Tour: Day 3, Southern Batan Tour (Batanes, Philippines).

Forgive my memory, it’s been a good 2 months since my trip to Batanes, a visit to the hospital and the Christmas holidays, time truly has not been on my side and I’ve been clearly slacking. But let’s get to it. The last leg of the trip in Batanes was to Southern Batan, blessed with a clear day and blue skies.

The highlights for me were the Marlboro Country (natively known as Racuh a Payaman), coined by an American tourist who named it so back in the 1970’s. It is a collective mount of green pasture hills, with the backdrop of Mt Iraya and the Pacific Ocean. Scenic is an understatement, the view of Marlboro Country is boundless shades of green, graphing itself across your peripheral vision. The blue sky with the breezy wind makes you just want to do cartwheels amongst the Carabaos grazing on the green pastures. It is a sight to behold. 

The other highlight for me was the Honesty Shop, a unique concept of a store which bases business on your honesty to pay the amount in full, without any assistance from any shop-keeper. It is said that the shop came to be with the owner of the shop Elena Gabilo leaving the store unattended due to necessity. She was a school teacher at the time and could find no one to man the shop, so she left it unattended and relied on people to pay accordingly. Thus, the Honesty Shop was born. Also, a confession. At the start of the tour we were told not to order/eat the native Coconut Crabs as they are threatened species in Batanes. They are not endemic to Batanes and I’ve been told they can be found in Davao area and other southern islands of the Philippines, but the moment presented itself. Initially I was opting for some lobster (trying to be an abiding tourist), but their smallest was 2kg, then they said they had coconut crab for 1kg. And you know, the combination of weakness of conviction and curiosity of the hype won heavily in my decision making and the next thing I knew, the coconut crab was sitting on my table, waiting for it to be scratched off from the collected data of the remaining Coconut Crabs on Batanes Island. I am sorry for contributing in your extinction dear Coconut Crabs of Batanes. 

​​Ivana church


​​Popular “Blow Ur Horn” sign in Batanes. As it is common in Batanes for blind curbs and single lane roads.

​​Chawa view deck

​​House of Dakay, oldest stone house in Batanes

​​Close-up of House of Dakay, made out of limestone and corals

​​Inside of House of Dakay

​​Mahatao Shelter Port

​​The Honesty Coffee Shop

​​Inside the Honesty Shop

​​Beautiful San Lorenzo Church

​​Leaving a message in the Blank Book archive

​​Delicious Tamidok salad

​​Tayid Lighthouse

​​Marlboro Hills with Pacific Ocean and part of Mt Iraya

​​Marlboro Hills sans the husband

​​Undisturbed white beach

​​Baby Hermit crab of Batanes 

Our last night in Batanes ended with us going shopping in the markets in the dark (due to black-out) with heavy rain, looking for some native sweet potato chips (Wakay) to bring back home to Manila. If you’re thinking, what a nasty way to end a trip- you’re right but you can also try looking at it another way. Though it was uncomfortable, it’s these kind of instances that we remember a trip, the times when things went wrong, unplanned and you just think- it’s all part of the adventure. Plus some things are just not in your control and you just need to get on with things, like searching some sweet potato chips in the stark darkness. 

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