Batanes, Philippines May 2014: Can everybody please say ‘Wow’

When my brother came home after a two-month stay in a community in Sabtang, Batanes last year, he made me stay up the whole night to look at his photos. But I can’t really say I was forced because God knew I wanted to hear EVERYYTHINGG about it. Going to work the next day as a zombie was completely worth it.

So when I had the chance to visit Batanes last May, it was imperative that I grabbed it. And the place was just as spectacular as my brother - and all the other people who have been there - said. Here are a couple of photos to (t)ease you in.

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Check out the bumblebee we flew in

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Place where we stayed at for the first two nights

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That sisig-looking dish is vunes, an Ivatan dish made from dried gabi stalks

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Crash course on the Ivatan language

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Solid proof that I was indeed in Batanes

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The most popular bank in the province teehee

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Sto. Domingo de Basco Church

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He Who Drives the Most Badass Jeepney (See also: This Should Be The Model Jeepney for Everywhere)

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I got quite obsessed with this giant leaf aka my fanumbrella (fan + umbrealla); brought it with me to practically everywhere on the second day

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Souvenirs at the Lighthouse

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It was very windy at the top of the lighthouse so I had to hold tight

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Kids playing with lizards, wassaaap

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Grandmother Willow, ikaw ba yan

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Mt. Iraya

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Fundacion Pacita

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Where we stayed at for the remaining two nights

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The road leading to the port

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An Ivatan house

Walking around Basco, I felt far removed from the idea of being in the Philippines. This was weird because I have lived in other provinces in the country that are equally peaceful and lovely. (Also: I hated that feeling of being unpatriotic) But it’s true! That place just had a different kind of quiet - like how I imagine the sound of makahiya leaves folding to be. Can I get any more specific and visual, right?? But maybe that is also the perfect metaphor! There is so much to be proud of about Batanes yet the place and its people remain too shy to reach out. (Or too under-budgeted, etc.? Anyway.)