Sep 4, 2011

GOING AROUND BATANES, THE PHILIPPINES

Batanes’ iconic sign is the “Blow Ur Horn” traffic sign on the edges of cliffs all around the island. It’s there for safety reason, but it’s unusual because the ‘your’ is always spelled ‘Ur’, and it’s even printed on souvenir t-shirts. We saw this sign everywhere when we were going around Batanes, err..Batan Island, to be exact.



Around the island in 7 hours

Okay, I’m exaggerating just to make the sub-title catchy. We didn’t actually go around the whole island, only some part of it * grin * We hired 2 motorbike taxis from 8AM to 5PM (but the trip actually ended 2 hours earlier) to several areas: Diura fishing village, Mahatao town, Ivana town, and Itbud town.
Motorbike + gas + driver = php 800 / pax.



The ride was great! With no helmet on (though we did bump into cops, they didn’t make that a problem), I felt a maximum joy of the breezy wind. It was much better and far more enjoyable than riding the pedicab like the previous day. And Owl City’s pop dreamy music in my iPod made the ride even more delightful :)

Diura fishing village

It’s actually a preserved village meant for tourism, and still being a real fishing village. Tourists had to sign up on a guestbook before entering the area. We walked from the entrance to the whole tour sites, including the Municipal Cottage, which is actually for rent, the Crystal Cave, where a Virgin Mary statue is built before a small fountain that flows to a small river.

Caraboos around the entrance to Diura Village

You can actually spend the night here

Virgin Mary on the river 
The very fresh freshwater

Diura's traditional house


At one of the preserved traditional houses, they sold these clothing for farming or fishing purpose. It’s made of some sort of coconut fibre and is supposed to keep you cool in the heat and dry from the rain. At least that’s what our motorbike drivers / guides told us.

This is what houte couture means!

Waking up to this view? I would!

The village's fishing output


We continued the long walk down to a beach and a cave. Honestly, I didn’t find the beach’s beauty anywhere near the beauty of Indonesian beaches, but I was excited about the trekking up and down the road, into and out of the cave.




I gotta admit that I was almost out of breath, unlike Boyo who’s used to working out, and I almost ran out of energy if it weren’t for the prepared chocolate bar in my backpack. But all in all, I loved it! I wish to have more chances of trekking like this. I know I can do it! * a fist in the air with optimistic glare into the sky *

Mahatao town & lighthouse



First thing first: lunch. We found a simple diner among the locals’ houses and gobbled whatever food they provided, steamed rice and some sort of stir-fried meat and veggies.



Nearby, there’s a church called San Carlos Borromeo Church. It’s the oldest church of Mahatao, built as a small chapel in 1787, then got renovated due to a destroy by typhoon and simply styling and has become a National Cultural Heritage Treasure since 2001.

San Carlos Borromeo Church in Mahatao town






Next: the Mahatao Lighthouse. Another long ride through hills and villages, it was blue and green as far as the eyes can see. And what a feeling when we got to the lighthouse. It was.. almost surreal!







Oh if only these pictures can do justice. But just imagine, an old lighthouse – which still functions – on a windy lush green hill surrounded by hills, ocean, and mountains, with cows, goats and caraboos eating off the grass and bushes.




video



To keep you from scrolling down too much, I’m splitting the 4th day story in two. On to the next post!





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