It was the peak season alright for Holy Week in Batanes and our trip almost didn’t push through but thank God (and Seair) for helping us secure our flights. Albeit shortened, we made do with our time, maximizing moments to take photos and enjoy the scenery. I’ve written about Batanes so many times already in this blog so I’ll just share some memorable takes during our recent Backpack Photography 3-Island Photo Tour. These ones from the small but charming Sabtang Island.
Day one finds us scampering to Sabtang Island once we set foot in Batanes. From our ever reliable lodging and friends at DDD Habitat Batanes, we were whisked away to Ivana Port where our boat was already waiting. The 45-plus so minutes ride was smooth. Our boatman is already so used to these waters he can navigate over them using his feet.
Savidug Village was our first stop and familiar faces pops up the corner. Like this old lady Aling Lucy who was found her way to our photos before inside her house, still smiling after all this time.
The white-washed and petite St Dominic Church stood out of the green and blue sunny backdrop that it looked bigger than it actually is. But more attention to the stone house beside it as participants took some posterity shots there. The stone house villages in Batanes were nominated before for UNESCO but unfortunately the village won’t make the list because the new houses and structures no longer follow the traditional methods stone houses were built. Even the restoration was inappropriate. Sad but it’s still a charming and quiet seaside village.
Probably one of my favourite spot in Sabtang is the Tiñan Hills Viewpoint in Chamantad, it never fails to take me or our guests drool in amazement. The peak height of the sun was not enough to stop us from venturing over the hills and enjoy the view.
The cove-sheltered town of Chavayan is usually our rest stop. This picturesque village is also home to the oldest man residing in Sabtang, Mr Marcello Hostallero. Born July 16, 1907, he doesn’t look any close to the age of 105. He is still alert, keen on his senses and sharp on his craftwork. The secret to his longevity? Eating healthy, good exercise and good sex! Marcelo has 15 children, got married at the age of 21 with his wife at the age of 14.
Another secret to his long life are these special Tubho leaves the residents drink as part of their daily diet. They make coffee out of these leaves which they harvest in far-flung mountainous area of the island. It may be the nutrients in these leaves or the combination of the long walk to procure them that has contributed to their long life-span. Ate Fely, his daughter, at her age is strong still despite being a grandmother already.
Our lunch stop is at the beautiful beach of Nakanmuan with its distinct arc. It was a struggle to head out to shoot already as our lunch of crabs, lobster and unforgettable Luñes adobo was worth taking time to savour. But as soon as we were satiated, it was time to fill our senses on this one of a kind spot in Sabtang.
We originally planned to stay overnight here but with our trip cut short of 2 days, we only had to spend a day here. Oh yeah, also noticed this new option of travel in Sabtang Island if one is exploring on your own or a couple, this powerful tricycles with roofs made of cogon are now available for hire. Sabtang is such a charming little island like these kids.
Join us in our next 3-Island Hop Backpack Photography Batanes this August. Check the details at www.backpackphotography.net
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.