Friday, March 7, 2014

Sabtang Island : Batanes' Precious Jewel


One of the two island municipalities of Batanes. One whole island of wonder, history and nature. One whole day here and one would get to see some of the best it has to offer. One week and one would still not get enough. 

Chamantad-Tinyan Hills. Sabtang Island. Batanes.
From the endless rolling hills to its iconic tricycles; from its historical churches to its indigenous houses; from its relaxing ambiance to the warm welcome of the locals, there will be no reason left not to be amazed and be charmed by this single island. 

And amazed and charmed I am.

Chamantad-Tinyan Hills. Sabtang Island. Batanes.

Sabtang's Iconic Tricycle. Sabtang Church in the background. 

We were at Ivana Port even before the sun had risen, excitedly waiting for the first boat trip to Sabtang. Before 8am, we already reached Sabtang Port and were all ready for one whole day island tour and adventure.

Chamantad-Tinyan Hills. Sabtang Island. Batanes.

We first visited Chamantad-Tinyan Hills, known as a photographer's haven not only of Sabtang, but also of the whole province of Batanes.  The hills also hide a beautiful beach which is actually the first one that has caught my attention (albeit I didn't know it was a beach at first but just a small pool of water in between rocks). 

Ahao Rock. Sabtang Island. Batanes.
On the way to Sumnanga. Sabtang Island. Batanes.

We also visited the famous stone arch in the island, the Ahao Arch in the equally beautiful Morong Beach on the way to Sumnanga. Sumnanga, by the way, is the last barrio in the western side of the island of Sabtang.

Sumnanga Chapel. Sabtang Island. Batanes.

Upon reaching Sumnanga, we were greeted by the ruins of the house of Atancio Dapilan, Sumnanga's foremost singer and composer. The wooden marker on the ruins says: "This is the original house of Atanacio Dapilan of Sumnanga, Batanes. A singer of Ivatan rowing song, Kalusan that was first published in the National Music Textbook. He was the first nationally published Kalusan singer."

A local house in Barrio Savidug. Sabtang Island. Batanes.
Sabtang Lighthouse. Sabtang Island. Batanes.

Another famous landmark of the island is the Sabtang Lighthouse which we were not able to come to closely but has taken a far shot of because the place were it stands is privately owned. 

From the lighthouse, we continued the tour to Barrio Sinakan, Sabtang's seat of government. This is where the port is located as well as the historical Sabtang Church and it's complex (will be having a separate post for this), the municipal hall and the tourism office.

Chavayan Chapel.

View from Chavayan Beach. Sabtang Island. Batanes.

In Barrio Chavayan, the last barrio in the southeastern side of the island, I had a leisurely walk checking out the famed Chavayan Chapel, Chavayan Theater, the local houses and the Chavayan beach.

In that one day tour, we were able to visit all six barrios of the island : Chavayan, Savidug, Sinakan, Malakdang, Nakanmuan, and Sumnanga. All of the barrios characterize indigenous Ivatan villages and are all worthy of visit though I personally think that the two farthest barrios on each side, Chavayan in the east and Sumnanga in the west, are the most beautiful.

Sabtang Barrio's Welcome Landmarks. Batanes.

We ended the tour in Barrio Chavayan where we also spent the night. It is here where we experienced sleeping in an authentic Ivatan dwelling with all that comes with it such as the pitch black night (because there is no electricity during evenings) and cold air coming from an open door and window (literally, a house with no working door, only doorway). It was a night I would surely never forget.

The house where we spent the night in Chavayan.

Early morning the next day, we were already up (that's 4am in the morning!) and our tricycle driver is already waiting outside the house to bring us to Sabtang Port so that we could already go back to Batan Island. It was chilling but it didn't stop me from reminiscing the other day's experience... my Sabtang Island experience.

Another shot of the beach in Chamantad-Tinyan Hills

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

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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. Gusto kong i-try magbike the hills..iipon lang ako ng tapang..parang nakakatakot eh..aheheheh kapag bumalik ka jan..sama mo na ako..ahehhegehe :-)

    1. Yup! Gusto ko na ngang bumalik agad eh... :)

  2. ang ganda talga gusto ko yung shot mo na bahay na bato background niya ay bundok astig....

    1. Sir, nag-sale ah... alam ko, hanggang March 12 ang sale... yun nga lang, September-October, maulan...
      At ganun na nga, picture perfect ang karamihan ng lugar sa Batanes... kahit anong anggulo...

  3. hello.. pwede po b amakuha contact details ng house where you stayed in sabtang? thanks

    1. Good day po! Eto po yung contact no.: 09994896295

      Sorry for the late reply... God bless and enjoy your Sabtang tour po! :)