Monday, August 4, 2008

Seair InFlight • Batanes must-taste, must-see, must-try

Tatus (Coconut crab) - This tree-climbing crab with big pincers may look menacing but its meat is soft and succulent. The crab fat is rich with a buttery texture. at about P600/kilo, it’s a luxury in these parts.

Dorado (Dolphin fish) - This relative of the pompano is a prized delicacy in batanes. Its flesh has a delicate chicken-like taste and texture, though it is usually sold as dried fish.

Dibang (Flying fish) - With impressive pectoral fins that make them seem to fly above the waves, the dibang is also equally impressive as a viand because of its flaky, tasty meat.

Palek (Sugarcane Wine) - This native wine has an appealing red color and pleasant, fruity aftertaste. Perfect for chilly nights.

The pizza and pasta at Casa Napoli - Don’t leave Batanes without tasting Casa Napoli’s homey pizza. The restaurant is housed in former Education Secretary Prospero Abad’s ancestral home. 

House of dakay - The oldest stone house still standing on Batan island is also a UNESCO Heritage Site. Built in 1887, the house still retains its original walls, floors and trusses.I ts resident, the jovial Lola Fiorestida Estrella, is a local celebrity in her own right, having appeared in local and international media.

Fundacion Pacita Abad - The house of the famous, late Ivatan artist Pacita Abad, is now a museum for her art and an exhibition venue for visiting artists. The museum sits on top of a hill overlooking Tukon Bay, with a beautiful view of the sunset.

Big game fishing or angling - Batanes waters are rich in marine life and perfect for big game fishing. Head for the fishing sites around the perimeters of Basco. Best time to fish is March to May, bearing in mind factors such as weather, moon phase, and water current.

Mountain climbing - The two peaks of batanes, mounts Iraya in Basco and Matarim in Itbayat, offer a good-enough challenge for amateurs and veteran climbers.

Scuba diving - Visibility in batanes’ healthy waters is up to 200 feet so get ready for some glorious diving. Contact the Batanes Cultural Travel Agency (BCTA) for a list of dive sites. 

Kite flying - Bring your own kit, head for the hills of Marlboro in Batan Island and let the powerful wind get you ga-ga over kite flying. 

Cultural tours, island hopping and sightseeing - You haven’t been to Batanes if you haven’t seen the UNESCO-nominated heritage sites.S pare a couple of days for this to see as much as you can.

The BCTA can customize packages for the above-listed tours and adventures.   
(Text by Andrea Passion and Oggie Ramos • Photos by Oggie Ramos)


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