Wednesday, February 19, 2014

The Best of Ivatan Cuisine at Pension Ivatan Hometel and Restaurant

Nature. Culture. History... Cuisine!

Ivatan Platter. Pension Ivatan Hometel and Restaurant. Basco, Batanes.
Batanes will definitely not fail anyone with everything it has to offer. Aside from the breathtaking natural scenery, interesting historical structures, and the warm welcome of the locals, its cuisine is also one of the things Batanes can be very proud of.

Kananiz (grilled cuttlefish)
Isolated by rough and treacherous waters from the rest of the country, the province is populated by people who has developed their own cuisine from available ingredients found on and around the islands. Main ingredients are seafood such as lobster, cuttlefish, coconut crab and the ever present dibang (flying fish). Cassava, beef, and coconut milk also forms an integral part of Ivatan cuisine. 

Fried Dibang (flying fish). A Batanes Staple.
Vunes (dried gabi stalks).
I was very fortunate to have a taste of the best of Ivatan Cuisine just before I left Batanes for Manila. Pension Ivatan Hometel and Restaurant, one if not the best restaurant in Batanes, invited us for a dinner through Mr. Ferds Decena, a respected travel blogger and a friend to Mrs. Tess de Leon, the restaurant's owner. 

Uvud balls (shredded banana pith with minced pork and fish flakes)

Mrs. Tess' family hails from Pampanga and Bulacan, two provinces known for its culture rich cuisines.  She presently manages Kusina Cagayana in Tuguegarao City, aside from Pension Ivatan Restaurant. To be able to offer authentic Ivatan dishes, she did extensive research about them through spending some time with Batanes elders who have first hand knowledge and skills in preparing Ivatan dishes. The dinner started after Mrs. Tess gave us some bits of information about each dish we are going to have.

Inihaw na tadyang ng Baka.
First to be served is a platter of appetizers called "Batanes Flavor" consisted of Kinilaw na Tanigue, Caliente (beef soft skin), Inihaw na Liempo, Beef Tapa, and Camote Chips. Next is a mouthwatering platter of main course called "Ivatan Platter" consisted of Payi (Lobster), Tatus (Coconut Crab), Uvud Balls (shredded banana pith with minced pork and fish flakes), Lunez (Ivatan version of Adobo), Vunes (dried gabi stalks), Fried Dibang (flying fish), Inihaw na Tadyang ng Baka, Kananiz (grilled cuttlefish), Ivatan Salad (Ensaladang Pako) and Supas (Turmeric Rice).

Batanes Flavor
We were also served with a hot bowl of Bulalo which was perfect for the very cold weather that night. What's peculiar with the said Bulalo is that humahum, a type of fern, was used as an ingredient instead of the more traditional cabbage (or pechay baguio) and corn duo. 

Bulalo with Humahum

Stuffed Gabi Rolls
Batanes' own version of Bicol's pinangat was also served. The dish is consisted of Gabi rolls stuffed with dibang, gabi stalks and small amount of alamang cooked with young coconut milk. I enjoyed this dish the most as I am a fan of any food cooked with young coconut milk.

After all the many dishes served, I thought we were already done but alas! my stomach was in for a very sumptuous ride that night. We were served with a house specialty dessert: a creamy Tuge (a root crop similar to sweet potato) salad topped with grated cheese. I finally finished the dinner with a hot cup of coffee, another house blend. I left the restaurant full: of both great food... and memories!

Pension Ivatan Hometel and and Restaurant can be found just across Batanes Airport. For reservations, you may contact Mrs. Teresita De Leon Valiente at Tel. no. 373-0587 or you may visit online.


More posts about Batanes:
Basco : Capital of a Beautiful Province (soon!)
Mahatao : Marlboro's Home (soon!)
Uyugan : The Really Quaint Town of Batanes (soon!)

author image

About the Author

I am ROMEL RAFOR JAIME, the man behind San Josenyong Gala. My travel blogger name came about because I am a proud resident of the City of San Jose del Monte, Bulacan. In real life, I am a licensed librarian who works in a college in Gapan, Nueva Ecija as a librarian and teaches general education subjects from time to time. My goal is to visit all the 81 provinces of the Philippines before visiting other countries. As of 2017, I have already visited 73... :)


  1. nakakatakam to sir hehehe uvud balls pala yun..

    1. Nakakatakam talaga... hehehe... At hindi lang nakakatakam, masarap talaga actually... :)

  2. Dami naman order! Ibang level ang appetite!

    1. Hahaha... marami rin nmn po kami kumain... Hehehe... :)