Mahatao, Uyugan and Ivana are considered as 6th class municipalities of Batanes located in the southern part of Batan Island.
We were supposed to go to Ivana, Mahatao, and Uyugan on our fourth day but the typhoon spoiled our plans. It was past midnight when the rain poured and I noticed that the aircon has been turned off. At first I thought, one of my friends turned it off because the weather outside made the temperature colder. So I just went back to sleep. But when we woke up the next day, we found out that we had no electricity due to the heavy rain outside. This is how a typhoon looked like in Batanes:
Since there’s a typhoon, we don’t know what else to do. We lost signal from both Smart and Globe. We wanted to recharge our phones and batteries but we can’t because there’s no electricity. We can’t even watch TV. We wanted to eat lunch but we can’t go outside because of the rain. Good thing we have snacks. We were only able to get out of the room when the weather calmed down at 3pm. Only then we started eating lunch. But the rain poured again so went back to the room and stayed until dinner.
We got bored, so we decided that instead of staying in the room doing nothing, why don’t we just go out and get wet in the rain? But when we went outside, the rain stopped. So we just walked around Basco and bought snacks from a sari-sari store. We went back to Batanes Resort and spent the rest of the night playing pusoy dos and tong-its.
The following day, the weather finally cleared up and we can feel we’re ready for the tour. We ordered packed lunches from Batanes Resort as we will be having our lunch outside. We first went to Mahatao.
Mahatao is situated 6 kilometers away from Basco. The town of Mahatao was originally called as San Carlos de Mahatao by then Assistant Governor Don Miguel del Amo in honour of the town’s patron saint, San Carlos de Borromeo. As of 2000, Mahatao has a population of 1,895 people in 388 households.
Mahatao View Deck
We find Mahatao Viewdeck a good place to relax as it provides a nice view of the mountains and the sea. It also has stone benches where we can rest. The stairs on the side lead us down to a better view of the sea with big waves crashing on rocks.
San Carlos Borromeo Church
San Carlos Borromeo Church was founded in 1789 and built in 1873. It is considered as the first church in Mahatao and was modeled after the Basco Cathedral. It is also one of the National Cultural Treasures by NCCA because of its architecture and cultural significance. Just near the church stands a pair of the oldest lighthouse in Batanes. Back then, lamps were still used to light the said lighthouse to guide the fishermen on the sea.
Ivana is 14 kilometers away from Basco located in the southwestern part of Batan Island. The town of Ivana was originally known as San Jose de Ivana and was established almost at the same time as Basco in 1783. As of 2000, Ivana has a population of 1,293 people in 283 households.
House of Dakay
House of Dakay is considered as the oldest standing house in Batanes since 1887. The house was previously owned by Luisa Estrella and is now owned by Lola Florestida Estrella, or also known as Lola Ida. She is now the most photographed person in Batanes. In fact, when we entered the house, she gladly showed us a copy of Reader’s Digest and other news clippings from famous magazines where she was featured.
San Jose de Ivana Church
The church is located in front of Ivana port and was built by Dominican priests in the 19th century. It is made of limestone with original baroque architercture.
Just across San Jose de Ivana Church is a port that had caught our attention. The area is filled with large cemented blocks shaped like “jackstones.” They said that these stones are used to block the big waves.
Honesty Coffee Shop
Just a few steps away from San Jose de Ivana Church is a small store which is known as the “Honesty Coffee Shop.” Like a typical sari-sari store, it sells snacks, softdrinks, candies and souvenirs. But what makes this store unique is how they implement their “honesty” policy. Since no one looks after the store, anyone who enters is expected to “honestly” pay for all the items he wishes to buy. We were so curious as to how it works so we tried buying some snacks. All we had to do is to list down the items we bought in the notebook and then dropped some cash in the payment box.
Where the Pacific Ocean meets the South China Sea
Kuya Nards then brought us to a place where the waves of the Pacific Ocean meets the South China Sea. The steep hills, magnificent rock formations and deep blue waters were truly breathtaking. Just beside the area is a small hut which was said to be the only spot in Batanes before that has a Smart signal.
It was almost lunchtime, so we decided to eat our packed lunch in an open area somewhere in Uyugan.
The Uyugan town proper is 19 kilometres away from Basco. In Ivatan, Uyugan means, “place of flowing water “. As of 2000, Uyugan has 1,268 people in 277 households.
Old Loran Station
After eating, we headed to the Old Loran Station, a former US navigational facility. The municipal governent of Uyugan is planning to restore the Old Loran Station because it is currently going through a process of being inscribed in UNESCO’s World Heritage List.
Ruins of Songsong
After lunch, we passed by Ghost Town or Ruins of Songsong. It was said that in the 1950’s, the town has been hit by a tidal wave, destroying all the houses. That is all that has been left of it. We were not allowed to go near as the area is now declared as a protected zone.
Racuh A Payaman aka “Marlboro Country”
Racuh A Payaman, famously known as the “Marlboro Country,” is often compared to the location of the TV commercial of a famous cigarette brand and offers a breathtaking view of the farm fields and the Pacific Ocean. Mahatao lighthouse and Mt. Iraya can also be seen from this place.
This octagonal lighthouse is situated in a town of Mahatao near Marlboro Country. This lighthouse has its own beauty that attracts the tourist. We were not able to go inside and climbed up the lighthouse so we just enjoyed the view around it.
Spring of Youth
Before we reached the Spring of Youth, we had to enter Diura, the fishing village. From there, we hiked 30 minutes to the Spring of Youth. As we reached the end of the spring, we saw a grotto of Virgin Mary standing nearby. The place is also known as the “fountain of youth” and has been said that the water coming from the spring will make us look younger. But since we had to walk back again for 30 minutes, we felt like we didn’t get any younger.
After that long walk from Spring of Youth, we went back to Basco and tried out the pizza at Casa Napoli for dinner. Casa Napoli is located at Abad St. in Basco, Batanes. Their service was good and we were able to watch the cook make pizza as he hand tossed the dough up in the air, spin them around and catch it again. The pizza tasted great! After eating, we went back to Batanes Resort, packed our things for our flight the next day, and slept with a smile on our face for the wonderful day that we had.