My favorite place in Batanes was Racuh a Payaman, more commonly known as Marlboro Country.
As soon as we walked on top of the wide and flat hill top I wanted to run around with my arms spread out and sing, “The hills are alive…..”
Of course nobody wanted to hear me sing so we did the jumping shot instead.
These pictures can’t relay the wonderment I felt while on top of that hill. I felt like a small speck on earth.
Remember the cigarette commercial with a cowboy on a horse? That’s how this place got the name Marlboro country.
I thought those were pineapples but Chris, our tour guide, said it was a native fruit called uhangu.
Uhangu fruit is eaten by coconut crabs.
Next we drove to Imnajbu country.
I loved the natural rock formations on the water. It looked like works of art.
I patiently waited for a wave of water to crash on top of the small rock ledge.
Our van stopped at the exact spot to see what seemed like a big split in the rock. We actually drove through those rocks.
Imnajbu road bend
Are you lost, little ones?
We also went to the most photographed house and resident in Batanes. The House of Dakay was built using limestone in 1887 making it the oldest house in Batanes. It was one of the 5 structures that survived the earthquake in September 13, 1918 which almost wiped out the the town of Ivana. This house has been declared a UNESCO heritage building.
House of Dakay, the oldest stone house in Batanes
The owner of the house, Florestida Estrella or lola Ida as she is fondly called, is also the oldest woman in Batanes. She’s is now 85 years old.
Lola Ida (picture c/o Wilson)
At the back of her house was another building where they cook.
We drove by the Spanish bridge or Tuhel Bridge the oldest bridge in Batanes that is still being used to this day.
While we shopped for souvenirs our tour guide Chris waited for us in this public shed. He said there were several sheds like this in town. People use it as a respite from heat and rain.
For dinner we went to Pension Ivatan to try their popular platter of local delicacies. This is a “must eat” when in Batanes.
We didn’t think we could finish this huge platter. There were 5 adults and 3 kids in our group.
Ivatan platter – P1,550
Uvud balls were made from grated banana trunk and mixed with fish, pork or beef. Not our favorite. Next to the balls were atchara (pickled green papaya), bagoong (salted shrimp paste) and tomatoes.
I loved the coconut crab and tender grilled squid.
coconut crab & squid
That’s lonyes or fried pork Ivatan style on the lower left corner. Yum!
The vunes or dried gabi stalk was interesting to say the least. We liked the grilled dibang or flying fish. And there’s the turmeric rice or supas.
dibang and vunes
Ivatan platter- before
We did a good job! Bow.
It was an experience trying all Batanes specialty dishes all in one huge platter. At that time we really didn’t know what we were eating except for the fresh seafood. I’m glad we tried this famous platter.
Pension Ivatan menu
The gracious owner convinced us to go back for breakfast to try their famous sizzling pancit. And we did!
What a fab way to end our trip in Batanes.