North Batan Attractions: A Photo Tour

First time in Batanes, Philippines? If you have less than a week to spend in Batanes, you can start in North Batan Island on your first day. Read on to discover North Batan attractions you can visit in one day.

It’s been a year since I first set foot on scenic Batanes but I have only written one article about it, where I described unique things I learned about this remote Philippine town.  It’s not because there’s nothing much to say about Batanes, only that some priorities (hiding by the name, work) had come in the way.

Batan Island is one of the islands comprising the Batanes Group of Islands.  For a small island with a lot of scenic attractions, tours in Batan Island are normally split into South Batan and North Batan attractions.  A day could easily be filled exploring one area at a time.

North Batan is perfect for starting your day seeing the sights of Batanes. It is where Basco, the province’s capital is, where the airport is and where most of the accommodations are located.  If you want to find out what North Batan attractions to enjoy in a day, read on below.

North Batan attractions

North Batan Attractions in a Day

Mt. Carmel Chapel in Tukon Hills

Mt. Carmel Chapel or Tukon Chapel is perched on top of Tukon Hills overlooking Pacific Ocean and the West Philippine Sea.  The chapel’s architecture is clearly inspired by the traditional stone houses of Ivatans.  From here, you can also have an unobstructed view of Mt. Iraya.  Building of the chapel was led by the Abad family, one of the most prominent families in Batanes.

North Batan attractions

North Batan attractions

Murals in the chapel were creations of Ivatan artists

North Batan attractions

At the choir's station of Mt. Carmel Chapel

North Batan attractions

Beside the chapel is a small school. Found these jolly children playing after school

North Batan attractions North Batan attractions

Mt. Iraya in the backdrop. We all need some "me" time at times.

PAG-ASA Weather Station

Not far from Mt. Carmel Chapel, you can wind your way through the PAG-ASA Weather Station.  The tower in the photo you see below used to hold the station’s Doppler Radar, which is used to measure direction and speed of precipitation.  Unfortunately, the instrument was damaged by mega typhoon Ferdie last September 2016 at powerful Signal No. 4.

From the weather station, you can get sweeping views of the ocean, Batan Island, Itbayat Island, Fundacion Pacita (next attraction below) and hedgerows called liveng in Ivatan term.

North Batan attractions North Batan attractions

A Doppler radar which looks like a huge soccer ball used to sit atop the tower

North Batan attractions

Three months after Typhoon Ferdie, its damaging effects were still eminent in the vast landscape. That's Mt. Carmel Chapel at the right. 

Fundacion Pacita Nature Lodge

Currently the most luxurious lodging in Batanes is Fundacion Pacita Nature Lodge.  It is not surprising to see artworks around the property as this place used to be the home and studio of the renowned Filipina artist Pacita Abad.

North Batan attractions

Lovely garden within the property

North Batan attractions

Fundacion Pacita's Cafe de Tukon

North Batan attractions

Love the colorful homey floor tiles of . Pacita Abad's paintings are always vividly colored. Cafe de Tukon's flooring is similarly vibrant with these Aztec-y tiles.

North Batan attractions

We walked our way a few meters from the lodge. How can you be tired with this view? 

North Batan attractions

North Batan attractions

Not sure but those blue chairs in progress looked like they will soon be seating guests at Fundacion Pacita

Fundacion Pacita

Photo by my photographer friend, Elena Taeza

Idjang Didawud

Idjang Didawud refers to a geologic formation that once served as habitation, fortification and look-out point to protect the Ivatans from invaders.

North Batan attractions

Dipnaysuhuan Japanese Tunnel

Descending towards the east from Tukon Hill is a hidden network of tunnels built during the Japanese occupation for their hideout.  You have to duck at the small hole entrance until a few more steps where the walls are high enough for one to stand up.  Our guide brought flashflight for us to see through our path. He pointed us to a small tunnel further down but informed us that visitors are not allowed to explore further from there as the steps down is damp and slippery.

North Batan attractions

Our guide literally guiding our way through the tunnel

North Batan attractions

The tunnel's exit

Valugan Boulder Beach

Valugan Boulder Beach is at the east coast of North Batan.  The beach is fascinatingly rimmed by wave-polished boulders, formed from the eruption of Mt. Iraya.  This boulder beach reminded me of Mabua Pebble Beach in Surigao (click here to see why), which I would say is the cute version of Valugan Boulder Beach.  Because of its orientation, the boulder beach is a perfect spot for sunrise watching.  Marvel at the splashing power of the Pacific Ocean but be careful not to get too close to the crashing waves.  Remember, you are not like the boulders who can’t be moved.

North Batan attractions North Batan attractionsMy very first attempt on a long exposure shot using an ND filter. I could hardly get my bearings as I struggle to stabilize my tripod, dig the right settings and do all these in a cramped time as the drizzle threatens to become a full-blown rain.

North Batan attractions North Batan attractions

I love how the polished look of the boulders seem more vivid as it gets splashed by the Pacific Ocean

Vayang Rolling Hills

What is it about rolling hills that almost always involuntarily raises your arms, makes you hold your head high, and then take in a lungful of fresh air?  There is no running out of verdant landscapes in Batanes and Vayang Rolling Hills is one place to enjoy that.

North Batan attractions

At this point in our tour, dark clouds began to hover over Mt. Irisan.  The wind got from strong to extra strong, too.

North Batan attractions North Batan attractions 

Naidi Hill Complex and Basco Lighthouse

Basco Lighthouse, standing confidently atop Naidi Hill, is probably the most iconic landmark of Batanes.  Climb its spiral staircase and you will be rewarded with a panoramic view of seascape, lush greenery and Mt. Iraya.  I may not have been good enough for goodness sake because the weather had not been nice to me as the thick clouds were obstructing my view of Mt. Iraya.

North Batan attractions

Spiral staircase up the Basco Lighthouse

North Batan attractions North Batan attractions

Sunset at Naidi Hills

North Batan attractions

Hello dark clouds! I want you to go away, but I'll shoot you anyway

Sto. Domingo Cathedral

This church is built during the Spanish occupation under the supervision of Dominican friars.  It is conveniently located at the town center.

North Batan attractions

North Batan attractions

The 10 Commandments, Ivatan version

North Batan attractions


Yaru Nu Artes Gallery

Yaru Nu Artes Gallery showcases a collection of artworks by Ivatan artists.  Artworks displayed and are for sale include paintings, handicrafts, metal crafts and other souvenir items.  Works of art on display in this gallery are not only a medium for promoting Ivatan culture and natural stunning landscapes.  It is also a venue for the artists to express their views and advocacy on social and environmental issues.  The eye-catching wooden mosaic at the entrance to the gallery is hard to miss.

North Batan attractions North Batan attractions

Getting Around Batanes

You can get around the sites of Batanes by biking (there’s a guide here), renting motorcycles, or hiring tricycles (3 persons per tricycle).  Bear in mind though that due to its remoteness, fuel in Batanes is relatively more expensive than other parts of the Philippines.

If you are visiting for the first time and want a certain level of comfort, you can choose a guided tour for small groups.  This is a favorable option if you have limited time and want to get the most out of your trip.   Also think of it as a way of supporting local guides and tour companies and a means of getting to know Batanes from a local’s perspective.

We availed the 3-day tour package of Bisumi Tours and Services and I will have no hesitation recommending it.  Our Day 1 comprises North Batan attractions, Day 2 - Sabtang Island and Day 3 - South Batan. You may check out other DOT-accredited travel and tour agencies here.

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North Batan attractions

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  1. Ariel 28 January, 2018 at 15:12 Reply

    This place really wowed me, especially the beach and the rolling hills. I had never heard of this place before but I definitely want to go and see all of this beautiful land. Your pictures are absolutely captivating. Thank you for sharing.

  2. Jenn and Ed Coleman 28 January, 2018 at 23:23 Reply

    I am afraid that most of what I know about Batan comes from watching war movies, which is why the Japanese tunnels are particularly interesting. The island seems beautiful, grey skies and all. Photo hint- if you’re shooting long exposure and are having a hard time stabilizing your shot, consider using a timer for the trigger release. a 1 second timer will take away almost all of the shutter shot. Jenn has a lot steadier hands than I do so all my long exposure shots are rubbish compared to hers.

  3. katierussellsworld 30 January, 2018 at 15:04 Reply

    I loved the photos of the kids playing. Something about the innocense of children makes me wish we all could live that free our whole lives. Great photos!

  4. whyyouwander 1 February, 2018 at 01:35 Reply

    Beautiful photo essay.. I had heard about the Japanese tunnels, but interesting to see pictures and the fact that it is accessible easily to visitors. Love the wooden mosaics at the museum. Thank you for sharing.

  5. Chris Behrsin 1 February, 2018 at 16:27 Reply

    What an amazing place. I’ve seen those boulder before in photos, but I’ve never been able to place them. I wonder if the chapel (looks beautiful by the way) was also taken using boulders from the beach.

    • findingjing 8 February, 2018 at 13:51 Reply

      Hi! structures in the island were made of limestone, corals and yes, boulders, as these are what’s available within the island. Not sure though if they actually obtained that used for the church from the boulder beach. Good question, though. That made me think about it, too. 🙂

  6. lukeandmeagan 1 February, 2018 at 18:20 Reply

    Your photos are stunning. Especially when you get away from some of the more city-looking bits, those winding roads and the beaches/light house look incredible. Thank you for sharing!!

  7. Elijah Rodriguez 2 February, 2018 at 00:05 Reply

    Beautiful, vibrant photos! The ones of the big, spherical rocks on the beach almost make it look like they’re popping out of my screen. Never heard of this place until today, thanks for shining light on it!

  8. Roy 16 January, 2020 at 06:14 Reply

    Hello, would you know if getting around North Batan (I mean, to the top attractions) can be done on foot? If so, can it be done in one day?

    • findingjing 16 January, 2020 at 10:44 Reply

      Hi Roy! The attractions are quite far from each other for a walking tour. You may want to rent a bicycle (note that there might be steep ascents) if you want to DIY. Hope this helps.

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