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San Jose de Ivana Church in Batanes

Saint Joseph Church in Batanes

San Jose de Ivana Church by M0N MD via Wikimedia cc

San Jose el Obrero Church in Ivana, Batanes

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 mistake it to think it is new!

San Jose de Ivana Church by M0N MD via Wikimedia cc
San Jose de Ivana Church By M0N MD – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, cc

As with many churches in the Philippines, this church was built to withstand time. With its fortress-like ramparts and solidly constructed bell tower, not to mention its strategic placement near the port and the sea, it’s easy to mistake it for military construction. Make no mistake; however, this is a house of God, not a house of war.

Ivana Batanes Church
Ivana Batanes Church

You have a fantastic vista from the bell tower 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.

Ivana Church
Ivana Church

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 ensconced saints in the churches’ many niches.

The church tiles 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. If you are lucky enough to arrive during mass, you will be transported to the realm of the omnipotent.

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Written by Melo Villareal

Melo Villareal is the Online Publisher of He is an Accountant by profession who left the corporate world at the age of 23 to explore his beautiful country and the rest of the world. Today, Melo works as a part-time Social Media Manager for local and international clients. His full-time work focuses on discovering interesting culture, explore different cuisines and take memorable photos from local and international destinations he's visiting.

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