Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Everything Else In Batanes (Food, Lodging, Souvenirs)



It was a very early morning flight going to Batanes. I've read that rides can get bumpy. Fortunately, my flight to Batanes was pretty smooth, minimal bumps. The place was bigger that I expected. 




Stone-building airport. Cool.



Accommodations:
I stayed Palangud House, which is also managed Ate Fe of the famous Marfel’s Lodge. Palangud House was cheaper at Php 350/night for a single-bed room, common bathroom. It has its own honesty shop, where you can buy food (instant noodles, coffee, junk food). Prices of this in-house honesty shop is actually quite reasonable.

Humble rooms

Pretty basic type of accommodation. Ate Fe charges minimal fee if you cook something complicated like rice or viand. Since I just heated water and fried eggs, she didn’t charge me at all.



Water is available during certain hours of the day so there are drums of water for storage. 
I also left most of my stuff when I spent a night in Sabtang island. I was charged half the normal rate to store my stuff in the room (Php 175.00).

Ate Fe also extended her generosity and invited us to her home because it was fiesta during that time. We had free lunch! Pretty good because food in Batanes is expensive!

Met some awesome people here too who kept me company during some parts of the trip.


Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Something Else: Ivuhus Island



Or Vuhus Island. Whichever.



I learned about Vuhus Island from a forum. I decided to check it out instead of pushing a day in Itbayat.
And because I am a solo traveller, I had to fork money to get in that side of Batanes. I’ll go back to Batanes someday.
 
After lunch and resting in Morong Beach, Kuya Michael brought me to Nakanmuan Village, the jumpoff point for Vuhus Island. Had to pay an additional Php 500 from Morong beach to Nakanmuan, then take me back to the Tourism Office. He said he had his contact here. Better contact him for boat rates Michael Hornedo – 09184370551.
 
Took a break going to Nakanmuan to take a photo of the view
 
 
No signal in Nakanmuan village

Took us around 15-20 minutes via a slow motorized boat. Low tide during the afternoon, so we had to walk.

 
 
Vuhus Island is one of the uninhabited islands of Batanes. Uninhabited by humans, inhabited by cows. According to Kuya Michael, there’s another island in Batanes that’s inhabited by goats. There’s a caretaker in Vuhus island, guarded by a dog.



Scorching hot sun that day. The beach sand was so loose too, I kept losing my balance.



According to the caretaker, the cattle here are raised together, then a village is assigned per area. The residents all go to their respective areas once the cattle are ready for “harvesting”. The Bayanihan spirit is very alive here.


 
They took me around Vitavuy Coral, where they train some of the cows and quarantine those with a disease.



Well hello there, little fella.

Vuhus island piqued my interest because I read that the island had faluwa-shaped graves. Yes, that was interesting enough for me. :P Plus of course, some bragging rights that I chose an off-the beaten path adventure.
 







Kuya Michael insisted on carrying my handbag. Hehehehe!
 
I was disappointed when they told me the graves were kilometers away and it would take hours on foot. So would visiting the cattle. I didn’t see the herds of cattle around. They said it would also take a while on foot. In the scorching sun, no thanks.

They took me to the caretaker’s residence, with a vegetable and salad garden. Cute.



But the pests got to the cabbages first

 


Not a crazy adventure, but looking back, it was crazy that I considered travelling in the island. I was a solo female traveller and there were two men, with me on a deserted island. CRAZY. But I felt really safe with the locals, and I trusted them.









The whole thing just took around two hours. Kuya Michael noted that I was tired (really, the heat tired me out) and offered that I take a nap in his mother-in-law’s stone house for a while. I also sensed that he wanted to stay for a bit to probably catch up with some of the locals there. I didn’t mind. I wasn’t in a hurry to go back.


Tired. Must chill.

 I would suggest a visit to Vuhus island, but I suggest you visit the place during the morning para high tide, you can swim. Also, bring a bike (a folding bike to fit the boat probably) so that you can explore the island).


Monday, March 17, 2014

Batan Island: North and South Batan Tour

Batanes greeted me with a wonderful weather. 
'Twas sunny with just the right wind chill to start off a 5-day adventure.

The beauty of Batanes cannot be captured in photos alone. Kahit super DSLR and super photographer pa yan. 

You will have a very difficult time choosing which photos to upload. My standard number of photos in a Facebook Album is around 50-70. I choose not to upload everything. Your Batanes Album will test that patience.

I got Dale as my trike driver/tour guide. He is the same guide recommended by Chyng Reyes. North Batan Tour costs Php 1,000. Contact #: 0929-341-0941

All the pics in one blog post.

North Batan Tour

After brunch and a restful nap (it was a really early flight going to Batanes), we started the tour. 

Tukon Church. Mass here is held once a month.

Fundacion Pacita was impressive. Secluded. I liked this stone church accented with a motorcycle. Nagpapaka-Santorini.


I look really good with Mount Iraya.




 Japanese Tunnel

 
On a spot somewhere in between the Japanese Tunnel and Valugan Boulder Beach



Tour break: Lunch at Pension Ivatan for Php 305. The staff there were really friendly. They chatted when they learned that I was travelling alone. Solo travelling is still a mystery for some. Hindi ka ba bored? Hindi ba malungkot? I smiled. If I would answer in full, that would entail one whole blog entry.

It was really windy when we got to the Rolling Hills.


Perfect timing ang shot na to!

Sunday, March 16, 2014

One Night In Sabtang Island



Sabtang is one of the islands of Batanes.It is truly a piece of paradise. Maybe this will be the nth blog post you've read about Sabtang, so you've read that it is a "heaven on earthy", "jaw-dropping" and etc idiomatic expressions. I ran out of idiomatic expressions while writing this post. I peppered it with a lot of my solo shots instead. It was very time-consuming to choose which photos to include here.

Brace yourselves. I repeat my poses. :P


The day started early. I joined forces with a travelling mother in daughter also staying in Palangud House. ‘Twas 5am when I hopped on a tricycle on the Sabtang Island. I sat the the back and it was cold. So this is Batanes winter.

Port of Ivana


San Jose de Obrero Church


We arrived the Port of Ivana after 45 minutes. I left most of my stuff back in Palangud house and just packed the essentials for an overnight stay. To my surprise and display, I LEFT MY MEMORY CARD IN MY LAPTOP. HOW SHALL I SURVIVE? 

Faluwa


A pair of travellers overheard dilemma. I met John and Bernice. John lent me his memory card. We were staying in the same house so I’ll be able to return it to him.

The faluwa ride was fairly safe. I've heard about faluwa rides that will make you beg and pray. We were lucky.

Our tour guide met us at the port of Sabtang. We also had Michael as our tour guide, he is also the guide of Chyng Reyes. He took us to the tourist center first, where we logged in our names. There's a standard fee for the trike rides there. Be guided by these rates:

Sabtang island tricycle fees. Note the written part, #13.
Sunlight peeking through the clouds. There's hope for this gloomy weather.

Still reading? Here comes a bunch of awesome photos. 

Idyllic scene in Savidug Village


The town greeted strangers "Good morning!"
Uplifting to hear this.
 
The local kids were racing towards the finish line.




Blue windows and white walls. Reminds me of Santorini.


Sun salute at Chamantad-Tinyan viewpoint.

You will find your next profile photo or cover photo in Chamantad-Tinyan viewpoint. The views were just stunning! (gasgas idiomatic expression alert)


Good thing I had some travel buddies and Kuya Michael. They were very patient in taking my photos.



Going for some ANTM-like pose here. Too bad the wind didn't make my sarong fly.



How did those cows manage to get down there? Insane. 

Find the brown and white dots. Those are cows munching on grass. On a cliff.

Steep cliff.


Chavayan Village. 

Cool trike of Kuya Michael.

The required tourist shot with the local headgear called "Vakul". This is used as a hat/ protection from the sun.


I bought some souvenirs here in Chavayan village. *I am having a senior moment, I cannot recall the name of the delicacy made in coconut but it was really good!*

We pre-booked our lunch at Morong Beach. Carinderias are not popular here. You'll have to make arrangements where you'll eat or you might end up not eating anything. Ours cost PHp 400/head, with crabs. Costly, but worth it, I would say. Tell your guide ahead if you have lunch plans. Food cooked in "restaurants" are “rationed”, they don’t cook a lot so they may run out of food for an unplanned customer. 



 

The standard tour ends after lunch. But for me, the tour goes on as I planned to explore Ivuhus. Kuya Michael headed back to the port area with the mother-daughter paid while I stayed behind. I was able to rest and chill a bit at the beach.
 

The famous Nakabuang Arch.

Nakabuang Arch

Batanes is not known for its pristine beaches. The sand was a bit coarse. You ca swim but... the water was so cooooold!




I stayed at the dorm at the Municipal Tourism Office. They also have a private room but John and Bernice already booked it. I wouldn't really recommend staying here, if you are travelling alone. But I didn't have a lot of options. Wag na choosy. Cost me Php 300 for the night.



I'll talk about Ivuhus Island in my next post.
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