Batanes Day in the Philippines Date in the current year: June 26, 2024

Batanes Day in the Philippines Batanes Day (Araw ng Batanes) is a special non-working holiday in the Philippine province of Batanes that commemorates the formal establishment of the mission in Batanes. It is celebrated annually on June 26.

Batanes is an archipelagic province in the Philippines situated approximately 160 kilometers from the nearest mainland. It consists of ten islands, only three of which (Batan, Itbayan, Sabtang) are inhabited; the provincial capital of Basco is situated on Batan. The smallest province in the country both in land area and population, Batanes is administratively part of the Cagayan Valley Region.

The ancestors of the present-day Ivatan people (the indigenous inhabitants of Batanes) were Austronesians who migrated to the archipelago during the New Stone Age. They lived in terraced fortified settlements (ijang) in the hills and were mainly farmers, boat builders, and seafarers.

The first European to visit the islands was British explorer and privateer William Dampier in 1687. Dampier made important observations about the local flora, fauna and people, but did not claim the archipelago for Great Britain. The islands were claimed by Spain as part of the Philippines in 1783. A mission was established here on June 26, 1783. This day is regarded as the province’s founding anniversary, even though Batanes was initially governed as part of the Cagayan Province.

In 1790, Ivatans revolted against the colonial authorities due to being forced out of their mountain settlements, but the Spanish quelled the rebellion, and the locals started to establish the first settlements in the lowlands. Soon, Illocanos started to migrate to the archipelago and settle there next to Ivatans.

During the Philippine Revolution, Ivatans supported the Katipunan and rebelled against Spain along with the rest of the Philippines. However, after the defeat of the Philippines in the Philippine-American War, the Spanish authorities were replaced by a new government controlled by the United States. These new authorities designated Batanes as a sub-province of Cagayan in 1907 and organized it into a separate province in 1909.

Due to their strategic location in the Luzon Strait between the Philippines and Taiwan, the Batan Islands were one of the first parts of the Philippines occupied by Japan during World War II. The Japanese occupation of Batanes began in December 1941 and lasted until early 1945.

Today, Batanes is a predominantly agricultural province; about three quarters of its residents are either farmers or fishermen, and the rest are employed in the government and service sectors. The economic growth of the province is hampered by its distance from the mainland and adverse weather conditions. Batanes is home to unique flora and fauna; an effort is underway to declare the entire province as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

June 26 was officially designated as Batanes Day in 1993 to mark the province’s 210th founding anniversary. It has been celebrated as a special non-working holiday ever since. The celebration includes formal ceremonies, cultural events, and other festivities to honor the rich history and culture of Batanes, as well as the achievements and contributions of distinguished Ivatans.

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Batanes Day in the Philippines, holidays in the Philippines, local observances, province founding anniversary