Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Northern Batan Not By Foot

I did not cover all of northern Batan by foot. I might have been able to if I started out before the sun reared its head over the horizon. On second thought, I don't think my short legs would have taken the rigors of this hilly island.

All other options out, a van, which can accommodate 8 passengers, was hired at Batanes Cultural Travel Agency for Php 1700 for the whole day. Leif, the driver, also served as the tour guide. And what do you know, Leif is from Cebu. (Haaayyy salamat! Now I can let my tongue take a break from stumbling over Tagalog words.) Leif moved to Batan some seven years ago to marry an Ivatan. Aside from being a driver and tour guide for BCTA, he also helps out at the airport.

Van? Check. Driver slash tour guide? Check. Camera? Check. Self? Check. Go!

The road snakes over the hills of Batan

Basco Idiang as seen from the roadside.
An idiang is a fortress where the ancient Ivatans lived.
Idiang comes from the Ivatan "Idi" or "Idian", meaning home.
Leif mentioned that it is possible to go to the idjang but one needs to have ropes and other climbing gear.

Dipnaysupuan Japanese Tunnel
According to the sign outside the tunnel, it was built during the Japanese occupation as a shelter for soldiers. It is a five-door tunnel with a series of chambers, a bunker, and a water reservoir.
Be sure to bring a flashlight if you want to venture in.

The hills of Tukon
Tukon actually means hill, if you must know.

The lovely tree lined street on the way to... 

Valugan Boulder Beach
Where'd all these boulders come from? Majestic Iraya spewed these boulders a gazillion years ago.
Yeah, yeah, I obviously don't know when but surely it was way before you or I were born.

...and here I am resting on a boulder, before heading to...

Vayang Hills

 We passed an old Spanish road and hiked thru the woods...
to find the Nakamaya Burial Site.

Walk a bit farther, towards the clearing near the ocean, to find more graves.
The boat shaped tombs point toward the sea which, according to the old Ivatan folk tale, is the final resting place of man. 

You can tour northern Batan in one day if you hire a van or rent a bike/motorcycle.
By foot, maybe, if you take long strides and walk fast.
Here's a map to help you decide if you want to walk it or ride it.
If there's a north, then there must be south. Southern Batan next time.

How Batanes bore a hole thru Mustachio's pocket:
This is just a third of the trip. Will tell you when I'm done.

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


  1. Seriously! I am really in envy! XD

  2. "Haaayyy salamat! Now I can let my tongue take a break from stumbling over Tagalog words." - felt exactly the same way in Palawan when our last tour guide for the trip turned out to be Bisdak. hahaha.