The pain and the guts part refers to our adventure at sea, as we journey to this northernmost island of the Philippines.
Read more about our sea adventure entitled Itbayat, Batanes: Adventure at Sea
Now on to the gain and glory :-)
After a challenging journey to get here, what's a better welcome than a warm reception from our homestay host, Nanay Cano of Cano Homestay. Nanay Cano is the overall coordinator and tourism officer for all the homestays in the island, but lucky us, we get to stay at her home.
With a bit of lull time after a hot meal of pork sinigang soup (sour Filipino soup made from tamarind) and fried fish, we began to explore the town and headed out to the main municipal plaza, which was just a block away from the homestay. The town was quiet with a few curious local kids wondering around. As we were observing the short bonsai-looking trees along the plaza, I suddenly glimpse a pair of knees up above the tree, and heard some giggles. Here's what I saw :-)
The white church outlined in red stood out in the town center. It was the old Spanish church of Mayan, and today is still led by a Spanish priest, Fr, Dennis. We headed to the main church door, which appeared to be closed. A plaque stood by the wall indicating the church was built in the 1800's. Suddenly, a small shy girl came strolling along the church grounds and we asked her if the church was open. She didn't seem to know the language, but clearly understood why we were there. She led us through a small alley by the side of the church to the side entrance. Beside the church was a house, with a tall swing. A few bunches of onions, garlic, and corn lay on the floor which were obviously being put out to dry. A rooster sits by the garden, and her father was working on some handicrafts in a nearby hut.
|The shy little girl who welcomed us to the church|
|View from the back of the truck where we stood|
|That's us at the path, photo by Ferdz Decena|
|Entrance at the top of the cave|
|Mouth at the far end of the cave that overlooks the blue sea|
|Stone Wall at the entrance of the cave|
|Torongan Cliffs, Eastern Coast of Itbayat|
|Path leading to the burial markers|
|One of the remaining burial markers on the left|
|At Torongan Hills, view of Dinem Island at the far end|
|View of the Torongan Cave and the Cliffs on the Background|
The following morning, we went up to Mt. Karoboboan for the sunrise. At 4am, we had to get ready in the dark as the power has not come back on yet. It is common in places like these to have a schedule a limited operation for the power generators only on certain time of the day where it's needed most. We arrived at the view point on Mt. Karoboboan, just in time to see the sun rise. It was magical. As we satisfy ourselves with all the shots we've taken, breakfast was already waiting for us, a huge portion of rice wrapped in banana leaves, and adobo pork. Yummy!
|At the viewpoint, at the hut where we had our breakfast|
|White snails, edible local delicacy, Mang Tobias had been picking them while waiting for us|
|My photo of the white snails that got featured in CNN Go program: Eye on the Philippines|
Before heading back, we made a last stop at Paganaman Port, a fisherman's port. After a tiring two days, I decided to stay at the top of the hill and enjoy the breeze while the others headed down to the port. A lone fisherman was skin diving, trying to make his catch while another perched off the docks below. The views from up above were magnificent, and once again, I find my mind wandering beyond the infinity of the horizon up in front of me.
|Path down to the docks|
|Fisherman skin diving|
|Down at the docks, a fisherman perches over to make his catch|
And so, here ends our adventure in this interesting island which stands at the edge of our beautiful Philippines.
And here's my My Tripadvisor Review of the Itbayat Burial Caves
You can also read my other trip reports on Batanes:
Sabtang Brought Me Back In Time