The Province of Batanes is an island province in the region of Cagayan Valley, Philippines. It is the northernmost province of the Philippines and is also the smallest province, both in terms of population and land area. The provincial capital is Basco on Batan Island.
The island group is located about 162 kilometres (101 mi) north of Luzon and about 190 kilometres (120 mi) south of Taiwan, separated from the Babuyan Islands of Cagayan Province, Luzon, by the Balintang Channel and from Taiwan by the Bashi Channel.
Batanes is composed of ten islands, the biggest of which are Batan, Itbayat and Sabtang. Traveling between islands by bangka will cost around P300 per person, per journey.
The island province of Batanes is accessible by air via the Basco Airport and Itbayat Airport. There are 3 flights per week from Manila by SkyJetAir, and from Tuguegarao (Cagayan) by small local airliners (as of January 2013). Tourism is expected to boom in the island as budget carrier Airphil Express started to have flights to Batanes every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Itbayat, however, is farther away, reachable by either small plane or a four-hour boat ride. The boat rides are famously rough, so make sure to bring medicine to treat seasickness.
SABTANG ISLAND is undisturbed and unspoiled. The island has lots of natural attractions guaranteed to satisfy the most sophisticated nature lovers. It has intermittent white sand beaches with steep mountains and deep canyons with small level areas sporadically found along the coastline. Southwest of Batan Island, Sabtang is accessible by 30-minute falowa ride from Radiwan Port in Ivana. Sabtang Island is also the take off point for Ivuhos Island from Barangay Nakanmuan.
ITBAYAT ISLAND is located north of Batan Island. Itbayat is shaped like a giant bowl. The island is surrounded by massive boulders and cliffs rising from 20–70 feet above sea level and has no shoreline. It has a dirt airstrip for light aircraft. A regular ferry runs the Batan-Itbayat route. Travel time is about four hours on falowa from Basco Seaport or Radiwan Port in Ivana. A light plane flies from Basco Airport to Itbayat at P1,875 per person and leaves only when the plane is full.
BATAN ISLAND is the most populated island of the province. It is composed of four municipalities namely Basco, Ivana, Uyugan and Mahatao. Basco is the center of commerce and seat of the provincial government.
MOUNT IRAYA is a dormant volcano standing at 1,517 meters whose last eruption was recorded in 505 AD. Mountaineering, trekking and trailblazing are recommended sports activities on the mountain. Walking distance from Basco, the top of Mt. Iraya can be reached in about three hours.
YAMI/AMIANAN is the northernmost island of Batanes. It is also called the Orchid Island. One can see Formosa (Taiwan) on a clear day. Tatus or coconut crabs abound in the island surrounded by rich marine life.
DI-ATAY BEACH is a beautiful cove with multi-colored rocks and white sand ideal for picnics and beach combing. Located along the highway of Mahatao, it is 9.85 kilometers from Basco.
SONGSONG in Chadpidan Bay is an hour of exhilarating trek from Basco proper (3 km). It is famous for its beautiful sunset view.
NAIDI HILLS is walking distance from Basco.
CHAWA CAVE is for the more adventurous. An enchanted cave with natural salt bed whose mouth opens to the south China Sea and is accessible through the boulders of Chawa Point in Mahatao. It is four kilometers from Basco.
SITIO JURA AT RACUJAIDE is the fishermens village at Mananoy Bay. Fishing season is marked by a festival in mid-March called PAYVANUVANUAN. Visitors are treated with fresh fish delicacies from the Pacific Ocean. Within the area is the legendary Spring of Youth and living cave with crystal limestone formations. The bay is nine kilometers from Basco proper.
NAKABUANG CAVE is 5.5 kilometers from San Vicente Centro in Sabtang.
MT. MATAREM is an extinct volcano 495 meters at its summit. It is eight kilometers from Basco.
WHITE BEACH at Vatang, Hapnit and Mavatuy Point all in Mahatao.
RADAR TUKON was a United States weather station on a hilltop. It offers a magnificent 360-degree view of Batan Island, the South China Sea, Mt. Iraya, Basco proper, boulder lined cliffs and the Pacific Ocean. At present, it houses the last weather station in the north, the Basco Radar Station and is only 2.75 kilometers from Basco.
OLD LORAN STATION used to house a US coastguard detachment for almost two decades and is about 25 kilometers from Basco.
RUINS OF SONGSONG is a ghost barangay which is a cluster of roofless shells of old stone houses abandoned after a tidal wave that hit the island of Batan in the 50s. It has a long stretch of beach. The ruins are 23 kilometers from Basco.
SAN JOSE CHURCH in Ivana was built in 1814. It has a crenellated fortress-like campanile. The church is fronting the Ivana Seaport and is 14 kilometers from Basco.
KANYUYAN BEACH & PORT at Baluarte Bay in Basco is the port of call of the cargo ships bringing goods from Manila.
SAN CARLOS BORROMEO CHURCH and a convent at Mahatao are six kilometers from Basco. It was completed in 1789 and still retains its centuries-old features.
BUILDINGS are traditionally two-storey LIME AND STONE HOUSES AND CHURCHES with meter thick cogon roofs believed to last 60 years. These houses were built around 1795 with the help of imported masons, stone cutters and carpenters from the Province of Cagayan. These stone houses, found all over Batanes, are worthy subjects for photography.