We spent the first week of our 2014 in Batanes, I wrote about our 7-day shebang here, Batanes trip 2014. Batanes is such a beauty in all its nooks and crannies that’s why each of them deserves a dedicated post. Let me start by showing you my favorite part of the trip, our overnight stay in Chavayan, a small charming village in Sabtang island where (most) stone houses are kept in their original state.
Chavayan village is nestled against the mountains and caressed by the sea on the other side. Farming and fishing is the main source of livelihood of the Ivatans here.
At the entrance of Chavayan Village, there’s a small hut of their weaver’s association with vakuls that visitors can wear for a photo-op, just pay Php 20 to compensate for the “depreciation” of the vakul. A vakul is a headgear made from abaca fiber worn by Ivatan women that provides protection from sun, wind and rain when they go to their farms. Ivatan men wear Talugong.
I was in awe with the rows and rows of stone houses while walking farther inside the village.
The walls of stone houses were made with powdered limestone and corals, the roofs were made from cogon grass. The thick walls provide warmth and protection against Batanes’s hostile climate. Each house are the labor of love of a group of people, the product of bayanihan. Now, some repairs to the stone houses were plastered with cement.
The charm of Chavayan Village doesn’t end with the stone houses, it also lingers from the hospitality of the locals.
Ivatan kids run freely in a small plaza, inside the multi-purpose hall, more kids are playing lutu-lutuan and puzzles. No electronic gadgets like DS, Ipads or celphones.
PS: that kid in yellow shirt is not an Ivatan, hehe
At night, they pass time by playing chess.
I was surprised to see plenty of solar panels being used here and also in their town proper, Basco. To think that it’s far from Manila, this simple town is slowly catching up with the modern times.
Despite the vernacular houses, inside these are modern appliances too, TV, gas range, fridge, etc. However, electricity is still rationed, no electricity from 12 midnight until 6 am.
Tourists can stay for the night in one of the stone houses for just Php 150 per pax, you have to pay additional fees for dinner because your host will also cook for you. We were given pillows, blankets and banig by our host. Gwen immediately took a nap after we settled inside our house, we’re just waiting for dinner time.
As I gazed at the sky at night, I noticed that stars are bounty and shining mighty against the pitch black cloud-less sky. It’s so beautiful and serene. By the time midnight strikes and electricity was shut down, it’s one of those moments that I thank God for this opportunity to appreciate the simple things in life: a roof for protection, food on the table, and love from family and friends.