Batanes, the country's smallest province, was created by volcanic eruptions and geological activities in the pre-Spanish era. Dubbed as "Nature's Playground", Batanes is a complete ecotourism destination because of its unspoiled natural charm and laid-back way of life away from the madding crowd. Fine sand beaches, coves, mountains, rolling hills, canyons along the coastline punctuated by rich marine life characterize the province which have endeared it to foreign and local tourist alike. Because of the strong winds that batter the province, houses are made of lime and stone with foot-thick cogon roofs, which have become postcard-perfect images. Religious life is alive in its simple but massive Catholic churches whose walls are buttressed with pilasters to provide strength agaisnt nature's wrath. These are the Basco Cathedral, the oldest in Batanes built in 1783, the San Vicente Ferrer Church in Sabang, San Carlos Borromeo Church in Mahatao, and the San Jose Church in Ivana. Outdoor enthusiasts will surely delight scaling the heights of Mounts Iraya and Matarem, which are dormant volcanoes, and exploring the depths of Chawa Cave.