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  • Writer's pictureAce Gapuz

Go to Batanes and never forget this ONE thing

I went to Batanes last week with Steve and Mica, my friends from church.

I only have a few words (I'd rather show you photos -- unedited because I don't know how to! Haha), but I still would love to tell you a couple of things about that trip:

- how the flight to Basco and back went (oh, we went through hell I'm telling you: from the terminal moving from Manila to Clark without us getting an advisory, to all the hassle we had to go through in Basco Airport on our flight back, all because of miscommunications and mishandling of the airline -- making us miss our friend's wedding! Grrr),

All PAL flights MNL-BSO and BSO-MNL now rerouted to a new terminal: CRK (Clark International Airport). This means MNL-BSO flights will now be CRK-BSO, and BSO-MNL flights are now BSO-CRK. Check your tickets!

First time in Clark Airport. Less congested and much cleaner; will consider flying from and to here next time! There are P2P buses to Trinoma QC and NAIA if you need to go to Manila.

In Clark Airport on the evening of Feb 27, while waiting for our Feb 28 morning flight. We had to take the last P2P bus (at 10:30pm of Feb 27) from Robinsons Galleria to Clark International Airport!

For a flight that's just a little over an hour, ang OA ko! But this is how I am in flights -- always asleep, with my eye mask and travel blanket on. :P

Beautiful view from the plane, just as the sun was about to rise!

The airport is very small, but one will feel welcomed right away.

Finally arrived! That's me, happy and relieved that we made it!

Upon arrival in Basco airport, tourists need to register, get a map and ecotourism tickets (where all the go-to places and tourist spots are listed!), and pay PHP 350.

Mica was ready for the photo, and then there's me being my usual OC self, planning and strategizing how to go about the day (and the entire trip). Steve owns the camera, so obvi -- you know who's the photographer. :P

We stayed in this small guesthouse called BNG, a small home with guestrooms, a 5-minute walk from the airport.

- the food we ate (which were all expensive, nothing's cheap except for bike rental, lobsters, and Heineken beer :P)

Pancit Ivatan -- same old pancit, but made by Ivatans. :3 hehe

Heineken beer is PHP 70 per bottle, same price as all San Miguel beer variants!

Cheesy baked lobsters: two big ones at PHP 750. So cheap!

- and the places we went to (it's a protected landscape and seascape, so everywhere you look is basically preserved and maintained really well). We went to South Batan, Sabtang, and North Batan only. We'll go back for Itbayat!

Chawa View Deck (Mahatao, Batanes)

Diosdado Macapagal-Jorge Abad Sr. Boat Shelter Port (Mahatao, Batanes)

San Carlos Borromeo Church (Mahatao, Batanes)

Batanes Blank Book Archive (Mahatao, Batanes)

Choose a blank book, find a blank page, write a message! Read others' messages also if you like!

Maydangeb Beach (Mahatao, Batanes). Famous white sand beach!

House of Dakay (Ivana, Batanes)

Was fortunate to meet Tatay Jose, really friendly and still very strong!

Spanish Bridge (Ivana, Batanes)

Honesty Coffee Shop (Ivana, Batanes)

Get want you want, pay for it, get change if you have. Honesty system!

Motchong Viewpoint (Uyugan, Batanes)

Racuh a Payaman (Marlboro Country) (Mahatao, Batanes)

Alapad Rock Formation (Uyugan, Batanes)

Tayid Lighthouse (Mahatao, Batanes)

Sabtang Island. Beautiful! Picturesque everywhere you look!

Batanes Zipline (Sabtang, Batanes)

Ahaw (Natural Stone Arch) and Morong Beach (Sabtang, Batanes)

Chavayan Village (Sabtang, Batanes)

Beautiful stonehouses!

Chamantad-Tinyan Viewpoint (Sabtang, Batanes)

Vayang Rolling Hills (Basco, Batanes)

Naidi Lighthouse (Basco, Batanes)

Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception Cathedral (Basco, Batanes)

Japanese Tunnel (Ivana, Batanes)

It has a 360-degree view of Batan Island at the top; very strategic during the war as the troops can see forces coming from any side of the Pacific Ocean and the West Philippine Sea.

Valugan Boulder Beach (Basco, Batanes)

Fundacion Pacita (Basco, Batanes)

...ahh we actually went to a lot more places but I think that's too much visuals in one post!

Batanes is a beautiful place -- I almost forgot I was in the Philippines, because everything is clean and orderly, everyone is pleasant and kind (e.g., you won't need to worry about losing something, the place is small and there are no pickpockets!), and the raw state and beauty of nature is very much preserved.

My friend Mica used to be a public school teacher, and we learned that Batanes does not have the 4Ps (Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, designed to assist households that belong to the poorest of the poor) implemented -- which means that even if everywhere you look life seems simple and basic, there are no poor people in Batanes. Also, everyone seemed healthy, even the elderly are all very strong and fit at their age! They say that living near nature leads to longer lives.

Batanes is a beautiful place with sights of nature's beauty everywhere you look, protected very well by beautiful people. This is how things should be.

With that, I am reminded that we are but mere stewards of the creation.

We are custodians, not owners.

We are responsible for the protection and preservation of the creation, and when we do our job well, nature rewards us with beauty and kindness -- just like what we saw in Batanes!

Our job is to care for the creation and act in ways that will preserve its natural state, and to protect the environment so it can be in its natural state of providing for the rest of the creation. It is our duty to live in harmony with nature, and not be irresponsible and stubborn stewards of it.

I always say this to people I meet: I've been to many places in plenty of countries, but for me, if you want some real good nature, the Philippines is still the most beautiful of all! We have the best beaches, rolling mountains, incredible dive spots, hidden treasures like virgin islands, caves, rock formations -- basically everything nature you can think of, except snow!

Batanes was able to let me profoundly appreciate how rich of a country the Philippines is; how much richer we would be if only we knew how to care for the wealth we have here and make it grow and prosper even more!

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