|A typical two-storey house in Batanes. This one though is left to decay.|
"I'd have to say NOT literally on the road, but in the sea off-Batanes. I'm horrible at keeping my cool when waves are big. The falowa that time was whipped by big waves and the undercurrent was so intense I thought we would be swallowed by the sea any minute. But I could just laugh at the thought now because it turned out it was normal there! And there I was, pale and sweating like a pig and praying like never before!"--RV Escat on the question What’s the most horrible experience that you’ve had on the road? by flipnomad.com
Day 4. Time to head back to Batan Island where power supply is round-the-clock and coastal roads are paved. But there is one thing I dreaded the most--crossing the Sabtang-Ivana Strait. This leg of my Batanes adventure is as inescapable as the boat ride to the island of Itbayat.
|Ivana Church | Ivana, Batanes, Philippines|
It's a big relief to see Ivana church growing inch by inch every minute as the falowa crawled its way to the port of Ivana town which is just across the church.
If my memory serves me right, home-stay arrangements beyond the provincial capital is unheard of, so trying to find one in this small town 14 kilometers south of Basco is surely hit or miss. After walking almost to the end of town and several attempts asking the locals if they know of any lodging, this heritage house presented itself:
|The Hidalgo Ancestral House|
The heritage house is typical of a one-storey Ibatan house. The walls, built to last many super typhoons, are made of stones while the roof, more than one-meter thick and made of cogon grass, is said to have a lifespan of ten years under extreme weather conditions.
Once inside, the house evokes a utilitarian feel to it. The high ceiling makes afternoon siesta during Batanes summer bearable; the small windows provide enough ventilation during the biting cold of Batanes winter and stormy weather.
There is a misconception that Batanes is constantly being battered by typhoons. If Batanes is always mentioned in connection with weather disturbances, it is because its capital, Basco, holds the last weather station in the north. It is a reference point for all typhoons that enter the Philippine area of responsibility. It has no pronounced wet or dry season. It enjoys practically four seasons, the best ones being summer (April-June) and winter (December-February), when the temperature dips as low as seven degrees Celsius.--wikipedia
Though the renovations aren't as faithful to its original design, I'd like to believe that the wall that separates the living area from the single bedroom isn't there and the whole floor is a living room at daytime and transforms into a sleeping quarter as night falls. For those who prefer to cook (highly recommended since there is only one carenderia in the whole town), the functional kitchen attached to the main house has a cooking stove, a fridge and cooking utensils for guests to use at no extra cost.
Now that I am in terra firma, solid ground, I can sleep well and worry about the waves when W and I get to Itbayat Island leg of the trip.
|Two Borges books! | would have been a good read. Only, it's in Korean!|
This house has seen many travelers come and go. The previous week, the caretaker said, this was home to a Korean woman-writer. She stayed here for a month.
|A few block away from the heritage house, more houses are left to decay.|
|A bucolic afternoon in Ivana town|
The heritage house is owned by the family of former Undersecretary of the Department of Education Dr. Fe Hidalgo. W and I paid Php600.00 per day rental for the whole house inclusive of light and water; and to keep us sane and sober during Batanes summer--aircon!
For inquiries and reservations, contact Juliet at +63.919.3695341