Wednesday, March 28, 2018

BATANES Beyond Words : Must-Visit Places in Batanes

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Breathtaking Batanes is their battle cry. Unexpectedly, it also took my heart away. 


WONDERS and WATER

Boulder Beach

Adorned with humongous rocks, the blue water will leave your mouth literally open for seconds. 


This place is a must-visit especially for prenuptial shoots because of the natural romantic vibe that the wicked waves and gentle breeze give. Do not dare take a dip even if it's calling you. Its strong waves will mercilessly smash you to those rocks! It wouldn't hurt if you'll just take a pose. [Read: Batanes DIY Travel Guide]

Morong Beach

Located in Sabtang Island, this Beach will remind you of Bora's early days. Its white sand will blend with your tired feet as you walk closer to its crystal clear water. You can also find "Ahaw", a natural stone arch formation on the left side. Tourists will have a supermodel moment with a few clicks of their camera.


Mahatao Blue Lagoon

A keen observer won't let this beauty slip away. Just located along the road, you'll take a second look at the pristine lagoon resting on the comforts of huge rock formations. The strong waves might scare you but you may cling for dear life on those boulders. The warm clear water will soothe your tired muscles as small fishes play with you. Just climb a little and you can surely get that remarkable silhouette image in Mahatao Blue Lagoon. 


REFLECTIONS and RELIGION

Mt. Carmel Chapel

This sacred place will revive your faith in real love. Its facade is crafted with pretty rocks and small flowers. Standing between two vast oceans, the amazing feeling of being with God will take you to genuine bliss. Its interior isn't as pretty though. The reckless typhoon damaged it two years ago. Since they just rely on donations, the renovation process moves slowly. 


San Carlos Borromeo Church

The all white facade of this church will let you step into the pure innocence of enjoying the natural beauty of life in Batanes. It houses the Blank Library which is widely open for you to contribute anything that your heart wants to say. You may choose the book according to number that may signify your birthday or anniversary. As told by my tour guide, the parish priest said that this is their way of bringing together tourists from different walks of life with varied reasons of visiting Batanes. Reading letters felt like knowing strangers I'll never encounter. Writing my thoughts etched the beautiful memories of Batanes in my life. Their Blank Library will tell you that your life is worthy to be noted and that you'll eternally be a part of this paradise.


Sta. Rosa De Lima Chapel

After suffering a tormenting boat ride to Sabtang Island, an old and small chapel will welcome you home. The doors have rope handles. The roof is made of an aging cogon grass. The benches are broken. There isn't any adornment inside the small chapel. If you want to experience a surreal and raw godly presence, this chapel will stir your soul. The simplicity and authenticity of Catholic faith is here. 


MOVEMENTS and MOUNTAINS

Basco Rolling Hills

One after another, these mystifying hills will make you feel on top of the world. It's picture perfect that even a simple pose can bring out the best in you. The hills have certainly come alive with the deafening sound of my "Wow"!


Alapad Rock Formations

That famous I-Dawn Zulueta mo ako from the movie "Hihintayin Kita Sa Langit" will make you ask your real life Richard Gomez to carry and spin you around romantically. But if you don't have one, a lovely scarf will pull it off. The view is majestically available for everyone to admire- committed or single. 


Racuh A Payaman / Marlboro Country

This site made me run for joy the moment I stepped out of our van. My endless scream of disbelief and amazement must've traumatized my tour guide. Ivatans are definitely blessed to have this. Go on and take a selfie while you face the sky and ocean. I took a jump shot and the strong wind made my knees wobble. Luckily, I'm a little heavy for the wind to take me.


FRIENDS and FLAVORS

Jino's Pizza

By this time, you must've stored a lot of gorgeous photos but the evasive wifi connection in Batanes won't let you upload them in your social media accounts. Do not fear, Jino's pizza is here. For an affordable price, your phone won't stop beeping notifications as you establish connection. Munch over a savory pizza sold in an affordable price. There are a lot of varieties to choose from. A cup of green tea worth P20 will also put a smile on your face.

Phil's Brew

The cozy ambiance of this garden cafe will let you enjoy a great conversation with a stranger. Their blue tea turns into violet the moment you squeeze lemon on it. Ms. Aimee, the woman behind Phil's Brew, is amazingly genuine and nice. Batanes isn't just about the place. It's also about their amazing people.

Only in Batanes

The Lighthouse

Made famous by the movie, "Sakaling Hindi Makarating", I literally tattooed that scene in my mind. So when I reached this place, "Eto yun! This is the place!" was all I can say. When you reach the top, you'll have a great view of how wonderful our Batanes is. 


Too bad the restaurant and the signage have been damaged by a typhoon. But even if it's still under renovation, the workers will allow you to close the blue door and still secure a classy photo.

Honesty Store

This is a great testimony that honesty still exists even if you've been through a lot. Trust issues? Well, let this unmanned store make you believe in honesty again. The prices are indicated in each item. Once done, write all the items and price in their log book. This can be toxic if you bought a lot and too many tourists are waiting for their turn. Luckily, my tour guide is so nice. Then, drop your payment inside a locked box. If you don't have a smaller bill, you can always go to the souvenir shop located behind the store.


Fundacion Pacita

The haven of Pacita Abad's masterpieces is also a famous nature lodge in Basco. For walk-ins, you may take a sip of coffee or try their snacks if you want to get inside. From afar, Fundacion almost touches the sky from a mountain top. Its abstract tile artwork and serene garden is definitely IG worthy! [Read: Places to Stay in Batanes]


House of Dakay

Imbibe the Ivatan culture as you enter the most famous stone house in Batanes. Small as it is, the elements surrounding it will take you back to the past. Authentic cogon headdress and vest are also available for you to seal a well-deserved Ivatan experience. 


Batanes is indeed pricey but the sceneries are worth every peso. Once you're there, you'll understand why it must be expensive. The simplicity and beauty of Batanes deserves your hard-earned money. 

About the Author
Sarrah Cea works as a full time English teacher.  She feeds her writing passion as a freelancer. She enjoys traveling and exploring marvelous places.

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