I’ve always thought I’m living a simple life not until I stayed for five days and four nights in Batanes.
We arrived at Basco Airport early morning aboard a really small aircraft from Manila. And by small, I meant really small, it has a 1-2 seat configuration! Anyways, it was alright, quite scary at first (but then again I’m afraid of heights so don’t take my word for it, for all you know it could be your best plane ride ever).
Somebody from the ‘Habitat’ (the place where we’ll be staying for two nights) had someone to pick us up from the airport. After a quick breakfast, we went on and start our tour with our tourist guide/driver Kuya Jun.
We haven’t reached our first destination yet but my eyes are feasting already on the beauty of the island. It’s unbelievably amazing! Every ride from one tourist spot to another is an experience in itself. I could do this all day…for days!
This little chapel is made of stones. I’m not sure now if these boulders are taken from Valugan Beach because those stones look like those we saw on the beach. Kuya Jun was explaining it to us but I guess I’m hearing only half of what he’s saying, had I’ve been more attentive I should have known more about the chapel now. But hey, to be honest, I’m a little too excited to stand still in one place, and I think it’s pretty much the same with the other two girls, haha! So, imagine us scampering like cats in different directions the minute the van stops and the door opens!
Farmtown/Farmville fan? Well, here are real-life hedgerows! It’s amazing! Other than serving as markers for one’s farm lot (and it looks really pretty), hedgerows apparently have other purposes. It serves as the crops’ protection against strong winds (makes sense because Batanes winds are freaking crazy!), prevents soil erosion, and serves as nesting grounds for migrant birds. Talk about protecting the nature and balancing the ecosystem!
Standing proud at the edge of a hill, they say this is the most pricey, if not the best, lodge in Batanes. Well, how can it be not? With an ocean view like that, how much closer do you want to get to nature? They say politicians and celebrities stay here whenever they visit Batanes. And that if you’d want to have a reservation, you’d have to make it months ahead of your supposed trip since it’s always fully booked. Hmmm, so much for being the best lodge in Batanes huh.
Idjangs are natural rock formation atop hills that served as a fortress in pre-historic Batanes. It’s the perfect refuge for Ivatans (natives of Batanes) when enemy attacks since it is inaccessible from most sides. They say that every major town has one. (We also saw one in Sabtang Island).
Vayang Rolling Hills
It’s simply breathtaking. It’s like a big movie set. As if everything is designed and meant to be like that. Mountains here, oceans there, hills after hills of green grass, cows, a wild shroud here and there…my goodness, I’m seriously waiting for the actors to appear! Haha! The hills are alive….the musical, not some horror movie.
Naidi Hills Light House
I don’t think this is my first time to see a lighthouse, but when you’re in Batanes, lighthouses for me are like giant trophies. Sitting proudly atop magnificent hills, towering over the greeneries of Basco, this lighthouse is simply meant to be adored.
A quick stop at a tunnel built during World War II. And although Kuya Jun is equipped with a flashlight, we just chose to check the chamber that simply leads to the other side of the road. According to the map (and Kuya Jun as well), there were 5. We pass by one chamber that seems to lead deeper into the ground, we all decided not to go for it (Not quite a good idea since it’s quite muddy at that time making the ground a bit slippery).
Valugan Boulder Beach
Have you seen a long stretch of beach covered in boulders? Here in Batanes, they have that. An unbelievable sight coupled with an unbelievable sound, Valugan Boulder Beach, is easily one of my favorite places in Batanes. I so want to get closer to the water but the sound the wave is making as it pounds the shore is freaking scary (but surprisingly inviting at the same time). I know! It’s crazy!
Sto. Domingo Church
This is the oldest church in Batanes, also known as the Basco Cathedral. It is the first limestone buildings built during the Spanish regime. Sto. Domingo church is dedicated to the Immaculate Conception.
I’m not sure how we ended our first day. I do remember smiling a lot, even laughing out loud a few times at our silliness! I remember uttering a lot of ‘Wow!’s. I remember enjoying the hike up and down the hills. I remember feasting on some of the Ivatan’s cooking. I remember reapplying sunblock every now and then. I remember cows and goats on the mountains dangerously grazing at a very steep angle. I remember the warm smile of the few Ivatans we met our way. Funny, but I still can’t remember how we ended our day.