Batanes (Sabtang Island)

Travel Blog by Jen
May 6, 2009

A trip to Batanes won't be complete if you miss Sabtang Island.  Sabtang is one of the 3 largest islands in the Batanes group of Islands.  The views here of the coastline, the cliff roads and the preserved Ivatan villages are just as spectacular as Batan's. Upon the recommendation of Fundacion Pacita, I pre-arranged for a full-day Sabtang Island tour with Mr. Romy Cielo, who incidentally was once a 3-term mayor in Batanes!

Our guide, Anong De Guzman, picked us up at Fundacion Pacita at 6:30 am. After an hour's drive, we arrived in San Vicente Port, where we boarded a public motorized boat that will take us across to Sabtang in 40 minutes.  We were all handed life vests, by no less than the Mayor of Sabtang!  He was one of the passengers on board.


with the Mayor Max Babalo of Sabtang


The boat ride was a bit bumpy, exciting boat ride over, we hopped into the private jeepney waiting for us.  We were given plenty of time to take photos and explore the area on our own.  Here are some of the highlights:


Sabtang Lighthouse

This is the first thing you'll see upon arriving at the dock. It sits on top of rocky hill and appears to be non-operational.

Sabtang Lighthouse


Nakabuang or Mahayao Arch

This is a natural rock formation by Nakabuang Beach.



Nakabuang Arch





Nakabuang Cave

This sits by Nakabuang Beach where one can go swimming and have a picnic lunch pre-arranged.

Nakabuang Cave




Savidug Stone Houses

The Ivatans still use coral and limestone to build their homes. In this small and quiet village, stone houses are still plenty and are neatly aligned in rows bordered by hedges. Village boys and girls gamely smile as tourists walk by.











their water pump





Chamantad-Tinyan Views

This is the most breath-taking spot in Sabtang, offering views of both green mountains and the blue ocean beyond. One has to go down the hill from the road to see the extraordinary.













Chavayan Village and Chavayan Beach

This is another town of preserved Ivatan stone houses. Here you can see women at work making vakuls. Vakuls are traditional women's headpiece that protect that from the sun, wind and rain. Also made are the counterpart for men called a talugong and Ivatan slippers that are used for fishing. A minimal fee is asked if you wish to have your photo taken wearing any of these.


Ivatan slippers

A row of stone houses in Chavayan Village


a shared gathering place




The local kids are all very friendly and ready to smile for the camera.



The main road ends in Chavayan Beach.


White sand and rock formations at Chavayan Beach




an old stone house along the pathway to the beach



Picnic Lunch in Mayuray Beach


our feast!
And the perfect way to end a great tour was a picnic lunch in Mayuray Beach. Mr. Romy Cielo and his wife were waiting for us at the beach, with all the food already prepared. He told told us that this was the first time they used this beach for their lunch. Usually, the lunch is prepared in Nakabuang Beach but it was drizzling quite a bit when we went there.

We had steamed coconut crab, pinakbet, steamed fish, breaded fish sticks, soup, banana and fresh coconut juice. Lunch is included in the tour cost.







Our group with Mr. & Mrs. Romy Cielo (center) who personally
prepared this picnic by the beach


Mayuray Beach





After the late lunch, it was time to say goodbye to Sabtang.  This was worth the rocky boat trip as the island was simply beautiful!





* Photos are Skycab's own.


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