Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Was away for 5 days; unable to ride but explored the beauty and nature of #Batanestour - report by #Jorgeustraveler

Wheels of Happiness

Rizal Philippines

This is turning out to be a travel blog.   Unintentionally.  Bikers travel, dont we? That is why biking is exciting.  It is great to ride and travel places.  Right?

Rappler on Batanes

Drew Arellano at Batanes

Was to Batanes twice

I just arrived from my second week to Batanes..

I was away this week end hence was unable to join the bike.   I was supposed to be back on the 24th after leaving on the 21st However, When we flew there last Wednesday, the plane (a twin engine turboprop PAL Bombardier) after travelling 860 km and doing 2x attempt to land returned to Manila due to rains poor visibility.

  Later on after going around Batanes when we were able to land successfully last Saturday (January 24, 2015) I got  the answers.  There is no Instrument Landing System, the runway is short (maybe a little over a km long, and the runway ends at the foot of Mt. Iraya, and one mistake could slam the plane into the foot of the mountain.  There was also some gustiness, the island being surrounded by China sea on the West and Pacific Ocean on the east.


 x                   The runway is sloping towards the tallest mountain in Batan island, so when visibility is poor, a miscalculation on the part of the pilot could cause him to slam the plane and its passengers to kingdom come

                     Plenty of cows grazing on the hills

While waiting for our plane ride, I was able to engage in a conversation a certain Engr. Lopez, from Gen San who works for the group of Bob Sobrepena (batchmate ko pala sa college) said that according to his boss, Batanes was one of the greatest places he visited in the Phil.  Some say it is one of the 10 places in the PHL you visit before you die.

I agree:

 xx                  Coconut trees on the hill

             Ship offloading goods from Manila in Basco port

                   Magnificent mountains rock formation, white sand and waves pounding on the beach.

                       North east of Batan island, foot of Mt. Iraya, Pacific Ocean to the east;

                    View of Pacific Ocean from Pacita


                     Towering Mt. Iraya, a volcano, last erupted in 1400, reminds us of Vesuvius and Pompei

         Japanese war tunnel allegedly dug by Filipino labor (bawal ang Japanese hatred)

                      Waves occasionally reach that high carving deep canyons


                   Vualag boulder beach;  volcanic rocks smoothed by ocean waves

1.  great views:  mountain, sky, and the sea and sunrise and sunset.

2.  the mountains and geological formation







3.  great history -  churches and the Ivatan churches;

4.  muted simplicity;  the people are happy and endure the limited resources and severe weather -  earthquakes, tsunamis, famine, etc.

   Tourists line up for their life savers for the Sabtang crossing.

              According to my daughter, waves in Coron were day old chicks.

                   Wave swells were higher than the boat roof

                        Hmm quite nervous all ready and praying

               We all pray to arrive alive

5.  great boat crossing at Sabtang.

6.  At Mahatao, you can see both sides of the island.  It is the only place where you can take pictures of both West Phil Sea and the Pacific

   Compared to the banca rides at Puerto, or El Nido,the boat ride to Satbayan were like roller coaster ride.  the channel to cross is about a 2 to 3 km wide (between Batan Is. and  Satbayan) but the tunnel effect between two islands and the meeting of the Pacific and West Phil. Sea (nee China sea) create spectacular swell that coud be higher than the boat at the middle.

But travel to Itvayan is even more challenging. The two to sometimes 4 hour ride, they say is just like shaking one like a ragdoll.

Of course the Abads who represent the province have taken great efforts to construct concrete roads around the Batan and Sabtan islands, there is power, albeit diesel CAT power.  There is telco (SMART, Sun and Globe although when we were there, SMART and Sun were not available)  Internet is slow.  There is CIGNAL wireless TV.

Some trivia:

1.  The smallest island province in the Philippines;

2.  Population is 16,000+ with most of the population in Batan Island,  followed by Satbayan and third at Itbayan (to the north.  (Those are the three major islands)

3.  The towns in Batan are  Basco (the capital) Mahatao, Ivana, and Uyugan.

        Great rock at White Beach at Mahatao Ivana boundary
            Large rock face at Tinyan Hills at Sabtang Island

                 Large Crevasse at Chawa in Mahatao

                   The famous Anhao arch at Nabuang beach

                    Tourist pose for pics at famous arch

          View of Pacific Ocean at Southern tip of Sabtang Island

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