Because Batanes

The Ivatan life

The little province of Batanes has a natural charm coming from both its untouched surroundings and hospitable people. 

We stayed at Bernardo's Hotel, which is almost across the highway and beach. Similar to most accommodations in the town, it's a small bed and breakfast but with an Italian restaurant.

This cozy Mt. Carmel Chapel is built on a hill, giving it a view of the surrounding rolling terrain and the sea. It captures the rustic charm of Batanes, making it a popular venue for destination weddings.

A short ride from Mt. Carmel is Fundacion Pacita, which was named after the artist Pacita Abad. Similar to Mt. Carmel, this bed and breakfast was built on higher altitude near the sea. It has its own restaurant overlooking the hills with grazing cows and will soon have a gallery.

The Valugan Boulder Beach has huge pebbles that also serve as its own natural breakwater from the rough seas.

At Vayang Rolling Hills, guests take a walk on top of the ridge. There are barely no trees in the area, like the rest of the island, because of the regular strong winds. Only shrubs and root crops can survive there.

A common sight in Batanes is a grazing cattle of cows, carabaos, and goats. Despite the steep slope, they manage to roam around the hills. Some spots in the island even allow cattle to roam freely without the ropes.

There are a total of 3 lighthouses in Batan Island but not all is working. This Basco Lighthouse was constructed in early 2000's but only for the use of tourists. Currently, like Mt. Carmel and Fundacion Pacita, it's a popular venue for special occasions.

We toured the whole Batan Island, the main island of Batanes, for one whole day right after landing from the airport. The southern side is the main town area of Basco, where most locals are residing. The other half has the natural resources, where there were several viewpoints overlooking the sea and hills. 

Day 2 of our stay was spent exploring Sabtang Island, where it has Murung Beach. It is one of the few shorelines of Batanes where one can actually take a swim.

The Savidug Ivatan village was able to preserve the original houses of locals. Their walls made of corals and lime and their thatched roofs were able to withstand the strong typhoons. 

Their walls need to be regularly plastered to avoid the exposure of corals while their roofs must also be always fixed by placing another layer of cogon.

Their houses are normally elevated by at least a meter for ventilation purposes. The empty space underneath also serve as their storage.

Every community has its own chapel. This one found in Savidug is right next to an abandoned Ivatan house.

Sabtang Island also has its own viewpoint overlooking the seas. Like Vayang Rolling Hills, one can also walk on the top of its ridges.

The other Ivatan village of Sabtang is Chavayan. It's a seaside community, where there are makers of Vakul, the Ivatan headdress.

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