I have been to Batanes twice. During the first time we visited the lighthouse, the Japanese tunnel, Radar Tukon (abandoned US weather station), a particular beach with many big rounded stones on it in Basco, Marlboro Country, ruins along Songsong Bay and the fishing village of Diura, houses of Secretary Butch Abad and sister artist Patricia Abad, all in the Batan Island.
During the next day, I took the 12-minute plane ride to Itbayat, the last inhabited island as far as I know.
On the third day, we visited Sabtang Island wherein I was able to witness rows of authentic stone houses. I learned that the headpiece called vakul originates from the plant called voyaboy which could be found only in that island. I came to learn about the existence of idjang (large rocky hill) where villages were built during pre-Hispanic times because of its protective features against the would be enemies.
Although we were supposed to leave for Manila during the fourth day, the flight was cancelled due to inclement weather. Instead of spending our time remorsing, I together with office staff Lotlot and a native boy decided to climb the 1,036 meter high Mt.Iraya. It was a muddy uphill climb and that I was able to reach only two-thirds (2/3) of the mountain notwithstanding the push and pull of my companions.
Though we did not reach the peak, I nevertheless found achievement thereto considering my age and weight.
During the second trip, it was virtually a repetition of the first visit to the Batan Island except that I had to visit the new structure being built. I was able also to have a glimpse of the Honesty Place where nobody is looking after the store and that it would rely purely on your honesty to unilaterally transact business. The only time when you will contact the owner is when the amount that you would be paying exceeds the amount of the merchandise in order for you to get your change.
I was able to visit the windglider and another idjang. I learned also on the existence of prehispanic outline in stone in the shape of a boat being used as burial ground, which I hope to visit in my next trip.
I learned also that the residents (male and female) of the place are heavy drinkers of Red Horse Beer and Ginebra San Miguel Gin.
When typhoon signal number 1 was announced early in the morning over the radio and television, I though that our flight back to Manila would once again be cancelled. I said, “Oh, no, not again.”
I prayed hard to high Heavens and my prayer was heard as the intended cancellation of the flight was set aside because the typhoon would be coming late in the afternoon.
I agree with the observation of the Lonely Planet that it is not a tropical island but it is more associated with the Scottish Islands particularly with the green mountains and the beach formations. For those who are lovers of nature and have luxury of time because of frequent flight cancellations, this place is a must.