Batanes Travel Guide: Smallest & Northernmost Philippine Province
- Batanes Travel Requirements and Guidelines | COVID-19 New Normal
- 1. Who are allowed to go to Batanes?
- 2. What are the entry points in Batanes?
- 3. What travel requirements do you need to prepare?
- 4. What are the guidelines and protocols to follow when you're in Batanes?
- 5. What activities can you do in Batanes during quarantine?
- Best Time to Go to Batanes
- Dry and Summer Season | March to June
- Climate and Weather
- What to Wear
- How to Go to Batanes
- By Flights
- Getting Around Batanes
- Where to Stay in Batanes
- Types of Batanes Accommodations
- Neighborhoods and Areas
- Batanes Accommodation Highlights
- What to See and Do in Batanes
- Explore North Batan
- Discover South Batan
- Immerse Yourself in Sabtang
- Go on a Nature Trip at Itbayat
- Hike Mt. Iraya or Mt. Matarem
- Where and What to Eat in Batanes
- Local Cuisine
- Recommended Batanes Foods
- Practical Information and Tips
- What to Pack
- Sample Batanes Itinerary
- Day 1: Arrival + Basco
- Day 2: Sabtang Tour
- Day 3: North Batan Tour
- Day 4: South Batan Tour
- Day 5: Departure
Escape to the northernmost part of the Philippines with postcard-perfect views – Batanes. Read on to learn everything you need to know about the Home of the Winds.
Batanes Island in the Philippines has a little bit of everything for different types of travelers: the mountains, the sea, the rolling hills, and the food. But above all, Batanes offers a unique type of refuge — peace and quiet, and the taste of a back-to-basics lifestyle.
- Find the best Batanes tours to add to your Batanes itinerary
- See destinations for solo travel in the Philippines
Batanes Island, called the Home of the Winds, is considered the smallest province in the Philippines with only 230 kilometers of total land area. Part of Batanes’ charm comes from its somewhat seclusion from its busier and more crowded neighboring provinces.
See our popular Batanes Vacation Packages
- Browse our collection of hotels in the Philippines for your vacation
As the northernmost province in the country and one of the farthest Luzon tourist spots, its distance, size, and small population help preserve the unspoiled beauty of the place and the peaceful lifestyle of its people. Despite the distance and limited flights to Batanes, it's one of the top tourist destinations in the Philippines. A trip to Batanes Island is a welcome escape from the hustle and bustle of city living.
See our popular Batanes Tours and Activities
Batanes’ refreshingly chill and peaceful vibe gives local and foreign travelers a different taste of island life. One that is simpler, laidback, quiet, but definitely revitalizing.
For a country that is known for its tropical islands, Batanes’ rock formations, quaint lighthouses, and wild horses that roam freely in vast pastureland make it a truly unique destination for many people.
If you’re planning a trip to this part of the Philippines, we offer you this ultimate Batanes travel guide on everything you need to know for the perfect getaway.
Batanes Travel Requirements and Guidelines | COVID-19 New Normal
Batanes has started its gradual reopening to tourists, and those who want to visit the northernmost province in the Philippines may do so, provided they meet the requirements and follow the rules set by the local government unit.
1. Who are allowed to go to Batanes?
Only travelers who are fully vaccinated may enter Batanes for leisure purposes. Those ineligible for vaccination need to present proof of ineligibility like a medical certification or a birth certificate for children below 5 years old.
2. What are the entry points in Batanes?
The main entry point in Batanes is Basco Airport, located in the province’s capital. Most Philippine flights booked online to Basco Airport are from Manila.
3. What travel requirements do you need to prepare?
Here are the requirements that you need to prepare before going to Batanes:
Get a vaccination card or vaccination certificate (for fully-vaccinated)
You need to show proof of your fully vaccinated status, and the Batanes local government unit accepts a valid vaccination card or a vaccination certificate from vaxcert.doh.gov.ph.
Secure proof of ineligibility for a COVID-19 vaccination (for unvaccinated)
Parents or guardians of children below 5 years old need to present the birth certificate of their child to prove ineligibility. Those with medical conditions need to present a medical certificate.
Book accommodations and tours with DOT-accredited establishments
Prior reservation with any of the DOT-accredited Batanes hotels and resorts is a must, as well as booking with DOT-accredited tour operators. Do-it-yourself tours are not allowed. It's recommended to book airport transfers as well for a hassle-free arrival and departure.
A Clearance to Tour from the Provincial Tourism Office
A Clearance to Tour must be obtained from the Provincial Tourism Office before any activity in Batanes. You need to present this document when you visit tourist spots in the province. You may contact the Provincial Tourism Office via their email email@example.com or their mobile number 0929 230 5934.
See our popular Batanes Vacation Packages
4. What are the guidelines and protocols to follow when you're in Batanes?
All residents and tourists must wear face masks, wash hands regularly, and practice proper social distancing, especially in public establishments, to help reduce the risk of community transmission of COVID-19 disease.
All tourists will undergo health screening upon arrival. Those exhibiting symptoms will be tested for free, and those who test positive for COVID-19 will be isolated in a government facility.
Tourists are strongly discouraged from mingling with locals who are not part of their Batanes itinerary.
5. What activities can you do in Batanes during quarantine?
While in the province, don’t miss the chance to visit top Batanes tourist spots, including its famous lighthouses and rolling hills.
Best Time to Go to Batanes
The best time to visit Batanes is during the dry or summer season. In the Philippines, the months of March, April, May, and June are considered the hottest months with minimal rainfall. These are also the best months to visit Batanes.
Fewer chances of rainfall mean fewer chances of delayed or canceled flights and you’ll be able to enjoy your trip better since Batanes tourist attractions are mostly outdoors.
Dry and Summer Season | March to June
For a hassle-free trip, it’s best to plan your Batanes adventure around the months of the dry and summer season in the Philippines. March to June has a minimal amount of rainfall.
But if you want to enjoy a “cooler” Batanes in terms of temperature, you can visit during the first quarter of the year. However, the weather can quickly change from sunny to cold and rainy.
Climate and Weather
Batanes has a tropical climate like the rest of the Philippines. The average yearly temperature is 26.0 °C. April is the driest month, while August is the rainiest month so best to avoid traveling to Batanes during that time. November to February are the coldest and often have rainy days as well.
What to Wear
During the dry summer months, wear comfortable clothes with breathable fabric since you’ll be spending most of the time outdoors. Better bring your sunblock and umbrella to keep you shaded from the sun.
If you’re planning a trip in the rainy or cold months, bring an umbrella and raincoat/poncho to keep you dry. You might also want to bring extra clothes for a quick change during your Batanes tours.
How to Go to Batanes
The best way to go to Batanes is by direct flights or connecting flights to Basco. Depending on where you’re flying from, domestic flights to Basco can take between 70 and 110 minutes.
Photo by Philippine Airlines
Try booking weekday flights instead of a weekend one (or long weekends in the Philippines) if you’re on a budget and looking for less expensive plane tickets. Normally, flights during these days are less expensive and is one of the most recommended cheapest way to Batanes.
While travel promo fares to Batanes are very few, if you do chance upon some, it’s best to book ahead and enjoy the big savings.
From Luzon: How to Go to Batanes from Manila
If you’re in Metro Manila, Philippine Airlines (PAL) flies daily from Manila to Basco, Batanes for 1 hour and 45 minutes.
See our popular Basco Tours
Getting Around Batanes
Batanes may be small island town but it’s still not small enough to just walk around to see the tourist spots. Here are a number of transport options you can choose from to explore Batanes:
You can hail or rent a public tricycle (auto-rickshaw) for drop-off or pick-ups or get their services for whole day Batanes tours. Tricycles are readily available most of the day, traveling from one Batanes resort or tourist spot to another. These can only accommodate a small group of 3-4 people.
Private Vans and Cars
If you are traveling in a big group, we recommend hiring a private van or car. This is the most convenient option since you don’t have to worry about navigating the islands. The van or car transfers are operated by local tour agencies and are usually included in all-inclusive Batanes tour packages.
See our popular Batanes Vacation Packages
If you’re opting for public transportation, there are jeepneys traveling from Basco to Mahatao, Ivana, and Uyugan daily. However, the trips are limited and are only available from 5:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M.
When it comes to getting around just the town proper, you can rent a bicycle if you have the stamina for it. The rolling hills and the landscape can prove to be challenging. Cycling in Batanes is scenic but rugged.
You can also take a different kind of bike — motorbikes! You can hire one with a driver (called habal-habal) or rent a motorbike that you can drive yourself. But these are only applicable for those who have a driver’s license and can operate one.
If you’re exploring the different islands of Batanes like Sabtang Island and Itbayat Island, you can ride their traditional Ivatan passenger boats called faluwa. Each island has its own port and the boats have scheduled limited trips per day.
Trips are also dependent on the weather so make sure to check weather updates or coordinate with your tour operators when planning your Batanes itinerary.
Where to Stay in Batanes
Photo by Fundacion Pacita
Batanes may be the smallest province in the Philippines but there are many lodging options for travelers with varying budgets. The location of your Batanes accommodation will greatly affect your itinerary so it’s best to book it in the area where you want to frequent or where majority of the tourist spots you want to visit are in.
The majority of tourists stay in the provincial capital of Basco in the island of Batan where there are plenty of options for Batanes resorts, hotels, lodges, and inns.
See our popular Batanes Vacation Packages
Types of Batanes Accommodations
Unlike major destinations in the Philippines, Batanes doesn’t have a wide collection of hotels and resorts for tourists. The majority of hotels in Batanes are modest homestays and hotels, lodges, or guesthouses that offer basic amenities.
A number of private homes in Batanes are open to tourists wherein you can experience the local hospitality of the people who live in them. They are usually owned and managed by local Ivatan families who have rooms to spare in their private property so they have turned it into a bed and breakfast business.
Most of these also offer cooking services or shared kitchens where you can ask them to whip up local dishes for you.
You can also stay in hotels, lodges, or guesthouses in Batanes, mostly found in Basco area. The hotels in Batanes range from traditional to modern designs with basic to slightly luxurious amenities. Hotels with swimming pools, located by the beach, or have a more posh design are usually higher in price.
But compared to luxury hotels in the big city, mid-range to luxury priced hotels in Batanes are still affordable.
Neighborhoods and Areas
Batanes is made up of 10 islands but only 3 are inhabited: Batan (where Basco is located), Sabtang, and Itbayat. These are also the areas where you can book Batanes accommodations and visit tourist spots. Here’s a guide on the different areas in Batanes to help you decide where to book your hotel.
The main island of Batanes. This is where Basco, the provincial capital and Batanes airport are located. Aside from being home to Basco, it’s also where you can find the majority of the accommodations and tourist spots in Batanes.
Batan is divided into two areas: North and South. This division can also be your basis on how you will create your itinerary for Batan tours.
Located south of Batan, Sabtang is mountainous and dotted with steep cliffs. The island is less populated than Batan and is notable for preserving most of its old stone houses with cogon roofs.
To get here from Batan, you need to ride boats that depart Ivana Port in Basco between 6:00 AM to 7:00 AM and travel back between 2:00 PM to 3:00 PM.
Sometimes there are still boats until 5:00 PM but make sure to check with the boat operators first. To be safe, be back at the port by 2:00 PM. The travel time is around 1 hour.
The largest island among the three in Batanes is located north of Batan. The island is notable for its coastline with steep cliffs and interiors of rolling hills and grasslands. It also features rainforests and caves. Electricity in Itbayat runs only until 12 midnight and resumes at 6 AM the next day.
To get here, you need to board boats that depart Basco Port in Batan between 6:00 AM to 9:00 AM and travel back between 11:00 AM to 2:00 PM. Sometimes there are still boats until 5:00 PM but make sure to check with the boat operators first.
Depending on the water currents and winds, travel time is around 2-4 hours. If you’re prone to motion sickness, make sure to bring your meds, ointments, and a motion sickness bag.
Batanes Accommodation Highlights
Now that you know the types of accommodation and areas where you can book, here are some of our recommended hotel listings in Batanes
Budget Batanes Accommodations
Don’t want to break the bank for your Batanes hotel? Take a look at some of your options of the top-rated budget-friendly accommodations in Batanes:
Photo by Nathaniel's Lodge
This is one of the best options for those looking to stay in downtown Batanes. Well-lit and located near most commercial establishments, Nathaniel’s Lodge offers travelers the bare necessities. The fully furnished guest rooms come with private bathrooms, free toiletries, TV with satellite channels, and air conditioning.
For those who want to experience homestays, travelers highly recommend this place. The owner is very accommodating. The toilet and shower are kept clean and comes with a heater. Guests can use the TV, terrace, kitchen utensils. Plus, the towels and blankets are free.
DDD Habitat has a total of seven air-conditioned rooms with TV, lampshade, and side tables apart from the beds, of course. Its close proximity to parks, government offices, and commercial stores make it a good choice for budget travelers.
If comfort is a priority for you but you don’t want to spend too much on hotels in Batanes, check out these highly-rated accommodations:
Photo by Bernardo's Hotel
This 3-star hotel is conveniently located five minutes away from Basco Batanes airport and the town. The rooms are fitted with a seating area, flat-screen TV with satellite channels, air conditioning, and a private bathroom.
The in-house restaurant, Casa Napoli, serves Italian cuisine from breakfast to brick-oven pizzas. Bernardo’s Hotel is also popular for its rooms with sea views.
Florabells Iraya Guest House
If you want to enjoy the mountain views, go to Florabells Iraya Guest House. Popular among vacationing couples, this guesthouse is also near the Basco Batanes airport and offers breakfast for its guests.
The guest rooms have air conditioning, a private bathroom with free toiletries and an overhead shower, and a flat-screen TV. Some units have a balcony to better enjoy the mountain views.
Villa de Babat
Photo by Villa de Babat
Villa de Babat's close proximity to Basco airport makes it a traveler's favorite. This bed and breakfast inn has a total of six air-conditioned rooms for a total of 22 guests. It also has a mini-golf drive, an in-ground swimming pool, and a two-level deck. It's an ideal accommodation for large groups.
Batanes isn’t as developed yet as other Philippine destinations, but it has a number of hotels that you can consider as luxury accommodations in Batanes. Check out some of these tourist favorites:
Fundacion Pacita Batanes Nature Lodge
Photo by Fundacion Pacita
Fundacion Pacita Batanes Nature Lodge is one of the best eco-friendly accommodations in the Philippines. It sits on top of a hill in Basco with a stunning overlooking view of the sea and mountains, some of the best Philippine sceneries. Guests that are staying in Fundacion Pacita can enjoy meals cooked with ingredients that are sourced from their local farm.
Photo by AMBOY Hometel
If you’re looking for a luxurious stay in Batanes, this is the place to be. Batanes Amboy Hometel has a 24-hour front desk and room service, free shuttle services, flat-screen TVs, private bathrooms, air-conditioning, buffet breakfast, and fantastic sea views.
Baletin Hometel’s rooms have a balcony that offers a great view of the sea and are equipped with private bathrooms, air conditioning, and desks.
Guest rooms also have kettles, perfect for enjoying a warm drink in the cool Batanes weather. The on-site restaurant offers grilled meat and seafood favorites. Baletin Hometel is popular for bike and car rentals.
Its location gives its visitors the most comfort. Located just five minutes away from Basco airport, Magnfred’s Place Batanes is also close to most stores, souvenir shops, local banks, and more.
The guest rooms have private bathrooms with overhead showers and free toiletries. The garden is also a nice place where guests can relax. The hotel offers complimentary breakfast and free WiFi.
What to See and Do in Batanes
Because of the rather expensive plane tickets and limited months that you can explore Batanes, it’s important that you make sure you’re maximizing your stay in this beautiful province. Here are some of the tourist spots that you shouldn’t miss when in Batanes:
See our popular Batanes Tours and Activities
Explore North Batan
The best starting point is to tour North Batan, which will take you either about half a day trip or the whole day adventure. Here are some tourist spots on this main island of Batanes that you should add to your itinerary:
Batanes has three main lighthouses and one of the most popular is the 66-ft Basco Lighthouse that was built in 2003. It stands proudly on Naidi Hills where the old American telegraph tower used to stand before the Japanese destroyed it in 1941. The tower ruins can still be found on Naidi Hills today.
- Join Basco Lighthouse tours during your trip to Batanes
The 20-meter tall and six-story Basco Lighthouse is easily recognizable with its white main column and red lantern room. It offers visitors a stunning 360-degree view of Basco town power as well as the Basco port and the West Philippine Sea on top of its round tower deck.
See our popular Basco Lighthouse Tours
Valugan Boulder Beach
Enjoy a different kind of beach experience in Batanes. As the name suggests, Valugan Boulder Beach is famous for its three-kilometer shoreline filled with round boulders and smaller stones.
Because of the beach’s rough and rugged terrain, swimming is not allowed here. If you want to take a leisurely stroll along the shoreline, it is best to bring non-slip shoes to avoid any accidents.
Vayang Rolling Hills
If you’ve ever wanted to burst out into a song, the Vayang Rolling Hills is the best place to do it. After all, the hills really are “alive” perhaps not with the sound of music but with the different layers of green and grazing livestock.
The Vayang Rolling Hills is also the best vantage point to see the beautiful Mt. Iraya and Batanes’ three inhabited islands. The gently sloping hills fade into the West Philippine Sea, creating a breathtaking view that people around the world travel to Batanes for.
Tukon Chapel or Mt. Carmel Church
Batanes' three inhabited islands have many Philippine churches and the most recognizable one is the Tukon Chapel, as locals call it, the Mt. Carmel Church. It was built by local fishermen and opened on May 3, 2008. It is famous for its traditional stone house design, orange roof, and painted interiors.
The chapel's ceiling is adorned by the paintings of its patron saints, carefully done by the Pacita Abad Center for the Arts scholars. Standing proudly on top of a hill, the Tukon Chapel is also a great place to see the convergence of the Pacific Ocean and the South China Sea.
Dipnaysupuan Japanese Tunnel
This served as a shelter for the Japanese troops during WWII. While the Japanese tunnels are open for tourists to see, make sure to bring your own flashlight if you want to explore the interconnected network of tunnels. If you are claustrophobic, better skip this part of the tour.
Discover South Batan
The South Batan tour, on the other hand, would take you about an entire day so it is best to start early in the morning so you can maximize your trip. Take note of these tourist spots:
Marlboro Country or Rakuh a Payaman
If you’re itching to take a selfie at Batanes’ most photographed tourist spot, add the Rakuh a Payaman in your itinerary, also known as Marlboro Country.
Located in Mahatao, this vast pastureland is picturesque with wild horses, carabaos, and grazing cows, thus the nickname. It’s a place where the land, sea, and sky kiss each other that make a breathtaking view.
It is also the best place to see the Tayid Lighthouse and the waves of Diura Beach. If you’re looking for a place to take a breather from all the walking, this is it. You can follow the narrow foot trails that lead you to the best vantage points for sight-seeing.
The Tayid Lighthouse is located on the other side of Batan Island, in Mahatao, and is just about as old as the Basco Lighthouse. Its much older predecessor, which is nearby, was built in the 1700s and is currently non-functional.
It also has a white-painted body and red lantern room but the Tayid Lighthouse is hexagonal in shape, unlike its sister in Basco which has a round column.
It is also less accessible to tourists and can best be seen from the Diura Fishing Village and Rakuh a Payaman (Marlboro Country). The Tayid Lighthouse faces the Pacific Ocean.
House of Dakay
Apart from the postcard-worthy lighthouses, Batanes has also become famous because of its stone houses, which are symbols of the Ivatan’s preparedness for natural calamities and their strength.
When the island was hit by a strong earthquake in the early 1990s, the House of Dakay on Batan Island is one of the only five surviving stone houses in Batanes that still stand today.
It is also the oldest, built in 1887 by Luisa Estrella. The house was named after Luisa’s nephew Jose Dakay Estrella to whom she gave the stone house.
Homoron Blue Lagoon
In the colonial era, the Homoron Blue Lagoon in Mahatao on Batan Island was called the Spanish Lagoon because only the Spaniards were allowed to swim here. Today, of course, you can take a dip in its waters any time you fancy.
From here, you can walk to the nearby White Beach if you want to swim in shallow waters with gentler waves. The White Beach is also a favorite go-to spot for picnics.
Diura Fishing Village
While you’re in Mahatao, visit the Diura Fishing Village and soak in the local activities, especially in the months of March and April where the age-old ritual of kapayvanuvanu is observed. The local fishermen perform this ritual to make sure that the incoming fishing season is a bountiful one.
San Jose de Ivana Church
The foundation of this church dates back to 1775. The ruins of the original church can still be found at the back of the new church. The National Historical Commission declared the San Jose de Ivana Church a National Historical Landmark. Apart from its history, the church is a beautiful, living example of the Filipino and Spanish craftsmanship.
Honesty Coffee Shop
Near San Jose de Ivana Church, you'll find the famous Honesty Coffee Shop. It is famous not for its coffee or its souvenirs; rather, it is famous because of its honesty system. The café, which is more like a sari-sari store (small convenience store) is unmanned.
They sell all sorts of inexpensive items that travelers may need or want for their tours including instant coffee, local bread and pastry, souvenir shirts, candy, crackers, and cup noodles. They have a thermos filled with hot water for your instant coffee and noodle.
You can get what you want, pay for the item, clean up after yourself, and leave the store feeling better about yourself. Retirees Jose and Elena Gabilo first opened the Honesty Coffee Shop in 1995 and so far, the honesty system works for both locals and tourists. The shop is open from 6:00 A.M. to 6:00 P.M.
Immerse Yourself in Sabtang
Your Batanes trip isn’t complete when you don’t visit the other islands beyond Batan, one of which is Sabtang. Here are some activities you can add in your Sabtang itinerary:
The Sabtang Lighthouse is the only lighthouse in Sabtang Island. The lighthouse immediately greets you as you approach the island, as it is located on a cliff near the port. The Sabtang Lighthouse’s column has a stone masonry finish, giving it a more organic, masculine look compared to the first two.
Ivatan’s Stone Houses
Apart from the House of Dakay, the best-preserved stone houses in Batanes can be found in Chavayan, Savidug, and Sinakan Villages on Sabtang Island. Some of these stone houses have stood proudly for more than 100 years.
At the Savidug Village on Sabtang Island, the streets are lined with centuries-old stone houses. You can spend hours walking along the streets and marveling at how the people were able to preserve them all these years.
If you’re looking to take a dip, go to Morong Beach in Sabtang Island instead and visit the Nakabuang Arch. Morong Beach has softer, kinder waves compared to other beaches in Batanes.
Morong Beach has a nearby restaurant, making it a famous lunch stopover during Batanes tours. If you are traveling with kids, Morong Beach is the place to be. Of course, there are some Batanes resorts with in-ground swimming pools but if you want to experience some waves, go to the beach!
Go on a Nature Trip at Itbayat
Check out these tourist spots in Itbayat that you can add in your itinerary. Take note that there are limited boat trips going to Itbayat and the travel time from Basco Port is around 2.5-3.5 hours if the weather is pleasant and waters are calm. It’s also recommended to stay here for a night and leave the next day back to Basco.
Marvel at the beauty of the four uninhabited islands north of Batanes when you go to the highest elevation in Itbayat. The view deck is one of Itbayat’s foundations that served as a settlement area for the people in Itbayat.
Torongan Cave and Torongan Hills
The massive Torongan Cave in Itbayat is said to be where the Austronesians from Formoso first landed back in 4000 BC. You can reach the cave by hiking for around 45 minutes to 1 hour where you’ll pass by a dense forest first.
After exploring Torongan Cave, hike up to the top of Torongan Hills where you’ll see burial markers in the shape of boats. It’s believed that this used to be a burial ground for the cave’s early settlers.
If you’re up for a challenge, take the 5- to 7-hour hike to and from Rapang Cliffs. This natural park is a picturesque destination with its bonsai arius tree-decorated cliffs and rocky hills. You’ll be rewarded with a breathtaking view of the island from its highest point.
Located at the foot of Paganaman Port’s cliff, you can take a refreshing dip with the locals at Itbayat’s swimming holes. The Small Lagoon has several natural swimming pools that are shallow enough for a relaxing swim after a day full of Batanes tours.
Hike Mt. Iraya or Mt. Matarem
If you’re up for a more physical activity, you can also hike Mt. Iraya and Mt. Matarem. Mt. Iraya in Batan, an active volcano, is the highest point in Batanes and is ideal for nature lovers and experienced (or daring beginner) hikers.
Mt. Iraya requires half to full-day hike depending on your pace. For beginners, you can hike Mt. Matarem instead, also located in Batan. For half a day, you can climb to the second-highest peak in Batanes which also features stunning views.
Where and What to Eat in Batanes
You will definitely be fulfilled not just by the stunning views in Batanes but also by the local dishes in the province which offer a unique cultural experience in the Philippines. Read on to find out the unique cuisine in Batanes, must-try dishes, and where to eat during your trip.
Unlike other destinations in the Philippines like Ilocos, Bicol, Cebu, and Iloilo that have distinct local cuisine, Batanes is not known as a food destination. Still, there are many local dishes here, the majority of which are seafood, that are surprising food finds and must-tries.
Batanes has its own unique way of limiting plastic waste. They serve traditional dishes wrapped in vunung or breadfruit tree leaves and the experience is a must-try.
This practice can also be observed in neighboring countries such as Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia. In Batanes, there are many restaurants and eateries that use vunung leaves as paper plates.
Recommended Batanes Foods
There are only a few restaurants in Batanes, but that shouldn’t stop you from having filling meals especially with unique dishes in the province. Here are some must-try dishes that are staples in Batanes restaurants or homestay kitchens.
This dish is made from grated banana heart or banana stalks mixed with ground meat and minced fish. It is normally served in meatball form but some restaurants and eateries wrap the uvud in leaves and steam them. There are also vegetarian versions of uvud but both are served with sauce.
Batanes also has its own version of Bicol’s famous laing, called vunes. It is made of preserved gabi (taro) leaves and stalks cooked with cream, garlic, pork and patola (sponge gourd). These are usually served in homestays and local restaurants in Batanes with rice.
Luñis or Luniz
Batanes also has its own spin on the classic Filipino adobo, called luñis. It looks different than your usual dark and usually wet adobo. Luñis/Luniz is made with pork and rock salt, cooked low and slow until the pork’s fat is rendered and the meat turns golden brown, where it gets its color. They don’t add soy sauce that’s why the luñis/luniz is paler and drier. Luñis/Luniz is eaten best dipped in vinegar and paired with rice.
At the Diura Fishing Village, make sure to try the dried mahi-mahi, which is one of the staple foods across the islands. The Mahi-mahi or “dorado” has a golden exterior mixed with green and blue hues.
Harvesting this type of fish, which is sometimes called the arayu, is part of the age-old kapayvanuvanua ritual in the fishing village of Diura. Even in today’s modern times, the Ivatans still practice this ritual to help ensure a bountiful harvest every year. The mahi-mahi is dried in the sun for preservation purposes.
Also known as the flying fish because it “flies” across the water when you try to catch it, this Batanes delicacy is worth trying. You can eat it kilawin-style (similar to ceviche), or dried and salted. Its dried version is also a great take-home food souvenir.
Lobster is usually expensive, but not in Batanes! Called payi by the locals, you can have a huge serving all to yourself at the fraction of the Manila price. You can eat lobster here every single day and it won’t cost you your life’s savings.
Some of the luxury and mid-range Batanes resorts have steamed lobsters on their menu. Other seafood that you should try in Batanes are Kanañis (octopus), uni (sea urchin), and dumay (sea snail) which are also served in restaurants and hotels across the province.
Practical Information and Tips
To better prepare for your Batanes trip, especially if you’re visiting for the first time, here are some travel tips you should remember to make your visit more enjoyable and hassle-free:
Bring enough cash in Philippine Peso (PHP). There are only 2 ATM in Basco, Batanes and there are no foreign exchange facilities in town. Commercial establishments also do not accept credit card payments, so it’s best to bring cash and be smart with your expenses.
Locals speak Ivatan, but the majority can speak and understand Filipino and English. Learning to speak the native tongue is a great way to befriend locals. Phrases like dius mamahes (thank you), ara ka mangu (how are you?), and avek dana / mangay aku na (goodbye) can go a long way.
What to Pack
Make sure you are prepared to travel simply. Bring the bare necessities with you. Remember that you’ll be doing a lot of walking and boat rides so pack light.
While bottled water is readily available in most convenient stores, be kind to Mother Earth (and your wallet). Bring your own water bottle and just refill from your hotel or homestay. This way, you also don’t have to carry empty water bottles around.
Sample Batanes Itinerary
Batanes is one of those destinations where a weekend is not enough to be able to visit its unique tourist spots. We highly recommend planning for 5 days and 4 nights trip to the Home of the Winds. Here's a sample itinerary to help you maximize your visit.
See our popular Batanes Vacation Packages
Day 1: Arrival + Basco
11:45 AM - ETA in Basco Airport, Batanes
12:30 PM - Check-in at a Basco Hotel, Relax
01:30 PM - Lunch
03:00 PM - Rent a bike or do a walking short tour of Basco
04:00 PM - Visit Mt. Carmel Church in Basco
06:00 PM - Dinner
Day 2: Sabtang Tour
05:30 AM - ETD to Ivana Port
06:30 AM - Board the faluwa for the Sabtang Island Tour
08:30 AM - Start of Sabtang Tour
12:00 NN - Lunch
01:00 PM. - Resume Sabtang Tour
02:00 PM - Board the faluwa back to Ivana Port
03:00 PM - Arrival at Ivana Port
03:30 PM. - Rent a bike. Visit Ivana Church and Honesty Coffee Shop.
05:00 PM - Watch the sunset while exploring Basco
06:00 PM - Dinner
Day 3: North Batan Tour
8:00 AM - Breakfast
9:00 AM - Bike or walk around town
11:30 AM - Lunch
1:00 PM - Start of North Batan Tour
5:00 PM - End of North Batan Tour
07:00 PM - Dinner
Day 4: South Batan Tour
07:00 AM - Breakfast
07:30 AM - Start of South Batan Tour
11:30 AM - Lunch
12:30 PM - Resume South Batan Tour
05:00 PM - End of tour. Last-minute shopping for souvenir.
07:00 PM - Dinner
Day 5: Departure
07:00 AM - Breakfast
08:00 AM - Visit the souvenir shops
09:30 AM - Hotel checkout. Go to the airport.
10:30 AM - Board plane back to Manila
Batanes is Waiting For You
When people think about the Philippines, they immediately think of a tropical paradise—pristine, white sand beaches, clear, blue waters, towering palm trees, and even the beach party vibe.
After all, the Philippine beaches are known around the world for its picturesque islands, particularly Boracay and Palawan. But, there are other islands in the Philippines that offer a unique island experience and Batanes is the best example of this.
Batanes is the perfect place to unwind and enjoy the wonders of nature. It’s a magical, almost surreal place to go if you want to get away from your busy daily life. Aside from relaxing getaways, it's also one of the best destinations to go to for a Philippine honeymoon package.
Explore Batanes tours and activities and Philippine travel packages that you can add in your itinerary for a hassle-free experience.
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