Batanes Protected landscapes and seascapes
Augusto F Villalon and MAB Philippines/ProtectedAreas and Wildlife Bureau
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Characterized by a complex of terrestrial, wetland and marine ecosystem, the Batanes group of islands consist of 10 small islands bounded by the Eashi Channel on the north, by the Pacific Ocean on the east, by the South China Sea on the west and the Balintang Channel on the south. It is one of the last remaining areas in the Philippines having unique natural physiographic features (wave-cut cliffs, cave-like outcrops, secluded white sand beaches) resulting from its position where strong winds and fast currents have etched out its distinct morphology. It is an important flyaway for many migratory bird species, and the deper portions of the marine environment are the few remaining sites where pink and red corals (Corallum sp.) are found. The site is the only area in the Philippines where traditional architecture is of stone in response to the wind and monsoon stresses rather than of the more typical, tropical, impermanent materials (wood, bamboo, thatch) cxommonly used in village architecture. Due to its isolation from the rest of the country, the traditional culture of the area has likewise remained intact.