Our last stop in Taichung City before moving to another county is probably the most colorful. The Rainbow Village in Nantun District in Taichung is famous for its colorful murals. But a visit here would offer a deeper appreciation on the story behind these vibrant street art. How a retired soldier managed to help save a village through his vision and art. Coming from In Sky Hotel in Fengjia, it was just a short 30 minutes ride until we found ourselves walking on the colorful pavement of Rainbow Village.(more…)
The island of Mindoro is also home to the indigenous people of Mangyan. There are eight tribes scattered around the island, from Oriental to Occidental Mindoro. I’ve encountered several tribes already from my past visits and wrote extensively on the Buhid and Iraya Mangyans. Won’t be repeating the same general information from them but rather focus on our visit with the Panaytayan Mangyan Settlement at Manansalay. This time we take a glimpse on the life and culture of the Hanunuo Mangyans.(more…)
Oh I am so looking forward to this. After days of hiking around Batanes, and recently a couple of daily hikes in Itbayat I was yearning for a place quiet to rest and recharge. I am excited to spend a night in Diura, an idyll fishing village in a quiet cove, east of Mahatao. I had been to Diura Fishing Village several times but haven’t tried spending a night. I wanted to take sunrise photos at the bay so being there would be advantageous. Our boat for Basco from Itbayat should have left already 2 hours ago. But I had to wait for 2 cows and 2 pigs on the boat. The sudden malfunction on the crane to hoist the cows added to the agonizing wait. I guess its just a little more time to endure for that much awaited repose.
I must admit. The urge to cover as much places as I can when traveling has lost its zing. New places still fascinate me but beyond the established tourist spots. Lately I have been visiting Bontoc, Mountain Province a lot. I’m still enticed to explore deeper into the area. My recent visit finds me hiking the Caneo to Tocucan Trail. Villages off the radar to most people since they are located in valleys tucked deep in the mountains. It was an idea thrown to us by our friend Suzzette which we gladly obliged as I was also looking for good suppliers for some native weaving.
“Tig tig tak! Tig tig tak!” I hear the sound of the loom beaters colliding. Creating a rhythmic beat as a weave of pattern slowly forms. I watch Auntie Benita busy with her loom at the balcony of her house overlooking the roof of her neighbors along with the high mountains hugging their village of Caneo (sometimes Can-eo). Her ever watchful grand daughter Shakira stays by her side. Observing how she skillfully coordinates her motions, from pedaling the treadles to shuffling the shuttle between the threads. Much like Shakira, Benita learned how to weave watching her mother as she grows up. Traditional Caneo weaving, which they call Tilar, is very much alive in this remote village.
Maligcong has become one of my favorite destinations in the Mountain Province in the recent years. I’ve cited five reasons on a previous post why one should go to Maligcong. Lately, I did notice that there’s already an influx of tourist discovering its quiet charm and natural wonder. Most of them were doing the short climb at Mt Kupapey to see the breathtaking landscape and the rice terraces at the slope of the mountains from the summit. Mt Kupapey is just one of the interesting places in Maligcong. My recent visits there were to do some exploration treks and hike, particularly the far flung village of Favarey and its surrounding area. This village amidst the vast field of rice terraces is called the “Old Town” by the locals as this is the original settlement of Maligcong.
There’s a certain excitement on visiting far-flung locations. Maybe the idea of finding authenticity in a remote location drives us to go further beyond the tourist trail. Often times we discover gems in seclusion but that is not always the case. Sumnanga Village, the farthest of the Sabtang island villages found at the west side probably has the least tourist footprint on the island. It even took me at least eight years to return to this village despite having been to the island several times already. But sadly it’s another case of tainting my good memories of the place but thankfully there’s redemption in its natural beauty.
Ruins of a Musician’s Home
My journey west of Sabtang Island continued after my visit at Vuhus Island. Nakanmuan Village was alive already that afternoon with people enjoying the milder weather. It only took a few minutes to reach Sumnanga village. Just at the roadside, before entering the main village, it is easy to miss the home of Atanacio Dapilan, an Ivatan farmer and fisherman who is also the first nationally published kalusan singer and composer. Kalusan is a rowing or farming song, sang in chorus by workers or boatmen. Kalusan is already a faint memory to the locals with only the melody faintly remembered. But with the help from the notations of a rowing song recorded by writer and politician, Noberto Romualdez and the teachers of Sumnanga who were able to record the original lyrics, they were able to piece together a kalusan rowing song.
This small piece of musical history on the island is personally highly interesting. Unfortunately, the home of the composer is still in ruins with nothing by overgrowth of plants inside. It would be interesting to restore and make a tourist center out of it where people can appreciate kulasan and other musical arts in Batanes instead of leaving it as it is.
Attack of the Tik-tiks
I remember Sumnanga Village for its many hanging dried fish, particularly dorado, so plenty like the banderitas during a town fiesta. The place also had the moniker of “Little Hongkong” because of the narrow cobblestone streets it has. My last visit, I saw no dorado or dibang fishes hanging. This, I could understand as the fishing season varies. But noticeable are the modern-concrete houses in the area. My driver Mael parked his tryke near the basketball court and we walked around the village.
The town remains slow and laid-back. I passed by a group of men already having rounds of heavy drinks early in the afternoon. There was an adorable site of a generation of ladies, a toddler in a bike basket, a young girl of probably five pushing the bike from behind and most probably the mom manning the handlebar. The school ground looks nice with a carpet of natural green. Mael pointed me to a wash sink which he says used to be an ancient well. Well its gone now.
Duvek Bay on the next page…
I heard a continues ticking and crumbling rocks. Nearby I saw what I first thought was a construction but it was the other way around. Rocks from old stone houses were being picked out and crushed into smaller pieces to be sold as materials for modern houses. Sold by the sack. No wonder many of the houses here in Sumnanga Village are already modern. I was told that since they are not really a tourist spot, they don’t value these old stone houses anymore and resort to more convenient modern houses. This is a sad reality but the local government could have done better and made an attraction out this town that would eventually generate more livelihood than resorting to tik-tiks.
Redemption at Duvek Bay
As with any place I return to, it is hard not to compare the conditions before. I remember the pathway leading to the beach. The distinguishable rock formation which I call “lion-rock” far off the shore and the looming Mt Aharung overlooking the calm waters of the bay. I say hello to a fisherman crossing our path with his fresh catch. I also noticed the road was recently paved and construction continued on to the direction of the town. We found a pathway to the beach and readied myself to shoot the sunset. Mael found a nice comfortable place by the boat and soon he was snoozing, probably know by now it would take time for me to shoot. I enjoyed the clear gentle waters lapping over my ankles while I was watching the clouds move. The sun would descend behind Vuhus Island across and left a captivating afterglow. I’m still thankful that despite the losing soul of Sabtang’s heritage the natural beauty of Batanes still won me over at the end of the day.