We started our day early, and by that, I meant around 7 or 8 am, that’s pretty early considering all the hiking and walking we did the day before I’m surprised we managed to wake up early and got ourselves ready by 7 in the morning. Kuya Jun, our tour guide/driver picked us up from the Habitat, and from there, our second day begins!
Here it goes, in no particular order, ;-)
Basco Marine Sanctuary
We just stopped by to take pictures, we have a full schedule today and sadly swimming isn’t part of it.
Chawa View Deck
You can enjoy here the amazing view of the Batan island and the South China Sea.
There’s a staircase leading below, so if you want to check what’s down there, give it a go! You’ll enjoy the amazing rock formation, we even saw a few fish that are trapped between crevices. The waves are quite frightening though, so you may want to stay away from the edge, especially when you don’t want to get wet ;-)!
Rakuh a Payaman
The name literally translates to ‘wide pasture’. This is also known as the Marlboro Country. It is a communal pasture. As I mentioned from my previous post, this is where they leave their cows to graze. From what I understand from Kuya Jun nobody, in particular, owns the land – they value community ownership over private property. So anyone who has the capital to brought cows can use the land for pasture.
The place is unbelievably amazing! Again, I feel like I’m on a movie set. Everything, even the cow’s poop looks like prearranged to appear here and there to make all things perfect for a scene! Okay, fine, I’m exaggerating, cows poop doesn’t count, although it’s funny how mild mushrooms grow on it, haha! I’ve been to different provinces and have seen amazing mountains and enjoy different beaches before, but when you’re here it’s like you’re seeing all of it on a whole new level. And the best part of it, you know you’re still in the Philippines, you’re still home.
Diura Fishing Village
We had our lunch at Monica’s Cottage and Catering. I’m not sure what we had that day, fish for sure, buco juice, and my favorite so far, Paco Salad! I will definitely make a separate post about this salad, we actually tried making our own version once we got home, not up to par but it’ll do.
A Particular Limestone House
This particular Ivatan house is popular because it has appeared in a movie before. According to Kuya Jun, this is the house used for the movie ‘Batanes’ of Iza Calzado a Filipino actor and Ken Zhu a Taiwanese actor/singer/F4 member.
Located at the sitio of Songsong these ruins are all that remained after a tsunami hits the sitio in 1953. They say that it’s a good thing that the tidal wave hits in the morning where everybody was out and about tidying their farms so casualties are way fewer than expected. We only get to see it from the road, I’m not so sure if you can or if you’re allowed to get any closer.
House of Dakay
This is the oldest limestone house in Batanes and is also a UNESCO World Heritage Building. Lola Ida who now owns the house is the only living descendant of the Dakay family. It turns out, Lola Ida is the most photographed Ivatan. When a strong earthquake hits Batanes almost a hundred years ago, most houses are reduced into rubbles except 5 houses which include the House of Dakay. To this day most of the original parts of the house are well kept except the cogon roof which needs to be replaced every 30 years.
US Naval Base
This naval base is situated strategically on this part of Batanes, as Kuya Jun points out, it has the perfect view of that part of the ocean where enemies would likely appear (or at least something like that). I don’t really know much about military tactics, honestly, all I’m seeing is a perfect ocean view!
Kuya Jun said, the Americans would usually have movies shown at the base (I’m imagining a movie projector) and would even invite Ivatans to come and watch with them. The Americans they say would even have a drinking session with the locals!
BLOW UR HORN signs
Kuya Jun said long before text messaging became popular they already have this sign in Batanes.
An Ocean Cove with name I can’t quite remember
This particular ocean cove according to Kuya Jun is where they say priests and nuns in the olden days would come to take a swim. I’m not sure what struck me most, that priest and nun swims (okay maybe not together) or that they have their own private cove. I would assume that was way long time ago because now, there’s an existing public road that has a direct view down the cove. So private cove now isn’t too private anymore.
Again, another amazing lighthouse in Batanes. This one is more of just a tourist attraction since it’s non- functional, apparently from lack of facilities. It turns out the original Mahatao lighthouses are located near the Mahatao Church standing vertically from each other exactly 30 meters apart. These lighthouses used to guide boats passing at night. They have their own system where both lighthouses work together in guiding the fishermen safely through the rocky beds of coral reefs. Sadly, I was not able to take a picture of the lighthouse’s ruins.
Site Marker for First Mass on Batanes Soil
Imnajbu is the Birthplace of Christianity in Batanes, this is where the first mass was held. Imnajbu’s patron saint is San Lorenzo Ruiz, the first canonized Filipino Saint.
San Jose de Ivana Church
Don’t be fooled by the looks, this church is really, really old. Well kept I guess. Built to withstand the test of time (literally withstand catastrophe brought upon by nature or man himself).
Located just behind the Ivana Church, is the original altar of the church that was built in 1785. Apparently, the San Jose de Ivana Church we see now is built with parts of the original church, its walls to be exact. I guess 2-meter thick limestone walls could definitely withstand time, that’s for sure.
Honesty Coffee Shop
Why it’s so popular? Because it’s just a shop and that’s it, nobody is manning the store. You simply get what you want and then pay for it before you leave. Story has it that it first started when a retired teacher took pity one morning on the fishermen at a nearby port, especially the children. There’s no store nearby for them to have at least coffee or even just water. So, to help, she leaves a thermos of hot water, some sugar, and coffee for those who’d want to at least warm their stomach so they say. Later on, she started finding money tucked in a box, apparently a payment for the coffee. And so she added leaving biscuits, candies, and other food as well. To this day, she still kept that tradition and has added a whole lot of goodies to her little shop now called, Honesty Coffee Shop. Which is just perfect since it’ll really depend on the customer’s honesty if one will be paying at least the exact amount if not more than the amount.
In the shop, you’ll find a list of prices and a notebook where you are supposed to write down what you brought. Plus some sort of a guest list book where anybody could sign and leave a message if they wish to. Today, you can find fruits like bananas, instant noodles, souvenir items, and of course, there’s still coffee – which we didn’t miss to try. Not that it’s special or something, it’s the usual 3-in-1 instant coffee, I guess it’s just the thought that we tried Honesty Coffee Shop’s coffee, haha! After buying a few souvenir items, we paid our bills, took a few pictures, and went on our way.
Yup, that’s a pink church! A very pink church. We just stopped by to take a few pictures. And I’m not so sure now why we seem to be always in a hurry. Hmmm…
San Carlos Borromeo Church in Mahatao
A quick stop at Mahato Church (which I regret now), to take some pictures. This church is said to be a National Cultural Treasure. Now, the more sorry I am that we didn’t stop long enough to appreciate it. I think we decided to drop by late in the afternoon, and we don’t exactly want to travel back to the lodge in the dark. Yay, those curvy roads and steep slopes, hmmm, not really. Again, I’m not good at directions so I don’t exactly know how far are we from Habitat (the lodge we’re staying in). Plus, we’re quite tired already with all the climbing and walking up and down the hill. Still, it would have been a great treat had we stop by for a little while longer.
Old Spanish Bridge
The bridge as old as the Spaniards colonial era, it’s still functioning as – well as a bridge of course!
We just took pictures of it, although it would have been a great experience to walk on that bridge where our ancestors once walked on. Again, I’m loving the old stuff, ruined or not.