Sunday, March 9, 2014

Batanes - Sabtang - Lost in Time

A visit to Batanes is incomplete without seeing Sabtang. Of the three islands, this is the smallest inhabited.  On our third day in Batanes, we were picked up at 6 am and was sent to San Vicente Port / Radiwan Port in Ivatan, we took the motorize boat: Falowa to Sabtang Island.

There are only 2 boat trips in morning so make sure to reach there on time (before 7:30am).
After 30 minutes Falowa Ride, we arrived at Sabtang Port:

Sabtang is at the southernmost island municipality of the Batanes group of islands which is composed primarily of Sabtang Island, as well as two nearby smaller and uninhabited islands: Ivuhos and Dequey. 

The municipality is known for its lighthouse and the old stone houses of the Ivatan villages in Chavayan and Savidug.

Malakdang Lighthouse is prominently seen from the port -

After paying environmental fee (200 php) at the municipal hall, we proceed to our first stop - Brgy. Savidug.
Barrio Suvidug is compose of traditional stone houses. Some house ruins can also be seen along the streets.

It is a small village with unique traditional style houses. The roofs of the houses are made of cogon grass and the walls are made of lime.

At the end of Savidug street, a simple white chapel stands, the Sto Thomas Chapel.
Beside the church is this stone house:

We then took 45 minutes ride on a rough road for our next destination. Notice these road pavement are not yet cemented (please give more PDAF to Sabtang!).

Then we arrive at the Savidug Idjang Viewing Point - 

Idjangs are ancient Ivatan settlements which served as fortress against invaders. 

Across the fortress is the Chamantad - Tinyan Viewpoint, which provides another breathtaking view :

This spot offers a panoramic and stunning view of the sea, beach and surroundings.

After an hour of photo taking, we then transferred to Sabtang weavers association, where the traditional raincoat/ jacket - Vakul and Headgear - are available for rental.

Next stop is Brgy Chavayan Stone houses.  The best area to visit if you want to see an authentic vernacular or stone houses is in a small village called Chavayan.

Walking through the tiny villages of traditional stone houses and quiet narrow streets of Savidug and Chavayan in Sabtang Island will make you feel like being flown to another country or to a place where time just stood still.  

The stone houses in Chavayan are currently nominated for the UNESCO World Heritage List.   

The houses still looks exceptionally stunning with the village nestled between the tall lush mountains and cliffs on one side and a spectacular view of the sea where the churning waters of the South China Sea and the Pacific Ocean meet. Walls are not only compose of rocks but sea shells and corals as well.  


Riding for an hour to Morong Beach where we had lunch, then walk along the white sandy beach to see another breathtaking view.

Dininig area is inside this hut.

Mayahaw (natural Arc formation) in Morong beach


This is one of the most photographed spot in Batanes, famous for its stone / rock arch formation in a private cove.  It is our last stop in Sabtang before we head back to the port to take a boat back to Batan island.  Afternoon waves are very rough and causes sea sickness to the passengers.

On our fourth and last day at Batanes was suppose to be free and easy. The weather that day was rainy, with strong winds and big waves. 

We heard from other tourist that there were no boats crossing to Sabtang island. So we are really lucky to have visited Sabtang yesterday. 

We initially planned to see Fundacion Pacita that day, but our driver informed us that Sec. Abad with some visitors are still occupying the place, and so outside visitors are not welcome inside.

Along road, we saw big waves splashing around the coasts of Batanes, this in itself is already a site worth capturing - the bluish bubbly water in Homohoron Lagoon,

We headed to Diura Fishing Village - this is a sitio in the eastern part of Mahatao town where an association of fishermen called Mataw practices the traditional fishing for Arayu (dorado). 

The fisherman's houses at the foot hill, were mostly unoccupied.  Because they only stay here during the fishing season (March to May)

The fish ponds serves as storage for the fisherman's catch.

They have ritual called kapayvanuvanua signifying the start of the fishing season which usually falls in March. The village offers a good view of the Pacific ocean and Mt. Iraya.

Our last stop was the White Beach.  Since it was very cold that afternoon, we were not able to swim, but the scenes are still worth capturing.


Road amidst the mountains of Batanes.   

This is the last article for my Batanes trip, hope you also enjoyed the beautiful scenery as much as we did.   Let me greet you all in their native language...

To download this article to your mobile devices, visit this link.

Let this video clip invite you to come visit this paradise.

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