Sunday, April 11, 2010

Batanes: Old stone houses of Itbud and Centro in Uyugan, Batanes

Uyugan is said to be the town with the most number of intact stone houses in Batan Island, particularly in Itbud and Centro (Kayvaluganan and Kayuganan). Most tours just drive through Uyugan and Itbud. It's actually the first time I got to walk around the town proper and Itbud.

The quaint Uyugan Church is relatively intact, but it's quite small compared to the churches of the neighboring towns.

They were changing the cogon on the roof of one of the stone houses while we were there. There are two roof types in Batanes stone houses. The maytuab type of cogon roof has four sides. While the sinadumparan style has only two sides.

We moved on to Itbud which is another barangay of Uyugan. On the way to Itbud, we passed by the ruins of Songsong, a barangay that was devastated by a tsunami in the 1953. Although most of the village is in ruins, many of the residents are starting to come back. The house where they shot the movie Batanes is actually in Songsong.

Itbud is the most intact barangay in Batan Island. Except for the church which the priest demolished just a few years back to build a bigger church (they replaced it with a horrible hollow-block structure), the barangay still has a lot of old stone houses. Unfortunately, the houses will not be picture perfect until the May elections are over since there are campaign posters everywhere.

But we did enjoy strolling around the village. At least some of the houses didn't have posters or tarpaulins. Our last stop was Imnajbu, the last barangay of Uyugan. Beside the barangay chapel is a wooden cross which marks the site of the first Catholic Mass in Batanes. There are also some noteworthy stone houses. Which is why no doubt, Uyugan is the last bastion of Batanes architecture on Batan Island.
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