Escape to Batanes Paradise: The Sabtang Island Tour

Our Batanes tour will not be complete without experiencing the 45-minute falowa ride to Sabtang Island. Sabtang is one of the municipalities of Batanes Island Group and is divided into 6 baranggays which include Chavayan and Savidug. Noticeably more rural than Batan, Sabtang Island has preserved the traditional Ivatan stone houses and even the culture.

Falowa Ride to Sabtang

From Batanes Seaside Annex where we stayed, we traveled for around 30 minutes to Radiwan Ivana Port. Arriving at the port, there were already many people waiting for the ride. You can notice really huge water breakers at the port which is made of approximately 50 bags of cement per piece as we were told.

Falowa ride to Sabtang costs PHP 150 /head. Big boats can accommodate 60 passengers whereas smaller ones can have 40 passengers. Some goods can be loaded as well, even a motorcycle and a cow. Falowa is the only means of transportation in Batanes to get to the other islands like Sabtang. As Batanes is known for really strong waves, the falowa is uniquely designed to be oval in shape for it to glide with the big waves. It also does not have an outrigger or “katig” for it can be just destroyed by the strong waves.

Falowa ride to Sabtang can be as early as 6:30 AM. There is no definite time when the boat will leave. It waits for the right number of passengers before it sails. If you stay near the front, you can get wet. I’ve experienced a lot of boat rides before but it’s my first time to get somewhat dizzy during the entire falowa ride.

Tourism Center

As we arrived in Sabtang Isalnd, we first went to their tourism center where we registered. Visitors must pay an environmental fee that costs PHP 200. You can also take a restroom break here before your Sabtang tour starts.

Savidug Village

Our Sabtang Isalnd tour then starts at Savidug Village where traditional Ivatan houses made of stones are preserved. Walking through the narrow alleys with the sight of these cultural treasures is surely a one-of-a-kind experience for me.

Traditional Ivatan houses are made of stone bound by lime with cogon grass roofing. The stone walls are really very thick. Typically, different parts of the house are built separately, they don’t combine it into a large one. This is because the house can be easily get burn with its cogon grass roofing. So you’ll see a stone house designated to be a kitchen or living room only.

We also noticed some destroyed stone houses. The Ivatans did not reconstruct the ruins anymore and consider it as a living memory and inheritance from their ancestors who built it centuries ago.

Walking around, we visited the village’s small chapel, St. Thomas Aquinas Chapel. Beside the chapel is an abandoned priest’s house. You can get inside it and take some photos. Be extra careful when you get inside for the floors are dilapidated already.

Savidug Idjang

While we headed our way to our next destination after Savidug Village, we passed by Savidug Idjang. Idjang is a stone fortress where the ancient Ivatans lived before. The structure of Idjangs served as protection for the Ivatans during tribal wars. No one will be able to enter the fortress unless a rope ladder is lowered from above. Also in some Idjangs, they will throw stones at enemies trying to climb.

Tinyang Viewing of Pacific Ocean

From Savidug Village, it only took as 15 minutes to reach Tinyang Viewpoint where you can get a magnificent view of the Pacific Ocean. But before you can spoil yourself with that amazing scenery, you have to trek a little and climb a few rocky hills. I’ll definitely won’t forget that wonderful leisure walk and climb on a bright sunny day with the cool wind playing around.

Chavayan Village

From Tinyang, it took us 20 minutes to reach Chavayan Village. The road going to the village is quite rough. Like Savidug, Chavayan was able to preserve that traditional Ivatan houses made of stone and cogon grass roofing. These dwellings were designed to withstand heavy storms since Batanes lies along the so-called typhoon belt.

Sabtang Weavers Assoication can also be found here where they make “vakul”, a traditional gear for women used as a protection from the sun and rain. Another version is also available which is designed for men. Vakul is made from Philippine date palm which is abundant around the place. It is actually made even in the household. Since originally made here, vakul is much cheaper in Chavayan than the ones you can find in some souvenir shops in Basco. A vakul costs around PHP 400- PHP 500 whereas the small one used for house decoration costs around PHP 150 – PHP 300.

Morong Beach and Mayahaw Arch

Ending our Sabtang tour is a refreshing visit at Morong beach which is 45 minutes from Chavayan village. The place is famous for Mayahaw Arch, a natural rock formation. The beach is a long stretch of white sand with small shells. If you really wanted to swim, you have to get a little farther away from the shore that is quite rocky.

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10 Comments

  1. Reply

    Megan Dula Amator

    March 19, 2015

    How much is the silvanas & sans rival in dumaguete?

    • Reply

      Riane

      May 21, 2015

      Hi! A box (10 pcs) of the original flavored Silvanas costs PHP110. The chocolate flavored one costs PHP180 per box (10 pcs). Sans rival is at PHP310/loaf 🙂

  2. Reply

    Winston Cesar A Valdoz

    May 20, 2015

    Magkano po ang inyong silvanas?gusto ko po sanang bumili ng 48 boxes..Dito po kami sa Koronadal city, south cotabato. thanks

    • Reply

      Riane

      May 21, 2015

      Hi! A box (10 pcs) of the original flavored Silvanas costs PHP 110. The chocolate flavored one costs PHP 180 per box.

      • Reply

        cath

        June 15, 2015

        san po meron nagttinda po nyan dito sa manila?… i want to buy po

        • Reply

          Riane

          June 15, 2015

          Hi Cath,

          You can buy from House of Silvanas, Red Ribbon, Brownies Unlimited or Razon’s. 🙂

          • Minnie

            June 24, 2015

            Hello po kung oorder po ako ng Silvanas dito sa Manila .. with free shipping na po ba ?

          • Riane

            June 25, 2015

            Hi Minnie,

            I’m not so sure about the delivery charges from House of Silvanas, Red Ribbon and Razon’s here in Manila if ever they do have delivery.

            Riane

  3. Reply

    Riz

    July 20, 2015

    Hello there! Had a nice time reading your blog. May I know what time does the tour end in Sabtang (when you went back to Basco) coz’ we plan to bike if there’s enough time in Basco.

    • Reply

      Riane

      July 21, 2015

      Hello, Riz! 🙂 Thank you for reading 🙂 As far as I remember, we arrived in the afternoon and we were still able to walk around the town. Just take note we were in a private tour (you can join group tours in Batanes) when we did this so we freely control our time. Enjoy Batanes 🙂

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