Tuesday, January 2, 2007

Batanes V.2 - Batanes calling

I didn’t realized how much I missed Batanes until I saw Batan and Sabtang as we approached for a landing last Tuesday (Dec. 26). I got goosebumps as the plane made a turn toward the familiar-looking bay which we called home last year. 

I am grateful to be granted a week-long vacation – this trip was one year in the making as I wasn’t able to take a long break in the interim of Christmas and new year in 2005. The forecast said bright and sunny weather was expected for the week leading to the new year. We were blessed with good weather for the first two days alright. But on day three, the weather fouled up, deferring our plans of going to Sabtang to another trip. So much for weather forecasts. Next time, we intend to come in during the summer months and head straight to sabtang from the airport. Proves the point that here, nature rules.

But all is not lost. Having been here before, I first thought maybe the novelty has worn off. Truth be told, Batan still amazes me. There are plenty of ooh-and-ahh-and-wowww moments. The wild shores of viewdeck in Chanarian. The rocky shores of Diura and Valugan. The incredibly beautiful Imnajbu scene where one can stand almost 45 degrees and not fall because of the gale-force wind. The seclusion of White Beach. The beautiful churches of Basco, Ivana, Mahatao and Uyugan. The charms of Basco and Mahatao lighthouses. the beyond-words-beauty of Viang sunsets.

The sights are breathtaking, no doubt. But what endears Batanes to me is its people. In the chill of the December winds, they are as warm as I remembered them to be. I don’t normally endorse establishments here in my blog but I guess Shanedel’s deserve a special mention. Tita Del and her family made our stay a real blast. That they didn’t mind our nightly-karaoke is a big plus, hahaha. We even got invited to their private Christmas party with close friends like we are part of an extended family. It’s also a blessing to have Tito Shane as our host since a good catch would mean we’ll have fresh dorado, tanigue or yellow-fin tuna with every meal.

We were also lucky to have Manny as our guide. More than just showing us around, he regaled us with stories and repartees. and he has an uncanny way of timing the trips so we photographer-hobbyists can catch the optimum light.

There were plenty of memorable moments as well. Like the tsunami alert on our first night and the rather strong earthquake (B2 & I just kept on with night shooting like anything). Pushing our jeep so it can start at Valugan. Going crazy and pretending we were kites on our second visit to the incredibly-beautiful (and very, very windy) Imnajbu cliffs.

Will I be back? Definitely.A fter two times of trying to get to Sabtang/Itbayat, I hope and pray that the third time will be the charm. Thanks to my buddies, B2, Junjun & Erwin for the fantastic trip. I haven’t boarded the plane going back to Manila when B2 and I were already making plans to come back hopefully this summer. Until then, Dios mamajes.


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