Batanes

Batanes

Discussion
Ask a question about 'Batanes'
Start a new discussion about 'Batanes'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
 
Encyclopedia
The Province of Batanes , also called the Batanes Islands, is a Philippine province comprising ten islands that are located in the Luzon Strait
Luzon Strait
The Luzon Strait is the strait between the island country of Taiwan and Luzon island of the Philippines. The strait thereby connects the Philippine Sea to the South China Sea in the western Pacific Ocean....

 between the islands of Luzon
Luzon
Luzon is the largest island in the Philippines. It is located in the northernmost region of the archipelago, and is also the name for one of the three primary island groups in the country centered on the Island of Luzon...

 and Taiwan
Taiwan
Taiwan , also known, especially in the past, as Formosa , is the largest island of the same-named island group of East Asia in the western Pacific Ocean and located off the southeastern coast of mainland China. The island forms over 99% of the current territory of the Republic of China following...

. It is the northernmost part of the Philippines and is also the smallest province
Provinces of the Philippines
The Provinces of the Philippines are the primary political and administrative divisions of the Philippines. There are 80 provinces at present, further subdivided into component cities and municipalities. The National Capital Region, as well as independent cities, are autonomous from any provincial...

, both in terms of population and land area.

The island group is located about 162 km north of Luzon and about 190 kilometers south of Taiwan, separated from the Babuyan Islands
Babuyan Islands
The Babuyan Islands form an archipelago located in the Luzon Strait north of Luzon island in the Philippines. It is separated from Luzon by the Babuyan Channel and from the Batanes Islands to its north by the Balintang Channel....

 of Cagayan Province, Luzon, by the Balintang Channel
Balintang Channel
The Balintang Channel is the small waterway that separates the Batanes and Babuyan Islands, both of which belong to the Philippines, in the Luzon Strait....

 and from Taiwan
Taiwan
Taiwan , also known, especially in the past, as Formosa , is the largest island of the same-named island group of East Asia in the western Pacific Ocean and located off the southeastern coast of mainland China. The island forms over 99% of the current territory of the Republic of China following...

 by the Bashi Channel
Bashi Channel
The Bashi Channel is a strait between the Y'Ami Island of the Philippines and Orchid Island of Taiwan. It is characterized by windy storms during the rainy period, June to December. It is a part of the Pacific Ocean....

.

The provincial capital is Basco
Basco, Batanes
Basco is a 5th class municipality in the Batanes Province, Philippines. It is the capital municipality of Batanes...

 on Batan Island
Batan Island
Batan island is the main island of the Batanes Province in the Philippines, part of the Batanes Islands group and the Luzon Volcanic Arc. It is home to the provincial capital Basco. The island is known chiefly for Mount Iraya....

 and the only other inhabited islands are Itbayat and Sabtang. The northernmost island of the province, making it the nothernmost island in the the Philippines, is Mavudis (Yami) Island
Mavudis Island
Mavudis Island is the northernmost of the Batanes Islands and the northernmost island in the Philippines. It is part of the province of Batanes...

. Other islands in the chain are Misanga, Siayan
Siayan Island
Siayan is one of the Batanes Islands of the Philippines. Also known as Ditarem Island in the native language, the island is about 1/2 mile to 3/4 miles in diameter and lies about 5 miles north-northeastward of Itbayat Island. The closest island is Mabudis Island which is about 1 miles...

, Ivuhos, and Dequey
Dequey
Dequey is one of the Batanes Islands, in the province of Batanes, in Luzon Strait, the Philippines. The island is a very small and a rather low piece of land, lying nearly 1/2 mile westward of the northwest point of Ivuhos Island...

.

The province is officially in the region
Regions of the Philippines
In the Philippines, regions are administrative divisions that serve primarily to organize the provinces of the country for administrative convenience. Currently, the archipelagic republic of the Philippines is divided into 17 regions...

 of Cagayan Valley
Cagayan Valley
Cagayan Valley is a region of the Philippines, also designated as Region II or Region 02. It is composed of five provinces, namely: Batanes, Cagayan, Isabela, Nueva Vizcaya, and Quirino...

.

The islands are part of the Luzon Volcanic Arc
Luzon Volcanic Arc
The Luzon Volcanic Arc is a chain of volcanoes in a north south line across the Luzon Strait from Taiwan to Luzon. It is the northern extension of the Philippine Mobile Belt...

.

History


The ancestors of today's Ivatans are descended from Austronesians who migrated to the Batanes Islands 4000 years ago during the Neolithic period. They lived in fortified mountain areas called idjangs and drank sugar-cane wine, or palek. They also used gold as currency and produced a thriving agriculture-based industry. They were also seafarers and boat-builders.

In 1687, a crew of English freebooters headed by William Dampier
William Dampier
William Dampier was an English buccaneer, sea captain, author and scientific observer...

 came with a Dutch crew and named the islands in honor of their country's monarchs. Itbayat was named "Orange Isle" in honor of William of Orange
William III of England
William III & II was a sovereign Prince of Orange of the House of Orange-Nassau by birth. From 1672 he governed as Stadtholder William III of Orange over Holland, Zeeland, Utrecht, Guelders, and Overijssel of the Dutch Republic. From 1689 he reigned as William III over England and Ireland...

, and Batan was named "Grafton Isle" after Henry FitzRoy, 1st Duke of Grafton
Henry FitzRoy, 1st Duke of Grafton
Henry FitzRoy, 1st Duke of Grafton KG was the illegitimate son of King Charles II by Barbara Villiers, Countess of Castlemaine....

. Sabtang Isle was named "Monmouth Isle" after the James Scott, 1st Duke of Monmouth
James Scott, 1st Duke of Monmouth
James Scott, 1st Duke of Monmouth, 1st Duke of Buccleuch, KG, PC , was an English nobleman. Originally called James Crofts or James Fitzroy, he was born in Rotterdam in the Netherlands, the eldest illegitimate son of Charles II and his mistress, Lucy Walter...

. Capt. Dampier stayed for less than three months, and did not claim the islands for the British crown.

In 1783, the Spanish claimed Batanes as part of the Philippines under the auspices of Governor-General
Governor-General of the Philippines
The Governor-General of the Philippines was the title of the government executive during the colonial period of the Philippines, governed mainly by Spain and the United States, and briefly by Great Britain, from 1565 to 1935....

 José Basco y Vargas
José Basco y Vargas
José Basco y Vargas, 1st Count of the Conquest of Batanes Islands was a naval officer who served as the 53rd governor of the Philippines under Spanish colonial rule, from 1778 to 1787...

. The Bashi Channel had come to be increasingly used by English East India Company ships and the Spanish authorities brought the islands under their direct administration to prevent them falling under British control. However, the Ivatan
Ivatan
Ivatan can refer to either:*the Ivatan people; or,*the Ivatan language....

 remained on their idjangs, or mountain fortresses. In 1790, Governor Guerrero ( The Governor-general of the Philippines at this point in time is Félix Berenguer de Marquina
Félix Berenguer de Marquina
Félix Berenguer de Marquina was a Spanish naval officer, colonial official and, from April 30, 1800 to January 4, 1803, viceroy of New Spain.-Origins and early career:...

, unless Guerrero refers to a governor of the Batanes.
) decreed that Ivatans were to leave their idjang and to live in the lowlands, thereby giving them more people to tax. Basco and Ivana were the first towns. Mahatao was then administered by Basco, while Uyugan and Sabtang, by Ivana. Itbayat was not organized until the 1850s, its coast being a ridge. Ivatans were then ordered to dress like the other Filipinos, and it didn't take them long to adapt. Soon, Ilocanos were being put in the islands, so as to control the native population there. Limestone technology used by the Spanish were also being spread to the islands, so that their bridges became strong and fortified. Some of these bridges still remain at both Ivana and Mahatao. By 1890, many Ivatans were in Manila, and became ilustrados, who then brought home with them the revolutionary ideas of the Katipunan
Katipunan
The Katipunan was a Philippine revolutionary society founded by anti-Spanish Filipinos in Manila in 1892, whose primary aim was to gain independence from Spain through revolution. The society was initiated by Filipino patriots Andrés Bonifacio, Teodoro Plata, Ladislao Diwa, and others on the night...

. These Ivatans, who were then discontented with Spanish rule, killed the ruling General Fortea and declared the end of Spanish rule.

Toward the end of the Spanish regime, Batanes was made a part of Cagayan. In 1909, however, the American authorities organized it into an independent province. Because of its strategic location, the Batanes island group was one of the first points occupied by the invading Japanese imperial forces at the outbreak of the Pacific War.

During the American colonial period, public schools suddenly boomed, and more Ivatan became more aware of their place in the Philippines. One of the first School Superintendents was Victor De Padua
Victor De Padua
Victor De Padua was Provincial Governor of the province of Batanes during the Japanese occupation of the Philippines. A member of the Ilocano people, he had previously been a school superintendent....

, an Ilocano, who in 1942-45 during the Japanese occupation was made Provincial Governor.

In 1920, the first wireless telegraph was installed, followed by an airfield in 1930. Roads were constructed and the Batanes High School was instituted.

In the morning of December 8, 1941, the Batan Task Force from Taiwan landed on the Batan Islands, the first American territory occupied by the Japanese. Japanese fighters from these islands took part in the raid on Clark Air Base
History of Clark Air Base
The history of Clark Air Base, Philippines dates back to the late 19th century when it was settled by Filipino military forces. The United States established a presence at the turn of the century.- The Americans first come to Angeles :...

 later that same day.

During the Second World War, the Japanese army committed atrocities against the Ivatan. When the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 regained the country, Batanes regained its provincehood.


Beginning in 1945 liberated by the Philippine Commonwealth forces of the 1st and 12th Infantry Division of the Philippine Commonwealth Army was landing at Batanes were attacked by Japanese forces in the island during the Battle of Batanes.

On July 23, 2007, a magnitude-5.2 quake rocked Batanes, but no damage or casualty was immediately reported. The United States Geological Service (USGS)(www.usgs.gov), said the quake was recorded at about 10:58 a.m., with the epicenter at 40 km south of Basco town in Batanes, about 250 km northeast of Laoag, Ilocos Norte; or 560 km south of Taipei, Taiwan.

On June 1, 2008, a magnitude 6.3 earthquake struck the seabed off the coast of Batanes, but neither injuries nor damage was reported.

People and culture



The people of Batanes are called Ivatan
Ivatan people
The Ivatans are a Filipino ethnolinguistic group predominant in the Batanes Islands of the Philippines. The origins of the Ivatans remained untraced among scholars, although evidences suggest that they are Christians who lived in the islands between northern Luzon and Taiwan...

 and share prehistoric cultural and linguistic commonalities with the Babuyan on Babuyan Island and the Tao people
Tao people
The Tao , originally recognized as Yami , are a Taiwanese aboriginal people, native to tiny outlying Orchid Island in Taiwan. The Tao are an Austronesian people linguistically and culturally closer to the Ivatan people of the Batanes islands in the Philippines than to other aboriginal peoples on...

 of Orchid Island
Orchid Island
Orchid Island is a 45-km² volcanic island off the southeastern coast of Taiwan island and separated from the Batanes of the Philippines by the Bashi Channel of the Luzon Strait. It is governed as Lanyu Township of Taitung County...

.

This divided homeland is a result of the Dutch
Dutch people
The Dutch people are an ethnic group native to the Netherlands. They share a common culture and speak the Dutch language. Dutch people and their descendants are found in migrant communities worldwide, notably in Suriname, Chile, Brazil, Canada, Australia, South Africa, New Zealand, and the United...

 invasion of Taiwan
Taiwan
Taiwan , also known, especially in the past, as Formosa , is the largest island of the same-named island group of East Asia in the western Pacific Ocean and located off the southeastern coast of mainland China. The island forms over 99% of the current territory of the Republic of China following...

 in 1624 ( Dutch Formosa ) and Spanish invasion in 1626 ( Spanish Formosa
Spanish Formosa
Spanish Formosa was a Spanish colony established in the north of Taiwan from 1626 to 1642...

 ). The northern half of the Ivatan homeland, Formosa
Taiwan
Taiwan , also known, especially in the past, as Formosa , is the largest island of the same-named island group of East Asia in the western Pacific Ocean and located off the southeastern coast of mainland China. The island forms over 99% of the current territory of the Republic of China following...

 and Orchid Island which were formally part of the Viceroyalty of New Spain, fell to the Dutch who were in turn expelled in 1662 by forces of the Chinese Ming Dynasty
Ming Dynasty
The Ming Dynasty, also Empire of the Great Ming, was the ruling dynasty of China from 1368 to 1644, following the collapse of the Mongol-led Yuan Dynasty. The Ming, "one of the greatest eras of orderly government and social stability in human history", was the last dynasty in China ruled by ethnic...

, led by the Chinese pirate Koxinga
Koxinga
Koxinga is the customary Western spelling of the popular appellation of Zheng Chenggong , a military leader who was born in 1624 in Hirado, Japan to Zheng Zhilong, a Chinese merchant/pirate, and his Japanese wife and died in 1662 on the island of Formosa .A Ming loyalist and the arch commander of...

 who then set himself up as The King of Taiwan
Kingdom of Tungning
The Kingdom of Tungning was a government that ruled Taiwan between 1661 and 1683. A pro-Ming Dynasty state, it was founded by Koxinga after the Ming government in mainland China was replaced by the Manchu-ruled Qing Dynasty...

.

The southern half of the Ivatan homeland, the islands of the Batanes, was reinforced and fortified by Spanish refugees from Formosa before being formally joined in the 18th century with the Spanish government in Manila.

The main languages spoken in Batanes are Ivatan
Ivatan language
The Ivatan language, also known as Ibatan or Chirin nu Ibatan , is an Austronesian language spoken exclusively in the Batanes Islands...

, which is spoken on the islands of Batan and Sabtang, and Itbayaten, which is spoken primarily on the island of Itbayat. The Ivatan which is dominant in the province is considered to be one of the Austronesian languages
Austronesian languages
The Austronesian languages are a language family widely dispersed throughout the islands of Southeast Asia and the Pacific, with a few members spoken on continental Asia that are spoken by about 386 million people. It is on par with Indo-European, Niger-Congo, Afroasiatic and Uralic as one of the...

. From college level down to elementary level, the language is widely spoken.

Political


Batanes is subdivided into 6 municipalities. Batanes has only one congressional district.

Municipalities

  • Basco
    Basco, Batanes
    Basco is a 5th class municipality in the Batanes Province, Philippines. It is the capital municipality of Batanes...

  • Itbayat
    Itbayat, Batanes
    Itbayat is a 5th class municipality in the province of Batanes, Philippines. According to the latest census, it has a population of 3,069 people in 719 households....

  • Ivana
    Ivana, Batanes
    Ivana is a 6th class municipality in the province of Batanes, Philippines. According to the latest census, it has a population of 1,181 people in 283 households.-Barangays:...

  • Mahatao
    Mahatao, Batanes
    Mahatao is a 6th class municipality in the province of Batanes, Philippines. According to the latest census, it has a population of 1,707 people in 188 households.-Barangays:Mahatao is politically subdivided into 4 barangays.* Hanib* Kaumbakan...

  • Sabtang
    Sabtang, Batanes
    Sabtang is a 6th class municipality in the province of Batanes, Philippines. According to the latest census, it has a population of 1,465 people in 353 households.-Barangays:Sabtang is politically subdivided into 6 barangays.* Chavayan...

  • Uyugan
    Uyugan, Batanes
    Uyugan is a 6th class municipality in the Batanes province, Philippines. According to the latest census, it has a population of 1,203 people in 277 households.-Barangays:Uyugan is politically subdivided into 4 barangays.* Kayvaluganan * Imnajbu...


  • Topography



    Batanes lies on a group of islands collectively called Batanes Islands and they are the northernmost islands of the Philippines
    Philippines
    The Philippines , officially known as the Republic of the Philippines , is a country in Southeast Asia in the western Pacific Ocean. To its north across the Luzon Strait lies Taiwan. West across the South China Sea sits Vietnam...

    . They are located between the Babuyan Islands
    Babuyan Islands
    The Babuyan Islands form an archipelago located in the Luzon Strait north of Luzon island in the Philippines. It is separated from Luzon by the Babuyan Channel and from the Batanes Islands to its north by the Balintang Channel....

     (belonging to Cagayan
    Cagayan
    Cagayan , the "Land of Smiling Beauty", is a province of the Philippines in the Cagayan Valley region in Luzon. Its capital is Tuguegarao City and is located at the northeastern corner of the island of Luzon. Cagayan also includes the Babuyan Islands to the north. The province borders Ilocos Norte...

     Province) and Taiwan
    Taiwan
    Taiwan , also known, especially in the past, as Formosa , is the largest island of the same-named island group of East Asia in the western Pacific Ocean and located off the southeastern coast of mainland China. The island forms over 99% of the current territory of the Republic of China following...

    . The islands are sparsely populated and subject to frequent typhoons.

    The three largest islands are Itbayat
    Itbayat Island
    Itbayat is one of the Batanes Islands of the Philippines. Together with some other islands it forms the municipality of Itbayat in Batanes Province....

    , Batan
    Batan Island
    Batan island is the main island of the Batanes Province in the Philippines, part of the Batanes Islands group and the Luzon Volcanic Arc. It is home to the provincial capital Basco. The island is known chiefly for Mount Iraya....

    , and Sabtang
    Sabtang Island
    Sabtang is an inactive volcanic island, one of the Batanes Islands of the Philippines. Together with some other islands it forms the municipality of Sabtang in Batanes Province.-External links:*...

    . The northernmost is Mavudis Island
    Mavudis Island
    Mavudis Island is the northernmost of the Batanes Islands and the northernmost island in the Philippines. It is part of the province of Batanes...

    .

    Almost one-half of Batanes are hill
    Hill
    A hill is a landform that extends above the surrounding terrain. Hills often have a distinct summit, although in areas with scarp/dip topography a hill may refer to a particular section of flat terrain without a massive summit A hill is a landform that extends above the surrounding terrain. Hills...

    s and mountain
    Mountain
    Image:Himalaya_annotated.jpg|thumb|right|The Himalayan mountain range with Mount Everestrect 58 14 160 49 Chomo Lonzorect 200 28 335 52 Makalurect 378 24 566 45 Mount Everestrect 188 581 920 656 Tibetan Plateaurect 250 406 340 427 Rong River...

    s. Batan Island
    Batan Island
    Batan island is the main island of the Batanes Province in the Philippines, part of the Batanes Islands group and the Luzon Volcanic Arc. It is home to the provincial capital Basco. The island is known chiefly for Mount Iraya....

    , with a land area of 35 km², is generally mountainous on the north and southeast. It has a basin in the interior. Itbayat Island
    Itbayat Island
    Itbayat is one of the Batanes Islands of the Philippines. Together with some other islands it forms the municipality of Itbayat in Batanes Province....

    , which has a total area of 95 km², slopes gradually to the west, being mountainous and hilly along its northern, eastern coast. As for Sabtang, mountains cover the central part of its 41 km² area, making the island slope outward to the coast.

    The islands are situated between the vast expanse of the waters of Bashi Channel
    Bashi Channel
    The Bashi Channel is a strait between the Y'Ami Island of the Philippines and Orchid Island of Taiwan. It is characterized by windy storms during the rainy period, June to December. It is a part of the Pacific Ocean....

     and Balintang Channel
    Balintang Channel
    The Balintang Channel is the small waterway that separates the Batanes and Babuyan Islands, both of which belong to the Philippines, in the Luzon Strait....

    , where the Pacific Ocean, merges with the China Sea. The area is a sealane between the Philippines
    Philippines
    The Philippines , officially known as the Republic of the Philippines , is a country in Southeast Asia in the western Pacific Ocean. To its north across the Luzon Strait lies Taiwan. West across the South China Sea sits Vietnam...

     and Japan
    Japan
    Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

    , China
    China
    Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

    , Hong Kong
    Hong Kong
    Hong Kong is one of two Special Administrative Regions of the People's Republic of China , the other being Macau. A city-state situated on China's south coast and enclosed by the Pearl River Delta and South China Sea, it is renowned for its expansive skyline and deep natural harbour...

     and Taiwan
    Taiwan
    Taiwan , also known, especially in the past, as Formosa , is the largest island of the same-named island group of East Asia in the western Pacific Ocean and located off the southeastern coast of mainland China. The island forms over 99% of the current territory of the Republic of China following...

    . It is rich with marine resources, including the rarest sea coral
    Coral
    Corals are marine animals in class Anthozoa of phylum Cnidaria typically living in compact colonies of many identical individual "polyps". The group includes the important reef builders that inhabit tropical oceans and secrete calcium carbonate to form a hard skeleton.A coral "head" is a colony of...

    s in the world.

    The province is hilly and mountainous, with only 1,631.50 hectares or 7.10% of its area level to undulating and 78.20% or 17,994.40 hectares varying in terms from rolling to steep and very steep. Forty two percent (42%) or 9,734.40 hectares are steep to very steep land.

    Because of the terrain of the province, drainage is good and prolonged flooding is non-existent. The main island of Batan has the largest share of level and nearly level lands, followed by Itbayat and Sabtang, respectively. Itbayat has gently rolling hills and nearly level areas on semi-plateaus surrounded by continuous massive cliffs rising from 20–70 meters above sea level, with no shorelines. Sabtang on the other hand, has its small flat areas spread sporadically on its coasts, while its interior is dominated by steep mountains and deep canyons. Batan Island and Sabtang have intermittent stretches of sandy beaches and rocky shorelines.

    The terrain of the province while picturesque at almost every turn, has limited the potential for expansion of agriculture in an already very small province.

    Climate



    The subtropical climate of the province is similar to those of neighboring Taiwan
    Taiwan
    Taiwan , also known, especially in the past, as Formosa , is the largest island of the same-named island group of East Asia in the western Pacific Ocean and located off the southeastern coast of mainland China. The island forms over 99% of the current territory of the Republic of China following...

     and Okinawa. Sometimes the island experiences below the normal low of 55 degrees Fahrenheit (13 °C).

    There is a misconception that Batanes is constantly being battered by typhoons. If Batanes is always mentioned in connection with weather disturbances, it is because its capital, Basco, holds the last weather station in the north. It is a reference point for all typhoons that enter the Philippine area of responsibility. It has no pronounced wet or dry season. It enjoys practically four seasons, the best ones being summer (April–June) and winter (December–February), when the temperature dips as low as seven degrees Celsius.

    Mid-March to June is a favorite time for tourists to visit due the relatively lower chance of rain. However, the rest of the year can still offer a pleasant experience for visitors. An Indian summer supposedly takes place in September. Sometimes, the weather is nice as early as February and as late as July. North or east winds bring in cooler air. They also bring in weather fronts and cloud build-ups that could cause flight cancellations. Cool weather—a phenomenon Ivatans like to call winter—prevails from December to February. When dealing with Batanes, always remember that, on these islands, the weather often changes suddenly. Just be ready for whatever heads your way.

    Ecology



    An extensive survey of the ecology
    Ecology
    Ecology is the scientific study of the relations that living organisms have with respect to each other and their natural environment. Variables of interest to ecologists include the composition, distribution, amount , number, and changing states of organisms within and among ecosystems...

     of Batanes provided the scientific basis for confirming the need for a national park in Batanes protecting the Batanes Protected landscapes and seascapes, proposed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, submitted on 15 August 1993.

    Economy


    About 75% of the Ivatans
    Ivatan people
    The Ivatans are a Filipino ethnolinguistic group predominant in the Batanes Islands of the Philippines. The origins of the Ivatans remained untraced among scholars, although evidences suggest that they are Christians who lived in the islands between northern Luzon and Taiwan...

     are farmers and fishermen. The rest are employed in the government and services sector. Garlic and cattle are major cash crops. Ivatans also plant camote (sweet potato), cassava, gabi or tuber and a unique variety of white uvi. Sugarcane is raised to produce palek, a kind of native wine, and vinegar.

    In recent years, fish catch has declined due to the absence of technical know-how. Employment opportunities are scarce. Most of the educated Ivatans have migrated to urban centers or have gone abroad.

    A wind diesel generating plant was commissioned in 2004.

    Distance and bad weather work against its economic growth. Certain commodities like rice, soft drinks, and gasoline carry a 75% to 100% mark-up over Manila retail prices.

    Transportation


    The island province of Batanes is accessible by air and served by air with flights from SEAIR and SKYPASADA.

    External links