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Wow Pinas! Batanes: The Natures Playground

   A series of volcanic activities and other geologic forces created the island-province of Batanes millions of years ago.
 
   The province is home to the famous Ivatans who are nationally acclaimed as the "True Insulares". The Ivatans are of Malay stock, tracing their roots to early immigrants from Formosa, Taiwan as well as Spaniards who came to the island in the 16th century. Being an insular people, the Ivatans have kept the puity of their gene pool through the time.
 
   Batanes lies at the northernmost tips of the Philippine, where the Pacific Ocean merges with the South China Sea. It is composed of three major islands, namely: Batan which contains the capital town of Basco, Sabtang, and Itbayat. Close by are seven islets including Amianan, which is the closest to Formosa. Thus, Batanes has been identified as the country's potential gateway to East China.
 
Georgraphy
    The island-province is strewn on a 4,500 square kilometer expanse of territorial waters, the Luzon Strait and Balintang Channel, where the Pacific Ocean merges with the South China Sea, a sealane between the Philippines and the southern parts of Japan, China, HonKong, and Taiwan. It is bounded on the north by the Bashi Channel, on the east by the Pacific Ocean, on the west by the South China Sea, and on the south by the Balintang Channel. It is characterized by gently rolling hills, cliffs and black and white sand beaches.
 
     Batanes is about 860 kilometers (approx. 525 miles) from Manila. Basco, the capital town, is about 280 kilometers north of Aparri and about 190 kilometers south of Taiwan.
 
Climate
    The Batanes weather is rather pleasant. Compared to the rest of the country, Batanes is blessed with a cooler, balmier climate. It enjoys pratically four seasons, the best one being summer which is from March to June. Average rainfall is 450 mm.
 
Language / Dialect
     The mother tongue of Batanes is Ivatan, spoken by 93.94 percent of all households. The Ilocano dialect is also spoken while Filipino and English are generally spoken and understood.
 
Major Industries
     The province has a total agricultural land area of 5,438 hectares and has a wide area open for agricultural expansion. Due to its terrain, it is a major livestock producter with cattle as its main stock. Carabaos and goat are also popularly raised. Another major industry is fishing which reaches its peak during the summer months, from March to June, when the seawater is relatively calm.
 
NATURE SPOTS
 
Sabtang Island
   Chosen as one of the 12 Best Destinations in the Philippines by the Department of Tourism in 1994, this island southwest of Tourism in 1994, this island southwest of Batan Island remains undisturbed and unspoiled. It has intermittent white sand beaches, steep mountains, and deep canyons with small level areas sporadically found along the coastline. Accessible in 30 minutes by falowa from Radiwan Port in Ivana. Also the take off point for Ivuhos Island from Barangay Nakanmuan.
 
Itbayat Island
   Located north of Batan Island, it 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. Ferries run the Batan-Itbayat route; travel time is about four hours by falowa from Basco Airport to Itbayat in 12-minute trips at PhP700.00/pax.
 
Di-atay Beach
     A beautiful cove with multi-colored rocks and white sand. Ideal for picnics and beach combing. Located along the national highway between Mahatao and Ivana; 9.85 kilometers from Basco.
 
Songsong
     (Chadpian Bay). Famous for its beautiful sunset view and big stone boulders. It is three kilometers or an hour of exhilirating trek from Basco proper. Naidi Hills. A walking distance from Basco.
 
Chawa Cave
    Believed to be an enchanted cave, it has a natural salt bed and a mouth that opens to the South China Sea and is accessible through the boulders of Chawa Point in Mahatao. Located four kilometers from Basco.
 
Trekking
    Popular activity at Marlboro Hills and Naidi Hills.
 
Surfing
   Popular activity at Madiwedved, Mahatao.
 
Bird Watching at Cuyab
    Observe the migratory birds from China that flock the islands in search for a warmer climate every October.
 
CHURCHES
 
San Carlos Borromeo Church & Convent (Mahatao). Founded in 1789 and built in 1873, it has a facade modeled after that of Basco Cathedral, with two round arches at roof level for the bells. On its outer walls are massive buttresses that used to serve as stairways to the roof - a thing of convenience in the olden days when frequent repairs had to made to the cogon grass roofing. The church still retains its centuries-old features. Located six kilometers from Basco.
 
Church of Sto. Domingo de Basco (Basco Cathedral). Established in 1783, it is the oldest and most important church in Batanes. To give the facade stability and strength against earthquakes and typhoon winds, the church walls were buttressed with massive pilasters from foundation to top. The church is dedicated to the Immaculate Concepcion, patroness of Batanes.
 
San Vicente Ferrer Church (Sabtang Island). Another church modeled after the one in Basco. Following an unfortunate incident is 1790, when Spanish emissaries sent to procure goods from the parish were killed by some natives, the people of Sabtang were forcibly resettled across the channel to Ivana and not allowed to return until 1844 when the foundations of the present church were laid.
 
GETTING THERE
 
By Sea
   The Batanes Multi-Purpose Cooperative now carries the MV Ivatan Princess which runs the Currimao, Ilocos Norte-Basco, Batanes route.
 
By Air
   SEAIR flies to Batanes from Manila three times a week
 
CHEMTRAD
   CHEMTRAD which flies the Tuguegarao-Basco route. Schedule of flights vary especially during peak season but normally flies on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Travel time is around 1 hour and 3o minutes. Fare is around P2,300 one way as of October 2002
 
  Please be informed that on some flights there are not enough passengers and if you really need to reach your destination, you may have to pay additional amount to compensate for the vacant seat. The positive side of it is if you're travelling as a group, you can actually arrange your flight schedule as long as you pay the full seating capacity. Its best to confirm these details when you make your reservation.
 
 

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