Sabtang Lighthouse Overnight | Malakdang and Sinakan Wandering

Milky way over Sabtang Lighthouse
Milky way over Sabtang Lighthouse

“Who’s bag is this?” I wondered when I entered the igloo-inspired round-house lodging with a cogon roof dome by the Sabtang Lighthouse . I remembered reserving this space when I got in Sabtang Island and before I left for Chavayan. Then Nanay Adela came, one of the owners of the property. “Me dumating na babae nakiusap kung pwede maki stay din dito. Okay lang ba sayo? Birthday naman nya (There’s this lone girl who arrived and pleaded to stay here. Is it okay with me? It’s her birthday)” I guess it would be additional income for her. I really don’t mind staying with strangers since I had been to hostels before. She would be a welcome companion for this leg of the trip.

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Stay | Eagle Point Beach and Dive Resort: A Stormy Sojourn

Our room at the Terrace Hotel
Our room at the Terrace Hotel

I honestly can’t remember much from last I went here. It was more than a decade ago. I was still working for an American IT company and it was our company outing. Eagle Point Beach and Dive Resort is popular for company outings aside from diving. What I clearly remember was the stunning sunset, playful pawikan and amazing snorkeling just in front of the property. When a chance to go back to the resort came, I thought, why not? It would be interesting to see how things have changed.

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Sabtang Island Old Procession Trail: Chavayan to Sumnanga Traverse

View of the eastern seas on the old procession trail
View of the eastern seas on the old procession trail

I was supposed to go to Itbayat but the weather have other plans. Boat trips to the island was suspended for the next few days due to inclement weather and erratic waves. Since I had a flexible itinerary, I decided to take a detour to Sabtang Island instead. The smallest island of Batanes municipality is popular to day trippers from Batan Island. Personally, I would rather spend a night here. No matter how familiar I am with this island, I know I can find something new to do. For one, I haven’t stayed in Chavayan village yet. Or better, try the Old Procession Trail from Chavayan to Sumnanga. I have always been fascinated with that trail. I guess it’s about time I explore it.

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Batangas Stay | Stilts Calatagan: Tranquility at Destiny

Sundown at Stilts Calatagan Batangas
Sundown at Stilts Calatagan Batangas

I have no problems planning on independent trips. But when it comes to family travel, I’m so poor in planning those kind of logistics. I had to get a little help from friends in the travel industry. My requirement was it should be near Manila, have good accessibility for seniors, convenient and relaxing. Friends from Explore8 gave me options (other resorts Batangas, Cavite, Tagaytay, Vigan) but somehow my siblings and I were leaning into Stilts Calatagan in Batangas. Their cottages looks attractive and they have in-resort transport for our senior relatives. Much more, the beach in this part of Batangas looks gorgeous.

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Itbayat | Hiking the slopes of Mt Riposed for Tayawun Rock

The Tayawun Rock at Sta Lucia, Itbayat
The Tayawun Rock at Sta Lucia, Itbayat

I could feel the heaviness and strain in my body already. I’ve been hiking almost daily around Batanes for the past week. My stamina is dipping. Trudging early morning on the grassy slopes of Mt Riposed in the dark, I told myself I have reached my quota for challenging tramps such as this. I deserve a pat for having finally visited Rapang Cliffs the day before. While I want to explore more, Itbayat can really drill a hole on your wallet if you’re travelling alone. While I welcome my guide, Jojo’s suggestions on other places to visit. I had limited budget. So why not end my Itbayat sojourn at the island’s highest point.

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Itbayat | Rapang Cliffs and Stone Bell: Otherworldy Landscape

Sunrise at Rapang Cliffs
Sunrise at Rapang Cliffs

The summer solstice extended the days in the country. But here in Batanes, the days felt a lot longer. 4:11 AM the sky was already showing shades of blue. The milky way slowly dissolves into the sky over at Mt Riposed. The purple glow brightens and unveils the landscape. We were at the sunrise point of Rapang Cliffs. I climbed on some sharp limestone rocks to get a better view near the cliffs. As soon as I saw the view behind the high rocks, my jaw dropped in amazement. I never thought Batanes could mesmerize me anew, but the landscape near the northern edge of the country just did.

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Echague | Home of the Yogad Tribe

The yogad tribe bayle de bakal performers
The yogad tribe bayle de bakal performers

I’m ashamed to say that when they said we’ll be meeting one of the smallest minority group in Isabela, I was thinking they were some remote tribes still wearing their traditional garbs similar to the Dumagats. The Yogad tribe in Echague, Isabela is quite different. They were wearing old Spanish style costumes in bright blue and red colors. They have small mirrors attached strategically at the front and back. They have swords and seem to be ready for battle. They did not come from deep into the mountains nor live by the sea. They sailed all the way from Mindanao many decades ago but today are facing extinction as an indigenous group.

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