Up to the last-minute, we weren’t sure if we’re pushing through Itbayat on our second day. While having dinner the previous night at the Bunker in Naidi Hills, we watched how the wind threw monobloc chairs and tables making us think of a backup plan in case we don’t push through. But waking up the next day, our guide Joaquin, excitedly informed us and showed in the internet how the wind has slowed down and changed direction. That means we can push through with our Itbayat. So the group got ready for the overnight stay on one of the largest upheaved coral in the world, Itbayat Island.
The port was busy with cargos being loaded into the boats and a good number of passengers waiting for the signal to board. It was a holy week so a lot of people were on their way back to Itbayat to spend their vacation there. It was an interesting site to see tons of items being loaded into the deeper hull of the ship. The signal came to board. Life vest were mandatory even if I don’t like how suffocating it feels to wear them. Women and children were first to board. We requested that the group sit close at the back where we have less chance to get seasick or so I thought.
Itbayat Island is about 21 nautical miles away from Batan Island, the trip would take around 3 hours or so depending on the waters and boarding-off the usual Chinapoliran Port west of Itbayat Island. Going into the first hour of the ride, I thought I have already experienced the rockiest boat ride I had when I first went to Itbayat island. But this one takes the cake as the falowa (or tataya as Itbayaten called their boats) swayed sporadically on the wild open sea. We were like a speck of dirt on a washing machine on a spin. Naturally, many couldn’t stomach the motion and gave in to barf.
We reached Mauyen Port two hours after. We were told most passengers would alight from here since the waters were rough it wouldn’t be possible. It was a sigh of relief even finally seeing the island on the horizon. An hour more in those agitated waters I would have already gave in to the barf bag. It was also my first time at this south most port of the Island. It turns out we had to do some zigzagging vertical hike to reach the top on a dirt trail. I think that was much better than getting on that boat again.
Our pick-up truck service would arrive in an hour. Some rested under the shade, some explored frantically upon stepping on this new land. Me, I was just glad I’m back on this rock. The site of the vast open land and hills just overtook me again.
Join us on another 3-Island Hop Photo Tour in Batanes this August. More 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.