Hazy Morning, Lucid Afternoon (Batanes, Part 2)

Day 2 – Sunday

I woke up with a very heavy head. I just thought it was just the remaining alcohol in my body and would soon disappear, as what happens when I drink. I took a bath and prepared for mass. Jun and Lisa went ahead, we followed a few minutes after. The church was already filled up when we got there and had to stay outside. It was quite windy but intermittent.

I felt quite light-headed and thought it was one of my migraines. I believed it was because of lack of sleep and only got aggravated with last night’s whisky. I just wanted to lie down and let it flow away. After mass, we went in and looked at the ceiling that was made completely of reeds. It was a community effort. The church, named San Raphael was nominated as one of the Heritage sites in Batanes by UNESCO. Cool!

The others went home while Nessie and I visited Auntie Josie. We had a chat and she was glad we came. We said we would see her again at the Ivana fiesta on Tuesday. She is the sister of Auntie Susan, so is a first-degree cousin of Dad.

When we got home, we had breakfast. By now, my head was really pounding. I just wanted to lie down. I passed on that morning’s tour, opting to sleep off the headache.

And the sleep was a real blessing! I was fine after some time until I woke up due to the heat. I changed into lighter clothes and sat on the silyon, an inclined chair made of wood and plastic netting. I was dozing off blissfully when I heard the others come back.

They went to the Agri Fair in Ivana then went up Mount Tangayun. And they had a fun time- ugh, hated that I missed it. I was better after that short sleep and was ready for this afternoon’s activities.

A strange thing happened when I was segregating all the pasalubongs: four boxes of chocolate were missing. I was wondering if it got lost when I was sleeping but knew I would hear any noise. Earlier that day, Nessie said her facial wash was missing and so was Lisa’s deodorant. We feel it might be someone who sneaked up when we weren’t here (that’s why the bathroom and kitchen, located outside the house, had padlocks). Since the windows were not barred, the person could have taken the chocolates, too. Nessie feels the airport people did. Well, that is some mystery that will remain unsolved. We told the caretaker and she said it’s a first. Linda also agreed that it was. (Twilight Zone music!)

Looking at the itinerary and seeing “white beach,” we all donned our swimwear under our shirts and shorts. We were ready for any water event- hehehe. After lunch, we climbed into the pick-up truck and started our island tour.

Itbud

The ride offered a lot of photo opportunities. We’d stop to take a picture of this rock or that sea view or both. When we reached Uyugan, we dropped by Lola Pepay’s house, a close friend and blood relation of my maternal grandmother. She was really happy to see us, and even dressed up for us. We told her we’d drop by again within the week and she said she would be looking forward to it. She is 93 years old and now confined inside the house, since she cannot work the fields anymore. It is just sad to see her like that- I remember her as a very vibrant visitor whenever she would stay with us in Pasay. Oh, life!

Lola Pepay

When we got to Itbud after Uyugan, we stopped for some serious picture taking. We even went to a hill, where a scene of a local film, “Hihintayin Kita sa Langit,” was shot. All you see is blue waters, green hills and craggy rocks. Some say that the terrain here is similar to that of Ireland. I believe it is so, recalling pictures I’ve seen of that country.

After Itbud, we went to the last town at the edge of Batan Island: Imnajbu. It was quite quiet. Dick suggested we get some coconuts to drink at his grandmother’s house but she wasn’t there. Hmm, was looking forward to that thirst-quenching liquid.

We made our way back. At Itbud, we made a u-turn and went up a hill. We were now going to the other side of the island and crossing Marlboro Country. We reached a steel gate and was opened by Boying. The gate had a picture of a cow- a notice to keep it close to avoid any wandering cows to slip through. Cool!

Marlboro Country

We drove through the trail and all around, you could see hills as far as the eye could see- or until you see the water. There were cows everywhere, too. I don’t believe there were horses but was told there are some. We stopped by an unfinished visitor center and walked down a hill.

The sight was fabulous! We were on the Mahatao side of the island and we could see the lighthouse at Basco. We sat down and took in the view. Jun went into a series of tumbles, letting Lisa have a good shot at it. After a lot of attempts, I think she did. We were there for only a few minutes as we had some more places to go. After inhaling the fresh air, we went back to our ride.

We went through the other steel gate, making sure it was secured back. We passed by the Japanese tunnel but didn’t go down to take a peek. Don’t know why we didn’t- oh, we were running after the sunset at the lighthouse. When we got to Basco, we passed by Sumhao, where the windmill project was located.

Owned by the National Power Corp. (Napocor), it was a good alternate source for electricity. The powerful winds of Batanes is a blessing and just appropriate. We signed a guest book, a must for all visitors to the place. After some time, we were off again.

We went to Tukon, where the Abads are now residing. Pacita Abad, world-renowned artist, has her house here and was turned into a museum when she died two years ago. It is now called Fundacion Pacita and houses most of her artworks. The place was closed and the caretaker could not be found. So we contented ourselves by just looking through the windows. In other places, this might be considered an offense or some sort of trespassing. Here, it is okay.

Fundacion Pacita

A few yards away, we could see the residence of former Congressman Butch Abad and his wife, current Congresswoman Dina Abad. They also were not at home but we got a chance to walk through the grounds. They had a bronze statue of Lolo Jorge and Lola Lulay Abad, their parents, by the front of the house. They had a porch with wooden swings and a hammock. At the back, they had some benches so you can just sit and look into the sea. Wonderful place!

Lounging at the Abads

The sun was already starting to set so Dick made us all hurry. It was quite a long way to Naidi, where the lighthouse was, and we missed the sunset when we got there. The lighthouse itself was locked so we also could not get in. So, to appease ourselves for missing out a sunset, we took pictures of ourselves.

By the end of the tour, we were all ready for dinner. We went to the Pension Ivatan to pick our cooked coconut crabs but was told to come back after an hour. So to kill time, we went to Lito’s place, the eldest sibling of Linda. We also got a few stuff, especially those that were previously “taken,” from the grocery nearby. After some chit-chatting, we went to get our food. We also passed by a Nito hat maker and ordered one for Friday pick-up. My old one was already deformed- hehehe.

When we got to our house, there was no electricity. That’s why there were candles on a table nearby! Well, we lighted that up and had dinner by candlelight. The only problem was that it was the others’ first time to eat a coconut crab. We had to show them how to eat it. It was fun and they loved it.

After dinner, we alternately took a shower to get the sticky feeling off our skins. The lights came on when Nessie and I stepped inside the bathroom. Talk about good timing- hehehe.

I downloaded all of Nessie’s pictures on my laptop so she’d have space for the next batch of pictures tomorrow. This is only the second day and a lot has happened. Can’t wait what tomorrow will bring. Oh, by the way, we never got into a water situation. Dang! And we had our swimwear on… 🙂

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