While waiting for the start of our tour (11 am), we had a walk along Abad Street, where the wet and dry markets are situated. The only fresh fish available during this season (February) are these Flying Fishes. Some dried fish hanging in the market, with some local produce: fruits and vegetables.
Vayang Rolling Hills
These are seemingly endless waves of rolling hills. It boasts of the perfect combination of landscapes and seascapes. Riding straight pass the Cathedral, we drove up to Vayang Rolling Hills - where the view is simply breathtaking. The site provides the best vantage point where you can see the three islands of Batanes.At the same mountain range, we went to Basco Lighthouse in Naidi Hills. Naidi is an old Sitio derived from the Ivatan words, "Na" meaning Past, "Idi" which settlement or community. Climbing up the lighthouse, it is where we see the view of the whole town proper.
Diura Fishing Village
We headed to Diura Fishing Village - this is a sitio in the eastern part of Mahatao town where an association of fishermen called Mataw practices the traditional fishing for Arayu (dorado). The fisherman's houses at the foot hill, were mostly unoccupied. Because they only stay here during the fishing season (March to May). The fish ponds serves as storage for the fisherman's catch. They have ritual called kapayvanuvanua signifying the start of the fishing season which usually falls in March. The village offers a good view of the Pacific ocean and Mt. Iraya.
DDD Habitat Inc - Basco Batanes
Upon arrival at around 8 am, we checked in at DDD Habitat Pension House, its a typical hometel in Basco, nothing fancy basic facilities. Only good point is its cheap price (as low as 600 php per pax per night), and its location which is walking distance to the market.
Cape Engaño Lighthouse
Located atop a hill in Palaui, where you can get a 360-view of Babuyan island and Dos Hermanos island, is the historic Cape Engano lighthouse. Many people find it mysterious, probably because of the effort required to get there plus the fact that looking at it will make you wonder of its past. True to its age, the lighthouse is already battered and worn-down, yet it poses an intriguing charm. The time we spent at Cape Engano is the only time we really rested. To my surprise, we manged to get there in two and a half hours - a bit faster than what I predicted. The view from the lighthouse was really stunning. On one side we can see the Dos Hermanos islands and on the other side the contrasting beauty of Palaui island - the rough ocean waves on the left, the vast green fields in the middle and the calm beach on the right. It was such a beauty to behold! We left Cape Engano with satisfied and fulfilled hearts.
After paying environmental fee (200 php) at the municipal hall, we proceed to our first stop - Brgy. Savidug. Barrio Suvidug is compose of traditional stone houses. Some house ruins can also be seen along the streets. It is a small village with unique traditional style houses. The roofs of the houses are made of cogon grass and the walls are made of lime.At the end of Savidug street, a simple white chapel stands, the Sto Thomas Chapel.
Next stop is Brgy Chavayan Stone houses. The best area to visit if you want to see an authentic vernacular or stone houses is in a small village called Chavayan. Walking through the tiny villages of traditional stone houses and quiet narrow streets of Savidug and Chavayan in Sabtang Island will make you feel like being flown to another country or to a place where time just stood still. The stone houses in Chavayan are currently nominated for the UNESCO World Heritage List. The houses still looks exceptionally stunning with the village nestled between the tall lush mountains and cliffs on one side and a spectacular view of the sea where the churning waters of the South China Sea and the Pacific Ocean meet. Walls are not only compose of rocks but sea shells and corals as well.
San Carlos Borromeo Church
According to our driver/guide (which is a Mahatao native) - the locals have cooperated to rebuild the church after the Typhoon Odette last Sept 2013, interior ceiling is made of natural Reed material locally grown. Beside the church has this old Spanish lighthouse. Southern Batan has its own lighthouse as well, the Mahatao Tayid Lighthouse :
For dinner we were brought to Pension Ivatan (opposite Basco airport). we ordered their specialty Ivatan Platter - combination of supas (turmeric rice), tamiduk (pako salad), Grilled Beef, Squid, Flying fish, Uved, Luñis, Vunes (dried gabi leaf), Shrimps, and Tatus (Coconut crab); and Dukay salad for dessert. This ends our second day in this cinematic haven of Batanes.