Batanes

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

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Top attractions

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