Saturday, April 5, 2014

The Other Ahh-mazing Sights of Batanes

Batanes Day 4

We arrived from Sabtang at around 7:00 AM. We had our breakfast and rested a bit then we were on the road again. We rented a motorbike this time for Php 100 per hour. It wasn't from the rental shop but from a municipal office worker. Basco runs out of motorbikes for rent whenever the ships from Manila or Cagayan arrives because the locals use it to get their goods from the Port. That explains why we had to rent a non-commercial bike.


green is my favorite color :)


We headed to the hills this time. We had no set itinerary every time we go out in Batan. Unlike the others, it doesn't matter with us if it's North or South. We just take our bike and go wherever it takes us. It doesn't have to be in order. We didn't have a map and like what I've mentioned in my previous posts, there are no signages going to the tourist attractions. So finding these places were just pure luck and killer instincts haha. ;)


Tukon Chapel

Our first stop was this chapel. Traversing the road in Tukon Hills, we saw this lovely little chapel. When we saw crosses, we knew we found the Tukon Chapel. Budget Secretary Butch Abad (former DepEd Sec) spearheaded the building of this chapel Yes, he is an Ivatan.


The Tukon Chapel

He built this in memory of his parents who simply wanted to be able to walk to a nearby church when they were still living. The church in Basco is too far from the hills and there's no public transportation available from there.


just love

It was love at first sight for me. Its simplicity and its fantastic location won me over. It is beyond beautiful! My dream wedding used to be in Bali. But the moment I laid my eyes on this chapel, I want it to be here! It is perfect for my dream wedding. Simple, small, intimate and surrounded by the wonders of nature.



i adore this door!


The view outside is breathtaking. The sky, the hills and the ocean. Just awesome.




Okay, wake up now Liz! ;)


Tukon Radar Road

We were looking for the Basco PAGASA Weather Station. We found it but it was under renovation. It didn't look good on photos so we just passed. Not too far from it on the corner was a hut and from there you will see this magnificent view.




We also saw this working carabao carrying gravel and stones being used for the construction. The carabaos in Batanes are cute because they have long hair hehe. It must be the cold weather up there.


work mode

Not too far is Fundacion Pacita but we decided to just go back later in the day because we saw many tour vehicles parked outside. It was probably too crowded already.


Diura Fishing Village

We headed down to Mahatao's coastal area for the Diura Fishing Village. Once again, the drive going there was scenic. Seems like it is that way everywhere in Batanes actually. :)




It turned out that it was their village's fiesta that day so the fishermen and the rest of the community were all celebrating. We passed by 3 big groups of "inuman" (drinking session) and people were in a festive mood that day.


fish pond


They also probably mistaken us for a local because nobody cared to ask us to register at the tourism booth. We were also looking forward to the sight of dried fishes but we didn't see any.


where on Earth am I?

We went uphill on the dirt road to the east side of the village to see what else was there but found nothing anymore aside from the wonderful view of the village coast.


Mahatao Lighthouse

We took the road back to the hills from Diura. I asked Beau, "Why don't we go to the freaking lighthouse?". Again without a map, just by looking at it and approximating its location, we found it! Yey! :)




We initially thought we can't take our bike after what seemed to be the entrance. Then there was a local Kuya who went out and told us we can go inside with our bike. No need for us to hike, lucky us!




It is also called the Tayid Lighthouse. It was only 13 years old, built back in 2000. It only looks new because it was just repainted recently. When we got there, there was just one lady caretaker present. She stopped gardening for a moment and let us sign the guestbook. We were trying to ask her a few questions about the lighthouse but unfortunately, she only speaks Ivatan.




Mahatao Lighthouse faces the Pacific Ocean. Again there's the stunning vista of Mt. Iraya and the hills being kiss by the tides. I'll never get tired of this province's amazing views.


*****

We just kept driving up and down the hills enjoying the green (hills) and blue (sky and ocean) scenery. It never gets old. I can go on and on with these sights.







We soon find ourselves far west from the lighthouse. Can you spot the lighthouse there? :)


Mahatao Wind Turbines

The next thing we knew we were in Mt. Sumhao checking out these massive turbines.




I spotted three of them all down. I was actually wondering why they were no longer in use. It would have been a great source of electricity for the island of Batan.




It was our country's first wind diesel farm. It opened earlier than the one in Bangui, Ilocos Norte. It felt sad that this 55 million-project just ended up this way.




The government never bothered to fix these turbines. There goes our 55M budget. Sigh.


Liveng: Ivatan word for hedgerow

Instead of getting depressed by this fact, we just took in the awe-inspiring scenery of these endless hedgerows.


Fundacion Pacita

We went back to this place before we headed back down to town.





I was actually not very much interested to see this place but Beau wanted to go. I mean it's a hotel. Why would I want to see a hotel? Sorry, I'm a little stubborn haha.


Hello! God Bless You


Location-wise, they say this is the most beautiful hotel in Batanes. Okay, I won't argue with that. Their cheapest rate starts at Php 6000+++. Wow. With that amount, I would expect a 5-star hotel service and amenities.


the entrance

Sure it looks pretty. It is also obvious that it was once a niche of an artist based on the artworks outside.


over exposed

I really don't feel like checking out the place so we did not take a look inside anymore and just took a few photos hehe.


Thank You!

Maybe I'll just check it out someday when I go back to Batanes. :)


Basco Church

This is also known as Our Lady of the Immaculate Concepcion Cathedral. It is the first Catholic church built in Batanes during the Spanish colonization back in the early 18th century.






Basco Lighthouse and Naidi Hills

We just rented the bike for 5 hours that day. Later that afternoon, we decided to just walk going to the lighthouse. We never knew that it was a bit far from our home stay. I think we made it to the hill in 40-45 minutes. It was quite a walk I must say, especially the going up part.


Basco Lighthouse

This lighthouse was built 3 years later than the one in Mahatao. There really used to be a lighthouse in the exact same location way way back but it was destroyed during the World War II.


Naidi Hills

Naidi Hills was also the location of the American telegraph facilities during their occupation. Along with the original lighthouse, they were heavily bombed by the Japanese Imperial Army during the war in 1941.


abandoned bunkers

Naidi Hills is also one of the perfect sunset spots in Basco. We had a late afternoon picnic there hehe. We brought some snacks and drinks, sat there in the grass facing Baluarte Bay while waiting for the sun to set.





We just stared in what was in front of us. It was very serene and calming. You'll just feel so grateful and blessed.





Sunset and sunrise watching are 2 of my favorite things to do. No matter where I travel, I always wait for a chance to catch them.




Batanes never disappointed me. That was a wonderful day.


Batanes Day 5

It was our last day to explore Batanes. We just decided to go see the few places we weren't able to check out the previous days and to go back to those places that we loved the most. Our day started with getting completely lost while looking for the "Japanese Tunnel". We asked different locals giving us different directions and we ended up in this totally remote place where there are no houses, no passers-by and no people.


getting lost haha!

Just when were about to turn back after going too far down, a man appeared from the forest. I reckon he is a local farmer basing on the bolo hanging on his waist. We asked him for the directions going to the tunnel. That was when we found out that we were not even close to our destination hehe. When he noticed in our faces that we can't seem to get the direction right, he volunteered to take us there. He happened to have a motorbike, so we just followed him going there.


Dipnaysupuan Japanese Tunnel

We figured out we were going to a very very wrong way haha. We were so thankful to the old gentleman who showed us the way. He really just took us there then headed back down. Ivatans are really super duper nice.


there you are!

This was constructed by the Japanese during World War II to serve as a shelter for the soldiers. This is about 3 kilometers from the town center.





It wasn't really a big tunnel and it is easy to navigate too. It's not the type of tunnel that will trigger claustrophobia, if you get what I mean.


easy breezy ;)


After you get out of the tunnel, you will be rewarded with this beautiful view.




You will always, always end up with a nice view anywhere.


Marlboro Country (again!)

I mentioned that we'll be back to the place we loved, right? So after the tunnel, we took the short cut going to Racuh-A-Payaman.




We park our bike at the exact same spot where we did the last time, then soon enough we were like kids again running up and down the hill in this pasture land.


won't you come back to see this beauty?

It was just wondrous that I don't think I'll ever get tired of seeing and being in this place again and again. I even think the cows don't see us as strangers anymore haha.


herd of cows

Funny thing was while we were sitting on the grass, we heard some footsteps. We seriously thought there was a cow approaching behind us. But when I turned around, it was my friend Glen haha. We ended up having the same plan for the day which is to revisit our favorite places in Batan. We just spent our afternoon there chatting, eating and sleeping on the grass.


Vayang Rolling Hills

Beau and I decided to catch the sunset in Vayang this time. It was the best decision to go there with our bike. It is farther than Naidi Hills.


Rolling Hills of Vayang



We arrived just in time for the sunset. We did not proceed to the very end of the hills anymore. We just chose a good spot somewhere in the middle.





Though it was a bit cloudy, we were still blessed with one beautiful sunset. It was our last full day in Batanes, so it made me a little melancholic. I couldn't believe that I was leaving this paradise the next day already.


sunset in Vayang Rolling Hills

Just like when we left the Marlboro Country, we kept giving it a "last" glance and we were like some crazy people talking to it saying "we will miss you". Yes, it was hard to say goodbye to a place you fell in love with.



*****

Batanes will always be memorable for me. It used to be just a dream. I never thought I would realize it this soon. Now, I am one of those people who was mesmerized by its beauty, who can't stop talking about it. I had many speechless moments here. There were times that I just can't think of any word to describe it. There were also instances that I'd prefer not to take photos but just stare at it and just wonder. I just wanted to be in "that" moment.

On the day of our departure, we secretly wished for our flight to be cancelled. That's how much we hated leaving Batanes! I promise, I will be back.

"I thank you God for this most amazing day, for the leaping greenly spirits of trees, and for the blue dream of sky and for everything which is natural, which is infinite, which is yes."  ~e.e. cummings



This is Part 7 of my Batanes travel series.