Friday, May 28, 2010
Feeling the Heat: Batanes Experience
It has a been a dream of mine to go to Batanes for as long as I knew the place existed. I don't think there is any other place (locally) that I wanted to go to so badly. So I was so happy to hear that there was a buy 1 take 1 seat sale in SEAAIR. My family instantly went to MOA to buy the tickets and by a couple months' time, we were off to Batanes.
To tell you honestly, it wasn't everything I hoped it would be. First off, it was burning hot there. We were under the impression that it would be really cold we were shocked to feel otherwise. Don't get me wrong, the place was absolutely stunning! It was as if we went to five different countries at once; Jerusalem, Greece, New Zealand, USA, and Africa. We took literally more than a thousand pictures in our 5day stay there. We made the most of our trip by going to all three of their inhabited islands; Batan, Itbayat, and Sabtang.
If you are interested in an extreme experience, I suggest you go to Itbayat. It's an island without a single beach! You need to ride on a boat for 3hours from Batan to get there. (Experience the refugee-like boat ride! No seats, just sitting on the floor and watch dozens of flying fish hovering on the water!) Aside from the journey to the island, going around the place was also quite the experience. They do not have vans and jeeps there, only pick-up trucks! So you have to ride at the back of the trucks, sitting on wooden benches (bangko). The experience is hard to explain in words, you just have to experience it for yourself. You will also hike a long way to go to a cave. On the way there, you will walk on a white limestone path that is absolutely breathtaking! Definitely worth the trouble. You can also go to a separate island, and stay there overnight if you prefer to laze on the beach. But you have to give them advance notice, because they have to prepare the place for you. That is if you have enough time on your hands...
Batan Island is like the center of Batanes. It has the most establishments, even internet cafes have found their way there. The Marlboro Hills are located here and also the world famous Honesty Coffee shop. If you do not know how to ride a bike, i suggest you learn before you go there. I didn't know how to ride one so I had to miss out on going solo. >.< SAD! Going around the Island on bike is refreshing and you can experience things you might have missed while on the van.
Sabtang Island has the most number of stone houses in all three islands that we have visited. It is also home to a 103 year old man! We talked with him and he didn't seem his age. It was as if you are talking to a 70 year old man. His secret: NO VICES! This is also the place where you can frolic on the beach and eat lobster. You can also watch locals weaving their Bakul (native straw hats) and buy them straight from the source.