"Itbayat is totally different compared to Batan and Sabtang," says Ryan Cardona, my most trusted tour guide in Batanes.
It is the northernmost inhabited island in the Philippines! Yes, the municipality of Itbayat, Batanes may be hard to reach, but certainly worth the visit. Many have been to Batanes, but only a few dared to visit Itbayat. Ever wonder why? Maybe because it would really take time and extreme effort just to be there. It's totally different from the other parts of Batanes. As it is considered as one of world’s largest uplifted coral reefs, the island's topography is more rugged and more difficult to explore.
Itbayat is one of the most off-beat places I've been to, and I'm glad I got through all the hardships and conquered my fear just to visit this island far up north. Question is, "is it really only for the brave?" Hmmmmm... I believe, everyone can go to Itbayat; as long as you have the time and you just conquer your fears, you are set for an awesome adventure!
"The only thing we have to fear is fear itself." -Franklin D. Roosevelt
50 Awesome Photos That Will Make You Want To Take An Adventure To Itbayat, Batanes
If you are looking for a real adventure, then take a look at these 50 awesome photos of Itbayat, Batanes that will surely convince you that it is really worth visiting.
1. Our first sight of Itbayat Island! Awesome!
2. Along the way, we stopped at Panembatan Port to unload a passengerThis is located somewhere at the southwestern part of Itbayat Island.
After being smashed by huge waves for about 3-4 hours, we finally reached Chinapoliran Port in Itbayat. It was indeed the longest 3-4 hours of my dear life. Read our experience HERE.
3. We finally reached Chinapoliran PortThis is located somewhere in the northwestern part of the island.
4. This is the view from the top of Chinapoliran Port after disembarkationWe quickly went up the port after the very scary disembarkation from the faluwa boat.
5. Porters unloading the cargoes from the boat
We were fetched by our guide, Kuya Jojo (Contact Number: +63 920-660-3801) and brought us to our accommodation at Nanay Cano's Homestay in Barangay Sta. Maria, which is also known as Mayan Centro or the town center. Tricycle ride from the port to the town center is 100 pesos. Be sure to contact Kuya Jojo before going to Itbayat so he could arrange your transportation going to the town center.
After paying the tourism/environmental fee of 90.00 pesos at the municipal hall, we had a quick orientation while sipping a good cup of hot coffee and also had lunch before we started our tour.
6. On our way to Torongan CaveThe tricycle will stop at a point where you need to trek to get to the cave. There are a few tricycle in the island (about 3 or 4). Renting a tricycle costs 2,000 pesos for a group of 3 for a whole day of tour. Public transportation is very limited in Itbayat. So you just have to rent whatever is available.
7. Start of the 1-hour trek to Torongan CaveWe hiked through dense forest going to the cave. It was an easy hike with the help of our guide, Kuya Jojo. The standard tour guide fee is 1,000 per day.
8. Along the trail, you'll see stonehengesIf Batan is known for hedgerows; in Itbayat, you'll see stonehenges. This sets the boundaries of their properties.
9. After about 45 minutes, we finally reached the entrance of Torongan CaveYou need to go down to enter the cave. Just be careful and make sure you wear a sturdy pair of slippers or shoes.
10. Here's what you will see - High limestone walls
11. Interesting rock formations inside the cave
12. My friends look tiny from where I stand
13. First settlementThey say, this is the first settlement of our Austronesian ancestors who lived in Torongan Cave.
14. The wide chamber of Torongan Cave that opens to the seaArchaeologists believe that this opening served as the primary gateway for our Austronesian ancestors to enter Batanes.
15. Torongan Cave's openingThis is the most distinguishable spots in Itbayat. The one we always see on posters and magazines.
16. I am so happy to finally be here!
We then made our way out of the cave and hike up to the top of Torongan Hills. And this is what greeted us! WOW!
17. Expansive grassland
18. As well as huge rock formations
19. With amazing views of caves, cliffs and coastlines
20. We also got to see Dinem Island from a farItbayat also includes several small and uninhabited islands including Siayatan, Ditarem, A’li, Misanga and Mavulis.
21. And despite feeling so cold, we continued exploring...
22. We saw stone boat-shaped burial markers
23. Burial groundsWe learned that Torongan Hill is believed to be the burial ground of the ancient settlers of Torongan Cave
We then went down of the hill and went to where we left our tricycle and continued exploring. Now, we're heading to Yawran village (if I remember it correctly) which is known for its traditional cogon grass houses.
24. Red soil at Yawran Village
25. We passed by traditional houses made of cogon grass
26. We then entered one house where we met an Ivatan basket weaver
27. She's busy doing the meticulous weaving of the basket
28. Before we left this cute Ivatan girl bid us goodbye
It was already dark when we got back to our accommodation. We had dinner and had some booze before we called it a night. The following day, we had the chance to explore the town proper or Mayan Centro.
29. We saw school kids during their flag ceremony
30. A school kid waiting in front of the town church
31. We also went to Sta. Maria de Mayan Church just beside the school
32. The beautiful church which was built in the 1800's
33. On the left side of the church is the equally beautiful convent
34. We then continued exploring Itbayat's town proper
35. Vernacular houses around the town proper
36. Stone house with cogon roof
37. More traditional houses
38. Beautiful stone houses along the streets
39. Itbayat Municipal HallItbayat is composed of 5 barangays (villages), namely: San Jose (Raele), San Rafael (Idiang), Santa Lucia (Kauhauhasan), Santa Rosa (Kaynatuan) and the town proper of Santa Maria (Marapuy).
41. View of the town proper from the municipal hall
42. Houses with stone fences
43. Traditional houses use corals and boulders to strengthen them against typhoons
44. Ivatan stone house are quintessentially Batanes
45. Beautiful and sturdy Ivatan stone house
46. An old Ivatan man passing by and greeted us with a smile
We then readied ourselves for our flight back to Basco. We took a jeepney to the airport located at southern part of the island. Itbayat airport is an hour away from the town proper by land.
47. Itbayat Airport located at the southern part of the island
48. We're ready to leave Itbayat via a 10-minute plane ride to Basco
49. The breathtaking view of Itbayat's southern tip as seen from the plane. AWESOME!!!
50. Our very nice Ivatan guide in ItbayatThank you Kuya Jojo for taking care of our group. From the moment we stepped out of the boat until we rode the plane, you were always there for us and never left us. You are indeed the best guide in Itbayat Island!
Tour Guide in ItbayatYou may contact Kuya Jojo on his mobile number +63 920-660-3801. He can also arrange for your transportation (motorcycle, tricycle or truck if you're a big group) and accommodation in the island. Please note that mobile signal is not so good in Itbayat. So you have to be patient in contacting him. Smart Telecoms is the only telecom company that has signal in the island.
"If you think you've already seen Batanes, think again! Itbayat is a totally different story. Getting there is already an adventure in itself, don't miss this off-the-beaten destination that will test the real adventurer in you! Come and visit Itbayat!"
If you want to know more about Batanes' tourist spots and attactions, things to do, where to stay, where to eat, how to get there and more, CLICK HERE.
Note: This Itbayat trip happened on January 2014.
- 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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