When I saw the island province of Batanes on an episode of “Mel & Jay” back in the 90’s, I said to myself that one day I will have the chance to visit the country’s northernmost province. Little did I know that that dream would be a reality several years later. Plus the fact that it was an all-expense paid trip did not hurt either.
It has been more than a year since I and my fellow bloggers traveled to Batanes and only now do I appreciate our experience there. It was an overwhelming trip, an experience that left me at loss for words that is why I could not really write a proper blog post that Batanes deserved. Editorial deadlines aside (as if I had one), here’s my story on our Batanes adventure.
February 11, 2011
All my bags are packed, I’m ready to go…
With a borrowed backpack and camera I went to the old Domestic terminal to meet Engr. Joseph Dy and my fellow bloggers who also won in the SEAIR Batanes Winter Bloggers Tour Contest. I came to the airport early in the morning only to be informed that the flight was rescheduled for 10am. Uh,oh…I failed to check my email, now what do I do? I left my heavy backpack and decided to go to the nearby Redemptorist Church and hopefully get my pre-departure blessing from the Our Lady of Perpetual Help.
A few hours later, I finally checked-in and met my travel companions: Izah “Tripadora” Morales (she and her purple backpack and brown boots), Journeying James Betia (runner/travel blogger extraordinaire), Blessing Faith Manuel of Travelista and our tour guide Engr. Joseph Dy. We were informed that the two others will arrived the next day.
We boarded a small 30 seater aircraft and arrived in Batanes right before noon. The skies were overcast and the temperature was chilly (to think that it was the middle of the day). We immediately rode a jeepney upon arrival and proceeded to Hiro’s Cafe for our first lunch in Batanes.
The mouth watering feast consisted of beef broth soup with sili leaves, the Batanes version of laing (taro leaves and stem cooked in coconut milk), beef and sweet potato fries and fish lumpia (spring rolls). Big thanks to Dir. Bless Diwa and Department of Tourism Region II for providing our lunch.
With our stomach filled to the brim (if there is such a thing) we checked in at our official home for our three day stay, the Batanes Seaside Lodge Annex which is a walking distance from the Hiro’s Cafe. We passed by this store which reminded me of a popular mall back in Manila.
We wasted no time as we head on over to the Fountain of Youth in Racuh-a-ldi. The skies were still overcast but there was no sign that the rain was going to spoil our tour. Our jeep stopped at the end of a cemented road so we all knew that our trek was about to start. Good thing I was wearing my sandals, I pitied Izah who forgot to change her brown boots but at least she was camera ready for the task at hand.
The waves in Batanes are particularly strong owing to the fact that it lies right in the smack where the West Philippine Sea meets the Pacific Ocean. And we could see the ocean and its strong waves from where we were trekking.
After a 15-minute trek we finally made it to the Fountain of Youth, I was expecting that it was this mystical place where I can just drink the water and become my 15-year old self again (pre-pimples and the jadedness) but to my dismay it was just a flowing body of water where a tired traveler can refresh himself after his trek.
After ttaking our cliche shots of the place (a term I picked up from Journeying James), we headed back to the fishing village of Diura. They were celebrating the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes so everyone was in a celebratory mood. A cock fight was going on when we passed by.
I even saw a piece of meat being air dried, I just forgot to ask what it was called. Anybody knows what they call this?
Next stop: San Carlos de Borromeo Church
Popularly known as Mahatao Church, it is a National Cultural Treasure and was built by the Dominicans in the 19th century. There is a visitors log book inside where you can sign and even draw something as a proof that you visited.
After our brush with history, we proceeded to the Chawa Viewdeck where the mighty ocean waves can also be seen.
Just make sure that you have strong knees so you can go down the stairway below the view deck where you can get much closer to the restless sea and its beauty.
Our last stop for the day was the Basco Lighthouse at Naidi Hills. A picturesque place where romantic dreams come true, well not really but you just have to take my word that it is a beautiful place. Aside from having a best view of the sunset in Basco, it is also an awesome place to take the mandatory jump shot. 🙂
It was a tiring but fun filled day of going around Batan Island, Batanes. We enjoyed what we saw and we knew that Batanes had more up its sleeves for us the next day. This was not a dream but an unforgettable reality.
PS. This was also the day where we tried the island’s very own drink called the ‘Mineovaheng‘
Till my next post. Peace and Stay Fresh peeps!