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Tentative List of World Heritage Sites in the Philippines


Background Story of Batanes

(A precis)

Batanes is a story of islands rising from the depths of the sea due to volcanic activity and coral uplifts- how life forms begin in these islands fathered by the currents of meeting seas and passing winds from other lands. It is also the story of man living in total isolation nurtured and challenged by nature and the lessons he has learned, as he himself nurtures nature for their mutual benefit and survival.

Based on the geologic information from the Bureau of Mines and the Soil Survey Report of Batanes (1974), the islands came into existence during the Pre-miocene and Miocene period (about 25 Million-35 Million years ago).

The islands were very much bigger than what they are at present. They have undergone peneplanation and degradation followed by several periods of uplift. The volcanic islands were not formed by a single volcanic eruption but by several effusion. The islands rose in a series of uplifts. The uplifts of Batan and Sabtang has continued to the present. The province can be divided geologically into three group:

(1.) The island of Sabtang and the southern part of Batan which is found on undulating to rolling to steep with moderate to highly dissected landscapes which are largely of volcanic agglomerates with basic dikes, particularly in the southern portion of Sabtang.

(2.) The islands of Mavulis, Misanga, Ditarem, Siayan and the northern portion of Batan which are of recent volcanic origin. The materials consist largely of basalts and andesites with subsidiary agglomerates containing volcanic bombs; and

(3.) Itbayat, Ivuhus, Dequey, and Dinem islands and the narrow fringe along the coastal portions of Batan island and from the northern end of Baluarte Bay to Sonsong Bay and of Sabtang Islands which are of coral lime stones.

Location and Extent

Batanes is located in the northernmost part of the Philippines and consists of ten islands. Only three of the ten islands are populated. It is about 680 kilometers north f manila and 280 kilometers from Cagayan, its nearest province neighbor in the mainland Luzon. It lies approximately between east longitude 12*05’ to 21*13’.

The area is bounded on the north by Bashi Channel, on the east by the Pacific Ocean, on the south by the Balintang Channel, and on the west by the South China Sea. It has a total area of 23,000 hectares and considered the smallest among the 78 provinces of the country.

The ten islands are Batan, Itbayat, Sabtang, Ivuhos, Dequey, Dinem, Siayan, Ditarem, Misanga, and Mavulis. The first three islands are the ones inhabited.

Batan is the most important island with four of the six towns located in it. It is also the commercial center of the province but it is second only in area to Itbayat.


A. Statement of Cultural Significance:

  1. The geology and location of Batanes provide significant information on endemic data (3 frogs endemic in the Philippines-all three are found in Batanes; There are 150 endemic birds in the Philippines with 66 recorded by ornithologists to be present in the province; Batanes is one of two stop over in the Philippines of migratory birds; Batanes has more endemic plants than Hawaii although bigger in size)
  2. The cultural heritage of Batanes as evidenced in its stone boat-shaped burials, megaliths and Ijangs provide insights and early community organization and management;
  3. The vernacular architecture of Batanes provide valuable lessons on the protection of man from natural elements.
  4. The natural sites heritage of Batanes provide unique experiences in island living with man and nature co-existing in harmonious mutually nurturing relationship in a fragile environment.

B. Objectives of Overall Development Strategy

  1. Batanes will be a center of excellence in sustainable tourism that will catalyze, promote, and ensure conservation of her heritage toward sustainable development.
  2. The heritage of Batanes will be the centerpiece attraction of our tourism industry through judicious decisions and actions given our fragile and limited resources.
  3. Our tourism industry will be envisioned to promote the general welfare and well-being of the Ivatan people giving emphasis on the empowerment of women, youth, children and senior citizens toward the achievement of their self-fulfillment in a peaceful, healthful, prosperous and God-loving community.


A. Action Plan for Models of Cooperation Among Stakeholders

A.1. Model I for Fiscal Capture and Management

  1. Background Information/Situational Analysis for All Stakeholders a. Lack of Organized Tourism Council, b. Lack of Fund allocation for Tourism c. Lack of Tourism leadership d. Need for Tourist Assistance Center e. Need for fund Sourcing/Generation f. Need to Promote Indirect Fund Capture
  2. Identification of Fiscal Capture Source
    1. National, Regional, Provincial, Municipal, Barangay Offices
  3. Linking for External Funding International Foundations; Private Donations, Ambassadors Special Funds, Sponsorship/Events
  4. Indirect Source: Sale of Crafts; Festivals; Performing Arts, etc.
  5. Domestic/International Visitors: Entry Tax, Heritage Center Tax
  6. Non-Peso Contribution: Volunteer cooperative initiatives, Heritage and Tourism Groups; Heritage owners’ Inputs
  7. Marketing/Promotional Strategies
  8. Administration and Management: Mobilizing resources for public benefits
  9. Accountability/Transparency
  10. On-going Impact Assessment
  11. Feedback

A.2. Model for Involvement and Investment by the Tourism Industry in Sustainability of Cultural Heritage

  1. Background Info for All Stakeholders/Situational Analysis
    1. Need to organize Tourism Council
    2. Need to Identify Tourism Leadership
    3. Need to Set Up Tourism Center
    4. Need to produce IEC Materials
    5. Need to identify natural and cultural sites for tourism program;
    6. need identify Public and Private Sites for Conservation
    7. Need for Exposure to Best Practices/Exchange Program
  2. Election/Appointment/Installation of Batanes Tourism Officials/Office
  3. Marketing Strategies, sustainability of project; Upgrading of identified tourist areas
  4. Support of Restoration of inventoried Vernacular Houses and Historical markers in the provinces
    1. Support and Enhancement training for Traditional craftsmen
    2. Recruitment and Training of hospitality staff (Inns, guides, eateries, Transport operators on Heritage and Conservation
    3. Promotion of Sanitation and Cleanliness of Tourist Areas Sites
    4. Fund Allocation of Hospitality Establishments for Conservation
  5. Fiscal Management
  6. Monitoring and Evaluation
  7. Feedback report to Stakeholders

A.3. Model for Community Education and Skills Training (Women and Youth)

  1. Background Information for all Stakeholders
  2. Situational Analysis
  3. Socio-Economic-Skills-Needs Assessment of Women and Youth per municipality
  4. Incorporation of Cultural Heritage and Conservation in School Curriculum
  5. Opening of Formal and Informal Educational Opportunities
  6. Opening of Employment and Entrepreneurial Opportunities
  7. Refinement
  8. Cultural Impact Assessment

A. 4. Model IV Model for Consensus Building

  1. Background Info for Stakeholders/Situational Analysis
    1. Need to ascertain Political Will
    2. Need for GO/NGO support
    3. Need for Tourism Policy/Guidelines
    4. Need for Heritage Owners Cooperation/Support
  2. Consensus Building
    1. Holding of Public Hearings/Consultations
    2. Get inputs/Consult with Experts
    3. Set Up Grievance Committee
    4. Revise, improve, finalize policy guidelines
  3. Implementation of Policy Guidelines/ Approved Plan for Tourism and Conservation
    1. Strengthening of Community Organizations in Tourism and Conservation
  4. Regular updating of Stakeholders on Conservation and Tourism Projects
  5. Opening of Information, Communication/Awareness Center for Stakeholders
  6. Monitoring and Evaluation
  7. Feedback

III. Modeling the Flow of Action (Diagramming the Action Plan)







IV. Time Frames:






Model I Fiscal Management

January-April 2002

Jan. 2002-2004


Model IV Consensus Building

April-June 2002

April 2002-2004


Model III Community Education

May-October 2002

May 2002-2004


Model II Tourism Industry & Conservation

Sept.-Dec. 2002

Sept. 2002-2004