Monday, October 31, 2011

What's in a (Business) Name? Uno

Do you know where Clark Kent's alter alter ego hangs out?
Spotted at Hernan Cortes St. Mandaue City

For more amusing business names, please visit Go Random.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011



Itbayat wasn't in my agenda for two reasons:
1) Going there meant enduring a rollercoaster ride on water eight times as long as the ride to Sabtang (and that's just one way!)
2) Wallet wouldn't allow me to buy a Php 2700 roundtrip plane ticket to Itbayat.
I will visit you, Itbayat, when my stomach is stronger or when my wallet is fatter, whichever comes first.

So instead of talking about Itbayat, shall we talk about food? They say do as the Romans do. I say eat as the Ivatans eat (or eat whatever I can afford).

Here's that 120-peso one-day-old daing breakfast from Shanedel's Inn and Cafe that would have made me cough up my breakfast if I had known it was going to cost me that much.

In Sabtang, I had all my meals at forgot-the-name canteen.
CamoteQ, veggies, turmeric rice, tatus (coconut crab), and fish for lunch.
Looks a bit much for one person? It is. That's actually two servings.

Humet (seaweed soup), onions and egg, and fish again for dinner.
Chicken, noodles, and turmeric rice at Hiro's Cafe.

Also tried out food at canteens in Basco thinking it would be cheaper. But no, food in Batanes wasn't cheap at all! A serving of meat viand at a canteen costs 50 to 60 pesos (that normally costs 25 to 35 pesos in Cebu), 30 pesos for a serving of vegetables, and 15 pesos for a cup of rice. I canteen hopped from Zantan Canteen (ate here twice for they had affordable and tasty pork barbecue) to Carl's Canteen (sells ice cream and has super spicy chili sauce), and to another canteen I can't remember the name of.

Ate lobster at Pension Ivatan and it had its revenge on me, it ate a 400 peso hole in my pocket (actually it was a 200 peso hole since I shared this with another person). Sorry, no photo, I forgot to bring my camera for dinner.

Five days and four nights in Batanes left me with an enriched soul, a full stomach, and a giant hole in my pocket:

Some of the meals were shared with another hungry person and the meal expenses shown above are already my share. You might also wonder why most of my breakfast expenses are less than 50 pesos.... well, I brought some noodles and crackers with me and the lodge had a water dispenser. Not included above are expenses for Cebu-Manila-Cebu.

The end. Time to go back to the world of work and replenish my travel fund.

If you missed my other Batanes posts, do not fret:
Sketch Batanes
Hello Batanes
Northern Batan on Foot
Northern Batan Not by Foot
Southern Batan
Sabtang Island
Itbayat (you're here!)

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Sabtang Island

From Basco, take the jeepney to the port of Ivana. Ask locals for the jeepney and boat schedule. If you're staying in the town center, the jeepney passes Abad Street and announces itself by blaring its horn. The 30-minute jeepney ride to the port costs Php 25.

The Ivatan's boats, called falowas, do not have outriggers for these will only snap like toothpicks in the way-bigger-than-your-regular-sized waves. Passengers are required to wear a lifevest. If lifevests weren't  mandatory, I'm willing to bet you'd beg to have one.

There was only one passenger boat that day. Do you want to know why? Do you really really want to know why? If you don't, you may skip the rest of this paragraph. The other falowa sank the day before as it was leaving Sabtang. And you thought the Ivatans knew their sea conditions well! If this falowa I am getting on sinks, I will have to enjoy my indeterminate extended stay in Sabtang and learn to build a falowa.

Because I easily turn green, I had my eyes screwed shut (and my fingers crossed) most of the way. Sneaked a peek as we were nearing Sabtang Island and saw the island disappear behind the waves. You have to pay Php 50 to experience this half-hour rollercoaster ride on water.

On land, oh lovely land, I head on to the tourism office located just a few meters to the left of the port of Sabtang to register and pay the Php 100 tourism fee. Most visitors come to Sabtang for a day tour but I think it's best to stay a night to be able to explore the entire island. There are rooms at the tourism office for Php 300 a night or you can follow my lead and snore at Sabtang National School of Fisheries, just next door, for Php 150 a night (dorm type).


Vans to tour the island can be rented at the tourism office. Unfortunately, or rather, fortunately, all vans were booked and the only option left was a tricycle with an open sidecar. This proved to be a blessing for 1) it was cheaper, 2) open air equals fresh air, and 3) it can pass thru some areas where vans can't.

Sabtang island has six villages: Savidug, Chavayan, Sumnanga, Nakanmuan, Malakdang, and Sinakan. And I am going to visit all six.

The traditional houses at the village of Savidug.

There are two roof types: maytuab (cogon roof on four sides) and  sinadumparan (two sides only).
 Photo by Bee Chavez

On the way to Chavayan one can see the idiang of Sabtang
(below right, photo courtesy of Bee Chavez) from the roadside

and stop by Chamantad Sanctuary

The best place to find weavers is at the village of Chavayan.

Ivatan women's headgear, worn as protection from either sun or rain, is called a vakul (below left), while headgear for men is called talugong. During cold or rainy days, they wear a coat (below right) made of fine strips of vuyavuy (small palm growing in the coastal hills of Batanes).


The basket (below left) is called a pasikin. And the woven slippers (below right) are used by fishermen when fishing in shallow rocky coasts.


In Chavayan lives Lolo Marcelo Hostallero, the oldest person of Batanes. He is 104 years old.
The secret? Coconut water.

Roads cut thru the rock on the way to Sumnanga.

Duvek Bay at Sumnanga fishing village.

Nakabuang beach is a perfect place to pitch a tent or have a picnic.
But, poor me, I neither had a tent nor food.

Sabtang lighthouse

From here you can see the port of Sabtang and the villages of Malakdang and Sinakan.

Yup, we circled the island of Sabtang in one day.

How Batanes bore a hole thru Mustachio's pocket:
Will tell you in my next post. I promise. That's if you're still interested.

If you missed my other Batanes posts, do not fret:
Sketch Batanes
Hello Batanes
Northern Batan on Foot
Northern Batan Not by Foot
Southern Batan
Sabtang Island (you're here!)

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Southern Batan

Time to take in the sights of the south.

Chawa Viewdeck in Mahatao
 See those stairs? It's there for a purpose. Use it!

Go down below and get splashed by the waves or jump into the little pool.

Here's an aerial view of the Chawa viewdeck.

Mahatao Shelter Port
Obviously it's where sea vessels are docked during storms.
But if I had it my way I'd claim it as my own personal swimming pool.

San Carlos Borromeo Church in Mahatao
Nearby is an old Spanish lighthouse that's so small you'd miss it if you didn't keep your eyes peeled.

Sumhao Windmills
Can you see three windmills? No? How about three windmills parallel to the ground?
Such a pity not one was in use. All three have been out of order for more than two years :-(
Somebody call Mr. Repairman!

Tayid Lighthouse in Mahatao

The view from the lighthouse

Homoron Blue Lagoon
Some people were diving in, climbing out, and then jumping back into the water. (Can you see them in the photo?) I wanted to shout to Leif to stop the van and jump into the water myself. Unfortunately, my swimming buddy, Salbabida, wasn't with me.

At Diura Fishing Village some of the huts can be rented. If you're wondering how much, I am sorry I can not tell you. I was too busy looking around that I forgot to ask.

Rakuh-a-idi Spring
The Spring of Youth. I suggest you gulp down gallons of this spring water if you wanna be Peter Pan.
It seems to have worked on me. I haven't grown an inch nor have I lost a hair these past six months!

If the tide is low, one can hike on the shore back to Diura village.
 Better wear slippers, unless you are a tortured sole have soles that can take some torturing.

Rakuh means big. Payaman means pasture. Put it together and what do you get?
A big grassy place that'll make you want to take off your shoes, run around, roll on the grass, and be crazy with the cows... but warning signs will tell you not to (be with cows) lest you want to get trampled by them.
These cows think people are aliens. (Yes, I am made that up, but you know what I mean.)

Can you spot the cows?

 The last village from Basco is Imnajbu.
I swear, not a soul was seen while we were there.
Don't worry, scaredy cat, it doesn't mean it's a ghost town, the people were probably just having a siesta.
It was, after all, one in the afternoon when we visited.

Imnajbu Church
See that cross right next to it? That marks the spot where the first Catholic mass in Batanes was held.

LORAN station ruins
LORAN stands for Long Range Aid to Navigation.
If you want to know more about it and see how it looked in the 60s check out this link.
I admit, I am too lazy to read and summarize it for you, dear reader.

The Ruins of Song-song are the remains of the village that was wiped out by a tsunami in 1954.

Wild horses roam

Uyugan Church

Honesty Coffee Shop in Ivana sells coffee (of course! You can't call it a "coffee" shop without coffee),
cold drinks, instant noodles, bread, junk food, even souvenirs.
List down the things you are buying, drop the payment into the box, and tell it "keep the change!"

You can leave a love note in their little guest book.

I did!

A few steps away is San Jose Obrero Church.

 Port of Ivana as seen from the church.
This is where we hopped on the boat to Sabtang Island.

Vahay ni Dakay they say is the oldest stone house in Batanes, built in 18forgotten.
(Such an informative blog, no? Hehehe.)
Lola Florestida Estrella lives in this house. But doesn't the house look younger than Lola? (No offense, Lola.)

Puente de Ivana was built sometime during the term of Fray Nicolas CastaƱo (1798-1824),
who, I am guessing, was the parish priest of Ivana at that time.

This bridge is parallel to three modern bridges.
Somebody tell me why Ivana needs four bridges.

And now our journey has come to an end...

Tomorrow, or really, let's be honest, the day my blog-writing brain cooperates,
we will brave the ocean to get to Sabtang Island.

How Batanes bore a hole thru Mustachio's pocket:
One more island and we're good as broke.

If you missed my other Batanes posts, do not fret:
Southern Batan (you're here!)