Batanes · Philippines · Travel Tales

Sabtang Island, Part 3: Morong Beach, and more on the vakul

Perilous roads make for grand views. It’s true for the Cordilleras; it’s also true for Sabtang.

Coast of Sabtang Island
Coast of Sabtang Island

The southernmost part of Sabtang that we were able to reach during our tour was Brgy. Chavayan. Like Brgy. Savidug, it has traditional stone houses nestled between Sabtang’s green slopes and rugged coastline.

A stone house in Brgy. Chavayan, Sabtang
A stone house in Brgy. Chavayan, Sabtang

Here, we were able to have a look inside the Sabtang Weavers Association, where we learned more about the vakul, or the headgear of the Ivatan women. See below again for reference:

Me in a Vakul
Me in a Vakul

The vakul is made from the leaves of the Philippine date palm, locally known as voyavoy. They are then shredded using a device that looks like a hair brush, but with nails as teeth. Afterwards, they are dried and bound together.

Voyavoy leaves shredded to make a vakul
Voyavoy leaves shredded to make a vakul

The vakul shields its user from sun, wind, and rain.

From here, we went back northward, further from the pier, to the white sands of Morong Beach.

Morong Beach, Sabtang
Morong Beach, Sabtang

We had great lunch at the Paypanapanayan Canteen just meters away from the beach. You could order lobsters in advance. As for us, we were content with their fish and tapa, and ate heartily.

Panaypayan Canteen near Morong Beach
Panaypayan Canteen near Morong Beach

One goes to Morong Beach especially to see this natural limestone arch locally known as Ahaw.

Ahaw on Morong Beach, Sabtang
Ahaw Limestone Formation on Morong Beach, Sabtang

If you have time, take a swim, because this might be the only time in your Batanes trip when you’ll truly enjoy a dip in the sea!

I was okay with sitting on a rock.
I was okay with sitting on a rock.

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We had to catch the 1 PM boat back to Batan Island, lest we get caught in low tide, when our faluwa would be unable to leave the docks. It was a rougher ride this time around. When we got back, we found out that typhoon Noul/Dodong was already nearing northeast Luzon, and PAGASA had raised Signal No. 2 over the province. It sounded unreal — we had just come from a trip beneath bright blue skies. This was to change in the next two days.

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