Batanes Islands Philippines
The province of Batanes is composed of ten islands called the Batanes Islands. It is located in the northern part of the country and is considered to be the smallest province in the Philippines with Basco as its capital.
Batanes islands is located about 162 kilometers north of Luzon, the island group is part of the Cagayan Valley Region and the mainland in the Luzon Strait. Â Amongst all the islands that are composed of the Batanes Islands, the three of the largest and only inhabited islands is Batan, Itbayat and Sabtang.
The Balintang Channel separates Batanes Islands from the Babuyan Islands of Cagayan Province and separates Taiwan through the Bashi Channel about 190 kilometers south.
The Ivatans are descendants from Austronesians who were migrants to the Batanes Islands way back 4000 years ago in the time of the Neolithic period. They resided in mountain areas made into fortresses called idjangs. Their currency was gold and had a livelihood based on the agriculture industry, boat building and were seafarers.
It was in 1783 when Batanes was claimed under the Spanish regime. That It was this time when the Bashi Channel was used by the English East India Company ships thus having the Spanish decide to take the islands under their direct administration to avoid them falling under the control of Britain. Although they were under the Spanish rule, the locals Ivatans remained in their idjangs; it was in 1790 that it was declared for the Ivatans to live in the lowlands. This gave the government of Batanes and the rulers of it more people to get tax from. Since then, the Ivatans learned to adapt in becoming more civilized Filipinos. Ilocanos were slowly brought into the islands, limestone technology was introduced by the Spaniards and bridges were built and were fortified with the use of this kind of material.
In 1890, Ivatans who went to Manila and became members of the Ilustrados brought back to the islands revolutionary ideas of the Katipunan. Those Ivatans who were dissatisfied with the ruling of the Spaniards ended the Spanish rule by killing the ruling General Fortea.
Batanes was established to be a part of Cagayan towards the end of the Spanish regime. In the year 1909, Americans made it as independent province because of its location. The Batanes Island group was the first areas occupied by the Japanese forces upon the occurrence of the Pacific War.
Ivatans, the people of Batanes share a lot of common primitive culture and traditions with the people of Babuyan Island and the Tao people of Orchid Island. The homeland was divided from the result of the Dutch Invasion in Taiwan in 1624 which is the northern half of the Ivatan homeland, and the Spanish Invasion in 1626 which is the southern part of the Ivatan homeland.
The languages spoken in Batanes are Ivatan which is mostly used in Batan and Sabtang. While the Itbayaten language is spoken more on the island of Itbayat.
A large seventy five percentage of the Ivatans thrive in their farming and fishing industries. The remaining 25% rely on their employment in the government and services sector.
The agriculture of Batanes Islands is mainly centered on garlic and cattle. They also rely on other crops such as camote or the sweet potato, cassava, gabi or more so known as tuber, and sugarcane which is the main ingredient in their production of vinegar and their native wine called palek.
Getting to Batanes Island may seem very difficult for would be travelers, unless you prefer backpacking and trekking. Though there are chartered flight from Manila that usually takes two hours, getting around the island would seemly be harsh in any condition. There are not much resorts and hotels for a more luxurious stay, but if you are open for new places to travel to then this would probably whet the adventurous side in you.