The Day 2 of our Batanes Tour was an unforgettable experience, we focused on the island of Sabtang, known for their old stone houses in Chavayan Heritage Village and Savidug. It was an expected 30-40 minute ride from Ivana Port from Batan Island to Sabtang Island. We were expecting large waves, thank goodness it was a calm easy sea.
It was mentioned by our tour guide, that the traditional Ivatan lime and stone homes that (you’ll see below) populate the island are the teachings of the Spaniards, where they were taught to use boulder stones from their beaches (like Valugan beach) to create typhoon-resistant homes, topped off with cogon rooftops (cogon is dried up grass, abundant in Batanes). As their thatched cogon rooftops are also replaced every 30 years or so, this is a community effort (called locally as kayvayvanaan or kamanyiduan, where an entire town/village comes together to fix a neighbour’s cogon rooftop) just like what they do in Shirakawa-go, Japan when the Gassho-zukuri rooftop’s need to be changed.
My favourite was the Chavayan Heritage Village, where homes were conserved to be more than 100 years old It is a fishing village without much technology like internet and electricity. They were once listed under UNESCO Heritage, but their recent developments have taken them off the list.
Ivana Port, these were our boats
Sabtang Island kids greeting the tourists
Our tour bus
Lime stone houses at Savidug
100 year-old houses from Chavayan Heritage Village
Derelict stone building beside St. Tomas Church
Chamantad-tinan view point, sans rain
Another wooden tricycle by the Sinakan stone houses
The tour was inclusive of these places, but in no particular order
- San Vicente Ferrer Church
- Malakdang Lighthouse
- Sinakan Stone Houses
- Brgy. Savidug Stone Houses
- Sto. Thomas Chapel
- Lime Kiln
- Savidug Idjang Viewing
- Refreshments at Chamantad-Tinyan Viewpoint
- Brgy. Chavayan Stone Houses
- Souvenir Shopping/Picture taking (Ivatan headgears)
- Sabtang Weavers Association
- Sta. Rosa De Lima Chapel
- Nakabuang Cave
- Ahaw (Natural Limestone Arc Formation)
- Morong Beach
The Sabtang Island tour was an insight to what the lives of traditional Ivatans was/is. It was nice to get lost in all the stones and cogon, even though it was raining while we were there. Though the waves can reach a good 6 meters trying to get to Sabtang Island, I am glad my anxious nerves did not seep through, as I try to keep my cool.