In search of Batanes’ prehispanic past

When the subject of Ivatan culture and heritage is discussed, the attention inevitably gets focused on the most tangible manifestations of such, i.e. the traditional stone houses and centuries old-churches, among others.  These are buildings that have withstood the test of time and the elements in the harsh Batanes climate.  While those Spanish-era structures themselves capture one’s interest, it does obscure the fact that the Ivatans have a much richer prehispanic past, traces of which have survived to the present day. Continue reading

Hiking in Northern Batan

One thing I took note of the last time I was in Batan was that there were a lot of spots I just breezed through, owing to the fact that I was aboard either a motorcycle or a bicycle.  This time, I intended to tour Batan at a much more “leisurely” and laid-back pace in order to soak in the scenery and to possibly discover picturesque spots that are normally just passed by the usual tourist route.  And so I plotted a roughly triangular path that would take me first from my starting point of Basco to the Valugan Boulder Beach, then to the highlands of Tukon, and finally to the Naidi Lighthouse to catch the sunset. Continue reading

Batanes Day 2: Touring Sabtang (part 2) – 12/09/09

Most blogs are near-unanimous in referring to Chavayan as the town that is closest to what the old Ivatan culture was like before the onslaught of modernity hit Batanes.  Even the province’s official website recommends staying overnight in this old village to complete one’s Batanes experience.  It is on the strength of this recommendation that I initially wanted to find lodgings here for the night.

The Chavayan town marker Continue reading