Sabtang’s Charm (Batanes, Part 5)

Day 5 – Wednesday

We were up by 4am. The trip to Sabtang was 6am so we had to be at the Ivana port by 5:30. Dick and Linda picked us up and were off.

There were three boats when we got to the port. One was already filled up so we took the next empty one. We waited for some more passengers and left after 15 minutes.

The trip was quite fun. Nessie and Lisa were not so taken into it; the earlier was having a headache from the fumes of the motor. This was my second time to go to Sabtang so knew how it was. The sea was calm, which was quite a good thing. However, when we got near Sabtang, the waves became choppy. This is because of the convergence of the east and west winds. The pilot of the boat was really good maneuvering it along the waves. We got sprayed on some occasion and had to bring down the plastic curtains on the sides of the boat. We reached shore in one piece.

We were met by our tour guide for the day, Boy Alavado. We later found out that he was running for SK councilor. Touring us was a good way to campaign, eh?

We had breakfast at Mr. Ramos’s house, an old workmate of Linda. We were told that the last trip back to Ivana was at 11am and doesn’t give us time to tour the whole island. Mr. Ramos made some arrangements with an individual operator and agreed to take us back at 2pm. Cool! With that, we hopped on our tour jeep.

A stone house in Sabtang

The common Ivatan house of rocks, limestone and cogon roof is quite prevalent in this island. This was evident on the first town we visited, Savidug. There were a few abandoned and broken houses, all left by owners who have moved abroad. After some picture taking, we moved on.

We visited a limestone processing area. Limestone is used as cement but takes around 15 months to produce. A pit-like area is made and the stones are buried. The top area of the pit is then burned to “cook” the stones. After the processing time, when the earth is dug up, a white-like substance is seen and can be scraped off for use.

Moving forward, we then stopped by an area where there were really good rock formations. I forgot the name, though. We all walked up to the edge, which was quite far. There was a marine reserve below. Everything looked really beautiful, very scenic. The rocks were craggy by the end of the trail and we were quite careful not to slip as one would roll down the hills. The trek back, as usual, was a blast. We stopped a couple of times just to catch our breaths.

Chavayan

Walking further when we got to the road, we had a panoramic view of one side of the island, the Chavayan side. Beautiful! God really did a great job with this and I thank Him for it.

Boarding the jeep and driving through the narrow road, we got to the last barangay on the south, Chavayan. More old Ivatan houses. We visited a 100-year old man, Ireneo Hornedo, who still makes native hats. Jun bought one. We visited their church then sat in one of their nipa waiting sheds to cool down a bit. Kind of pressed for time, we began our trip to the north side of the island, going back where we came from.

Ahaw Arch, Sabtang

Our first stop on the north side was Cavanayan Beach. All-white sand and the Ahaw Arch! Nice rock formation here. We walked further and came upon Nakabuang Cave, where picnics or a night of drinking can be held. Dick even found an unopened bottle of gin. Something he might have left from last week’s drinking, he says. Yeah, right- hehehe.

We moved on so we could reach the last stop within schedule, Sumnanga. A fishing village, there were a lot of dibang and arayu (even part of a shark) hanging to dry. We even went to a port where some fishermen caught 9 pieces of arayu. They were gutting it all when we arrived. We even saw Mr. Ramos there, on a motorbike. After some time, we made our way back. We stopped by Nakanmuan, the town before Sumnanga, and had some coconuts to drink (and eat). It was a real thirst-quencher.

We reached the port by 1pm and had lunch. By 2pm, we were aboard the boat back to Ivana. We were the only passengers. The boat was quite faster than the other one this morning. It sliced through the waves, wetting us more. When we got to Ivana, we were all relieved to reach dry land and decided to go for a swim at the lagoon to kill the heat.

After changing into our swimwear at the house, we all went to the lagoon with Dick, Linda and Mark. It was a trek down and quite slippery, as it has not been walked on for some time. The water was real cool- ahhh! After a few minutes in the water, we came out and went shell picking. After amassing enough to start our own beach, we trekked up. We then went straight to Disvayangan.

Sunset at Disvayangan

We continued our dip on the pool-like area in front of Linda’s beach house- niiiice! I set up my laptop so Mark could watch “Superman Returns.” We had dinner then went home early- we were really tired. We had our usual showers then watched a movie. Ten minutes into the film, I was the only one left awake. Well, it’s sort of a free day tomorrow so we don’t have to wake up early. Niiiiiiice…

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