Monday, December 20, 2010

SABTANG: 01 – Dancing with the Waves


Sabtang is one of Batanes’ main islands. Located southwest of Batan, the island is home to six towns (if I am not mistaken) among which the more popular ones are Chavayan and Savidug in the east. It also serves as the take-off point to get to Vuhus or Adekey, two smaller uninhabited islands to the west that serve as grazing areas for cows and goats. To get to Sabtang you have to take a 50-peso faluwa ride from Ivana’s San Vicente Port. That is around 30-45 minutes spent on a motorized boat dancing on the waves.


It is advised that you be in Ivana by 6 AM if you plan on catching the earliest trip to Sabtang. I arrived there at 7 AM. So, I have this love-hate relationship with sleep. Bite me. The boat arrived quarter past eight, which gave me ample time to check out the Ivana Church and the Honesty Coffee Shop. Both landmarks are just two back flips away from the port itself. The proximity makes it easy for you to see if the boat is already leaving, in case you wander longer than you should.


The Ivana Church resembles the one in Batan and only differ in size and view (Rolling Hills for Batan, Sabtang Island for Ivana). The Honesty Coffee Shop is understocked but the idea of a self-service store appealing to a person’s moral compass never ceases to amaze. You are honest, Ivatans. We get the point.


After getting two packs of Rebisco Butter Biscuits from the said store, I then sat by the beach to wait for the boat. And yes, I paid for the biscuits. It might not be that obvious but I also have a conscience. Anyway, the island across the sea seems so near yet so far. Brownish and mist-shrouded, it turns into patches of green, beige, and brown as the sun begins to shine.


Loading the boat takes about 15 minutes. Among us passengers were some boxes, two bicycles, a motorcycle, and two wriggling sacks. I think there were kids inside, whether humans or goats, I had no idea. I forgot to ask if bringing a bike would cost you more, but it is obvious that you are allowed to do so depending on the load of the boat. However, I suggest otherwise. Your bike would not be of any use to you if you plan to visit any of the four towns outside Centro. Believe me.


Your tolerance of seasickness would define your boat trip. If you think Enchanted Kingdom’s Anchors Away is scary, then good luck to you. While the waves would not swing you to dizzying heights like the mentioned ride would, the mere sight of them threatening to swallow you whole would suffice to get you worried. The fact that you are crossing that part where the Pacific Ocean and the South China Sea meet could also fuel your paranoia. Tip? Brave the ocean. The beauty waiting on the other side is well worth the nausea. In all weirdness, I was actually able to find solace in the chaotic chorus of waves slapping the sea and loud motor engine running. Add the gentle spray of sea water on your face and you get a genuine 4D experience which is  again, way better than the one at Enchanted Kingdom.


There is no other way to get to Sabtang other than crossing that body of water. It was a frequent game of catch-the-moment-on-my-camera-phone-then-put-it-back-in-the-ziplock-before-I-drop-it-into-the-ocean for me. I enjoyed the trip. It is cool to see how Ivana gets smaller and Centro gets bigger as you go the distance. It is also a realization that you should not judge distance based on what your eyes can see because a lot of factors are involved when you travel by water. And then we disembarked at the Sabtang port.
SABTANG: 01 - Dancing with the Waves 

2 creature/s gave a damn:

Barefoot Venus said...

Nice photos:) One of my dream destination is Batanes! Hope I could visit this place soon...
Keep on posting!

ihcahieh said...

@Barefoot Venus - Thanks! Batanes is a really marvelous place. Hope you get to visit it soon. :)

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