I felt the wind from the fan blowing through the mosquito net that morning. It was like an alarm clock waking me up. It’s 6 o’clock I guess, since electricity on the island resumes at this time. It was already bright when I looked through the window. We’ll be leaving the Island today but not before we do little exploration down south. I asked Nanay Gordo downstairs if the municipal truck was available and we were lucky it was. We got our things ready and headed for a quick breakfast.
Ms Laura was at the Laruz Carinderia that morning. We had an interesting talk with her over dinner last night. She’s a retired Municipal Treasury officer who has witnessed the change in the island. She’s very kind has fascinating stories to tell. She’s very crafty and it shows with the decors inside the carinderia. Very talented as well as she helped choreograph their dance performance during the Batanes Day celebration.
She also introduced us to Tina, the Itbayat Island’s tourism officer who was gracious enough to tell us more about the island and tell more interesting stories about her experience joining different foreign visitor expeditions. They did studies of caves, the flora and fauna of the island while she tagged along. Her stories just heightened my interest on the island. She was the one who suggested our itinerary for this morning before we leave the island.
Our driver, Jason, pulled by the carinderia and said good bye to Nanay Laure. We’ll be back for sure we told her. We got inside the red Toyota Pickup and started our way down south. It was a bright sunny day and every color was just bursting vividly. Jason told us that it’s faster to travel to Reale, the town down south since the roads are being paved. And it was true it took less than 30 minutes when we reached the town.
Raele is a very small town. We stopped by the church which looks like a small sibling of the Sta Maria church at Mayon Centro. Jose told us that it was also Father Dennis who set up the church. Then we visited a couple vernacular houses nearby. These vernacular houses made of Cogon Grasses and they were the type of homes they lived in before the Spaniards came and introduced building stone houses.
There are also modified vernacular houses there which have coral stones as the base. We visited one and the kind father there with his toddler was gracious enough to let us take pictures. He even gave a small bag of pineapples. These small pineapples were very sweet and it grows abundantly this season that they just give it out if they get a chance.
On our way to the airport Jason let us visit his house and introduced us to his 5 pet cows. And wow, we didn’t expect his family to have a large piece of land here. His cows were really friendly.
We finally caught sight of the airport runway being paved. It has been under renovation forever in 2 years. I’ve been waiting for it to finish and it looks like it would be in a few months. The Runway is almost finished and the Terminal is already being built.
Our last stop before heading to Chinapoliran Port was the small town of Tawran. We climbed this water reservoir where we could see a vast 360 view of the southern part of Itbayat. From there we could see three peaks – Mt Riposed, the towering D’inem Island and the faraway Mt Iraya alongside the horizon. From that point the southern island looks like a huge version of Racu y Payaman (Marlboro Hills), with its expansive slopes of rolling hills and pastures and azure sea and skies on the horizon. It’s just wonderful.
As we make our way to the Chinapoliran Port, I know I will be back here soon.
Don’t miss Backpack Photography’s Explore Lake Sebu Photo Tour. A Journey into the T’boli culture and Lake Sebu’s natural wonders. Join us on August 21-23, 2010. Check Backpackphotography.net for full details and registration.
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.