Basco Travel Guide

Explore the natural and cultural attractions of Basco with this comprehensive tour guide. Discover the best things to do, where to stay, what to eat, and much more.

Basco is a remote and beautiful town located in the province of Batanes in the northernmost part of the Philippines. Its stunning, picturesque scenery and rich culture have made it a popular destination for travelers seeking an authentic and unique experience. In this comprehensive tour guide, we’ll explore the best things to see, do, and eat in Basco, as well as provide practical information to help plan your trip.

Introduction to Basco

Basco is a small town with a population of around 8,000 people. It is the capital of Batanes and is located on Batan Island, one of the 10 small islands that make up the Batanes group. The town is known for its picturesque rolling hills, stunning coastlines, and unique stone houses called Ivatan houses. The local culture is heavily influenced by its Ivatan heritage, which dates back several centuries.

List of Places to Visit in Basco

Culturally Important Attractions: Museums and Historical Places

  • Basco Lighthouse: One of the most iconic landmarks in Basco, the Basco Lighthouse offers breathtaking views of the South China Sea. It is located on Naidi Hill, which is also a popular spot for watching the sunrise and sunset.
  • Fundacion Pacita Batanes Nature Lodge: A unique lodge and art gallery built on a hill overlooking the town of Basco, Fundacion Pacita is named after Pacita Abad, a Filipino artist born in Batanes. It features her artwork and those of other local artists.
  • Dipnaysupuan Japanese Tunnel: The Japanese dug this tunnel during World War II to serve as their shelter and hideout. Today, visitors can explore the tunnel and learn about its historical significance.

Natural Attractions of Basco: Outdoor Adventures and Scenic Views

  • Valugan Boulder Beach: The beach is famous for its smooth and round volcanic rocks. It is also an excellent place for watching sunrises and sunsets.
  • Vayang Rolling Hills: These hills offer stunning views of the ocean and unique landscapes for hiking and biking.
  • Mt. Iraya: The highest peak in Batan Island standing at 1,517 meters, Mt. Iraya is an excellent destination for hiking enthusiasts.

Hiking/Biking Routes of Basco

  • North Batan Nature Trail: This trail takes visitors through Batan Island’s rugged coastline, beautiful hills, and scenic farmlands. The trail offers a glimpse of the island’s natural beauty.
  • Chawa View Deck to Diura fishing village: This biking trail provides a unique perspective of the town’s Ivatan houses and the rolling hills. It ends with a visit to Diura village, where you can experience the locals’ traditional fishing lifestyle.

Best Things to Do in Basco: Activities and Tours

  • Island hopping: Visitors can explore the small islands surrounding Batan Island by taking a boat tour.
  • Ivatan Village life experience: Join a tour that allows a glimpse of the local’s everyday life in authentic Ivatan village.
  • Traditional Weaving Workshop: Experience Basco’s vibrant weaving traditions with workshops led by master weavers.

Week-Long Itinerary for Basco

Day Activities
Day 1 Arrival, orientation, and stroll across Basco Lighthouse and Fundacion Pacita
Day 2 North Batan Nature Trail, Tukon Radar Station, and Idjang Fortress
Day 3 South Batan Tour, Mahatao Church, and Marlboro country
Day 4 Visiting Basco’s beaches, Valugan Boulder Beach, Nakamaya Burial Site, and Tayid Lighthouse
Day 5 Hiking to Mt. Iraya summit and outdoor adventures
Day 6 Traditional weaving workshop and cultural tour
Day 7 Departure and final moments in Basco

Food and Drink Scene of Basco

Must-Try Dishes

  • Uved Balls: A famous street food in Basco, Uved Balls are made from grated purple yam, flour, and sugar.
  • Vunung Batanes: A coconut crab dish that is a popular delicacy in Batanes cuisine.
  • Chicken Estofado: A hearty stew made from chicken, soy sauce, spices, and vinegar.

Local Beverages

  • Palek: A locally produced coconut wine that has a sweet taste and low alcohol content.
  • Ginger Tea: A refreshing and flavorful tea made from fresh ginger and honey.

Where to Stay in Basco: Hotels, Hostels, and Guesthouses

  • Shanedel’s Inn and Cafe: A budget-friendly accommodation with air conditioning, free Wi-Fi, and an in-house cafe.
  • Troy Lodge: A mid-range lodge featuring traditional Ivatan architecture, a garden patio, and free airport transportation.
  • Fundacion Pacita Batanes Nature Lodge: A luxury resort with magnificent views of the Pacific Ocean, modern amenities, and an in-house restaurant serving local cuisine.

What to Buy in Basco: Souvenirs and Local Products to Bring Home

  • Vakul: A traditional headgear made from dried leaves, used to protect against sun and rain.
  • Chavayan Blanket: A hand-woven blanket made from a blend of cotton, abaca, and colorful fibers, adding softness to Basco’s traditional style.
  • Basco Festival Shirt: A brightly colored, limited edition shirt sold during the town’s annual festival, commemorating the Ivatans’ rich history and heritage.

Local Culture and Customs of Basco

Basco’s culture is heavily influenced by the Ivatan heritage, which is prevalent and evident in local architecture, traditions, and way of life. Visitors are encouraged to respect local customs and traditions, which includes covering one’s head and removing shoes when entering any place of worship, village, or home.

Best Time to Visit Basco

The best time to visit Basco is from January to May, when the weather is generally dry and sunny. It is also the ideal time for outdoor activities and exploring the natural attractions of the town. Avoid visiting from July to September, which is the rainy season.

Do’s and Don’ts of Basco


  • Respect the local customs and traditions.
  • Wear appropriate clothing when visiting religious sites.
  • Try the local cuisine and delicacies.


  • Litter or damage the natural or cultural sites.
  • Take pictures of the locals without their consent.
  • Be rude or disrespectful to the locals or their beliefs.

Safety and Health

Safety in Basco

Basco is generally safe, and the locals are friendly and welcoming to visitors. However, it is always essential to practice basic safety precautions, such as keeping an eye on your belongings and avoiding unnecessary risks and hazards.

Health in Basco

There are no major health risks in Basco, but visitors should take basic precautions such as drinking bottled water and using insect repellent to prevent mosquito-borne illnesses.

Getting to Basco: Transportation Options and Logistics

Airports Near Basco

Basco has an airport with flights from Manila and Tuguegarao City. It is advisable to book your tickets in advance to get the best deals.

Bus Stations Near Basco

There are no bus stations near Basco as it is an island province.

Other Options

Visitors can also reach Basco by boat from Manila, Aparri, or Tuguegarao City. However, the boat ride can be long and uncomfortable, so it is best to check the schedule and plan accordingly.

How to Get Around in Basco

Visitors can rent bikes, motorbikes, tricycles, or hire a local tour guide to explore the town and its attractions. Taxis are also available for a more comfortable option.

Where to Go Next from Basco: Nearby Destinations and Excursions

  • Sabtang Island: A popular destination for its traditional villages, stone houses, and natural attractions.
  • Itbayat Island: One of the most remote and hard-to-reach destinations in the Philippines, known for its stunning landscapes, wildlife, and cultural significance.


Basco is a hidden gem in the Philippines that is worth exploring for its natural beauty, cultural heritage, and unique attractions. This tour guide offers an in-depth and comprehensive look at the town, its attractions, and practical information to help plan your trip. With its stunning landscapes, friendly locals, and fascinating culture, Basco is a must-visit destination for travelers seeking an authentic and memorable experience.