Batanes · Philippines · Travel Tales

A Tour of North Batan, Part 1

Batan is considered the main island of the Batanes group. It has the most population, for it has the largest habitable and arable land area. The municipality of Basco is in north Batan. Our first day in Batanes was a tour of the northern part of Batan Island through BISUMI Travel and Tours. The trip packs several destinations in a small land area. We were fetched from our hotel, Marfel’s Lodge, at noontime. We had lunch first in an open-air restaurant where the pako salad was served after the main course, and the calamares after the salad. (Thankfully, the seafood was fresh and good.) Next, we went upland to see the pretty Mt. Carmel Chapel, where you can hold the destination wedding of your dreams.

Mt. Carmel Chapel
Mt. Carmel Chapel

The chapel is designed after the traditional Ivatan houses. Flowering vines crawl thickly on its door and window frames. There were so many tourists when we came, so we spent a while inside, where the atmosphere was quiet and intimate. Light spilled through windows which overlooked the sea on both sides. The ceilings, I learned, are painted with the patron saints of each Batanes municipality — in the likeness of important people in the province. (At this point, I decided to go out again.)

Altar of Mt. Carmel Chapel
Altar of Mt. Carmel Chapel. The altar table is repurposed machinery

Further up, in Tukon, we went to see the PAGASA Radar Station. It has a Doppler radar here which has made weather forecasting in northern Philippines much more accurate.

PAGASA Tukon Radar Station
PAGASA Tukon Radar Station

Of course, aside from sophisticated equipment, the station still uses traditional weather forecasting equipment like precipitation gauges and a sunshine recorder.

A Campbell-Stokes recorder, which records hours of bright sunshine that burns a hole through a card.
A Campbell-Stokes recorder, which records hours of bright sunshine that burns a hole through a card.

From this area, you have a view of Fundacion Pacita, the most high-end lodgings one can have in Batanes. However, unless you have a room or dining reservation there, you cannot explore the place. (We were lucky to be able to have a look inside a couple of days later, but that’s for another blog post!)

DSC_7682
Fundacion Pacita from afar

In general, Tukon really had great views.

Mt. Carmel Chapel as seen from the radar station
Mt. Carmel Chapel as seen from the radar station

You’d get sweeping views of farms bordered by hedges all over Batan, as in the picture below. The hedges are boundaries between property, and merely sway with strong winds in the event of a typhoon. They are a beautiful sight, and they are everywhere.

Fields bordered by hedges
Fields bordered by hedges
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9 thoughts on “A Tour of North Batan, Part 1

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