Memos from Asia

Batanes: Must-go Philippine Island That Retains Its Rich Culture

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Have you ever strolled and wondered how that place would have looked like a hundred years ago? If you visit Batanes, you would never have to. It is one of the few places in the Philippines that has preserved its culture and region well.

The Batanes region is in the Northernmost part of the Philippine archipelago. It is known primarily for its windy environment, earning it the title “Home of the Winds.”

Uyugan, Batanes

But the wind is not the only thing you will get to enjoy here. The place also prides itself on beautiful untouched beaches, magnificent landscapes, rich culture, and excellent food.

Drone shot of the rolling hills of Basco, Batanes, Philippines

The exquisiteness and purity of the nature it houses could contend against tourist giants such as New Zealand or Switzerland.

Rich culture and unique way of life

The region has not only preserved the place but has also successfully conserved its culture and people.
The original settlers there are known as the Ivatans, and to this day, their descendants continue to live in Batanes.

If you walk around, you would see them living in their traditional stone houses, specially built for the strong winds in the area.

Tukon Church in Basco, Batanes, Philippines

Most of them would be a bit shy since it is only within the recent years where local tourists took an interest in their place, but once they warm up, they could be the most hospitable people you’d ever encounter.

Sabtang Island, Batanes, Philippines-March 27,2015: Farmer, Fedro Castro, 81, taking a rest outside his house in Sabtang Island. Most of the people in this island farmers from the Ivatan ethnicity.

Wonderful but cheap seafood

Batanes also has arguably the freshest and cheapest seafood in the whole country.
Lobsters and crabs might be luxurious for the rest of us, but these are a staple in their meals. They also have a wide variety of fish catch, which includes the must-try mahi-mahi and dibang among others.

lunch set menu at Ivana restaurant , Batanes, Philippines

In Batanes, life moves at a slow pace. You should expect erratic phone signals and very limited to no internet connection at all.

But you don’t really go there for any of that. You go there to indulge your senses with its unparalleled beauty. It is far from the noise of busy streets and the hustle of the city—an excellent escape choice for those who need a break from the world.

This is an excellent place to relax and be in touch with nature, with your loved ones and, more importantly, yourself.

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