Batanes (Ivatan: Probinsya nu Batanes; Tagalog: Lalawigan ng Batanes) is an archipelago province in the Philippines situated in the Cagayan Valley region. It is the northernmost province in the country, and also the smallest, both in population and land area. Its capital is Basco located in the island of Batan.
The island group is located approximately 162 kilometres (101 mi) north of the Luzon mainland and about 190 kilometres (120 miles) south of Taiwan, separated from the Babuyan Islands of Cagayan Province by the Balintang Channel, and from Taiwan by the Bashi Channel. The entire province is listed in the UNESCO tentative list for inscription in the World Heritage List. The government has been finalizing the site's inscription, establishing museums and conservation programs since 2001. The government aims to push for the site's inclusion between 2018 and 2019. Seven intangible heritage elements of the Ivatan have been set by the Philippine government in its initial inventory in 2012. The elements are undergoing a process to be included in the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage Lists between 2018 and 2025.
|Province of Batanes|
Batanes Provincial Capitol at Basco.
Location in the Philippines
|Region||Cagayan Valley (Region II)|
|• Type||Sangguniang Panlalawigan|
|• Governor||Marilou Cayco (Liberal)|
|• Vice Governor||Ronald Aguto (Independent)|
|• Total||219.01 km2 (84.56 sq mi)|
|Area rank||81st out of 81|
|Highest elevation||1,009 m (3,310 ft)|
|• Rank||81st out of 81|
|• Density||79/km2 (200/sq mi)|
|• Density rank||73rd out of 81|
|• Independent cities||0|
|• Component cities||0|
|• Districts||Lone district of Batanes|
|Time zone||UTC+8 (PHT)|
|IDD : area code||+63 (0)78|
|ISO 3166 code||PH|
The name Batanes derives from the words Batan, the local word for the Ivatan people.
The ancestors of today's Ivatans descended from Austronesians who migrated to the islands 4,000 years ago during the Neolithic period. They lived in fortified mountain areas called idjangs and drank sugar-cane wine, or palek. They also used gold as currency and produced a thriving agriculture-based industry. They were also seafarers and boat-builders.
In 1687, a crew of English freebooters headed by William Dampier came with a Dutch crew and named the islands in honour of their country's nobility. Itbayat was named "Orange Isle" after William of Orange, and Batan was named "Grafton Isle" after Henry FitzRoy, 1st Duke of Grafton. Sabtang Isle was named "Monmouth Isle" after James Scott, 1st Duke of Monmouth. Capt. Dampier stayed for less than three months, and did not claim the islands for the British crown.
In 1783, the Spanish claimed Batanes as part of the Philippines under the auspices of Governor-General José Basco y Vargas. The Bashi Channel was increasingly used by English East India Company ships and the Spanish authorities brought the islands under their direct administration to prevent them falling under British control. The Ivatan remained on their idjangs, or mountain fortresses for some time. In 1790, Governor Guerrero decreed that Ivatans were to live in the lowlands and leave their remote idjang. The mangpus, the indigenous Ivatan leader of the islands during that time, made a revolution against the Spaniards afterwards. With much ammunition and steel armors, the Spanish authorities quelled the uprising, effectively subjugating the rebels. Basco and Ivana were the first towns established under full Spanish control. Mahatao was then administered by Basco, while Uyugan and Sabtang, by Ivana. Itbayat was not organized until the 1850s, its coast being a ridge. Soon, Ilocanos came to the islands and integrated with the local population. Roads, ports, bridges, churches and government buildings were built in this time. Limestone technology used by the Spanish was also spread to the islands, making bridges strong and fortified. Some of these bridges still remain at Ivana and Mahatao. By 1890, many Ivatans were in Manila, and became ilustrados, who then brought home with them the revolutionary ideas of the Katipunan. These Ivatans, who were then discontented with Spanish rule, killed the ruling General Fortea and declared the end of Spanish rule.
Toward the end of the Spanish administration, Batanes was made a part of Cagayan. In 1909, the new American authorities organized it into an independent province. During the American colonial period, additional public schools were constructed and more Ivatan became aware of their place in the Philippines. In 1920, the first wireless telegraph was installed, followed by an airfield in 1930. New roads were constructed and the Batanes High School was instituted.
Because of their strategic location, the islands was one of the first points occupied by invading Japanese imperial forces at the outbreak of the Pacific War. The morning of December 8, 1941, the Batan Task Force from Taiwan landed on the Batan Islands, which became the first American territory occupied by the Japanese. The purpose of the invasion was to secure the existing small airfield outside Basco, which was accomplished without resistance. Japanese fighters from Basco took part in the raid on Clark Air Base the following day. However, over the next several days, the success of the Japanese bombing of Clark Field rendered a base at Basco unnecessary, and on December 10, 1941, the naval combat force was withdrawn to participate in the invasion of Camiguin.
One of the first School Superintendents on Batan was Victor de Padua, an Ilocano, who in 1942–45 during the Japanese occupation was made Provincial Governor. Early in 1945 the island was liberated by the Philippine Commonwealth forces of the 1st and 12th Infantry Division of the Philippine Commonwealth Army. In 1984, Pacita Abad, the foremost Ivatan visual artist, became the first woman to be awarded the Ten Outstanding Young Men (TOYM) award, breaking 25 years of male dominance. In her acceptance speech, she said, "it was long overdue that Filipina women were recognized, as the Philippines was full of outstanding women” and referred proudly to her mother.
In 1993, the Batanes Protected Landscape and Seascape, which encompassed the entire province, was listed in the Tentative List of the Philippines for UNESCO World Heritage Site inscription in the future. In 1997, the Indigenous Peoples Rights act or IPRA was passed in Philippine Congress. the law paved the way for the indigenous territorial rights of the Ivatans. The province has since promoted its Ivatan roots. Part of the Ilocano population has returned to mainland Luzon. In December 7, 2004, Pacita Abad died after finishing her last international art work while suffering from cancer.
The province has a total area of 219.01 square kilometres (84.56 sq mi) comprising ten islands situated within the Luzon Strait between the Balintang Channel and Taiwan. The islands are sparsely populated and subject to frequent typhoons. The three largest islands, Batan, Itbayat, and Sabtang, are the only inhabited islands.
The northernmost island in the province, also the northernmost land in the entire Philippines, is Mavulis (or Y'ami) Island. Other islands in the chain are Misanga (or North), Ditarem, Siayan, Diogo (or Dinem), Ivuhos, and Dequey. The islands are part of the Luzon Volcanic Arc.
Almost one-half of Batanes is hills and mountains. Batan Island is generally mountainous on the north and southeast. It has a basin in the interior. Itbayat Island slopes gradually to the west, being mountainous and hilly along its northern, eastern coast. As for Sabtang, mountains cover the central part, making the island slope outward to the coast.
The islands are situated between the vast expanse of the waters of Bashi Channel and Balintang Channel, where the Pacific Ocean merges with the China Sea. The area is a sea lane between the Philippines and Japan, China, Hong Kong and Taiwan. It is rich with marine resources, including the rarest sea corals in the world.
The province is hilly and mountainous, with only 1,631.5 hectares or 7.1% of its area level to undulating, and 78.2% or 17,994.4 hectares varying from rolling to steep and very steep. Forty two percent (42%) or 9,734.40 hectares are steep to very steep land. Because of the terrain of the province, drainage is good and prolonged flooding is non-existent. The main island of Batan has the largest share of level and nearly level lands, followed by Itbayat and Sabtang, respectively. Itbayat has gently rolling hills and nearly level areas on semi-plateaus surrounded by continuous massive cliffs rising from 20 to 70 metres (66–230 feet) above sea level, with no shorelines. Sabtang has its small flat areas spread sporadically on its coasts, while its interior is dominated by steep mountains and deep canyons. Batan Island and Sabtang have intermittent stretches of sandy beaches and rocky shorelines.
The terrain of the province, while picturesque at almost every turn, has limited the potential for expansion of agriculture in an already very small province.
Batanes has a tropical climate (Köppen climate classification Af). The average yearly temperature is 26.0 °C (78.8 °F), and the average monthly temperature ranges from 22.0 °C (71.6 °F) in January to 28.5 °C (83.3 °F) in July, similar to that of Southern Taiwan. Precipitation is abundant throughout the year; the rainiest month is August while the driest month is April. November to February are the coldest months. There is a misconception that Batanes is constantly battered by typhoons. Batanes is mentioned frequently in connection with typhoons because it holds the northernmost weather station in the Philippines and is thus a reference point for all typhoons that enter the Philippine area. However, in September 2016, Typhoon Meranti impacted the entire province, including a landfall on Itbayat.
|Source: Philippine Statistics Authority|
The population of Batanes in the 2015 census was 17,246 people, with a density of 79 inhabitants per square kilometre or 200 inhabitants per square mile.
This divided homeland is a result of the Dutch invasion of Taiwan in 1624 (Dutch Formosa) and Spanish invasion in 1626 (Spanish Formosa). The northern half of the Ivatan homeland, Formosa and Orchid Island which were formally part of the Viceroyalty of New Spain, fell to the Dutch who were in turn expelled in 1662 by forces of the Chinese Southern Ming dynasty, led by the Chinese pirate Koxinga who then set himself up as The King of Taiwan.
The southern half of the Ivatan homeland, the islands of Batanes, was reinforced and fortified by Spanish refugees from Formosa before being formally joined in the 18th century with the Spanish government in Manila.
The main languages spoken in Batanes are Ivatan, which is spoken on the islands of Batan and Sabtang; Itbayaten, which is spoken primarily on the island of Itbayat. The Ivatan which is dominant in the province is considered to be one of the Austronesian languages. From college level down to elementary level, the language is widely spoken.
The large majority (94%) of the island's people adhere to Roman Catholicism. The remaining faiths are other Christian Churches.
An extensive survey of the ecology of Batanes provided the scientific basis for confirming the need for a national park in Batanes protecting the Batanes protected landscapes and seascapes, proposed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, submitted on 15 August 1993. An effort is underway to declare the whole province, along with the sugar central sites in Negros, as a UNESCO World Heritage Site by the end of 2020.
The province is the home of the unique conifer species Podocarpus costalis. Although it is reportedly growing in some other places such as coasts of Luzon, Catanduanes and even Taiwan, full blossoming and fruiting are observed only in Batanes. Its fruiting capacity on the island remains a mystery but is likely due to several factors such as climate, soil and type of substratum of the island.
Several species of birds, bats, reptiles and amphibians also inhabit the island; many of those are endemic in the Philippines. The island is also a sanctuary of different migratory birds during winter in the Northern Hemisphere.
About 75% of the Ivatans are farmers and fishermen. The rest are employed in the government and services sector. Garlic and cattle are major cash crops. Ivatans also plant camote (sweet potato), cassava, gabi or tuber and a unique variety of white uvi. Sugarcane is raised to produce palek, a kind of native wine, and vinegar.
In recent years, fish catch has declined due to the absence of technical know-how. Employment opportunities are scarce. Most of the educated Ivatans have migrated to urban centers or have gone abroad.
A wind diesel generating plant was commissioned in 2004.
Distance and bad weather work against its economic growth. Certain commodities like rice, soft drinks, and gasoline carry a 75% to 100% mark-up over Manila retail prices.
The island province of Batanes is accessible by air via the Basco Airport and Itbayat Airport. There are 3 flights per week from Manila by SkyJetAir, and from Tuguegarao (Cagayan) by small local airliners (as of January 2013). PAL Express flies to Batanes every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday since May 1, 2013.
The Ivatan people of Batanes are one of the most egalitarian societies in the Philippines. The prime motivator of the cultural values of the Ivatans are imbibed in their pre-colonial belief systems of respecting nature and all people. The Ivatans, both the older and younger generations, have one of the highest incidences of social acceptance to minority groups in the country. The Ivatans also have a high respect for the elderly and the prowess of natural phenomena such as waves, sea breeze, lightning, thunders, earthquakes, and wildlife congregations. Discriminating someone based on skin color, ethnic origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, and traditions on nature is unacceptable in Ivatan values. Land grabbing is also a grave crime in Ivatan societies, making ancestral domain certification an important part of Ivatan jurisprudence since the enactment of the IPRA Law.
In 2012, the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) and the ICHCAP of UNESCO published Pinagmulan: Enumeration from the Philippine Inventory of Intangible Cultural Heritage. The first edition of the UNESCO-backed book included (1) Laji, (2) Kapayvanuvanuwa Fishing Ritual, (3) Kapangdeng Ritual, (4) Traditional Boats in Batanes, (5) Sinadumparan Ivatan House Types, (6) Ivatan Basketry, and (7) Ivatan (Salakot) Hat Weaving, signifying their great importance to Philippine intangible cultural heritage. The local government of Batanes, in cooperation with the NCCA, is given the right to nominate the 7 distinct elements into the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage Lists.
Basco, officially the Municipality of Basco (Tagalog: Bayan ng Basco; Ilokano: Ili ti Basco), is a municipality in the province of Batanes in the Cagayan Valley (Region II) of the Philippines, serving as the provincial capital. According to the 2015 census, it has a population of 8,579 people.Basco is located on Batan Island, the second largest among the Batanes Islands, the northernmost islands of the Philippines. The town has a domestic airport, Basco Airport, serving flights from Manila and Baguio.The town is named after Capitán General José Basco, who led the pacification and conquest of the islands during his term as Governor-General.
The Basco Lighthouse is one of the landmarks.Basco Airport
Basco Airport (Filipino: Paliparan ng Basco, Ilocano: Pagtayaban ti Basco) (IATA: BSO, ICAO: RPUO) is an airport serving the province of Batanes in the Philippines. It is located in the provincial capital, Basco, and is one of two airports in the Batanes Islands, the other being Itbayat Airport. The airport is classified as a Class 2 principal (minor domestic) airport by the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP), a body of the Department of Transportation and Communications that is responsible for the operations of not only this airport but also of all other airports in the Philippines except the major international airports.
The airport is one of the hubs of Sky Pasada.
Although the airport in the past was briefly served by international flights, the airport is not officially classified as an international airport.Batan Island
Batan Island ( bah-TAHN) is the main island of Batanes, an archipelagic province in the Philippines. It is the second largest of the Batanes Islands, the northernmost group of islands in the country. Four of the six municipalities of Batanes are located on the 20-kilometer (12 mi) long island including the provincial capital of Basco. The other municipalities are Ivana, Mahatao and Uyugan.Batanes National Science High School
The Batanes National Science High School, formerly the Batanes National High School, is a public science high school in the Philippines, recognized by the Department of Education. It is in the provincial capital, Basco and had an enrollment of 398 students in school year 2004–2005. The principal is Alfred Tabuso.Cagayan Valley
Cagayan Valley (Ilokano: Tanap ti Cagayan; Ibanag: Tana' na Cagayan; Itawit: Tanap yo Cagayan; Gaddang: Tanap na Cagayan; Tagalog: Lambak ng Cagayan) (designated as Region II) is an administrative region in the Philippines located in the northeastern portion of Luzon. It is composed of five provinces: Batanes, Cagayan, Isabela, Nueva Vizcaya, and Quirino. The region has four cities: Cauayan, Ilagan, Santiago, and Tuguegarao.
Most of the region lies in a large valley in northeastern Luzon, between the Cordilleras and the Sierra Madre mountain ranges. The eponymous Cagayan River, the country's largest and second longest, runs through its center and flows out from its source in the Caraballo Mountains in the south to the Luzon Strait in the north, in the town of Aparri, Cagayan. The region encompasses the outlying islands of the Babuyan and Batanes to the north.
Cagayan Valley is the second largest region of the Philippines in terms of land area, second only to MIMAROPA.Florencio Abad
Florencio Barsana Abad (born July 13, 1954) is a Filipino lawyer and politician. Having held many cabinet-level ranks in the past, he was appointed by President Benigno Aquino III as Secretary of the Philippine Department of Budget and Management. Abad held various cabinet-level positions in the past, particularly as Secretary of the Department of Education and Secretary of the Department of Agrarian Reform.Geography of the Philippines
The Philippines is an archipelago that comprises over 7,000 islands with a total land area of 300,000 square kilometers (115,831 sq mi). The eleven largest islands contain 95% of the total land area. The largest of these islands is Luzon at about 105,000 square kilometers (40,541 sq mi). The next largest island is Mindanao at about 95,000 square kilometers (36,680 sq mi). The archipelago is around 800 kilometers (500 mi) from the Asian mainland and is located between Taiwan and Borneo.
The Philippine archipelago is divided into three island groups: Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. The Luzon islands include Luzon itself, Palawan, Mindoro, Marinduque, Masbate, Romblon, Catanduanes, Batanes and Polilio. The Visayas is the group of islands in the central Philippines, the largest of which are: Panay, Negros, Cebu, Bohol, Leyte, Samar, Siquijor, Biliran and Guimaras. The Mindanao islands include Mindanao itself, Dinagat, Siargao, Camiguin, Samal, plus the Sulu Archipelago, composed primarily of Basilan, Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi.Idjang
An Idjang is a triangular-shaped hilltop citadel or castle on the Batanes Islands in the Philippines, made from limestone and wood.Itbayat, Batanes
Itbayat, officially the Municipality of Itbayat (Tagalog: Bayan ng Itbayat; Ilokano: Ili ti Itbayat), is a municipality in the province of Batanes in the Region 2 of the Philippines. According to the 2015 census, it has a population of 2,867 people.Itbayat is the country's northernmost municipality, located about 200 kilometers (120 mi) from the southernmost tip of Taiwan.
In addition to the main island of Itbayat which is the largest in Batanes, the municipality includes the rest of the province's northern islands, all small and mostly uninhabited. These islands are, from south to north: Di'nem Island, Siayan, Misanga, Ah'li, Mavulis Island, the northernmost island of the Philippine archipelago.Itbayat language
The Itbayat language, Itbayaten, also known generically as Ibatan, is an Austronesian language, in the Batanic group, spoken in the Batanes Islands.Ivatan language
The Ivatan (Ibatan) language, also known as Chirin nu Ibatan ("language of the Ivatan people"), is an Austronesian language spoken in the Batanes Islands.
Although the islands are closer to Taiwan than to Luzon, it is not one of the Formosan languages. Ivatan is one of the Batanic languages, which are perhaps a primary branch of the Malayo-Polynesian family of Austronesian languages.
The language of Babuyan Island is a dialect. Babuyan was depopulated by the Spanish and only repopulated at the end of the Spanish era with families from Batan Island.Ivatan people
The Ivatans are a Filipino ethnolinguistic group predominant in the islands of Batanes of the Philippines. Their ethnogenesis is unclear; their origins remain untraced among scholars, but they are known to be an Austronesian group, related to neighboring Ilocanos on purely linguistic basis.
The culture of the Ivatans is partly influenced by the environmental condition of Batanes. Unlike the old-type nipa huts common in the Philippines, Ivatans have adopted their now-famous stone houses made of coral and limestone, designed to protect against the hostile climate.Jorge Abad Airport
Jorge Abad Airport (ICAO: RPLT) (Filipino: Paliparang Jorge Abad, Ilocano: Pagtayaban ti Jorge Abad), also known as Itbayat Airport, is an airport serving the island of Itbayat, the largest island in the province of Batanes, Philippines. The province's only other airport, Basco Airport, is located in the provincial capital, Basco, on Batan Island.
The airport is classified as a community airport by the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP), a body of the Department of Transportation that is responsible for the operations of not only this airport but also of all other airports in the Philippines except the major international airports.
The northernmost airport in the Philippines was renamed in March 2017 through a Sangguniang Bayan (municipal council) resolution after Jorge Abad, the first Ivatan cabinet member who was appointed in 1955 as Secretary of Public Works. His son, Florencio Abad, was instrumental in sourcing the funds for the airport construction during his time as congressional representative for Batanes. Manual labor was used during the airport's construction to level the uneven terrain, since the inaccessibility of the island in the 1990s made heavy equipment unavailable for use.José Basco y Vargas
José Basco y Vargas,1st Count of the Conquest of Batanes Islands (Spanish: José Basco y Vargas, primer conde de la conquista de las islas Batanes (1733–1805) was a naval officer of the Spanish navy who served as the 53rd governor of the Philippines under the Spanish Empire, from 1778 to 1787. He was one of the most economic minded governors-general that served in Spanish ruled Philippines.Legislative district of Batanes
The Legislative District of Batanes is the representation of the province of Batanes in the various national legislatures of the Philippines. The province is currently represented in the lower house of the Congress of the Philippines through its lone congressional district.Mahatao, Batanes
Mahatao, officially the Municipality of Mahatao (Tagalog: Bayan ng Mahatao; Ilokano: Ili ti Mahatao), is a municipality in the province of Batanes in the Cagayan Valley (Region II) of the Philippines. According to the 2015 census, it has a population of 1,555 people.Roman Catholic Territorial Prelature of Batanes
The Territorial Prelature of Batanes (in Latin: Praelatura Territorialis Batanensis) is a Latin rite pre-diocesan, non-missionary jurisdiction of the Roman Catholic Church. It is a suffragan in the ecclesiastical province of the Metropolitan Archdiocese of Nueva Segovia on Luzon island in the Philippines.
The Cathedral of Santo Domingo de Guzman is the episcopal seat of the territorial prelate, in Basco, Batanes, Cagayan Valley. The current bishop is Danilo B Ulep.Sabtang, Batanes
Sabtang, officially the Municipality of Sabtang (Tagalog: Bayan ng Sabtang; Ilokano: Ili ti Sabtang), is a municipality in the province of Batanes in the Cagayan Valley (Region II) of the Philippines. According to the 2015 census, it has a population of 1,621 people.The southernmost island municipality of the Batanes island group, Sabtang comprises primarily Sabtang Island, as well as two nearby smaller and uninhabited islands: Ivuhos and Dequey. The municipality is known for its lighthouse and the old stone houses of the Ivatan villages of Chavayan and Savidug. Like Batan Island to the north, Sabtang also has a few Mission-style churches and white sand beaches.San Carlos Borromeo Church (Mahatao)
San Carlos Borromeo Church (Spanish: Iglesia Parroquial de San Carlos Borromeo), also known as Mahatao Church, is a Roman Catholic church located in Mahatao, Batan Island, Batanes, Philippines. The church's titular is Saint Charles Borromeo whose feast is celebrated every November 4. Its beauty and excellent state of preservation made it a National Cultural Treasure by the National Museum of the Philippines on July 31, 2001.
Places adjacent to Batanes