A Masterpiece from Above: South Batan

And we thought we had seen it all but no, we didn’t. Remember that popular line at Home TV Shopping that is so overused, people are exploiting it already? The “But wait, there’s more!” phrase? That line fits exactly to South Batan, the other half of the major island of Batanes. The island couldn’t really get enough of mountains and rolling hills and oceans and rock formations and foamy waves; they are literally everywhere and we could only just be left in awe because they never failed to amuse us, every time, E-VE-RY-TIME, okay I guess you get the emphasis by now.

So as promised, here’s how Iraya looks like with its summit peeking, still a shy lady mountain with some clouds covering it but hey they only add up to its beauty, I know you agree. This shot was taken along the road to South Batan near the Chanarian Beach.

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The third day of our Batanes adventure was all about South Batan. This portion of Batan is surrounded by breath-taking sceneries that you know only The Great Creator can make. Our day started at 8:30 AM with a breakfast at Brandon Lodge’s canteen where I had a fried day old flying fish, egg and rice for the second time. I don’t know what I was thinking though, I just realized I was not able to get a photo of any of my breakfast meals but oh well. Better experience it guys.

This is the 3rd part of my Batanes Travel Diary; you can read the first two by clicking the links below:

Part 1: North Batan

Part 2: Sabtang Island

Part 3: South Batan

The Chawa View Deck

Facing the West Philippine Sea (aka the South China Sea), the Chawa View Deck is located on a mountainside cliff that kisses the sea. Stone benches are readily available for photo off whether you choose the sea, Mt. Iraya or the mountains as your backdrop. The place also offers an access to the clear waters of the ocean through a 300-step-zigzagged-stone-staircase where naturally formed pools can be found with actual schools of fish swimming in them. And once again, we tried our best not to jump in the water despite the fact that the sun was really tempting us to do so.

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Don’t ask us how we managed to climb those 300 steps to the top but a tip that I can give you is whenever you feel tired and about to give up just look back at the splendid blues below and you’ll get pumped up with energy again. That worked for me.

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The Boat Shelter

Inaugurated in 2007, the significance of the Batanes Boat Shelter is to support the twin goal of the fishing industry of the province which is Fish Sufficiency and Job Generation aligned with the objective to lessen poverty and achieve sustainable long-term development in the province. The shelter also intends to strengthen Batanes’ maritime laws enforcement as well as safeguarding its waters and resources not only from illegal local fishermen but also from foreign poachers that exploit them.

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We came across these fishermen catching fish the conventional way and wow, they were really good!

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San Carlos Borromeo Church

Originally built in 1787 using only light materials, the San Carlos Borromeo Church or the Mahatao Church had undergone a lot of renovations and finally after more than a century, a new one in baroque style was built in 1873. Because of its beauty and excellent preservation and maintenance, the church was awarded as a National Cultural Heritage Treasure by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts in 2001.

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The Maywang A Libro Du Vatan or The Batanes Blank Book Archive

Another remarkable feature of the church is the The Maywang A Libro Du Vatan wherein a row of blank books are kept. Visitors are encouraged to pick a blank book and write whatever – it can be a poetry, a wish, a promise, a love testimony or a dream – anything that your heart tells you to write and then if given a chance that you come back to Batanes, you can read that note again and see what had changed. I am guilty of reading some of the notes and boy they are really something! 99% are written from the heart, the other 1% well let’s just forget it! We did scribble some write-ups but well those are just ours and the blank book library to keep. I am so near to build the same concept in our province or even in Manila, that will certainly lessen the public posting of hugot quotes which I am also guilty of!

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The House of Dakay

The House of Dakay is considered as one of the oldest stone houses in Batan which was built in 1887. The house is made of lime and stone with cogon grass roof with reeds and hard wood for braises. Dakay means “a man who never wears a hat to protect his head from the heat of the sun”. Stories told that this is the only stone house that survived the very strong earthquake in Batanes that happened in 1918.

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The Honesty Shop

Well I guess, this place is so renowned, you should not miss it on your visit to Batanes just to experience it and be reminded that we still have the capability to be yes – honest. It’s funny though that honesty is really rare these days; people actually find it so amusing to make it a tourist destination. The shop had its humble beginnings being owned by a couple of farmers who were just offering coffee to fishermen and just left the place open because they had chores at the farm letting the customers got what they needed then left the payment afterwards, which eventually grew into what it is now. Let the Honesty Shop then rekindle that human trait in you.

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The Imnajbu Road Cliff

Imnajbu is the smallest Barangay in Batanes and the place where the first baptism in the province was made in 1682. Getting to the area you will pass by the Imnajbu Road Cliff that will lead you to the Alapad Hill where another set of majestic views awaits.

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The Alapad Hill

A true creation of heavens, this particular spot will really make you feel so grateful to see. This is another scene in Batanes where a 360-degree view is just perfect and I really felt disappointed for not having the right tool to capture the beauty of the view, my trusty camera is just not enough and I don’t really know what is. That got me and I just decided to savour the masterpiece around, stared at them, contented until my companions joined me after their 5-minute wefie session. Consequently, I literally got a gift from above and that is a tanned skin but having experienced that moment, I don’t really complain. A side note, this is the location where the well-liked Filipino movie Hihintayin Kita sa Langit was shot and where the popular i-Dawn Zulueta mo ko moment was first made.

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IMG_4126No words can explain. Period.

The abandoned US navigational facility in Imnajbu.

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The Food

Okay, so I am not a fan of slimy food nor shells much so of snails. I eat mussels and tahong but those are just it so when this was served to us my hungry stomach and weary heart and mind were at war.

IMG_4222Forest snails cooked in rich coconut milk. Not bad.

We also have a version of this in Quezon but I haven’t tried it however, realizing that we flew miles and miles to experience Batanes, a bite would not hurt and it didn’t. Once is enough though. Yes nuff said. Haha!

IMG_4223Uvod – Ivatan dish made from saha ng saging, milkfish and pork.

 

IMG_4224Sweet and sour fish

The Racuh A Payaman or The Marlboro Country

Located at Uyugan Hill is the Racuh A Payaman or more commonly known as the Marlboro Country. If you think you have seen enough in Alapad Hill, or at the Chamantad-Tinan Cove, wait until you see the Racuh A Payaman and you will realize that there is actually more.

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Honestly, I just wanted to play and run around the hills when I saw the place. The vast farmland divided by hedgerows with the Tayid Lighthouse prominently standing in the middle, the Valugan Bay, the other side of Iraya, the deep blue color of the West Philippine Sea, the cattle and goats roaming feely on the hills nearby and the mountains surround the Marlboro Country and boy, what a majestically flawless work of art! I had to pinch myself to convince that it’s real and that I was still in the Philippines.

IMG_4229 (2)This is not Europe, this is the Philippines’ South Batan

IMG_4333The Valugan Bay as seen from Racuh A Payaman

You know when you are in this blissful state because the things surrounding you are just a great reminder that you are blessed and you suddenly have the urge to call your loved ones just to tell them you love them? This happened to me when I was at the Racuh A Payaman. Being there, you would really utter a prayer of thanks to the One above.

The Tayid Lighthouse

And we thought we had seen it all, but yeah, wait there’s more. These. No need to explain.

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IMG_4398Been trying to catch these birds drinking water at the well near the lighthouse but they were too fast!

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The “Market”

We were able to finish the South Batan Tour at past 2:00 PM and to conclude it we visited Basco’s “market”. Unlike the other towns, Basco does not have a wet market because Ivatans normally harvest their own vegetables, catch their own seafood and grow their own cow or pig thus a wet market is not much a necessity. What they have is just a row of stores that sell various items along Abad St.

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Sunset at Chunarian Beach

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Oh yes, there is more. Spending sunset at Chunarian was not part of our itinerary but we made a special arrangement to ASL for it. Tourists do not normally spend the sunset there but we wanted to have something different to do and I could not really afford to miss a possibly remarkable scene that is not part of the usual in a place as beautiful as Batanes and so off we went.

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The rock formations near the beach made Chunarian an interesting view especially at sunset when the tangerines and indigos compliment the shadows that these stone stacks make.

IMG_4502People call the stone Groot – the old man at the sea.

IMG_4483Dandelions by the beach make me sing Olaf’s In Summer!

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We shouldn’t really miss this chance for some shadow shots right?

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The whole Batanes trip was really a blessing, thanks again to my dear friend Glaiza for having me. I know we have not explored it all. There are still breath-taking views that are yet to see, places in the province that are just a boat ride away that promise a whole new experience that is as overwhelming and fun as Batan and Sabtang Islands.

IMG_4416Meet the lovely family whom we got the pleasure of travelling with. 

I have always believed that God is the Author of the stories of our lives, the great Artist that crafts everything in this world. Even when I was young, I have always trusted that the Philippines and the people in it are special in His heart and seeing Batanes and the other stunning places here in the country, I know it is true. He would not give us these amazing creations if He doesn’t. Taking care and preserving these are the two best ways to thank Him.

Hope you guys like my Batanes Travel Diary. I will share my favourite Batanes photos soon (yeah, there is more) meanwhile, here are the contact details of ASL Travel and Tours to help you arrange your trip. Flights can be booked via Skyjet at www.skyjet.com.

Mary Jane Romblon
General Manager
ASL Escapade Travel & Tours
0998-9532031; 0998-5496988; 0908-3597303 – Smart
0916-7415422 – Globe
0923-7220042 – Sun
Ym: aslescapade@yahoo.com
Email : aslescapade@yahoo.com
fb page: www.facebook.com/aslescapade
website: http://www.batanestours.net
Office: Brandon’s Lodge Lobby
National Road, Kayvaluganan
Basco, Batanes 3900

Til the next adventure!

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