Thursday, November 27, 2008

BATANES : Dios Mamajes

The lighthouse amongst the clouds

Of howling winds and gentle people

We travel to see places that are unfamiliar to us and to experience the cultures of the people that may seem strange to us. But oftentimes we travel to enhance our knowledge and to educate our beings from what we can get and absorb as we become part of the destinations we visit. To be a stranger in a strange land, that is.
As we traverse with time we the restless soul tends to get the urge to go to places beyond our realms in order for us to get out of our lackluster milieu. It has been said that from time to time we have to live the life bereft of caution, to pursue that great escape, to be one with the wind. We need this to reconcile with whatever it is that we are searching for or perhaps just to scratch the wanderlust itch.It is also rejuvenating to get out of our comfort zones and savor some new experiences with reckless abandon.With that in mind, a place in the northern edge of the Philippines was beckoning and I heeded the call.

Basco lighthouse
So there i went with wanderlust in my heart and elation in my soul as I chase the lights to explore the place that may have been just a speck in our map and yet it is the destination that promises the howling of the wind and the adventure of a lifetime.
The Dash-7 50 seater propeller type plane landed on Batanes in the middle of August just after a typhoon hits the area.
we have arrived
I was expecting overcast skies and monsoon downpours but was greeted with good sunshine and no rain. The weather was sunny and very beautiful I could swear it was like summer! Strangely enough the people there told me that they have four seasons so come to think of it August is quite the summer time.
Indeed Batanes is like the land of what dreams may come. The seas are unruly as the waters collided with the rock formations on the edges of the cliffs.
my kind of beach
Monstrous waves that oftentime creates a sound akin to thunder and produces a thud similar to gentle earthquakes as they hit the breakwaters.
come hell or high waters
Terrains that are so rugged and beautiful one may think that this is no longer part of our country.
Good morning Batanes
Rolling hills from here to eternity. Lighthouses that made me feel I am in some foreign land.
from a distance
Canopy of stars on moonless nights which are good for contemplating about everything and nothing. Landscapes that seems to mold the poetry of the land..Seascapes that are so enchanting one may hear music from it.
twilight slowly coming by
In every curve of the winding roads at the edge of the cliffs, in every turn from every rugged terrain an adventure awaits. There were times when while riding a motorcycle (I rented one) a “ monitor lizard(bayawak) or a snake” may occasionally cross the road. The place is indeed full of surprises.
a rock and a hard place
As i drove along the edges of the cliffs I could see the horizon from a distance as the sun rolls behind the earth and all I can say was “ I could stay here forever”.
serenity of the setting sun
At night I can hear the howling of the wind as if calling on some distant shores. In one island (Sabtang) you may feel very isolated and yet very much welcome.
We may never have control over the wind or the weather and the inhabitants of Batanes islands are at the mercy of it , yet they are all self sufficient and self assured.
The Ivatans are people with big hearts..
I have never been with such kind and gentle people. Most of them are fishermen and cattle herders but the way I see it, all of them are happy with the simplicity of their lifestyles.

the boatman
Occasionally you may witness Ivatans on the road in their classic type bicycle, at the shorelines searching for the days catch or just walking on the hills with their carabaos as life passes them by unperturbed but contented.
catching the days catch
While on the road almost everyone that I met gave me a smile or an assuring nod as if I am from there too.

tie me tight
A tied up Faluwa

down and out
Ruins of Sitio Songsong.
A coastal area wiped out by a tidal wave in the 1950's.
Today some ruins remain in the area and the place was dubbed as a ghost town.

Shelter from the storm
Storm Shelter Port
This is where they docked their Faluwas when a storm is coming to prevent them from being battered.

a long and winding road
i just love the Batanes winding roads.
Very ideal for motorcycling.

The house that Pacita built
Fundacion Pacita Abad
Tukon, Batanes

cliffs to Mahatao
The cliffs of Mahatao overlooking Basco town

the view from the hill
The view from the rolling hills.

Parola by the sentry
An old military sentry near the Basco Lighthouse

at the road side
The winding roads of Batan

end of day
Serenity in the land of howling winds

Dakay's stronghold
This is the old Ivatan house of Dakay in Ivana. The house was built in the 1800's. Limestones, rocks, wood and cogon were used in building the house. Btw, dakay means white hair and the original owner of this house was called as such for that reason.

Beach boat
The beach in Batanes

Good evening Batan
Night time at the Parola in Basco

as the sun rolls behind the earth
I fell in love with Batanes and my first visit is definitely not the last.

Dios Mamajes!

Romulus Rueda
August 2008

No comments:

Post a Comment