February 11, 2011
Thank God it’s Friday! It was the last day of the week and yet, I was more excited than ever. I took a snapshot of my boarding pass: MNL-BSO. Yes, it’s for real. Tripadora’s going to Batanes. It is known as Home of the Winds and the smallest province in the Philippines with an estimated population of 15,000.
After an hour and a half in the air, I peeked through my window seat and saw what I thought was a dream. But lo, and behold, when the 32-seater Dornier 328 landed at the Basco Airport, I knew that I was living the dream.
February is winter time in Batanes but then I didn’t feel the cold weather that I was expecting when we arrived. And so I thought, my get-up (sleeveless top, shorts, and boots) was fine.
From the airport, we headed to Hiro’s Cafe for a sumptuous lunch of beef broth soup, laing (taro stem and leaf cooked in coconut milk), beef and camote fries, steamed dibang (steamed flying fish), fish lumpia, and turon, courtesy of the generosity of Dir.Bless Diwa and the Department of Tourism Region II. (Thank you po!)
We then met the jolly and very accommodating Tita Lydia Roberto, manager of Batanes Seaside Lodge and Restaurant. After checking in at the Batanes Seaside Annex, we wasted no time and hopped into the van. Our destination: Racuh-a-Idi, where the so-called Fountain of Youth is.
As we passed by the narrow roads on the way to our destination, I noticed the sign: BLOW UR HORN. The locals said, the sign (with a text lingo), has been existing in Batanes even before short messaging service or SMS was invented.
I looked up and saw the cloudy and gloomy skies. The sea was its direct opposite. It was alive as its waves kept crashing on the rocky walls.
The vehicle then stopped at the end of the cemented road. It’s trekking time. I looked at my footwear: boots. I forgot to change into my trekking sandals. wahahaha. And so, it was one step at a time down the rocky make-shift stairs. Fortunately, I didn’t trip or get a sprained ankle after the 15-minute trek.
The Fountain of Youth has a grotto and a small falls. The water is said to have a different taste. So I stretched out my hand and filled it with water. I sipped and found nothing distinct. Maybe, it’s just a matter of mindset. Some people do believe that the water can make them young but I think one can be young by being positive with life.
People can also try dipping into the pool beside the small grotto but in our case, we didn’t. I suddenly felt the changing temperature. It was getting cold in the afternoon. So I was wrong with the weather in Batanes. It was like a fickle-minded woman. It changes from time to time.
After some clicks, we then headed back to Diura Fishing Village and walked. It was the Feast Day of Our Lady of Lourdes. Hence, the people were out and celebrating. Even if the Ivatans didn’t know us, they greeted us like old friends. Their smiles and hellos were enough assurance that we were welcomed.
Life was so simple in this small fishing town. Children and adults alike watched cockfighting. It was their way of entertainment.
On our way back, we stopped by at the Chawa Viewdeck in Mahatao. The sea was again restless. The turquoise waves happily splashed and left the rocks washed anew. The sight of being washed away was spectacular.
The day ended with addictive jumpshots in front of the Basco Lighthouse and photo shoots at Naidi Hills. We can’t help but jump and be happy because finally we’re in Batanes.
The cloudy skies didn’t allow me to capture the full sunset. Nonetheless, the view of cows grazing with the sunset backdrop was breathtaking. The sun bade us goodbye but the journey has just began.