At the far northern reach of the Philippines, Batanes is a group of 10 islands floating off the corner of the map near Taiwan. Only three of these specks are permanently inhabited: the main island, Batan; tradition-rich Sabtang; and remote Itbayat. Island landscapes alternate between greenery-clad extinct volcanoes, rugged cliffs, rolling hills, verdant pastureland and turquoise-wave-fringed white slivers of beach.

Batanes gets battered by typhoons on a regular basis. The locals, most of whom are of indigenous Ivatan stock and converse in Ivatan, build their houses to be typhoon-tough, positioned slightly underground with metre-thick limestone walls and bushy roofs made of cogon grass.

You may notice the wig-like headpiece that increasingly few Ivatan women wear; it is called a vakul, and it's made from abaca and the fibre of the voyavoy palm, found only in Batanes. The men wear a kanayi (vest made from voyavoy). Both protect the wearer from the sun and rain.

Explore Batanes


Top attractions

These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout Batanes.