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Batanes Philippines Travel

Batanes | Vuhus Island: Snorkelling and Life in a Cattle Ranch

An island of cows. I’ve imagined Vuhus Island to be a vast open plain where cows freely graze aimlessly in dense numbers, left alone by their owners to wander until the time they are ready to be butchered. The island, prominently seen at the western coast of Sabtang Island have always lured me from afar. It is one of the islands that welcomes travellers from the plane window while flying into Batanes. In my last visit to Sabtang Island, I finally got to step on Vuhus Island. Briefly explored its ocean channel and learned that life in a cattle ranch on the island. So the population of cows here seem to have an order too.

Vuhus Cattle Ranch
Vuhus Cattle Ranch

Life in a Ranch

My guide Mael found himself back to where he used to work. He worked on the “Vuhus Cattle Ranch” for at least a couple of years before he changed career as a tricycle driver. It’s a well ran ranch. A concrete headquarters with good supply of water, solar electricity but cellular signal on a certain spot by the window. I could see heavy farm equipment there as well. But he did admit getting lonely up here with nothing much to do. Being stationed here means staying a week or two away from his family on the island across. What he and his colleague did is to organize the farm. Being an agriculture graduate, he knows how to work on the farm and with cattles. They set up the fences, the water lines and feeding the cattle.

Mael explained that there are two types of free reign cows here in Vuhus Island, the real, wild and untamed one. He pointed them from afar and they are huge and goes in groups. Even from afar, they seemed to have noticed our presence and went hiding behind the woods. The tamed ones are on another area divided by a fence, it takes a while for the wild ones to be tamed here and goes through several process. Mael whistles and calls the cows which somehow they were still familiar with. Soon forth the cows were already behind us following Mael’s signal into the feeding and drinking area.  Yep these cows remembers him. I don’t think people should get too attached to them though as the cows in Vuhus island is a source for “organic tapa” in the country. We were soon on our way that afternoon to avoid the low-tide but not helping ourselves first with a freshly boiled coconut crab which seems to be abundant in the area. We thanked the caretaker for the meal and headed back to Nakanmuan Village.

Fence and pathway
Fence and pathway
Wild cows seen from afar
Wild cows seen from afar
A fence diving the wild cows (back) from the tamed cows (front)
A fence diving the wild cows (back) from the tamed cows (front)
Heading back to Nakanmuan Village
Heading back to Nakanmuan Village

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