Showing posts with label Sabtang. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Sabtang. Show all posts

Friday, March 26, 2010

Batanes: Batanes heritage in danger!

Batanes is no longer in the running for inscription in the UNESCO World Heritage List. That's unless the Provincial Government of Batanes shows even the slightest interest to have their beautiful province inscribed. Unfortunately, the local government failed to submit the requirements before the February 2010 deadline. So everything is back to square one!

But more urgent is the fact that as I write this entry, there are close to seven new concrete structures being built in the village of Savidug on Sabtang Island. I was shocked to see the construction frenzy during my trip early this month!

For those who are not familiar with Batanes heritage, the villages of Savidug and Chavayan on Sabtang Island are the two most intact villages of vernacular Ivatan architecture. They are showcases of the Sinadumparan and Maytuab styles of houses. These new hollow block houses being constructed will most definitely destroy the unique architectural fabric of Savidug. The mayor of Sabtang and the governor of Batanes should start moving and do something to preserve the distinct streetscape of Savidug.

According to Architect Joy Mananghaya of the UNESCO National Commission (UNACOM), "There are ordinances protecting the heritage of Batanes. Almost all municipalities have their own ordinance. There is a main ordinance which we had crafted while working on the nomination of the property in 2003. This is Ordinance No. 41 (Series 2002) which is An Ordinance Enacting the Conservation, Development and Management of the Natural and Cultural Heritage Sites in Batanes and Providing Funds Thereof.

"And there are local ordinances in Sabtang such as Ordinance No. 95-05 which is An Ordinance Providing for the Maintenance, Protection and Conservation of a Protected Area along the National Road in Sabtang and Ordinance No. 97-002 which is An Ordinance Establishing the Municipality of Sabtang as a Heritage Island/Village and Creating for this Purpose a Sabtang Municipal Eco-Tourism and Heritage Council. Another local legislation is Resolution 2001-033 which is A Resolution Designating the Cultural and Natural Heritage of the Municipality of Sabtang."

If the local governments of Sabtang and Batanes even care about the inscription in the UNESCO World Heritage List, or at the very least, are interested in preserving the local heritage of Batanes, they better do something to halt these new constructions and make sure they conform with the architectural styles prescribed in the said ordinances.

In fact, UNACOM had already called the attention of Batanes last year regarding another important site, the Racuaydi Nakavajayan (Fountain of Youth) in Mahatao, where the municipal government undertook some new constructions (think cheap looking pools). A letter was sent to Batanes sometime August or September 2009 but the governor did not respond to the said communication.

The nomination of Batanes to the UNESCO World Heritage List started in 2003. In 2005, it was put on deferred status. By 2007, it was on referred status. There had already been a lot of resources poured into the nomination. So far, all the needed information had already been generated and was at hand as early as 2008. All the province had to do was to come up with the dossier. Since the deadline date for submitting the requirements of ICOMOS and the Committee had lapsed, the process of nomination will have to start all over again. However, a new nomination will only happen if the province, particularly its governor and congressman, are receptive to the preparation of a new dossier.

So in the meantime, let's keep our eye on the Mount Hamiguitan Range Wildlife Sanctuary in Davao Oriental which is up for nomination this year to the UNESCO World Heritge List with Batanes now sidetracked as a result of the inaction of their local officials.

Monday, March 08, 2010

Batanes: Batanes food adventure!

Batanes food is quite unique, it would be a shame if you did not try out the local cuisine. At every Ultimate Philippines tour to Batanes, we make sure everyone gets immersed in the local flavors of Batanes.

For starters, there's (1) humet or seaweed soup, (2) supas or turmeric rice, (3) chipuhu or breadfruit, (4) tamiduk or Ivatan salad which includes steamed pako or fiddlehead fern, eggplant, string beans, chopped tomatoes, and minced onions, (5) pinasu wakay or roasted kamote, (6) vunes or dried gabi, (7) wakay or boiled yam and (8) amay or mashed kamote and taro.

Then for the main course, there's (9) payi or lobster, (10) arayu, dorado or mahi-mahi, (11) tatus or coconut crab, (12) lataven a among or kinilaw na isda, (13) lunies or Ivatan adobo made with liempo, and (14) uvud balls made with pork, flying fish and banana trunk.

For dessert, there's (15) bukayo, (16) ducay salad, (17) glorified gabi and (18) rawut or millet.

As part of the tour, we arrange buffet lunches and picnics by the beach, and cocktails and sunset dinners at picturesque attractions Batanes.

Of course we have some Filipino comfort food too. But rest assured, you'll be getting an authentic Ivatan food experience on every Ultimate Philippine food tour. Our first tour to Batanes for the year ended today. We're all flying back to Manila tomorrow. There are five more tours for this year. So book now!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Batanes: Chavayan, Savidug, Nakabuang Beach and more from Sabtang

Sabtang Island is a must-visit for anyone who wants to experience Batanes. The last time I was in Batanes, the waters were rough. So the trip to Sabtang was an ordeal. But when I was there in May, the waters were calm.

In Sabtang, we visited the villages of Savidug and Chavayan. On the way to Chavayan from Savidug, you'll be able to see an idiang, the ruins of an old stone fortresses on top of which early Ivatan settlements were built. For more details on these, check out Batanes stone houses in Savidug and Chavayan, Nakabuang Beach and more from Sabtang Island.

Lunch was at Nakabuang Beach where tables were set-up for the group. A staple dish in most Sabtang lunches is lobster. So if you do get to visit, make sure to tell your guide you want to have lobster for lunch. I'll discuss what we ate in another post.

It's best to be back in Batan Island early in the afternoon since the water tends to get rough the later it gets. There's actually another village worth visiting is Sumnanga. But you'll have to stay overnight if you want to visit it since it's a bit far. The tourism office of Sabtang has a few rooms for tourists who decide to stay on the island for a night.

As soon as we got back to Batan, everyone went for a rest in Fundacion Pacita. We had a barbecue dinner planned there in the evening plus a cultural presentation. The locals performed the Palo-Palo Dance, an Ivatan dance which reenacts the conflict and eventual reconciliation between the Spaniards and Ivatans (a big part of local fiesta celebrations), and serenaded us with local Ivatan folk songs.

Part 1: Batanes adventure: Mahatao, Ivana and Uyugan
Part 3: Batanes adventure: Valugan Beach, Vayang, Nakamaya Burial Grounds, Diura Fishing Village and Naidi Hill

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

Monday, December 01, 2008

Batanes: Stone houses in Savidug and Chavayan, Nakabuang Beach and more from Sabtang Island

You’ve never been to Batanes if you don’t make the trip to Sabtang Island. If you’re motion sick, you’ll have to prepare for a rough ride outside the summer months. But it’s most definitely worth it!

We were up really early today since the first trip was scheduled to leave at 6 a.m. We were there on time but after close to two hours of waiting, the boat had not yet arrived and we were told that the captain was still waiting the for the waves to calm down a bit. It was close to 9 a.m. when we got to board the boat. The ride was terribly rough and I got sea sick. I had to take a breather when we arrived in Sabtang before we left the town proper for a jeep ride around the island.

In Sabtang, you get to visit the traditional villages of Savidug and Chavayan. These barangays remain mostly untouched and take you back in time when life was so simple. In fact, they are candidates for inscription in the UNESCO World Heritage List. And I hope the locals keep their village and way of life the way it is.

The first village outside the town proper which you'll stopover at is Savidug. You'll have the chance to walk around the barangay and marvel at all the centuries-old Batanes stone houses that comprise the village. On the way to our next stop, we saw the Savidug idiang. Idiangs are pre-colonial fortified settlements of the ancient Ivatans.

We stopped by the Chamantad Sanctuary where we were afforded panoramic views of the Sabtang coast. It was a grand experience hiking to the edge to the cliffs for a fantastic view of the beach down below. But do be careful since the winds can be very strong. But that's part of the experience.

In Chavayan, it was fun exploring the narrow streets lined by centuries-old stone houses with thick walls and cogon roofs. One could also purchase the traditional vakul head-gear worn by Ivatan women to shield them from the elements. You can also ask the locals to get you a coconut which you can eat the way the locals do, with a makeshift spoon chipped off from the husk.

There’s also a quaint chapel at the edge of the village built amidst the backdrop of grand mountains. I wish the priest didn't add that ugly extension at the back! They should take it out.

Back in San Vicente Port at the town proper, we were served a sumptuous lunch composed of lobster and adobo. You can try to request for coconut crabs, a local treat! I didn't eat much since I knew the ride back would be rough again. So I used my extra time to visit Barangay Malakdang, one of the poblacion barangays. The Sabtang Church is wonderfully preserved as well except for a few cement alterations to the convento which I hope the priest would revert back to its original state.

Before heading back to Batan Island, we visited Nakabuang Beach, famous for its natural rock arch formation. We didn't have time to swim though. And besides, it was too cold. If you have more time and if you're extra adventurous, you could opt to stay overnight and schedule a visit to Sumnanga which is called "Little Hong Kong" because of the cobblestones that used to cover its narrow streets.

We went back to the port and made our way back to Batan. Exhausted from the two boat rides, I decided to rest the whole night. But Sabtang is indeed a treasure!

Part 1: Batanes, undiscovered paradise up north
Part 2: Marlboro Country, Mahatao Church and more from Batan Island
Part 4: Batanes hotels and restaurants plus exploring Batanes by bike
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