71.784 square kilometers of the total land area, or roughly around 14 percent, represent the combined land areas of the seven uninhabited islets. Only 6 percent of entire land area is comprised of flat lands. The entire Batanes archipelago boasts of nine volcanoes, of which two are considered active or have shown signs of having erupted in the past few thousand years.
The capital of Batanes Province is Basco and is under Region II which is 860 kilometers north of Manila. Basco is on Batan Island.
Batanes is the only province in the Philippines declared in its entirety as a protected area under the National Integrated Protected Areas Act of 1992.
Batanes is composed of eleven tiny islands. Of these, only three are inhabited (Batan, Itbayat, and Sabtang) while the islets of Dinem, Siayan, Ditarem, Misanga, Mavudis, Dequey and Vuhus are all uninhabited.
The municipalities of Basco, Mahatao, Ivana, and Uyugan, are located on Batan Island. The remaining two island municipalities are Sabtang and Itbayat.
In Batanes Prelature, the population is 17,246 as of August 2016. Most residents belong to the ethnic group of Ivatan.
The main languages spoken in Batanes are Ivatan, which is spoken on the islands of Batan and Sabtang, and Ichabayaten, which are spoken primarily on the island of Itbayat. The mother tongue of Batanes is spoken by 93.94 percent of all households. English spoken by 65 per cent of the population, Pilipino by 55 per cent and Spanish by 5 per cent.
Prelature of Batanes (Prelatura Batanensis)
Suffragan of Nueva Segovia (Vigan)
Established: November 30, 1950 as Territorial Prelature of Batanes and Babuyanes. On Feb. 6, 2002 the Prelature was reduced to comprise only the Province of Batanes and is now know as the Territorial Prelature of Batanes with the Archbishop of Nueva Segovia (Vigan) as Metropolitan. Babuyanes is ceded to the Archdiocese of Tuguegarao.
Titular: Immaculate Conception, December 8.
The Prelature of Batanes-Babuyanes was created on Nov. 30, 1950, comprising the civil province of Batanes and the Babuyan Islands group which belongs to the province of Cagayan. Its titular patron is the Immaculate Conception whose feast the prelature celebrates on December 8.
When the prelature was created it was separated from the Diocese of Tuguegarao and made a suffragan of the Archdiocese of Manila. But when the Diocese of Tuguegarao was elevated to an archdiocese on Sept. 21, 1974, the Prelature of Batanes-Babuyanes was made a suffragan of this ecclesiastical province.
The Dominicans having been the only missionaries in the area for a considerable length of time, it seemed just right that its first prelate be a Dominican too. And this came about in the person of Monsignor Peregrin de la Fuente, who served from 1950 until he died in 1966. His successor, Father Mario L. Baltazar, another Dominican, was installed Prelate Ordinary on Jan. 7, 1967 and has remained until 1995.
Batanes has six municipalities, 29 barangays, and one congressional district. The six municipalities are Ivana, Uyugan, Mahatao, Basco (the capital), and the island municipalities of Sabtang and Itbayat.
Besides agricultural, livestock and poultry raising constitute other major source of income of the people. Most of the best types of cattle exported to Luzon are from Uyugan, especially the barrios of Itbud and Imnajbu.
Cottage industries are involved in making hats, pottery, rope, and native wine.
Fishing offers another viable alternative but only during the months of March to June when the seawater is relatively calm.
The literacy rate in the diocesan territory is 90 percent.
Gonsalo's martyrdom at Nagasaki with the other Christian missionaries is regarded as the most tragic and historic event for Catholicism in Japan
Calungsod and his companion Father Vitores baptized infants, children and adults, defying the risk of persecution and murder
Despite being an ordinary layman, Ruiz remained defiant while facing torture by the Japanese and died a brave martyr
He was the first Korean-born Catholic priest and is now the patron saint of Korea
This fabled church is also known by its Syriac name Mar Sleeva (Holy Cross) Church
Asian Catholics who cannot visit famous Our Lady of Lourdes shrine in France can revere miraculous Mother Mary at Velankanni shrine in India. The Basilica of Our Lady of Good Health is popularly known as “the Lourdes of the East” and holds the largest Catholic Church in Asia.
Santa Cruz Cathedral Basilica at Fort Kochi is one of the finest churches and a historic but also a landmark in Kerala state of southern India. Santa Cruz Church blends Indo-European and Gothic architectural style that draws tens of thousands of pilgrims and tourists every year. The cathedral is a great place of devotion and historic significance that survived colonial conquests and invasions to the city.
Mokama Marian shrine on the southern bank of Ganges River bears the legacy persecuted Nepali Catholics banished from their homeland to India for refusing to renounce their faith. Our Lady of Divine Grace Church at Mokama stands about 90 kilometers from Patna, the capital of eastern Indian state of Bihar. Mother Mary is popularly known as Mokama Mata (Mother of Mokama). The church was built to honor Mary in 1947.
The shrine holds a three-meter-tall, white-stone carved statue Virgin Mary on the Tao Pao Mountain in the Diocese of Phan Thiet in southern Vietnam, about 1,600 kilometers from the national capital Hanoi.
The Immaculate Conception Cathedral in Urakami of Nagasaki is a witness of persecution of Christians from 17th to 19th centuries and deadly atomic bombing during the Second World War. This European-style, red-brick church continues to preserve some relics that survived the atomic bombing. Urakami cathedral, also known as St. Mary’s Cathedral, was almost destroyed when the atomic bomb was dropped on Aug. 9, 1945. The church stood about 500 meters from the hypocenter of atomic explosion. The devastation shattered and charred stone-made statues of saints, which were later preserved as relics along with the surviving head of Virgin Mary statue and one of the church’s original bells.
Our Lady of Akita Catholic Church is Yuzawadai is among the most famous churches in Japan. The church shot into global fame thanks to a wooden statue of Blessed Virgin Mary that wept 101 times and Marian apparitions to Japanese nun Sister Agnes Katsuko Sasagawa that miraculously healed her hearing impairment. Japanese wooden sculptor Saburo Wakasa from Akita city carved the now-famous miraculous statue of Virgin Mary in 1963.
The Church of Our Lady of Immaculate Conception in Seria is a small church on the western Belait district of Brunei, but it shot into fame thanks to the nation’s most famous Catholic – late Cardinal Cornelius Sim. It is also the second of three churches in Brunei dedicated to Virgin Mary. In fact, Mary has a prominent place not only in Christianity, but also in Islam, the dominant faith in Brunei. Holy Quran mentions Mary seventy times and reveres her as the greatest woman to have ever lived.