Batanes On My Mind

Batanes beckons like a mysterious hermit. Interesting and full of wonders, a creature so near yet so far. Situated in the far north of the archipelago, it is much closer to Taiwan than to the country’s capital Manila. Yet this distance has kept the island province’s unique topography and culture untouched by development, the same reason why it attracts local and foreign tourists alike despite its distance from the metropolis.

Growing up, I only heard of Batanes when there was an incoming typhoon and PAGASA would make it a point of reference to where the eye of the storm was located within the Philippine Area of Responsibility. Apart from that there was nothing I knew about it.  It was only when Mel and Jay (back in the day when Mel Tiangco and Jay Sonza were both Kapamilyas) featured the province on one of its last episodes on ABS-CBN did I get to know more about this fascinating province.  The rolling hills that remind me of Scotland, the traditional stone houses, the resilient and welcoming Ivatans, the Honesty Store (something I would want to see in the urban jungle) and of course the breathtaking landscape.  I was enamored by its untouched terrain and its rich culture and from then on I promised myself that one day I would be able to visit this beautiful yet isolated island province.

Flash forward to the present,  I am currently working for a government agency dealing with the promotion of the country’s arts and culture and still an armchair traveler who can only dream of going to exotic locales while reading the travel guides at the bookstore nearby.  Thanks to Boy Kuripot, I found about the SEAIR Bloggers contest which gives a chance to bloggers like me to win a free trip to Batanes.  This may be the opportunity I am looking for,  I just have to answer the million dollar question (well not exactly a million dollar question but you get the drift): Why should I be chosen to join the tour in Batanes?

Hmmm…considering the number of bloggers who will be joining this contest, I do not know if my reasons are compelling enough but what the heck, I will just give it a try.

Top 10 Reasons Why Tadonggenius should be chosen by SEAIR to join a bloggers tour of Batanes

1. I am cultural worker. I am proud to be working for a government agency dedicated to promoting the country’s culture and the arts but how can I call myself a cultural worker in the real sense of the word when the farthest place I have been to is in the hot springs of Laguna and the Palace in the Sky in Tagaytay. Well I have been to Eastern Samar but that would not really count since that is my hometown.  I have also been to Boracay but that was more of a training than fun in the sun. Not much culture eh? Going to Batanes would expose me to Ivatan culture, and honestly there is nothing more hands-on than being in the place of the culture you are advocating for. Mabuhay ang Pilipinas, oops where did that come from? 🙂

2. I wanna fulfill my Scottish dreams.. Yeah, I know you don’t get the connection, but back in the day when I was working for a call center, an American lady asked if I was Scottish. Maybe it was my accent, but hey, I don’t get that on an ordinary day. Being in Batanes would fulfill my fantasy of hiking on the hills ala-William Wallace and playing the bagpipe in the Scottish Highlands. Now I just have to find a bagpipe and a kilt for that truly Scottish feel; wait, the bagpipe I can pretend to play one, the kilt I have to think about.

3. I love taking photographs and Batanes with its windswept terrain and stunning vistas is the perfect subject for a budding photographer like me. I may not have a DSLR camera but I think my point and shoot is good enough to capture the beauty of the island.

4. I want to learn a new language. Learning how to speak the Ivatan way would be a new experience that is a must on my bucket list of things to-do in Batanes. Kapian capa nu dios, did I say it right?

5. I am an armchair traveler waiting for that opportunity to make my travelling dreams a reality. After reading countless travel books and travel guides, I think it is time for me to get my globetrotting fantasies into action. And as St. Augustine once said “The world is a book and those who do not travel read only a page.” Another page worth reading indeed.

6. I long for a new adventure. They say Marco Polo went to China and discovered pasta, Columbus sailed to see the New World. I, on the other hand, went to a video store to find a video of Groundhog Day. Believe me, that is an adventure pessimist readers but certainly not like going on a tour in Batanes.  As I quote Helen Keller, “Life is a daring adventure or nothing at all”

7. I wanna discover my inner artist. I used to be the resident artist back in grade school and I had ginormous dreams of becoming the next Amorsolo or Joya. But something must have happened on the way to Artistdom and I somehow lost my mojo. Going to Batanes may ignite my artist self that have since settled into dormancy. The stunning scenery would definitely inspire me to create new works of art (what I usually call my stick figures).

8. I wanna go on a food trip. Whenever we travel the thing that we remember the most aside from the places we see is the food we had eaten in that place.  A culture reveals itself through its food, especially in its preparation, etiquette and eating habits. By eating what is commonly prepared in the community we get a glimpse of the daily life of the locals and food is also a surefire way to bridge cultural gaps and make life long friends.

9. Speaking of friends, I wanna make new friends. Going on this trip would be a chance to new people. Meet fellow bloggers who may just be into the same things or interests as I am (however weird my interests are), meet Ivatans who have a few interesting stories and maybe meet someone who would change my life (Play cheesy OPM love song here).

10. I just want to go to Batanes. I can a say hundred reasons why I should be chosen but deep down there is only one reason and that is to go there. Considering my current financial situation a trip to the island province is not possible (cue Wish ko Lang theme and Vicky Morales doing her spiel) so this is definitely the opportunity of a lifetime.

That’s it, I have made my case and I just hope the powers that be would hear it. Mapia palak to all of us joining this contest.

Till my next rant. Peace.


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