Batanes is a group of islands in northern Philippines. It is one of the provinces that constitute the Cagayan Valley Region.
Location: Between Cagayan Province and Taiwan (See map below.)
Etymology: Batan from the Ivatan word for the people of the land
Area: 219.01 km2 ((84.56 sq mi) – smallest among the 81 provinces
Population: 17, 246 (2015)
Highest Elevation: 1,009 m (3,310 ft)
No. of Islands: 10 (Biggest: Batan, Itabayat, and sabtang)
No. of Municipalities: 6
Native Dialect: Ivatan
Other Languages Spoken: Ilocano, Tagalog, English
Governor –> Marilou Cayco
Vice Governor –> Ignacio Villa
Predecessor –> Ronald Aguto
Congressman –> Doc Ciriaco Gato
Predecessor –> Henedina Abad
Batanes Tourist Spots
1. Mt. Iraya in Batan
2. Nakamaya Burial Grounds
3. Naidi Hills with its Lighthouse
4. Marlboro Hills, Riacoyde, Batanes
5. Vayang Picturesque Hills
6. Dipnaysupuan Japanese Tunnel
7. House of Dakay – a stone-house
8. Sabtang Beach
9. Sabtang Island Stone Houses
10. Itbayat Island with its massive boulders and cliffs
11. San Jose Church – built in 1814
12. San Carlos Borromeo Church – a national cultural treasure
13. Fundacion Pacita – home to arts and crafts
14. Kanyuyan Beach Port
15. Ruins Of Songsong – old roofless stone-houses
How to go there
The island province of Batanes is accessible by air via the Basco Airport and Itbayat Airport. There are flights from Manila and from Tuguegarao in Cagayan province. Ask around for the schedule of Philippine Airlines, Skyjet and Air Swift.
History of Batanes
The islands were occupied by people who are believed to be descendants of Austronesians. In the 17th century, English explorers discovered the islands but Spain claimed the islands for the Philippines as early as 1783. Basco and Ivana were the first towns to be established by the Spaniards. During the early parts of the 20th century, the American authorities made islands part of Cagayan local administration. In 1909, it was made an independent province. The Japanese forces occupied the islands and made it their first jumping off point to their invasion of the Philippines during World War II. (Read: Philippine Historical Events by Month)
The Batanes Protected Landscape and Seascape made it to the Tentative List of the Philippines for UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1993. The Philippine government is hopeful that in the near future, it will be included in the list of heritage sites.
Read the history of Batanes in Tagalog here.
1. Basco – the capital of the province
Go here to see the candidates and results of the 2019 election in Batanes Province.
See also: Philippines Historical Events by Month