Monday, April 13, 2009

Coming In and Out of BATANES - Day 3 - Enduring Helen


So far, I had spent such an amazing tour of nearly half of the island of Batan and I know I had so much to tell everyone already.

Electricity didn't went out last night. I later learned that electricity on the island was equally distributed among the barangays and brownout was scheduled on a regular interval because one of the three power generators was under repair (maintenance was being conducted by DPWH for over a year already, according to local Ivatans).

This morning, watching the news and the updates for typhoon Helen, it was Signal No. 2 in Basco, Cagayan and the rest of Northern Luzon. All flights to and from Basco were cancelled! I checked the weather outside from my window and, to my surprise, it was sunny! Huh! Is this what it was like in Batanes on a typhoon signal no. 2? I already loved it here!
Diura Fishing Village

My tour guide wasn't available to take me to the rest of southern and middle parts of Batan but he managed to get a reliever, who was there to pick me up at 9:00 am.
Our first stop, Mahatao and Diura fishing village. To get here, you must hike for about 30 minutes from the main road to get to the site. The natives in this part of Batanes have their own architectural style - different from the most popular stone houses. Here, their house were made of cogon, divided into two separate sections, the dining and living areas. Original inhabitants in this village used to have stone houses but most of them never stood that long and was destroyed by tsunami. Left along the trail were remains of the old stone houses where the original Ivatans first lived.
Mahatao Fountain of Youth
As we hiked further, I was able to take a dip in what they called the "Spring of Youth". According to an old folk tale, there came a man and a woman from nowhere seeking help for their very sick child. No one was able to help and cure the child until they came upon this spring, took a few sip, then miraculously their child was healed. The story was astonishing I took some water to drink and it tasted so good - well, generally the water here in Batanes is safe to drink.

Diura Fishing Village
We have reached the end of the trail and going back to Diura I decided to take a walk down the rocky shore where corals and other sea creatures are all visible. Quite amazing!


It was almost noon and there was a need for us to rush to the next stop - the Racuh-A-Payaman or what is famously known as Marlboro Country. It rained so hard as we neared the site but alas, it stopped as we entered the most photographed place in Batanes. Truly, I felt I was somewhere not in the Philippines. The wind felt so cool as it brushed my skin. The picturesque landscape and sea waves below - seemed like I was looking at a postcard though it was real.

I still managed to take some photos and videos of this part of Batan Island, enjoyed the fresh sight and breathe the smooth cool air. But the rain clouds were fast approaching that we needed to go back to Basco. Helen, the thyphoon, was cool enough to let me enjoy Batanes that she held her might for a while til that evening - when she landed Batanes and her rage were felt all over the island.
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