San Jose Church And The Pilgrim In Me
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!
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.
I am once again transported back in time.
It is located just across the Ivana Port, 14 kilometers from Basco. From the bell tower you have an amazing vista that looks over Batanes including the mystical Sabtang Island.
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.
The outside of the church is but a plain grassland.
As I walk through the well-preserved pathway, it almost feels like I’m living in the Spanish era.
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. Dubbed as one of the top 10 famous old churches in the entire of the Philippines, this church is truly unique among all the old churches in Batanes as it is the only one not built in the espadaña style of the day.