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April 21, 2017

BATAN SOUTH TOUR: House of Dakay, Honesty Cafe, and Malboro Country (Part 2)

April 21, 2017

BATAN SOUTH TOUR: House of Dakay, Honesty Cafe, and Malboro Country (Part 2)





by Abigail Javellana

Basco, Batanes

We heard that the South Batan Tour was much more charming than that of North Batan. But how could that be, when we were already captured by the breathtaking landscapes of the North?!

South Batan is where you’ll find everything to love about Batanes--from the marvelous historical man-made structures, natural sceneries, and authentic Ivatan cuisine, down to taking part in the important cultural experience.

The South Batan Tour is a day tour covering the towns of Ivana, Mahatao, and Uyugan. The tour starts early in Mahatao and covers Chawa Viewdeck, San Jose Borromeo Church, Tayid Lighthouse, Diura fishing village, and Racuh a Payaman (Marlboro Country), then starts again after lunch to Imnajbu, Alapad, Uyugan Town, Ivana Town, Honesty Coffee Shop, and the oldest house in Basco.

Here's our itinerary with Kuya Roger of Bashi Tours, who showed us around South of Basco...

Bashi Eco-Tours & Adventure
Batanes, Batan - Sabtang - Itbayat
Mobile: +63 999 990-7547, +63 929-6418829
Email: bashitours@gmail.com
Guide: Roger Doplito





Basco, Batanes

Our Day two itinerary started early with breakfast at the hotel. We wer off to the first destination by 8am. 

 

Catching the waves at Chawa Viewdeck

Basco, Batanes

Batanes is picturesque at almost every turn and its waters are as magnificent as the rolling terrains. The deep turquoise color of the water can only be seen when the surf breaks against the rocky shorelines of the island.

 

Batanes

The cliffs of Chanarian in Basco Island has one of the best views. Wait for the crash before you click that shutter!

Tip: The stairs going down got destroyed by the recent typhoon. Make sure to have a guide when going down to take pictures because this is an accident prone area. 

 

Tayid Lighthouse

Basco, Batanes

Tayid Lighthouse is a colonial-style lighthouse in Mahatao built in the early 2000's. It rests at the side of the Pacific Ocean, guiding the sailors and fishermen in their journey home through the raging waters of the Pacific as well as the West Philippines Sea.

I just love the gloomy weather that adds drama to the picture!

 

Basco, Batanes

Its often mistaken for the decommissioned lighthouse of the Spanish colonial era located near San Carlos Borromeo Church.

 

Diura Beach

Basco, Batanes

Diura village is a small fishing community hidden in a secluded cove of Mahatao. Surrounded by landscapes composed of rolling hills and beaches, the village is popular for their freshly caught flying fish and dolphinfish (mahi-mahi, dorado).

Every March, they perform the Kapayvanuvanua ritual to open the port and start off the mahi-mahi fishing season. Locals would offer a pig for a bountiful harvest. Then they will choose one lucky fisherman who will go out to sea and return with the first catch.

It is customary for visitors who want to witness the ritual to stay, drink, and celebrate with the locals. The locals believe the more people visit their houses, the more fish will come to their boats.

 

San Carlos Borromeo Church

Basco, Batanes

San Carlos Borromeo Church, also known as Mahatao church, was built in 1873 by Fr. Cresencio Polo. This Baroque-style church was built with limestone walls and cogon roofing. In fact, for 144 years the church’s main structure has remained as it is.

It is one of 26 churches recognized by the National Museum and National Commission for Culture and Arts as a cultural icon, because of its beauty and excellent state of preservation.

 

Racuh a Payaman (Marlboro Country)

Basco, Batanes

Hailed as Marlboro Country, this most photographed part of Basco is known for its blue skies, contours, and never ending hills and fields teaming with cows, carabaos, and horses--all of these creating a picturesque scene where you'll truly appreciate the wonders of God's creations!

 

Batanes

Definitely a nature lover's and photographer's dream!

 

Basco, Batanes

When you walk down, you'll find the best view--a herd of carabaos grazing at a distance where the sky, the field, and the ocean meet!

 

Lunch time at Marconine's (Marlboro Country) or Paulvana's (San Jose Borromeo Church)

Batanes

Marconine’s

We love eating on-location. Found on top of the Vayang Rolling Hills, Marconine’s offers an amazing view of the hills along with yummy Ivatan cuisine (P375/head).

 

Basco, Batanes

We started with a steaming hot, fresh tumeric soup. It was perfect for that cold and windy day.

Served on Kabaya leaf was a sampler of Grilled Flying Fish, Sweet and Sour Chicken, and Chopped harvest of the day, showing off what the island has to offer.

 

Batanes

For the main dish we had the grilled flying fish, which was in season. The meat of the fish is white in color, firm, and has a good tasting meat.

 

Basco, Batanes

For dessert we loved their kamote and gabi creation dipped in coconut milk.

 

Basco, Batanes

Paulvana's

Walking distance from Mahatao church is Paulvana's.

 

Basco, Batanes

We had luñis, esnaladang talong, venes, and tumeric rice (P300/head).

Luñis is an indigenous dish of preserved pork and is usually served fried. It is very crispy and best eaten with Turmeric Rice, another Ivatan staple. Garnished with a generous amount of garlic, it resembles dried pork adobo.

The dish is made using a traditional preservation method by the Ivatans. The pork is salted and then cooked in big batches, letting the lard come out. After cooking, the pork is placed in jars called tagaw and submerged in it’s own lard. This allows the pork to last for a long time without spoiling.

 

Basco, Batanes

We also liked the venes, a local vegetable dish made of preserved gabi stalks (taro). Its so dry that the stalk can last for years. Soaked in water, minced, then cooked with pork and patola (luffa), you get what's also known as Batanes' version of laing.

All these were served with yellow rice that is mixed with earthy turmeric, giving it that boost in flavor.

 

Basco, Batanes

You can get Ube Halaya in a canteen near San Carlos Borromeo Church. It has been the favorite snack for locals and tourists alike (P15).

 

 Alapad Rock Formation

Basco, Batanes

One of my favorite spots resembles the last scene of Star Wars VII!

Alapad rock formation displays a wonderful view of the remarkable rolling hills and prodigious pacific ocean. It was formed due to tectonic movements of the plate, hence the ridged form.

 

Batanes

Basco, Batanes

What we thought was a resort was actually the ruins of the old USCG LORAN (Long Range Naval) Station. 

 

Spanish Bridge

Basco, Batanes

The Spanish Bridge is one of the remaining structures from the Spanish period. It was made with lime and stone built to form part of the main road. The bridge is in perfect condition and still utilized by people and vehicles to this day.

 

House of Dakay (Oldest House)

Basco, Batanes

House of Dakay is an iconic structure in Batanes, which has been acknowledged as a UNESCO Heritage Building. It is a traditional structure with thick walls made with limestone and roof thatched with cogon grass. It was built in 1887 and owned by Luisa Estrella, who later on bestowed it to her favorite nephew, Jose “Dakay” Estrella. It is said to be one of the five houses that survived the strong earthquake that hit the town in September 13, 1918.

 

Basco, Batanes

A lot of old traditional houses with the original balusters are made of wood.

 

Honesty Coffee Shop

Basco, Batanes

We ended our tour at Honesty Coffee Shop. It is an unmanned, round-the-clock café that showcases one of the Ivatans' most admirable traits--honesty.

 

Batanes

The owners believe that customers will be honest when paying for the goods taken from the store. Soda, coffee, water, noodles, biscuits, and some souvenirs are laid out in the counter and shelf for the customers to consume.

 

Basco, Batanes

After a pleasant snack, they are expected to pay for the goods by dropping bills/coins into the payment box and then to write-down what they bought on a journal. 

 

Basco, Batanes

Despite the gloomy weather, South of Basco still managed to win our hearts and captivate us with its charm and breathtaking landscapes! Complete your tour with a firsthand experience of Ivatan culture and trying out local delicacies like luñis, flying fish, and local vegetables!

Could you believe we finished our itinerary in just one day? Another thing I loved about Basco was that the sights are conveniently near each other by car or trike! Don't forget to checkout our related post, Batanes' Sabtang Island: Exploring the Best Heritage Island in the Philippines!

We highly recommend our guide, Kuya Roger from Bashi Tours. He was very knowledgeable and accommodating throughout our 6-day tour. There were no dull moments when we were with him, and it made our Batanes trip extra special. 

 

Bashi Tours

Bashi Eco-Tours & Adventure
Batanes, Batan - Sabtang - Itbayat
Mobile: +63 999 990-7547, +63 929-6418829
Email: bashitours@gmail.com
Guide: Roger Doplito

Live an Awesome Life,

Abi of Team Our Awesome Planet


Disclosure: We paid for our own tours and fees. Our flight to Batanes was a project sponsored by Philippine Airlines. I wrote this article with my biases, opinions, and insights. 

P.S. Did you know that even during summer, the weather in Batanes is cooler than the rest of the Philippines. The coolest months are March to December where temperatures can fall as low as 10 degrees.




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