Batanes’ Chamber of Secrets

San Carlos de Borromeo was the first stone-made church built in Mahatao, Batanes in 1787. Also known as Mahatao Church, this structure was declared a national cultural treasure by the Philippine National Commission for Culture and The Arts in 2001. More than being a Spanish colonial edifice, this church is popular for the little library located next to it.

Built in 1787, the San Carlos Borromeo Church has withstood typhoons and over 200 years of wear and tear.

Built in 1787, the San Carlos Borromeo Church has withstood typhoons and over 200 years of wear and tear.



The Maywang A Libro Du Vatan (Batanes Blank Book Archive) contains shelves of hardbound books with blank pages. It’s open to the public, and anyone with a pen is free to write his/her thoughts on the blank pages of any book. If you browse through what other visitors have written, you’ll find prayers, wishes, rants, letters, drawings, and other random thoughts in different languages and dialects.

The Batanes Blank Book archive holds hundreds of hardbound books with blank pages.

The Batanes Blank Book archive holds hundreds of hardbound books with blank pages.

My friend Kimi's artistic imprints

My friend Kimi leaves her mark.

If you were to choose a book to write in, which number would you pick and why?

If you were to choose a book to write in, which number would you pick and why?

Batanes’ Blank Book Archive has become a library of people’s thoughts and innermost feelings. It’s interesting to learn about how visitors choose the book and page they write on. Some go by gut feel. Others look to astrology by choosing a book number based on their birth dates, while some turn to a higher being by praying or meditating before being led to a specific book.

My gut led me to this section.

My gut led me to this section.




What other visitors have left behind: love letters, prayers, rants, wishes, artworks, and journal entries.

What other visitors have left behind: love letters, prayers, rants, wishes, artworks, and journal entries.

Me, I went for gut feel. Many travel bloggers take a snapshot of what they’ve written in the library and share it with their audience. I think I’ll keep my message to myself.



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