Batanes | Savidug Idjang: Exploring the Ancient Dwellings of the Ivatans

Mael and his daughter going up the Savidug Idjang
Mael and his daughter going up the Savidug Idjang

I hopped in the #44 tricycle side-car owned by Mael, my driver who’s a native of Sabtang Island, born and raised in Savidug, a village at the central coast of the island. As with any tricycle in Sabtang, they have modified the look to add cogon roof making it look more native and offers shade on the ride. Mael’s young daughter of 8, who’s obviously clingy of her father joined us as we head to Savidug Idjang, just 1.2km south of the village. Idjangs are stone fortresses found in Batanes and the Savidug Idjang is considered the most impressive among the four found throughout Batanes. I’ve always admired the drum-like rock outcrop from afar, wondering what it is like to be on top of it and see first hand the ancient dwelling place of the Ivatans. This time I stayed overnight in Savidug village to climb it. Mael said he could take me there as his family has a patch of land near the idjang where he takes care of his goats and often go up the place as part of his daily morning chores.

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The El Nido Ille Cave: 14000 Years of History in the Rock

The limestone outcrop housing the the Ille Cave
The limestone outcrop housing the the Ille Cave

A magnificent disruption. The first thought when I saw this lone limestone jutting out from the vast rice field surrounding it. “Andyan yung cave? (The cave is there?)” I asked. “Opo! Nasa loob nyan. (Yes sir! It’s inside)”, replied Dyna, who was also another surprise as this lanky girl of 22-yo would be our guide. We traveled about 22 km out of El Nido Town Proper, east to the direction of New Ibajay to visit the Ille Cave, one of the most significant archeological site in the country.

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