Tuesday, March 08, 2016

The Northernmost Province of Batanes: Day Two to Four


Had an early breakfast at the Cathedral. We were told not to eat much as we might just be feeding the fishes while at sea. The crossing to Sabtang is famous to be rough with its huge waves. Just past six we already left the Cathedral in order to catch the seven o’clock boat ride to Sabtang from Ivana. It was only twenty five minutes boat ride. Though it was raining when we left Ivana, the sea at this time was calm and we arrived in Sabtang in no time at all. We went to the San Vicente Parish Church. There was a café shop at the convent ground floor called Conscience, Café and Souvenirs. The idea is the same as that of the Honesty Store in Ivana. Just in case there will be no one left at the store, one could just take and pay items that are sold.  The usual mode of transportation in Sabtang is the tricycle with cogon roof also. However, the parish priest hired a multicab to bring us around the island. We went to a barangay in Savidug and enjoyed strolling the village with their typical houses with thick walls and thick cogon roofs. Visited their chapel St. Thomas Aquinas. Then we proceeded to Chavayan.  We made a short stop at the Sabtang Weavers Association which was located at the entrance of the barangay. We again strolled around the village savoring the sight of their unique houses and the only chapel which still has cogon roof, the St. Rose of Lima chapel. Going back to town, we went to the northern part of the island towards the most photographed beach in Sabtang where the Nakabuang beach and arch are found. The view indeed was splendid with the arch as our background. Then we took to the sea for a swim. We noticed that the current at this time was so strong pulling us out into the open sea. We had to hold on to the rocks to keep us safe. Hence, we only spent a short time swimming and snorkeling.

We were supposed to have lunch near Nakabuang beach but since there were only four of us, the owner of the restaurant decided that we take our lunch at their restaurant near the town. But what caught our attention was the beach house where they serve their lunch. The building also with thick walls and cogon roof, was just open. All the food utensils from plates, spoons, forks and glasses were all just left  there with not even a caretaker or guard nearby.

About one in the  afternoon, the boat left from Sabtang back to Ivana. Since it was still early, Fr. Billy brought us to a watering hole, they call as the Blue Lagoon. The place was just outside of the town of Mahatao. From the road  which was on the side of

the mountain,  we had to go down several steps to a small cove. Instead of a beach there were rocks around but the sea was sparklingly blue. So  we had an enjoyable time swimming which we were not able to do in Sabtang. Just before leaving the place, by the side of the mountain, there was a small opening which led to the other side  where there was another small cove with a white sand beach. The sea however in this part was so shallow not suited  for swimming.

On our third day at the Batan island, we joined Bp. Gregorio who celebrated a fiesta mass in one of the barangays of Basco. In the afternoon, we went to the beach at the eastern side of the island in Diura, which was about three kilometers from Mahatao. In this village one can see “Arayu” or dorado fish being dried in front of the houses of the locals.

On our last day in Batanes, we were able to concelebrate with Bp. Gregorio in an early morning mass since it was a Sunday. 

The passenger boat in going to Sabtang is called faluwa. It has no outrigger. 

Tricycles which are the common mode of transportation in Sabtang has also cogon roof. 

The convento of Sabtang. 

The parish church of Sabtang with the convento besides it.

Church altar of Sabtang

A side altar in Sabtang

Another view of the church of Sabtang

A souvenir photo with the parish priest of Sabtang (left). 

Ronnie and Mark having snacks at the Conscience, Cafe and Souvenirs. 

One of the streets of Savidug.

Typical Ivatan houses in Savidug.

This is a  sinadumparan kind of house which has a roof on two sides only.

A closer look of the thickness of the cogon roof which is about a half meter. No wonder they would last for thirty years.  Constructing a house in Batanes is a community affair. When a person marries and plans to build a house of his own, the  community gets into the act. Each family is supposed to donate bundles of cogon grass. In Sabtang, there is a place where people would go to harvest cogon leaves. The harvested cogon leaves are just kept safe in the house until they are ready to be used. 

Strolling along Savidug.

The chapel of Savidug.

Another street lined with Ivatan houses in Savidug.

A souvenir shop found  along the road. 

A  view along the road. This faces the main island of Basco.

A woman weaving a talugong, which is the hat for men.

Wearing a talugong (hat)  and  kanayi (vest), a traditional Ivatan wear. The  material used  is from a palm tree called vuyavuy.

The vuyavuy palm which is used to make the kanayi and vakul.
Entrance to the village of Chavayan. 

The St. Rose of Lima chapel in Chavayan is the only chapel left in Batanes that has cogon for its roof.

Inside the chapel of Chavayan. 

One of the streets of Chavayan.

A group pose in one of the streets of Chavayan.

A picturesque street in Chavayan

The Mahayaw arch. 

Morong beach near Mahayaw arch.

White sand beach in Morong,

Morong  beach is part of Brgy. Malakdang, northeast from the town proper of Sabtang.

The beach house where lunch is usually served for the tourists.

Utensils are just left open in the beach house with no care taker to keep watch.

The coconut crab that was served for us during our lunch in Sabtang

The lighthouse of Sabtang.

Taking the faluwa, the boat that is used for transportation in Batanes, in going back to Ivana from Sabtang.

The so called Blue Lagoon where we enjoyed swimming after a disappointing swim in Sabtang. 

We concelebrated a fiesta mass in one of the barangay chapels of Basco. 

The facade of the chapel in Basco where we had the fiesta mass.

On our third day, Ronnie prepared some lobsters and kinilaw which we brought to our picnic in Diura. 

Fr. Billy admiring the presentation of the lobster.


Our companion who also has cooking skills, Ronnie.

Dorado fish being dried in the village of Diura. 

The beach of Diura. 

Diura beach

Diura seascape.

Having our picnic in Diura. 

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