The church in Sabtang was first built as a small chapel by the Dominicans in 1785. It was later abandoned in 1791 when the people were forcibly relocated to Ivana as local Ivatan warrior and chieftain Aman Dangat revolted. The church was rebuilt using lime and stone under the supervision of Father Antonio Vicente, O.P., in 1844. When the belfry was damaged by a typhoon, Father Gumersindo Hernandez, O.P., ordered its repair in 1956. The interiors were repaired and the roofing was replaced by Father Rafael Carpintero, O.P., in 1983-1984.  By virtue of Resolution No. 09, the National Historical Institute declared the church, convent andRead More →

The Provincial Capitol of Batanes was constructed originally of wood during the term of Don Jose Huelva y Megarejo (1783-1785), the province’s first governor. Also called Casa Real, it was renovated to masonry during the term of Governor Felimon Zenoreta (1794-1798). He introduced masonry in Batanes. But the Casa Real was burnt down on December 15, 1856. So on January 27, 1857 a request for financial assistance for the reconstruction was made. There was no fund available and the plan was deferred. Governor Jose Serra (1872-1885) obtained a permit and proceeded to build the Casa Real, half of the expenses for building was shouldered byRead More →

At the center of Batan Island of the country’s northernmost province, Batanes, stands proud and mighty a national cultural treasure. Facing the vast West Philippine Sea, the Church of San Carlos Borromeo in Mahatao has stood the test of time and season. In fact, for 230 years, the church’s main structure remained as it is. The first church of Mahatao was a small chapel of light materials built in 1787. When the town was put under the patronage of San Carlos Borromeo in 1798, the church was already made of stone and modest in size. A strong typhoon in 1872 destroyed the first stone church.Read More →

Climbing the majestic Mount Iraya, Batanes‘ highest mountain at 1009 meters above sea level, was not actually part of my itinerary. But since my guide got sick the night before, I have nothing to do on my second day in this northernmost province. Immediately, I look for another guide, someone who is familiar with the trails of Mount Iraya. Thankfully, I got a very capable replacement in Jun Gasilao. After we drove off to the north end of Basco Airport, we started our climb a few minutes before ten o’clock in the morning. A challenging trail dawned on me. It was very steep. But myRead More →