Basco Photo: Oliver M.

Basco

Stone houses, boulder beaches, and a vast expanse of rolling hills are just some of the stunning attractions that await travelers in Basco, the unspoiled provincial capital of Batanes. Journey to this humble town on Batan Island and discover the rich Ivatan culture and breathtaking natural sceneries of the northernmost province in the Philippines.

Most travelers begin their journey in the Basco Town Proper, one of the main entry points into Batanes province. Upon arriving in the town proper, you can check out Casa Real, the seat of Batanes’ provincial government. Just a few blocks away from the capitol building, you’ll find the 18th-century Sto. Domingo Cathedral, the first Catholic church ever built in the province.

A whole different adventure awaits you once you head out of the town proper to explore Basco’s lush green landscape. One of the most popular ways to get around the town’s hills and long paved roads is by biking. You’ll find plenty of bike rental options in Basco, but if the uneven terrain proves too challenging, you can also opt to take tricycles or walk to your destinations.

Just a short trip away from the town proper, you’ll find the Basco Lighthouse, one of the three famous lighthouses of Batanes. Perched on top of Naidi Hills, this 66-foot lighthouse provides a commanding view of Batan Island and the West Philippine Sea from its viewdeck. You’ll also find the ruins of a few American-period bunker houses on Naidi Hills’ terrain.

Prepare to be even more enchanted once you reach the Vayang Rolling Hills, one of the most breathtaking sights in all of Batanes. Don’t worry if you suddenly feel the urge to prance around and sing your heart out in its meadows. The place’s cool breezes, calmly grazing cows, and view of emerald green hills against the deep blue sea are sure to uplift any traveler’s spirits.

For a 360-degree view of Batan Island, head to the viewing deck of the Basco PAGASA Weather Station. Not far from the station, you’ll find the Mt. Carmel Chapel, a hand-hewn chapel inspired by traditional Ivatan stone houses. Sitting humbly atop a foothill, this favorite wedding venue is known for its carved wooden doors, stained glass windows, and walls made up of boulders.

History buffs might want to check out the nearby Dipnaysupuan Japanese Tunnel. Hidden within the hills of Tukon, this tunnel served as a shelter and lookout post for Japanese soldiers during World War II. Another interesting historical site is the Nakamaya Burial Grounds, where you’ll find the boat-shaped burial markers of ancient Ivatans.

Those looking for a more rugged nature experience can try hiking up the thickly forested Mt. Iraya. Dubbed as the “mountain of winds,” this majestic landmark is steeped in Ivatan legend. Locals say it’s best to climb Mt. Iraya during the “mini-summer” in September, when there are less clouds obscuring the panoramic view of Batan Island, the Pacific Ocean, and other neighboring islands.

After a long day of traveling up and down Basco’s hills, travelers can relax along the shores of Valugan Boulder Beach and Chadpidan Boulder Beach. These twin beaches, whose names translate into “east” and “west” in Ivatan, are filled with large boulders that were spewed out centuries ago by Mt. Iraya.

You can also wind down and enjoy a good meal in the homey restaurant of Fundacion Pacita, one of Batanes’ most famous and beautiful hotels. Located on top of a cliff, this charming stone house offers luxurious amenities and a romantic view of the sea and Batanes’ rolling hills. Previously the studio of artist Pacita Abad, this serene getaway is now decorated with plenty of her artworks.

Aside from Fundacion Pacita, there are several other restaurants around Basco where travelers can feast on delicious Ivatan cuisine. You can sample the popular Ivatan Platter at Pension Ivatan, dine in a repurposed bunker at Bunker’s Cafe in Naidi Hills, or enjoy Ivatan dishes by the sea at Octagon Restaurant.

On your way out, don’t forget to pass by a market or souvenir shop for some woven goods, camote cookies, tubho (Ivatan wild tea), bukayo (coconut meat dessert), and other signature Batanes products to bring back home from your trip.

Top Rated Restaurants in Basco Browse All

  1. Cafe Du Tukon
    4.5 Stars
    Café
    6 Reviews View
  2. Casa Napoli
    3.5 Stars
    Pizza
    6 Reviews View
  3. Bunker Cafe
    3.5 Stars
    Café
    3 Reviews View
  4. Koocharah Express
    4.0 Stars
    Pizza
    1 Review View
  5. 6 to 8 Panciteria
    4.0 Stars
    Filipino
    1 Review View

Top Rated Hotels in Basco Browse All

  1. Fundacion Pacita Nature Lounge
    5.0 Stars
    Hotel
    6 Reviews View
  2. Marfel's Lodge
    5.0 Stars
    Hotel
    4 Reviews View
  3. Amboy Hometel
    4.5 Stars
    Hotel
    4 Reviews View
  4. DDD Habitat Lodging House
    5.0 Stars
    Hotel
    1 Review View
  5. Shanedel's Inn
    5.0 Stars
    Hotel
    1 Review View
  6. Dive Batanes Lodge
    5.0 Stars
    Hotel
    1 Review View
  7. Octagon Bed & Dine
    3.5 Stars
    Hotel
    4 Reviews View
  8. Brandon's Lodge
    4.0 Stars
    Hotel
    1 Review View
  9. Midtown Inn Batanes
    4.0 Stars
    Hotel
    1 Review View
  10. Pension Ivatan Hometel and Restaurant
    3.0 Stars
    Hotel
    2 Reviews View

Top Rated Places in Basco Browse All

  1. Basco Lighthouse
    5.0 Stars
    Historical Site
    10 Reviews View
  2. Naidi Hills
    5.0 Stars
    Tourist Attraction
    9 Reviews View
  3. Valugan Beach
    5.0 Stars
    Great Outdoors
    7 Reviews View
  4. Vayang Rolling Hills
    5.0 Stars
    Great Outdoors
    7 Reviews View
  5. Fundacion Pacita Nature Lounge
    5.0 Stars
    Hotel
    6 Reviews View
  6. Tukon Chapel
    4.5 Stars
    Historical Site
    5 Reviews View
  7. Basco Airport
    4.0 Stars
    Airport
    11 Reviews View
  8. Cafe Du Tukon
    4.5 Stars
    Café
    6 Reviews View
  9. Marfel's Lodge
    5.0 Stars
    Hotel
    4 Reviews View
  10. Amboy Hometel
    4.5 Stars
    Hotel
    4 Reviews View