Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Batanes: Valugan Beach, Vayang, Nakamaya Burial Grounds, Diura Fishing Village and Naidi Hill

Valugan Beach in Batanes is best viewed during sunrise. So for our last full day in Batanes, we woke up at dawn to watch the sunrise from the Valugan (or Chanpan) Boulder Beach, a beach characterized by boulders and large round stones weathered by the strong Batanes tides.

A sumptuous breakfast picnic followed after viewing the sunrise. We then proceeded back to Fundacion Pacita, our home in Batanes to freshen up before more exploration in the morning.

We were going to visit the Nakamaya Burial Grounds. But before that, we made sure to pass by Vayang which is most known for its rolling hills and cows grazing. On a clear day like today, one is afforded a spectacular view of the South China Sea, the western part of Basco, and even the northern islands of Batanes, including Itbayat which I hope to visit soon when the airport there is reopened.

After taking our photos in Vayang, we proceeded to the jump-off point for the short hike to the Nakamaya Burial Grounds. The trek was about a 30 minutes and relatively manageable since we had senior citizens in the group. But they had to be assisted by the guides in steep areas.

At the site, a wooden sign board explains the significance of the place: "The stone boat-shaped burial grounds shaped in the traditional wooden boat of Batanes called tataya are testimonies to the values of the prehistoric Ivatans who believed in life after death. The general direction of the boat-shaped burial grounds face the sea which, according to an old Ivatan folktale, is the final resting place of man.

"Radiocarbon testing on the human skeletons discovered inboat-shaped markers in Chuhangin show a date of practice of these burials between 355-70 B.P. (before present) or approximately A.D. 1600s."

After the trek, we proceeded back to Fundacion Pacita again to freshen up before proceeding to the Diura Fishing Village and the Fountain of Youth in Racuh a-Idi where a picnic lunch was going to be served.

Diura is a tiny village of Mahatao facing the Pacific Ocean. It's around three kilometers east of the town proper. Diura is most known as a fishing area for mahi-mahi or dolphin fish which is called dorado in Batanes. To signify the start of the fishing season, the fishermen perform the Kapayvanuvanua ritual.

I was not able to join the rest of the group in Racuh a-Idi since I had to accompany some of our guests to the airport who were leaving by private plane.

After lunch, the group proceeded to Basco to do some shopping. During my last trip, I got explore Basco town. So I decided to rest first since I was going to judge an art competition later in the afternoon. So you can check out Batanes, undiscovered paradise up north for more on Basco.

In the evening, we had sunset cocktails and dinner at the Naidi Hill Lighthouse. And even more lobster! The view was spectacular, a the activity was a great way to end a sunrise to sunset itinerary in Basco. Naidi is said to be the best spot to take a Basco sunset photo.

The next day, we flew back to Manila. Anyway, I'm looking forward to my next SEAIR flight back to Batanes!

Part 1: Batanes adventure: Mahatao, Ivana and Uyugan
Part 2: Batanes adventure: Chavayan, Savidug, Nakabuang Beach and more from Sabtang

Related entries
Batanes, undiscovered paradise up north
Marlboro Country, Mahatao Church and more from Batan Island
Batanes stone houses in Savidug and Chavayan, Nakabuang Beach and more from Sabtang Island
Batanes hotels and restaurants plus exploring Batanes by bike
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