GENERAL INFORMATION (BATANES)
- The Church of Sto, Domingo de Basco, also called the Basco Cathedral,is the oldest in the province. Established in 1783, it is dedicated the Immaculate Conception and was first built from 1787 to 1796. It was later destroyed by a typhoon. The present lovely white Baroque church was built in the espadaña style in 1812 by the Dominican friars. Its façade fell to the ground during the July 16, 2000 magnitude 7 earthquake. The convent beside the church was built in 1814.
- The mist-shrouded, 1,517-m. high Mt. Iraya, the highest in the province, is an extinct volcano is located northeast of Basco. It first erupted two million years ago and last erupted in 505 AD where it deposited huge piles of ball and egg-shaped stones on the mountain’s side. About 50 to 60% of the mountain is covered with dense rainforests (the largest remaining forest in the province). At the 200-500 m. mark are lowland forest, lower montane forest at the 500 to 800 m. mark and montane grassland above 800 m.. A mossy section, with majestic tree ferns, is found at the upper level. The mountain is also laced with springs which supply fresh water to Basco. The mountain can be climbed in a day. The probably wet and muddy summit that may be viewless due to thick clouds. The descent takes about 3-4 hrs..
- Naidi Hills, at Sitio Diajang, northwest of Basco town proper, is a good leisurely warm-up for a Batanes trek. It has a unique panoramic view of Baluarte Bay, Basco town, Mt. Iraya, the sunset and the rolling hills. Naidi was the site of what used to be the country’s tallest wireless communications facility, bombed by the Japanese planes on December 8, 1941. Only the base remains. Also on the hill are the damaged and abandoned buildings that used to house the communications facilities. The hill also has a magnificent, six-storey lighthouse, located a few meters away from Radyo ng Bayan station. It has a view deck on the fifth floor. An Ivatan stone house constructed of native materials and essentially of vernacular architecture, ushers in visitors. On a clear day, one can view the whole of Batanes from end to end plus the islets beyond Itbayat. A bed and breakfast service is an added amenity.
- The Provincial Capitol was built as the Casa Real (Spanish Governor- General's residence) from 1794 to 1798.
- Dipnaysujuan Tunnels, on Mt. Iraya, is accessible via the Vajangshin Road. Bring a reliable guide and a lamp. This abandoned Japanese-built World War II network of six 8-ft. high and 6-ft. wide bat-filled tunnels has five openings; three on the upper level (serving as observation points overlooking Baluarte Bay) and the remaining two are on the lower levels. A concrete bunker on top of the network served as a machinegun nest.
- Radar Tukon, located about 300 meters above sea level, is a 2.75-km. hike from Basco. This abandoned pre-war hilltop U.S. weather station offers a magnificent view of Batan Island, South China Sea, boulder-lined cliffs, Mt. Iraya and the magnificent pastoral beauty of hedgerows and fields on one side and the Pacific Ocean on the other side. At present, it houses the PAGASA Radar Station where typhoons that enter and leave the country's area of responsibility are monitored. Its huge satellite disk was ripped off by gale-force winds even before it was put to effective use.
- The town's idjang is accessible by following the Didawud Trail between Km. 1 and 2 (before the BATANELCO Power Plant). It is a steep 30-min. uphill hike along dirt trails and brush. Geologists surmise that this idjang is molten magma from Mt. Iraya that cooled off to form a plug for an extinct volcanic crater.
- Espicoco Beach is located a few hundred meters from the south road and Valugan Bay, 3 kms. from Basco. This 1 km. long, palm-lined stretch of white sand beach has multi-colored rocks.
- Nakamaya Burial Area
- Do'tboran Cave
- Eastern Sarokan Cave
- Northern Sarokan Cave
- Pevangan Cave
- An underground stream, northwest of the town, in Kumayasakas, flows down the sea.
- Torongan Cave is an ancient dwelling place with a burial ground on top. It is believed to be the first landing place of the Austronesians from Taiwan in 2000 BC.
- Nahini Votox, with its own idjang and boat-shaped burial grounds, is also an ancient settlement with plenty of broken clay pots.
- Agosan Rock, a rock formation north of Itbayat, is a breeding site for endangered birds.
- The 231-m. high Mt. Riposed is an extinct volcano on the eastern side of the island.
- The 278-m. high Mt. Sta. Rosa (also called Mt. Korobonan), an extinct volcanoon the northern coast, was an old settlement for the early settlers of Itbayat. It commonly slopes gently downward from the rim to the west. Its terrain is typically flat, coarse grassland.
- Dinem Island
- Mavudis Island
- Siayan Island
- Y'ami Island is only 46 miles south of the southernmost tip of Taiwan.
- The Church of St. Joseph the Worker, built in 1785 and renovated in 1844, is located in front of the town’s port. It has 3-m. thick walls and was the only one not built in the espadaña style. Its separate fortress-like bell tower, the only one in the province, has a crenellated top. Here, Filipino revolutionaries hoisted their flag after renouncing their loyalty to Spain on September 1898.
- Hapnit, Mavaturu Point and Vatang all have white sand beaches.
- The House of Dakay, built in 1877, is the province's oldest traditional house. It withstood the September 13, 1918 earthquake and the July 16, 2000 magnitude 7 earthquake.
- The Spanish era Tubal Bridge (or Bridge of San Jose) plus five other bridges, all built between 1850 and 1860 without the use of steel reinforcement.
- Maydangeb White Beach
- The Church of San Carlos Borromeo, was completed by Dominican friars in 1789 and the present structure dates to 1873. It has an espadaña-style façade similar to Basco Cathedral, with two round arches at roof levels for the bells and massive buttresses at the outer walls (which serve as stairways for servicing its then cogon-covered roof). The church is now listed as a National Cultural Treasure.
- Racuh a Payaman, located at Mahatao’s outskirts, is popularly called the “Marlboro Country of Batanes,” a referral derived from a TV ad, mainly because of the rolling hills of limitless grazing land where cattle, carabao and horses are aplenty. This huge track of communal pastureland, preserved by the villagers, have fields often hedged with trees that break the wind’s full fury and allow root crops to grow.
- The Viewing Deck of Chawa, at the top of the Chawa winding road, has a panoramic view of the rugged cliffs that hug the road to the southern towns.
- Harbor Park
- Charatayan Viewpoint
- Maratay Viewpoint
- Mt. Matarem Spring Viewpoint
- Old Racuaydi Settlement
- Valugan Waterfalls
- White Beach
- White Rock Point
- The Enchanted Cave of Chawa, 4 kms. from Basco, has a natural salt bed. It opens to the South China Sea and is accessible through the boulders of Chawa Point.
- The Racuaydi Legendary Spring of Youth, in Brgy. Racuaydi, is located 9 kms. from Basco. A 30 min. hike from Sitio Diura, this living cave has crystal limestone formations.
- Cave of Sida
- Crystal Tunnel (Mananoy Cove)
- Diahaw Cave
- Dimbak Cave and Natural Spring
- Hapñit Cave
- Tuvuan Stalactite Cave
- Di-atay Beach, located along the highway in Sitio Diatay, 9.85 kms. from Basco and 2 kms. from Mahatao, is situated on a beautiful cove facing the South China Sea. It has multi-colored rocks and white sand. Di-atay Maiden Waterfalls, located nearby, has a natural rock formation that strongly resembles the face of the Black Nazarene.
- Spanish-era lamp posts, at the church courtyard and at the elementary school grounds, were used as guiding lights to guide fishermen and early mariners safely to the anchorage just beyond the town's seaport.
- The town’s Spanish-era bridge still retains its centuries-old features.
- The Cariaso Residence has ivied walls.
- Surfing is possible in Madiwvedwed. However, you have to bring your own surfboards.