While Batanes is filled with amazing sights and activities, those who want to see something that is truly special should take the time to visit the San Jose de Ivana Church. The church is nearly 250 years old with a foundation that dates back to 1795. You wouldn’t guess that by looking at it though. The San Jose de Ivana Church is one of the best preserved churches in the region and some people make the mistake of thinking it is new!
San Jose de Ivana Church
As with many churches in the Philippines, this church was built to withstand time. With it’s fortress like ramparts and solidly constructed bell tower, not to mention it’s strategic placement near the port and the sea, it’s easy to mistake it for a military construction. Make no mistake, however, this is a house of God, not a house of war.
Ivana Batanes Church
From the bell tower you have an amazing vista that looks over Batanes including the mystical Sabtang Island. As you watch the seas become rough in the evening, you’ll understand why the small craft come into port in the early afternoon. The meeting place of the South China Sea and the Pacific Ocean is nowhere to mess around.
As I stood in the bell tower looking out over the water, I was reminded of the many men and women who have lost their lives by misjudging the waters of the ocean. I offered a small prayer to their memory and climbed down the massive steps before going inside to pay my respects to the saints who are ensconced in the churches many niches.
The tiles of the church are intricate and beautiful and a fine example of Spanish and Filipino craftsmanship. As a small side trip, the San Jose de Ivana Church makes a great destination as it is both easy to find and beautiful to look at. The nearby Honesty Coffee Shop and restaurants offer snacks and drinks to hungry or thirsty travelers and if you are lucky enough to arrive during mass, you will be transported to the realm of the omnipotent.