The Untold Stories of Ivatans
Community Profile

     The indigenous people of Batanes are called Ivatan (a native name in the Batan Islands) and share prehistoric cultural and linguistic commonalities with the Babuyan on Babuyan Island and the Tao people of Orchid Island. With the exception of Spanish ancestry introduced to the Ivatan and Babuyan over the centuries, the Ivatan, Babuyan, and Tao peoples are racially the same. This divided nation is a result of the Dutch invasion of 1642. The northern half of the Ivatan homeland, Formosa 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, led by the Chinese pirate Koxinga who then set himself up as The King of Taiwan.


     The main languages spoken in Batanes are Ivatan, which is spoken on the islands of Batan and Sabtang, and Ichbayaten, 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. From college level down to elementary level, the dialect is widely spoken.


     Batanes lies on a group of islands collectively called Batanes Islands and they are the northernmost islands of the Philippines. They are located between the Babuyan Islands (belonging to Cagayan Province) and Taiwan. The islands are sparsely populated and subject to frequent typhoons.

    The three largest islands are Itbayat, Batan, and Sabtang. The northernmost is Mavudis Island.

     Almost one-half of Batanes are hills and mountains. Batan Island, with a land area of 35 km², is generally mountainous on the north and southeast. It has a basin in the interior. Itbayat Island, 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 and Balintang Channel, where the Pacific Ocean, merges with the China Sea. The area is a sealane between the Philippines and Japan, China, Hongkong and Taiwan. It is rich with marine resources, including the rarest sea corals 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.

     Generally, the Ivatans (people of Batanes) are very simple. They wear simple clothes and eat local produced food. They are also recognized for being hospitable to visitors.

     From the past times through the modern age, the Ivatans remained steadfast in their virtues and principles in life. This is one of the reasons why to this date, some of their stories remained untold .


Map of Batanes Islands:
Basco Data:,_Batanes
Mahatao Data:,_Batanes
Ivana Data:,_Batanes
Uyugan Data:,_Batanes
Sabtang Data:,_Batanes
Itbayat Data:,_Batanes
Batanes / People and Culture/ Languages/ Topography

Resource Persons

Fountain of Youth
(Ranum nu Kamalakal)

Name: Anna Rarela
Age: 82 years old
Birthday: July 26, 1926
Parent: Carmen Cariaso


Maria Domini
(Joan of Arc of Batanes)

   Name:  Joaquin “Jack” Enigo Castano Jr.
   Parents: Joaquin Castano
               Salud Enigo Castano
   Designation: Correspondent for the Philippine
                     Star Newspaper

                  : Retired Navy Commander

Naidi Hill’s Tale

              Name: Reuben L. Santana
              Age: 80 years old
              Birthday: February 01, 1928
              Wife: Esperanza B. Santana
              Number of Children: 4

Kanyid & Hunorio

              Name: Luciano B. Adami
              Age: 78 years old
              Birthday: September 26, 1930
              Birthplace: Itbud, Uyugan, Batanes
              Mother: Aurelia Adami
              Father: Pablo Adami
              No. of Children: 9
              Spouse: Esperanza E. Adami
              Educational Background: Finished Grade III
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