Batanes: Surviving Sabtang

On the road to Chavayan

On the road to Chavayan

Ooops! I just realized I still have a lot of back log from my travels. So in between the China posts, I’ll be posting entries from those recent local travels as well. I thought it would add variety and hope not to cause confusion on continuity. This entry is another one of my favorite places in our country, Batanes. Same trip brought to you by the cool guys at Geiser Maclang and Epson Philippines. And probably one of the most memorable events as well.

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Video: Pride of Bolinao

Cape Bolinao Lighthouse in Patar. Taken with Nokia N82

Cape Bolinao Lighthouse in Patar. Taken with Nokia N82

I’ve always wanted to add a multimedia feature on my blog. In fact, I announced early last year that I would be doing an Ian Wright thing and present some of my travels in a video documentary feature. That may not be too far off the future. For now, here’s my very first video-log on our recent family outing in Bolinao, Pangasinan. Somehow this is also a bit sentimental since after more than 5 years, our whole family is together on this vacation since one of my sister in Canada and another from the USA decided to come home. Video after the jump.

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Basilan: Malamawi Island

Danger Zone sign at White Beach

Danger Zone sign at White Beach

I know a lot of people would ask, “Why the hell would you want to go to Basilan?” I mean, with all the bad publicity it’s getting because of the Abu Sayaff years back, the place had a negative notion of always being in a state of strife. I myself couldn’t believe stepping on this part of the country as it is the last place on my list. But since one of my travel buddy and fellow photography enthusiast wanted to visit this part of the region since he has seen most of the major areas in the Philippines, I thought, why not, so I tagged along with other 7 adventurous individuals and ventured where only the daring go.

Locals at the Port

Locals at the Port

To reach Basilan, the fastest way is to fly to Zamboanga City and from there, head of to the pier where several vessels can take you. A fastcraft can take you in an hour for Php 130. But if you are on a budget you could also take the Ferry which will take you in for an hour and 20 minutes for only Php 50 if you are on the upper level and Php 40 when you are at the lower level. We took the cheap ferry actually since the 20 min difference isn’t a big thing to how much we would save. Besides, it’s comfortable enough with the strong wind. I was able to sleep during the travel. In no time you’ll find yourself at the pier of Isabela, Basilan’s Capital City.

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Anawangin Cove and the Capones Island Lighthouse

Pine Trees, white sands and rich mountainscapes in Anawangin

Pine Trees, white sands and rich mountainscapes in Anawangin

May is already here and we only have a month left to enjoy the summer. Let’s go local this time as I want to share another destination perfect for sun worshipers raring for a natural tan. I have been hearing about this place quite a lot lately especially from the mountaineering community. And when a fellow mountaineer from MFPI Ruby, suggested to go to this place I immediately cleared the date a month ahead. Just a few weeks before the actual date, I was already excited since I haven’t been to a beach for quite a while. And last weekend, we finally got to explore the Cove of Anawangin in Zambales. Was it worth the hype?

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Batanes: Hataw sa Mahatao

Sightseeing at Valugan Bay

Sightseeing at Valugan Bay

When you’re in Batanes, always expect the unexpected. This small region is governed by the weather and the people’s strong belief. So whatever plans you’ve layout here, prepare to change it, as every turn on its winding roads, every change in the wind’s direction and the changes in the tide of the sea holds a few surprises. This we learned in extreme ways during our stay in the region.

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In retrospect: Batanes, the land of the howling winds

Mt. Irayat watches over the whole island of Batan

Mt. Irayat watches over the whole island of Batan

Batanes is one of the most elusive places to visit in the country. Booking a flight would require you 2-3 months of advance reservations since only one airline serve flights in the area. Despite the current steep price tag (4500 PHP one way via Asian Spirit as of this writing), flights are always fully booked especially during peak seasons of Decemebr to May. Even if you managed to get hold of a ticket, frequency is in the hands of the weather, if the storm-stricken region will allow you passage through the sky. Travel by the sea is out of question unless you dare to take on the waves spanning up to 3 stories high on seas where the Pacific Ocean and the China Seas meets. The distance taunts you like a Siren’s Song from Ulysses’s myths. Yet those who are fortunate enough to step on its islands will be rewarded with sweeping landscapes, experience with its rich culture and mingle with one of the most kindest people in the world.

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Megastructures of the north

Bangui Windmills

The Windmills of Bangui, 15 of these structures stand on the Pebble Beach. (The orange speck on the right is a bulldozer, so imagine the height of this structure)

This would be the last entry for Northern Luzon adventure and would be a perfect climax for the series. When going to Pagudpod, you’ll never miss these spectacular windmills left-side of your view. It’s one of the most amazing view you’ll see up there on the north. When at the beach of Pagudpud you’ll still be able to see these afar.

Cape Bojeador Lighthouse

Cape Bojeador Lighthouse stands in Burgos, said to be the tallest lighthouse in the country.

On your right (coming from the south), amidst the mountain terrain, you’ll see the towering structure of Cape Bojeador Lighthouse in Burgos. Both mega structures, the former a new construction, and the later a true historical monument. (more…)