We woke up early on our 2nd day in Batanes. From our accommodation, we were fetched by Ryan, our tour guide and brought us to the port in the town of Ivana where we will be riding the boat going to the island of Sabtang. Batanes is known to have strong waves, and I've heard a lot of stories from friends about how enormous the waves. Their motorized boats are locally called "faluwa", which are boats designed to withstand the strong waves. These boats don't have a "katig" or outriggers as it would only be crashed by the strong waves while at the sea.
- Travel Tip: A Guide on Planning a Trip to Batanes
- Where to Stay in Basco, Batanes: Marfel's Lodge
- Batan Island North Tour
- Batan Island South Tour
- Where to Eat in BATANES: Pension Ivatan Hometel and Restaurant
- Where to EAT in BATANES: Bunker's Cafe at Naidi Hills, Basco Batanes
- Where to EAT in BATANES: Paypanapanayan Canteen in Sabtang Island
- Where to EAT in BATANES: Marconines Canteen in Racuh A Payaman
- Where to EAT in BATANES: Vatang Grill and Restaurant in Ivana
- What to Buy in Batanes - Souvenirs and Pasalubong
Top Things to Do, Places to Visit, Tourist Spots and Attractions in Sabtang, Batanes
You can find many amazing places and do many things in Batanes. I've listed here the top tourist spots and attractions, things to do and places to visit on our visit to Sabtang Island.
The quaint town of Sabtang is the southernmost island municipality of the Batanes island group. It is composed of 6 villages, namely Chavayan, Malakdang (Poblacion), Nakanmuan, Savidug, Sinakan (Poblacion) and Sumnanga.
From the port of Ivana, you could already see the island of Sabtang.
The waves were dancing as we traveled from Ivana to Sabtang. Although some of the passengers were already vomiting, I kept myself calm. I even stood in front of the faluwa when I already got used to the waves after 10 minutes upon leaving Ivana port. I've survived the furious waves of Zambales and Palaui island in Cagayan, so these kind of waves are not new to me. The 40-minute boat ride to Sabtang is just fine. Yes, there are huge waves, but if you're already used to it, it doesn't matter anymore. I wonder now how the waves would be when I finally visit Itbayat this month. That I have to know.
Upon reaching the port of Sabtang, we walked towards the tourism office aka "Heritage" to register. While waiting for our chartered jeepney, we checked on Sabtang Church.
1. Sabtang ChurchThis century-old church is dedicated to San Vicente Ferrer. Built by the Dominicans as a small chapel in 1785, the current church is made from stones and lime built in 1844.
The National Historical Institute declared the church, convent and the site of the beaterio as a "National Historical Landmark" in 2008.
The marker installed in front of the church reads:
"Itinayo bilang kapilya ng mga Dominikano, 1785. Napabayaan nang sapilitang pinalipat ang mga mamamayan sa Ivana matapos ang pag-aaklas ni Aman Dangat, 1791. Ginawa sa apog at bato sa ilalmin ni P. Antonio Vicenter, O.P., 1844. Ipinaayos ni P. Gumersindo Hernandez, O.P. ang kampanaryo matapos masira ng bagyo, 1956. Isinaayos ang loob ng simbahan at pinalitan ng bubong na yero ni P. Rafael Carpintero, O.P., 1983-1984."
2. Savidug VillageLocated just 3 kilometers away from the town center, it is the first village outside the poblacion. This village abounds with old traditional Ivatan stone houses. Here, you'll get to walk along the village's old streets with rows of centuries-old houses made of stones binded by lime. This is the image of Batanes I've been wanting to see. To walk along its streets with old stone houses is a dream come true. I felt ecstatic as we check on several houses and I was amazed at how they have preserved them though the years.
There are 3 types of traditional Ivatan stone houses, "maytuab", "sinadumparan" and "jinjin". In Savidug, I only saw 2 types, "maytuab" and "sinadumparan".
"Maytuab", a one-storey house with thick walls made from stones and lime. It has 4-sided thick cogon grass roof (cuatro aguas) and a partially submerged basement that functions as a storage area.
"Sinadumparan" is also a one-storey house with thick walls and cogon grass roofing. The difference is, it has 2-sided roof (dos aguas).
The 3rd type is called "jinjin", which has walls made of woven cogon with bamboo or wood framework instead of stone walls. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to take a photo of a jinjin-type house.
3. St. Thomas Aquinas Chapel and Old BeaterioThis is a small chapel in the village. Beside it is an abandoned old beaterio, a priest's house. You could enter the beaterio and have your photo taken. Just be careful as its wooden floor is not sturdy anymore.
4. Chamantad Cove and Tinyan ViewpointThe grass-laden slopes of Chamantad Cove and Tinyan Viewpoint are really sights to behold. Here, I was able borrow a bicycle from a local and biked along the road. We also trekked the slopes of Tinyan and had a stunning view of Chamantad Cove. How I wish I could go down and swim in the beach. But it's not possible as we don't have much time. Lastly, I was able to wear the famed traditional Ivatan all-weather gears, the "talugong" which is worn on the head and the "kanayi", a man's vest worn on the shoulders.
5. Chavayan VillageWe then continued going southwards to the village of Chavayan. This village also abounds with old Ivatan houses. These houses have thick walls made from various sizes of boulders clustered together by lime. Roofs are made of several layers of cogon grass to withstand water and insulate from heat. Ivatan houses are obviously designed to withstand the typhoons frequenting the islands. What I like about Chavayan is the community is near the beach. I would love to stay here overnight when I visit Batanes again.
6. Sabtang Weavers AssociationAlso in Chavayan Village, you'll see here some weavers of "vakul". A "vakul" is a traditional head-and-back woven gear for women made from stripped leaves of vuyavuy also known as Philippine date palm.
They also sell their finished vakul as souvenir for 150 to 500 pesos each depending on the size.
7. Chavayan ChapelThe only remaining church in Batanes roofed with cogon grass. This small church in Chavayan village is also called Sta. Rosa de Lima Chapel.
8. Morong Beach, Mayahaw Arch and Nakabuang CaveLocated in Barangay Malakdang, one of the poblacion barangays, this is where we had our late lunch. The place is famous for Morong beach which has a long stretch of white sand, the natural rock formation called Mayahaw Arch and Nakabuang Cave. I will write about what we had for lunch on a separate post.
9. Sabtang LighthouseThis lighthouse is the most prominent structure that you will see upon reaching Sabtang Island. It sits on a rocky cliff overlooking the rough sea.
At around 3:00 PM, we bid goodbye to this lovely island and took the faluwa going back to Ivana in Batan Island. As they say, a visit to Sabtang is never complete unless you stay here for a least a night. That I have to do on my next visit.
Batanes is one of the top 10 up and coming tourist destinations in the country dubbed as the "Philippine Gems". Visit Batanes and experience its charm, beauty and lovely people. If I were to write an article on "10 must-see places in the Philippines before you die", Batanes will definitely be on my list.
This is part of my 5-day trip to Batanes that happened on May 6-10, 2013. Batanes is the 79th province on my list.
- Planning a trip to Batanes? Read this practical Travel Guide on: "How to Plan a Trip to Batanes on a Budget"
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