It was a little past 6am and there’s already a hive of activity at Basco Port when we arrived. We were looking for the person holding the ticket and found him sitting by the port ledge. “Punuan na po, me nakalista na wala pa dito. Malilista kop o kayo pero wag kayo magagalit kung di kayo makasakay (We’re full. We already have a list of people even if they’re not here. I can put you on wait list but don’t be angry if can’t ride)”. It wasn’t like this before last when I went to Itbayat. I can buy tickets at their office and that would assure me seat. After hearing that, I thought our chances were nil seeing all the cargo and locals pouring in. I was already devising a Plan B in mind if ever we can’t go to Itbayat. It’s a good thing Oggie decided to inspect the large M/V Misubi craft. It seems luck is still on our side.
M/V Misubi doesn’t really ply the Batan-Itbayat route since it sails from Currimao-Itbayat. But with the outpour of passengers from the smaller M/V Itransa, M/V Misubi decided to ferry these passengers ready to go home after the revelry in Batanes. We were just excited as we paid the P400 ticket each and got inside the cabin. It was spacious and had fans. As the craft starts to make its way, a man was distributing barf bags and say “Baka sakali (just in case)”
I never liked being inside the cabin. Its stuffy air was more puke-inducing and the boat’s motion wasn’t to my tummy’s liking. I went outside but there were several people already positioned there. I was yearning for the wind, the air. One thing I learned from traveling on boats was getting as much fresh air as I can. Don’t eat too much as well or you’ll feed that to the fish later. I have nowhere to stand there so I went inside.
It was surprising that even locals weren’t all susceptible to barfing. A girl across the row looks so sick she may have barfed half of the bag already. I plugged in some music to my ear and tried to doze off. I soon saw the island’s tall limestone walls and got our stuffs ready. Three and a half hours was a lot faster than my ride before. I was also itching to go out of the boat soon as the cabin slightly reeks of sourness already. Probably, because I’m seated near the garbage bin where people throw their barf bags.
Going down this large craft was a lot easier with its sliding bridge platform. After all the passengers have disembarked, M/V Misubi sailed back to Basco immediately. Chinapoliran Port, found mid-west of the island, hasn’t changed much from what I remembered. Being one of the largest uplifted coral in the world, Itbayat doesn’t have shoreline. People constructed this large sloping port to ferry in people and goods being distributed to the island. A truck pulls a wagon up and down the slopes filled with items.
Staying for a while at the port, we saw M/V Intransa arriving with a large cargo/passenger falowa boat. We went down the steep stairs of the port to observe how people would disembark and assorted cargo removed. Each side had support as people had to time their jump with the swell of the waves. Seems dangerous but we heard no one has died here yet. Though a couple did fall from the stories we heard later, yet survived it off with a laugh. It’s a regular thing here.
Itbayat Chinapoliran Port disembarking boat video
It was almost noon time and we started our trek to the town.
Ferdz Decena is an award-winning travel photographer, writer and blogger. His works has found print in publications such as Singapore Airlines’s Silver Kris, Philippine Airlines’ Mabuhay, Cebu Pacific’s Smile and Seair InFlight. He has also lent his expertise to various organizations like the Oceana Philippines, Lopez Group Foundation, Save the Children and World Vision, contributing quality images for their marketing materials.