June 17, 2024

Travel Guide For Visiting Batanes, Philippines


Read our guide to Batanes in the Philippines. Including how to get there, getting around, highlights and more to help plan your trip.

Nestled in the middle of the ocean between the island of Luzon and Taiwan, Batanes is the northernmost archipelago of the Philippines. This rugged group of islands is shaped by volcanic forces and strong typhoons. It has left a unique landscape perfect for travellers who want to see a different side of the Philippines. In Batanes, you’ll find rolling hills, brilliant rock formations, boulder beaches, and stone houses which protect the people from the storms.

With our guide on Batanes, you can read about the highlights of this tiny group of islands, and how to get around on the three main islands Batan, Sabtang, and Itbayat.


Being the largest and most populated island, Batan is the gateway to Batanes and arrival point for most travellers. The main town is Basco, a charming settlement with just over 8500 inhabitants. Nothing’s really going on in this quaint town, but only one kilometre north of the centre stands the picturesque Basco Lighthouse. You can ascend the lighthouse and enjoy the views over the coast and the waves crashing on the rocks. Drive a bit further north for a walk through the Vayang Rolling Hills. The sloping landscapes here are quite symbolic for the wild Batanes province, and from the viewpoint, you’ll get to see the sea, grazing cattle on the lush green hills, and in the distance the towering cone of Mount Iraya.

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Basco in the province of Batanes, PhilippinesBasco in the province of Batanes, Philippines

Valugan Boulder Beach

Another beloved spot on Batan is Valugan Boulder Beach, which is precisely what the name suggests; instead of the perfect sandy beaches you see elsewhere in the Philippines, this shoreline is dotted with large, ball-shaped lava rocks. It’s not a great place for swimming or sunbathing, but the exquisite boulders and cliffs in the background make for excellent photo opportunities.

Valugan Boulder Beach, BatanesValugan Boulder Beach, Batanes

Marlboro Hills

The point that Batanes is all about natural beauty is proven at the Marlboro Hills in the east of Batan. The green pasture lands with grazing cows, the mammoth cliffs, and excellent views of Batan’s hilly interior all lie within easy reach from the winding road that leads to the Marlboro Hills. Alapad Rock Formation is a nearby spot that’s worth stopping by; the hidden cove and impressive rock occupied with countless goats makes for an exciting spectacle.

Beautiful Scenic View of BatanesBeautiful Scenic View of Batanes

House of Dakay

On the opposite coast, you can have a look inside the oldest stone house in the Batanes archipelago. Nowadays, the House of Dakay functions as a museum with traditional clothes, and tools of the Ivatan – the people of Batanes. The house was built in 1887 and often served as a shelter during the typhoons that regularly hit Batanes.


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