One can’t talk about Batanes attractions without mentioning its rolling hills, lighthouses, pebbled beaches, stone houses and churches, traditional Ivatan cuisine, or even a quaint store that sells everything for free! But have you ever heard about or tried its sweet potato or Ivatan beer?
Sweet potato, locally known as wakay, is one of Batanes’ most common root crops along with yam and taro. Ivatans eat it steamed, smoked, or even grilled, said to be best consumed with coconut cream. They also use it to produce Ivatan beer, known as the first and only locally brewed beer in Batanes.
About Ivatan beer and how you can buy it
With the financial assistance of the Department of Science and Technology, Ivatan beer was developed in 2018. The technology for its production is found in the research and development department of the Batanes State College (BSC). It was first introduced locally at Batanes’ Science and Technology Caravan a year later.
In a statement by Dr. Alfonso Simon of BSC, it was said that the beer has become a symbolic product of Batanes since then. “The fact that the Ivatan Beer is made from the locally-grown ‘wakay’ or sweet potato, which is abundant in the province of Batanes, the product becomes even more interesting and appealing to the locals of Batanes.”
In 2020, local entrepreneur Dennis Lim of Tawsen Agri-Ventures signed an agreement with BSC. The agreement allows the former to produce and sell the beverage for commercial purposes. One of the trusted souvenir shops in Batanes, Tawsen Agri-Ventures also assists “livelihood activities among marginalised sectors in the province,” as stated in its official Facebook page.
According to Lim, Ivatan beer will help boost Batanes’ tourism industry. It will be available at 330mL per bottle. Anytime starting 2021, Ivatans and travellers to the Philippines’ northernmost province can enjoy the proudly local beverage to make the most of their Batanes experience.
Featured image credit: Opal E. Bala | Facebook