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Batanes Philippines Travel Villages

Batanes | The Dying Heritage of Sumnanga Village in Sabtang Island

There’s a certain excitement on visiting far-flung locations. Maybe the idea of finding authenticity in a remote location drives us to go further beyond the tourist trail. Often times we discover gems in seclusion but that is not always the case. Sumnanga Village, the farthest of the Sabtang island villages found at the west side probably has the least tourist footprint on the island. It even took me at least eight years to return to this village despite having been to the island several times already. But sadly it’s another case of tainting my good memories of the place but thankfully there’s redemption in its natural beauty.

Going home with a fresh catch
Going home with a fresh catch

I heard a continues ticking and crumbling rocks. Nearby I saw what I first thought was a construction but it was the other way around. Rocks from old stone houses were being picked out and crushed into smaller pieces to be sold as materials for modern houses. Sold by the sack. No wonder many of the houses here in Sumnanga Village are already modern. I was told that since they are not really a tourist spot, they don’t value these old stone houses anymore and resort to more convenient modern houses. This is a sad reality but the local government could have done better and made an attraction out this town that would eventually generate more livelihood than resorting to tik-tiks.

Calm and quiet Duvek Bay with the imposing Mt Aharung
Calm and quiet Duvek Bay with the imposing Mt Aharung

Redemption at Duvek Bay

As with any place I return to, it is hard not to compare the conditions before. I remember the pathway leading to the beach. The distinguishable rock formation which I call “lion-rock” far off the shore and the looming Mt Aharung overlooking the calm waters of the bay. I say hello to a fisherman crossing our path with his fresh catch. I also noticed the road was recently paved and construction continued on to the direction of the town. We found a pathway to the beach and readied myself to shoot the sunset. Mael found a nice comfortable place by the boat and soon he was snoozing, probably know by now it would take time for me to shoot. I enjoyed the clear gentle waters lapping over my ankles while I was watching the clouds move. The sun would descend behind Vuhus Island across and left a captivating afterglow. I’m still thankful that despite the losing soul of Sabtang’s heritage the natural beauty of Batanes still won me over at the end of the day.

Duvek Bay one of the best places to watch the sunset in Sabtang Island
Duvek Bay one of the best places to watch the sunset in Sabtang Island

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