Thursday, April 8, 2010

Batanes 01: The Flight and Arrival

There's this Portugese proverb that says, “Visits always give pleasure - if not the arrival, the departure”. In my case, the pleasure starts at the aiport and heightens upon my arrival to a new place just as my foot was touching that unfamiliar ground.

It was from Crim that I first learned about Batanes, it was way back in college. I've heard of the place prior to that, but because she's an Ivatan and a close friend, the urge to know her roots and to actually experience the place was further intensified. She would always tell me stories about her hometown and how beautiful it is. She would tell me about her house and its proximity to her school and the park and I would only imagine them. A few years forward...I could not believe I was making this imagination into a reality.

Appreciating how beautiful Batanes is...I owe it to Ferdz and his blog. My fondness for the place grew deeper because of the tons of photos he took after his several visits and how he described them. His blog has became my "guide book" in exploring Batanes. It's like saying, "Everything I knew about Batanes I learned from Ferdz!" hehe.

So after five days...I was able to experience beautiful Batanes, finally.

I will be posting a series of entries starting with our flight and our arrival.

early check in

There were six of us. Deb, Etch and I were the first batch to check in. We were too early since the lady at the counter was still attending to the passengers going to Caticlan (excited masyado, hehe!). Nonetheless, she accommodated us. I was hoping not to check in my tripod but the guy who was taking our backpacks said it 's not an option. (Baka daw kase gawing armas para makapanakit, nu ba yan.)

a miniature Ivatan house from Batanes

Our flight is at 8:20 AM but way before our boarding, I already spotted the 30-seater SeaAir aircraft that would take us to Basco, Batanes. "Hmmm, looks promising!" I told myself. I have my own reservations about small aircrafts. I am not scared to die, but I am scared dying while in a plane.

inflight snack

Since we made an early check-in, we had the time to eat breakfast. Etch was thinking what SeaAir would be serving us. We were thinking of coffee and bread or way better since we paid so much for the tickets (much expensive than going to any SE Asian country). But instead, the flight attendant served us 4 pieces of Hi-Ho Nuts and a bottled water. Good thing we ate breakfast prior to our flight. I liked the Hi-Ho (garlic) though. Much better than Nagaraya (I think).

the beautiful Iraya

The whole trip was okay (except for a few air pockets that made my stomach churned). We had an amazing pilot, he's Korean or Chinese or Taiwanese. I took a stolen shot, Etch was teasing me.


Arriving at the airport, we were greeted by the beautiful view of Mount Iraya, a heavily forrested stratovolcano which is an important landmark for the Ivatans. And like any important marker, this too is loaded with stories and legends. Considered as a minor climb, Mount Iraya can be hiked 3-4 hours to the summit.

arrival area

We were all excited to start our adventure in Batanes. Immediately, we proceeded at the arrival area to meet the people from DDD Habitat, our official residence in Basco, Batanes.


All tourists are required to register at IDJANG which means Ivatan Desk for Joint Action Network of Guides. They'll get basic information from each tourist visiting Batanes including contact numbers and emails.

Mannie Barradas' photo exhibit at the airport

While my companions were signing in, my eyes feasted over the photo exhibit of Mannie Barradas showcasing his captivating and amazing shots of the Islands. I got a bit carried away by the images that I didn't notice my friends already leaving the area. They were at the pickup point.

waiting area

It was here that the staff from DDD Habitat picked us up. There were more photos exhibited at the waiting area.



My supervisor and I were interviewing applicants for the writer position and one of them, looking very corporate and preppy said, "Can I ask about the salary?". I had a hint that she's going to ask about it. Most "experienced" applicants reserve such question in the end. We told her about the starting salaries for writer and noticed by her facial expression that she wasn't quite happy about it. "I was hoping for 18K to 20K po sana since my current salary is 18K yun nga lang po graveyard shift kaya gusto ko mag-resign." This conversation reminded me of a previous applicant who just recently resigned. The same issue, same reason. I don't think we will be seeing her soon.


Anonymous said...

wow. excited na ko sa blow-by-blow account.

exciting yung snacks no?? to think ang mahal ng pamasahe?? grr.


Anonymous said...

actually, pagdating ko the following day, i was made to write my name as well sa desk. i told the woman in Ivatan, "turista ako ava..ivatan ako.." (i'm not a tourist, i'm Ivatan), and she said, lahat daw magsusulat dun tourist or not.

weird. never done that before.


my gulch said...


really? as if you were not with us. hehe. onga, kaka-disappoint snack nila. pero nagustuhan ko talaga Hi-Ho na looking forward ako nung pabalik na Manila, kaso from 4 pcs. aba, 2 piraso na lang tapos bbq flavor pa. asus.

weird nga. pati pala Ivatans kailangang mag-reg sa IDJANG. yang IDJANG kala ko naman Ivatan word, acronym pala.

babalik ako Batanes para lang akyatin Mount Iraya tapos next visit, Itbayat naman. ha!

Anonymous said...

Idjang (or Ijang) is really an Ivatan word. Something about ancient Ivatan structures like burial sites, or the like. we have an "ijang" in Basco near Tukon, if you traverse the Tukon Hills towards Valugan, madadaanan yon. Next time, daananan natin. :D

Crim (i should be outing my uber-secret blog soon. para akong Phantom of MyNewGulch sa lagay na to. hehe).

my gulch said...

crim, ahh ganun ba. actually nag-assume lang ako. Yun pala yun. Hehe. Unga, let's reveal who the real Crim is. =)

Photo Cache said...

I'm curious as to why they need you to register. Is this part of a statistical data gathering?

You are saying plane fare to SEA countries are cheaper than going here? How much, may I ask, does a plane fare say to Malaysia would cost in Pesos?

LaiNe said...

ano nanyare sa mt. iraya ate rayts? bat di ka nakaayat?

my gulch said...

@photo cache: could be part of their stat gathering. to determine maybe the number of tourists/people coming and going in Batanes. about the plane fare, yes you could say that. a two-way plane fare to Batanes will cost you around P13,600+. Recently, they had promo fares but the travel months include June-October, which is usually the rainy season.

@Laine: haynaku, dina kinaya. kulang na sa oras tapos di rin masyadong keen mga kasama ko na umakyat eh. ako lang interesado tapos medyo na-discouraged din ng ilang locals. yung makikita daw namin sa tuktok, makikita na din daw namin kahit di umakyat sa tuktok. bukod pa sa super inet ng panahon nung mga last few days namin dun.

pieterbie said...

I like a smaller aircraft. I think it gives you a better flight experience.

Andrea said...

Last year they told us the log sheet is part of the safety precautions.

BTW, it's good you did not join ironwulf's contest last time, or else your post of "got most of it from Ferdz" might not have given me the slot to Banawe, hehe!

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