Awesome sights and wonders await you at the Philippines’ northernmost gem that is Batanes.

Located at the northernmost tip of the Philippines is the province of Batanes — a geographic marvel of 10 islands with a vast promise of clear blue skies, crystal clear waters, magnificent views and polite, pleasant people ready to greet you on your next visit. Not to mention, a smorgasbord of healthy, organic vegetables and seafood that are set to satisfy.
Batanes offers travelers from all walks of life a taste of simple living and healthy eating — a perfect contrast from the fast-paced lifestyle you most likely want to escape from time to time. Here, its culture teaches one to appreciate life’s smallest things, which are sometimes the most beautiful, such as picturesque sunsets, or dipping your feet in cool waters while inhaling fresh air. Skyscanner lets you in on what to do, see and experience in Batanes:

1. Unleash your inner artist
You’ve come up all the way from Manila (or wherever you live in the fun Philippines) and now that you’re surrounded by all the beauty that is Batanes, it is the best time to soak up on all that sunny inspiration and express your creativity. Go ahead, secret poets. Burst out into song! The novelists among you should hunker down and write your first draft of that romance, or suspense story. Photographers, painters, sketchers, snap/paint/sketch away and immortalize that ebullient beauty around you. Let Batanes be your Muse.

Read more: 5 things that make Batanes the ultimate dream destination for Pinoys

Batanes
2. Nakabuang Beach, Sabtang Island
With no homes on Sabtang Island, one can only expect only the most unspoiled and secluded beach within the Batanes area. The most renowned of which is Nakabuang Beach, most famous for its iconic rocky arch that makes the perfect frame to all your beach vacation photographs. The waters here are pretty calm, making it perfect for swimming and chilling out. Add to that its pristine white sands set against cool blue skies and picturesque greenery and you have one amazingly relaxing spot to recharge your senses. Breathe deeply, enjoy the fresh air and cool breeze, and take it all in. Oh, and because of its untouched environment, look out also for some interesting traditional architecture across Sabtang too!

Read more: 9 reasons why your next getaway should be at Huma Island Resort

The iconic arch in Nakabuang Beach
3. Holy Cows!
And goats. And carabaos. They roam and graze freely by the hundreds. Get your photos taken. You’ve always wanted to milk a cow, so ask an Ivatan to teach you. While you’re at it, get to know about the Ivatan people and their lifestyle. If you’re lucky, they’ll tell you about the unmanned Honesty Cafe where you take all the souvenirs you want, eat all the pastries and drink the coffee, then drop your payment in a cash register. Or the unlocked chapel where a statue of the Virgin is adorned with real gold. Drink your fresh cow’s milk, say, “Dios Mamajes nu mapia” (God bless you with goodness, or thank you) and maybe you’ll be introduced to Lolo Elo Hostallero for some great legends of the islands. Don’t forget to ask how old he is!

Read more: 13 reasons to visit Bukidnon

Cows in Batanes
Photo credit: Darkofthemoon

4. Cross ancient bridges
Back in the 17th century, to encourage people to attend Mass, the Spanish built bridges to connect village to village and chapel to chapel. Get off our vehicle (rented car or bicycle is best) and walk this ancient path that has been tread upon for hundreds of years. Let the land, stones, and roads of Batanes massage your soles and sooth your soul. Admire the ingenious architecture. And if you find yourself in Chavayan, Sabtang (a boat ride away), cogon is also used to cover one’s head. Weavers use cogon to make headgear and footwear — they can cover you from top to toe! Don’t miss the mane-like wig that is a great and stylish SPF!

Read more: 6 popular tourist attractions in Davao

old spanish bridge batanes
_Photo credit: Anne Jimenez_

5. Sea that Lighthouse?
I bet you do. You can’t miss a sea so blue. Take a dip. And then walk along the coastline of Batanes, whose beaches are sometimes pebbles, sometimes white sand. Work up an appetite so that at sunset, when you get to the Lighthouse, you can sample Batanes cuisine. Delicacies not to miss include the tatus (coconut crab) and the dibang (flying fish). Order uvud if you’re a meat lover—it’s meatballs! Vunes are for the vegans; it’s dried gabi minced and lightly seasoned. Don’t skip that bukayo dessert too!

Read more: Top 10 road trips in Luzon

The Mahatao Tayid Lighthouse in Batanes
6. Still hungry?
Good for you! Try an Ivatan gustatory platter laid out in a Kabaya (large leaf) of organic foods that are good for your tummy and heart. Sample a smorgasbord of uve (ube), sudi (taro), wakay (camote), bulyas (onions), mais, dukay (togue), tamidok (fern) salad, ampalaya, okra and eggplant.

Craving for rice? Try yellow ginger rice. The geographical location of the Batanes islands, enjoying sunlight, coastal winds, and showers give these crops a distinctly sweet taste and crispiness that can’t be found anywhere else in the Philippines.

Read more: 10 Things To Do In Baguio City

Coconut Crabs in Batanes
Photo credit: karla redor

7. Skip the hotel and stay at an Ivatan’s home
The Bataan Cultural and Travel Agency can provide you with a list of families that open up their homes for tourists. You stand a chance to learn so much about these awesome people.

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