Speaker-lecturer Dr. Florentino Hornedo said not all stakeholders understand their heritage and its significance, making it incompatible for some stakeholders to manage and conserve their heritage.

Hornedo, the only Ivatan commissioner to the UNESCO, said the workshop leads to the island-province’s pursuit of World Heritage sites nomination.

Hornedo said UNESCO appreciates universal values but, recognizes only the outstanding universal values for enlistment to the heritage Sites.

Hornedo also taught the participants how to preserve their museum. He said it should contain the best cared, preserved, properly arranged and labeled artifacts or masterpieces of the Ivatan culture. He also challenged all schools to keep an organized museum.

“The living treasure system is recognizing, appreciating and encouraging Ivatan master artists such the best tataya maker, the master craftsman, the laji (folk lore singer) the best vakul weaver and basket weavers,” Hornedo told the participants.

“The skills manifested in the product is a representative of the living treasure or artisan who is the maker/producer and the promotion and support by making the stakeholders aware of the cultural tradition are very important to be able to pass it on to the younger generation," Hornedo said.

The 4 C’s in heritage namely culture, community commerce and creative arts were comprehensively discussed. The stakeholders are likewise challenged to reach the people and to orient the younger generation to be more creative using the indigenous materials into marketable products.

The best vakul maker of the province, Isleta Fuego of Sabtang, was also recognized. Vakul is a native woman’s farming headgear used as a protection from heat and rain.(Batanes Islands)

Natural Tourist Attactions

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  • SABTANG ISLAND
  • Chosen as one of the 12 Best Destinations in the Philippines by the Department of Tourism in 1994, this island southwest of Batan Island remains undisturbed and unspoiled. It has intermittent white sand beaches, steep mountains, and deep canyons with small level areas sporadically found along the coastline. Accessible in 30 minutes by falowa (oval-shaped motorized passenger boat without the outrigger) from Radiwan Port in Ivana. This island is also the take-off point for Ivuhos Island from Barangay Nakanmuan.

  • ITBAYAT ISLAND
  • Located north of Batan Island, it is surrounded by massive boulders and cliffs rising 20-70 feet above sea level and has no shoreline. It has a dirt airstrip for light aircraft. Ferries also run the Batan-Itbayat route, with a travel time of about four hours by falowa from the Basco Seaport. Light planes fly from Basco Airport to Itbayat in 12-minute trips at PhP700.00/pax.

  • BATAN ISLAND
  • Batan Island is where the center of commerce and seat of the provincial government lie. This is the most populated of all the islands in the province. It is composed of the municipalities of Basco, Ivana, Uyugan, and Mahatao.

  • MOUNT IRAYA
  • A dormant volcano standing at 1,517 meters whose last eruption was recorded in 505 AD. This peak is ideal for mountaineering, trekking, and trailblazing. It is located walking distance from Basco and can be climbed to the top in about three hours.

  • MUVUDIS ISLAND
  • Mavudis is the northernmost island of Batanes. Coconut crabs (called “Tatus” by the locals) are bountiful on this island, which is surrounded by rich marine life.

  • DI-ATAY BEACH
  • This beach is located along the national highway between Mahatao and Ivana, a mere 9.85 kilometers from Basco. It has a beautiful cove with multi-colored rocks and white sand, which is ideal for picnics and beach combing.

  • SONGSONG (Chadpidan Bay)
  • Famous for its beautiful sunset view and big stone boulders. It is a 3-kilometer, one-hour trek from Basco proper.

  • CHAWA CAVE
  • Chawa is believed to be an enchanted cave. It has a natural salt bed and a mouth that opens to the South China Sea, which is also accessible through the boulders of Chawa Point in Mahatao. This cave lies about 4 kilometers from Basco.

  • NAKABUANG CAVE
  • Another cave worth looking into. It is located 5.5 kilometers from San Vicente Centro in Sabtang.

  • MOUNT MATAREM
  • An extinct volcano measuring 495 meters at its summit. Located eight kilometers from Basco.

  • WHITE BEACH
  • As testament to the province’s natural beauty, this beautiful white beach can be found in Vatang Hapnit and Mavatuy Point at Mahatao.

  • Bird Watching at Cuyab
  • Observe the migratory birds from China that flock the islands in search of a warmer climate every October.

Accommodations in Batanes

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Accommodations in Batanes

Looking for accommodation in Batanes? Listed below is a range of Batanes hotels and Inns each chosen by our local team. The hotels and inns in Batanes range from local guesthouses and budget inns to more luxurious hotels and resorts. Let us help you find the ideal place to stay for your Batanes holiday!

Hotels and Inns in Batanes
  • Brandon's Lodging - 11 tastefully decorated rooms each with TV, aircon and toilet & bath. Contact: Madeleine Siazon at +63 919 366 2158 for reservations.
  • Batanes Resort - P550 /day and up. Tel. #  9229621 local 327 (Ivatan Center, Q.C.)
  • Batanes Seaside Lodge P450 /day and up Tel. # 0981-993613
  • Ivatan Lodge - P100/1 pax, P400/ 1 or more pax/day. Email: ivatanlodge@ yahoo.com
  • Shanedel's Inn - P200 /day 0920-4470737
  • Troy Lodge - near airport Tel. # 0920-4470726

Religious Tourist Attractions

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  • San Jose De Ivana Church (Ivana)
  • Built in 1814 (although its foundation dates back to 1795), this church is truly unique among all the old churches in Batanes as it is the only one not built in the espadana style of the day. It has a crenellated fortress-like campanile or belltower that gives the appearance of a fortification. San Jose Church fronts the Ivana Seaport and offers a commanding view of the sea and surrounding countryside due to its elevation. It is 14 kilometers from Basco.

  • San Carlos Borromeo Church & Convent (Mahatao)
  • Founded in 1789 and built in 1873, it has a facade modeled after that of Basco Cathedral, with two round arches at roof level for the bells. On its outer walls are massive buttresses that used to serve as stairways to the roof – a thing of convenience in the olden days when frequent repairs had to be made to the cogon grass roofing. The church still retains its centuries-old features. Located six kilometers from Basco.

 
  • Church of Sto. Domingo de Basco (Basco Cathedral)
  • Established in 1783, it is the oldest and most important church in Batanes. To give the facade stability and strength against earthquakes and typhoon winds, the church walls were buttressed with massive pilasters from foundation to top. The church is dedicated to the Immaculate Conception, patroness of Batanes.

 
  • San Vicente Ferrer Church (Sabtang Island)
  • Another church modeled after the one in Basco. Following an unfortunate incident in 1790, when Spanish emissaries sent to procure goods from the parish were killed by some natives, the people of Sabtang were forcibly resettled across the channel to Ivana and not allowed to return until 1844 when the foundations of the present church were laid.

Culture and People

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The people of Batanes are called Ivatan and share prehistoric cultural and linguistic commonalities with the Babuyan on Babuyan Island and the Tao people of Orchid Island.

This divided homeland is a result of the Dutch invasion of Taiwan in 1624 ( Dutch Formosa ) and Spanish invasion in 1626 ( Spanish Formosa ). The northern half of the Ivatan homeland, Formosa and Orchid Island which were formally part of the Viceroyalty of New Spain, fell to the Dutch who were in turn expelled in 1662 by forces of the Chinese Ming Dynasty, led by the Chinese pirate Koxinga who then set himself up as The King of Taiwan.

The southern half of the Ivatan homeland, the islands of the Batanes, was reinforced and fortified by Spanish refugees from Formosa before being formally joined in the 18th century with the Spanish government in Manila.

The main languages spoken in Batanes are Ivatan, which is spoken on the islands of Batan and Sabtang, and Itbayaten, which is spoken primarily on the island of Itbayat. The Ivatan which is dominant in the province is considered to be one of the Austronesian languages. From college level down to elementary level, the language is widely spoken.

Other Attractions

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Other Attractions
  • Kanyuyan Beach & Port
  • (Baluarte Bay, Basco). The port of call of the cargo ships bringing goods from Manila.

  • Sitio Jura at Racujaide
  • The fishermens village at Mananoy Bay. Fishing season is marked by a festivalin mid-March called Payvanuvanuan during which visitors are treated with fresh fish delicacies from the Pacific Ocean. Within the area is the legendary spring of Youth and a living cave with crystal limestone formations. Mananoy Bay is nine kilometers from Basco proper.
  • Batanes Day (June 26)
  • Marked with playground demonstrations, parades, the Palu-palo Festival, and other cultural events.
  • Feast of Three Kings (January 6)
  • On this day, the image of the Sto. Nino (Holy Child) is venerated in every home in Batanes.
  • Ruins of Songsong 
  • A ghost barangay which is really a cluster of roofless shells of old stone houses abandoned after a tidal wave that hit the island of Batan in the 1950s. The area has a long stretch of beach. Located 23 kilometers from Basco.

  • Radiwan Point 
  • Located at Ivana Seaport, this is the landing site of the Katipuneros on September 18, 1898, thus making it a very historical location. The falowas plying the islands of Sabtang and Itbayat are also stationed here.
  • Other Places of interest in Batanes:
  • House of Dakay (1887) a UNESCO heritage building.
  • Lighthouses of Batanes
  • St. Dominic de Guzman Parish Cathedral
  • Mt. Iraya – A 1008-meter mountain on Batan Island.
  • Mahatao View Deck
  • Burial Caves – Pre-historic burial caves in the town of Itbayat.
  • Sumhao Wind Power Plant
  • Nakaboang Beach, Ark & Cave
  • Beaches – Chadpidan Beach, White Beach and more.
  • Payaman – known as “Marlboro Country”, a pasture overlooking farm fields & the Pacific Ocean.

 
Batanes Islands - Paradise of the North © 2005