Apostolic Prelatures of Batanes
  • share this post
  • Share on facebook
  • resize textlarger | smaller

71.784 square kilometers of the total land area, or roughly around 14 percent, represent the combined land areas of the seven uninhabited islets. Only 6 percent of entire land area is comprised of flat lands. The entire Batanes archipelago boasts of nine volcanoes, of which two are considered active or have shown signs of having erupted in the past few thousand years.

The capital of Batanes Province is Basco and is under Region II which is 860 kilometers north of Manila. Basco is on Batan Island.

Batanes is the only province in the Philippines declared in its entirety as a protected area under the National Integrated Protected Areas Act of 1992.

Batanes is composed of eleven tiny islands. Of these, only three are inhabited (Batan, Itbayat, and Sabtang) while the islets of Dinem, Siayan, Ditarem, Misanga, Mavudis, Dequey and Vuhus are all uninhabited.

The municipalities of Basco, Mahatao, Ivana, and Uyugan, are located on Batan Island. The remaining two island municipalities are Sabtang and Itbayat.


In Batanes Prelature, the population is 15,974 as of August 2007. (The population of the whole country is about 91 million). Most residents belong to the ethnic group of Ivatan.


The main languages spoken in Batanes are Ivatan, which is spoken on the islands of Batan and Sabtang, and Ichabayaten, which are spoken primarily on the island of Itbayat. The mother tongue of Batanes is spoken by 93.94 percent of all households. English spoken by 65 per cent of the population, Pilipino by 55 per cent and Spanish by 5 per cent.


Prelature of Batanes (Prelatura Batanensis)
Suffragan of Nueva Segovia (Vigan)
Established: November 30, 1950 as Territorial Prelature of Batanes and Babuyanes. On Feb. 6, 2002 the Prelature was reduced to comprise only the Province of Batanes and is now know as the Territorial Prelature of Batanes with the Archbishop of Nueva Segovia (Vigan) as Metropolitan. Babuyanes is ceded to the Archdiocese of Tuguegarao.
Titular: Immaculate Conception, December 8.

The Prelature of Batanes-Babuyanes was created on Nov. 30, 1950, comprising the civil province of Batanes and the Babuyan Islands group which belongs to the province of Cagayan. Its titular patron is the Immaculate Conception whose feast the prelature celebrates on December 8.

When the prelature was created it was separated from the Diocese of Tuguegarao and made a suffragan of the Archdiocese of Manila. But when the Diocese of Tuguegarao was elevated to an archdiocese on Sept. 21, 1974, the Prelature of Batanes-Babuyanes was made a suffragan of this ecclesiastical province.

The Dominicans having been the only missionaries in the area for a considerable length of time, it seemed just right that its first prelate be a Dominican too. And this came about in the person of Monsignor Peregrin de la Fuente, who served from 1950 until he died in 1966. His successor, Father Mario L. Baltazar, another Dominican, was installed Prelate Ordinary on Jan. 7, 1967 and has remained until 1995.


Batanes has six municipalities, 29 barangays, and one congressional district. The six municipalities are Ivana, Uyugan, Mahatao, Basco (the capital), and the island municipalities of Sabtang and Itbayat.


Batanes can be reached:

By Sea
No passenger boat from the mainland to Batanes at the moment. Small motorized boat called faluwa in use in crossing the islands of Itbayat & Sabtang.

By Air
Flights from Manila to Basco via Southeast Asian Airlines (SEA Air) or from Tuguegarao or Laoag via 8-seater plane of Chemtrad, or Batanes Airline or the WCC Skypasada.com which is a 19-seater LET 410 aircraft.

Everywhere in any town is walking distance. Jeepneys from Basco to other municipalities are available. Private vehicles/motorcycles and bicycles may be rented to tour the islands of Batan, Sabtang and Itbayat.


Houses, buildings and roads are generally made of concrete. Old infrastructures are made of lime and stone however, most of them are damaged by earthquakes due to lack of steel support.

Electricity is supplied by Batanes Electric Cooperative (Batanelco) to the Island of Batan 18 hours daily (6 am to 12 midnight). Plans are going on to provide 24 hour electricity.


Besides agricultural, livestock and poultry raising constitute other major source of income of the people. Most of the best types of cattle exported to Luzon are from Uyugan, especially the barrios of Itbud and Imnajbu.

Cottage industries are involved in making hats, pottery, rope, and native wine.

Fishing offers another viable alternative but only during the months of March to June when the seawater is relatively calm.


Globe Telecom and Smart Communications Company provide wireless communications. There is also access to internet in Batanes through Smart Broadband. There are already internet cafés or station around Basco area.

Radio ng Bayan, a local AM radio station (DWBT-Radyo ng Bayan Batanes) owned and operated by the Philippine Broadcasting Service serves not just the entire province but neighboring islands near Cagayan. The station provides live newsfeeds from government-owned sister stations in Manila. All government offices in the provinces are provided a weekly airtime to communicate updates from their offices.


The literacy rate in the diocesan territory is 90 percent.


Song: Laji - expresses plans in their lives
Dance:          Palo-palo (war dance between the Spaniards & natives)
Fundanggo Ivatan: danced in every party especially during weddings