10 Reasons to Visit Batanes: Where Honesty is an Attraction

Batanes is a province in the Philippines known for its rolling hills and an honesty store.

Province of Batanes, Philippines
Province of Batanes, Philippines

The province of Batanes is the most northern in the Philippines, and it is physically located closer to Taiwan than it is to Luzon, which is the largest island in the Philippines.

Because of its breathtaking landscapes, which are on par with those in New Zealand, it is included on the itineraries of Filipino tourists, as it rightfully should be.

On its ten islands, this archipelago has a lot of surprises in store for visitors, from its rolling hills to its renowned honesty store. Tourists will have a commanding view of the waters surrounding the province, including the straits of Bashi and Balintong, which link the West Philippine Sea to the Pacific Ocean. You can get this view by standing on a hill. Because the breeze is so soothing, finding peace is not hard to do in Batanes.

10. Hospitable Locals

Ivatan Elder wearing vakul
Credits to: alexisdguzman

Ivatan is the name given to the people that live in Batanes. Ivatan are known throughout the Philippines for being peace-loving, resilient, and honest. The majority of them worked on fields and in the sea, fishing, as tourism slowly began to expand. They warmly welcomed visitors who wished to be among twisting mountains, rolling hills, and saline breezes as tourism increased.

Not only do locals grin for the camera, but some of the ladies also wear a wig-like head covering called a vakul. The locals are happy to lend the vakul to tourists so they can get some good pictures. The Ivatans of Batanes are the islands’ most endearing feature.

9. Honesty Is a Lifestyle

In addition to its breathtaking natural attractions, Batanes is well-known for its “honesty store,” which is a self-service establishment that does not employ any security personnel or other staff members.

Because of this, customers of this coffee shop must pay honestly, receive the correct number of products, write down any changes in a notebook, and return the next day to collect them. Visitors can learn about the Ivatans’ honesty and culture.

Since the 1990s, the store has been operating, and it has grown to become one of the most popular tourist destinations in Batanes.

8. Crime Rate is Low

The people of Ivatan place a high value on honesty and have a strong sense of community.

Hence, it is uncommon to hear about criminal activity in the province, and those who are apprehended are typically only guilty of violating municipal ordinances, such as riding a bicycle without an early warning device.

Since the late 1980s up until today, the crime rate has been low, making it a tourist-friendly destination and a place where peace is not just a word but a way of life.

Because of its archipelagic nature and its small towns, the province has an easy time maintaining law and order.

Visitors to Batanes will feel as though they are a part of the community there because of how friendly the locals are.

7. Unique Beaches in Batanes

Three of Batanes’ 10 islands are inhabited. The other seven are undeveloped and used by locals for grazing. Some beaches are popular because they are hard to reach in bad weather.

However, those who choose to stay on the three largest islands of Batan, Itbayat, and Sabtang will be able to take advantage of the perfect shores.

Meanwhile, on the island of Batan, visitors will enjoy exploring the one-of-a-kind boulder beach known as Valugan.

On the other hand, Sabtang possesses Morong Beach, which is well-known for the Ahau Arch. Finally, the last beach on this list is Kaxobcan Beach, which is located on the island of Itbayat.

Indeed, invigorating sunburns are sure to be a lasting souvenir for vacationers, no matter which beach they choose to explore.

6. Charming Islands

Batanes’ smaller, desolate islands also have tourist attractions. For instance, Ivuhos, a small island, is proud of its coral beach and archaeological sites.

On the other hand, in the Philippines’ northernmost island, Mavulis (Y’ami), is always militarized.

In general, the island is open to visitors, and in addition to the stunning scenery, there are military installations on the island for them to investigate.

At the end of the day, those who conquer these islands will have endless tales to tell their loved ones.

5. Thrilling Boat Rides

Falua boat in Basco Batanes
Falua boat in Basco Batanes.

When vacationers travel to a number of different islands, which is highly recommended, they will have the enjoyable pleasure of riding around in boats known as falua. Conquering the waves of Batanes is an exhilarating experience any time of the year, regardless of the weather.

From Itbayat, travelers can go on a journey to Y’ami, which will take approximately five hours and is a destination located further away.

Those who are interested in putting their fishing abilities to the test might get together with fishermen from the nearby town of Diura.

Boat passengers in Batanes will get their daily dose of vitamin sea, whether they’re just going for a ride or heading out on an exciting fishing excursion.

4. The Majestic Rolling Hills

Meanwhile, in the island province of Batanes, the hills are alive, and there are a great number of them everywhere.

The Vayang Rolling Hills in Basco, its capital, are the most well-known tourist destination and look exactly like they do on a postcard.

On the other hand, the presence of the majestic Marlboro Hills in the hamlet of Mahatao will leave visitors unable to find the words to describe their experience.

Similarly, Mount Iraya is ready and eager for adventurous hikers to take them to the top of the planet.

In short, the region features a great number of vantage points from which tourists can take in the sights and sounds of the surrounding hills and waters.

3. Resilient Houses

The province of Batanes is well-known throughout the Philippines for being in the path of typhoons, which means that not only the people who live there but also their homes are extremely resilient. There is no other place in the country—or possibly even the world—where you can find traditional Ivatan dwellings.

Stone, lime, wood, and thatch all come together to form them, which gives them the ability to withstand strong winds and even typhoons. Because some of these heritage houses have been meticulously maintained, particularly those of the Sinadumparan style, they continue to draw in vacationers who are interested in architecture. Not only do the people of Batanes pride themselves on their honesty, but they also have an incredible capacity for resilience.

2. Rich History and Culture of Batanes

Batanes has several historical and cultural sites to satisfy adventurers, in addition to the old buildings.

Archaeological sites, a ghost town, weather stations, churches, idjangs, which are early Ivatan settlements, and the historic Radiwan Point are some of the things that can be found in this province.

Moreover, visitors should also stand in front of lighthouses, which look majestic against waves.

Meanwhile, art lovers visit the Fundacion Pacita lodge to see Pacita Abad’s paintings.

Indeed, in Batanes, it is simple to cultivate one’s spiritual life.

1. The Food Is Sumptuous

Batanes, like other islands, has limited food production, but visitors can still enjoy a tasty adventure.

To begin, the province is known for the quality of its seafood, particularly its flying fish and mahi-mahi.

Moreover, Ivatans also like dried carabao, pig, or cow skin, banana, taro, yam, and sweet potato stalks, and lunyi, fried pork in its fat.

Imagine eating it after breakfast or lunch and having gorgeous views of the rolling hills for dessert.

What an amazing life!

Explore Batanes Today!

Sabtang Lighthouse in Batanes, Philippines
Sabtang Lighthouse in Batanes, Philippines (Photo credit to: Guide to the Philippines)

Batanes is a beautiful, enchanting place that is truly worth a visit—not just once, but multiple times. This northern paradise is a throwback to the times when life was more natural and untouched.

Batanes is a happy place that will rejuvenate even the most seasoned travelers and will serve as a refuge for tired city-dwellers looking to take a break from the concrete jungle.

A trip to Batanes will calm your mind and rejuvenate your soul, leaving you with a renewed appreciation for nature and the simple life.

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