Before the trip, I was having second thoughts about joining the Itbayat leg of our 3-island photo tour. I was told the journey via boat takes 4 hours and the ride could be treacherous due to the open sea, and thus the typical tourists wouldn't go. But, the whispers from my adventurous heart won that argument for me.
So here we are at the port in Basco where a 30-seater old wooden boat that looked like a tiny Noah's Ark awaits us. It was the early part of the Holy Week and many locals are already travelling back to their hometown. Cargo items ranging from sand and gravel to furniture to huge cans of biscuits were being loaded in what seemed like an infinite storage at the boat's hull. More people came and I began to wonder if they will exceed the capacity limits of the boat, a very common practice in some of the ports in the provinces. As we boarded with our orange life jackets, we soon found our little spots on the boat's floor, just enough for us to sit with our legs bunched up. As soon as the coast guard gave his go signal, we were off.
|View from the back of the boat where I was seated|
Two hours later, we spotted land and there was a big sigh of relief. We were informed that we will dock at an alternate port, called the Mauyen Port, which is southernmost part of the island where the waters are smoother, instead of the usual port which will take another 2 hours. However, this means that we will have to do some heavy duty hiking up the cliff, via 14 zigzag steep narrow trails with nothing to hold on to, and with all our stuff to carry. For someone who's not a hiker, this was really a challenge for me. But luckily, my group was supportive enough and we paced ourselves for a slower hike up.
|Mauyen Port, where we got off, there wasn't even a proper dock|
As we emerged on top of the hill, all I could see were empty plains, and I felt that I was in Africa. I also noticed that there were a few lone palm trees but they were unusually short. We all plopped onto the ground tired and exasperated. Even the sun shining bright on our faces felt good.
|That's us waiting for our ride at the top of the cliff|
|View from the top of the cliff, with the path where we hiked up from the port below|
As if there is not enough adventure, we would never have expected the experience that will soon meet us in this uplifted coral of an island. From a warm welcome from our host at the homestay, to the hidden gems deep in the cave beneath the hills, to the breathtaking view of what seemed like the Moher cliffs of Ireland, and to the history of a people called the Austronesians, these made us forget about the adventurous boat ride and the tiring hike up the cliff. This was by far the best part of our trip.
You can read more about our experience at the island in my blog entitled Homestay and Breathtaking Landscapes.
Ironically our trip back to Basco was smooth sailing, reminding us how drastically things change over a short period of time. Except for a surprise shout by the fishermen upon catching a big fish on our way back, the ride was quiet and we had space to lie down on the boat.
|Our boat, back to pick us up|
|Poor cow, probably suffering from sea sickness after being transported on the boat hull|
|Smooth waters, beautiful views|
|Boatmen trying their luck for lunch|
|And yes, there were in luck!|
Time passed quickly this time, and soon, we wake up from our naps to see a familiar view, the Naidi Lighthouse back in Basco, Batanes.
|Naidi Lighthouse, Basco, Batanes|
|Naidi Lighthouse, Basco, Batanes|