I Left My Heart and Soul in Batanes (Part 2: Sabtang and Vuhus Islands)
|A stunning cove we saw on our way to Vuhus Island|
The highlight of our trip in Batanes was days two and three--when we explored the majestic islands of Sabtang and Vuhus; when we had our first faluwa (round-bottomed boat) ride; when we stayed at the Malakdang Lighthouse for a night; when we had the best lunis (Ivatan pork adobo) on a no-frills set-up by the beach; and when the spectacular underwater of Vuhus Island unfolded before our eyes. Those were the things that made our Batanes trip memorable.
We started our journey as early as 6:00 am when Ryan Cardona of BISUMI Tours and Services fetched us from Palangud Homestay. Ryan, an Ivatan who used to work as a tour guide, now operates his own travel and tours company.
At about 6:30 am, we arrived at the port of Ivana where three faluwas were waiting for passengers, mostly tourists from different parts of the Philippines. We waited for all the passengers to board before we hopped on the outrigger-less boat as Ryan said it's better to board last so we can disembark first. True enough, the front seats were the best spot on the boat, as it allowed me to take photos while onboard.
I must admit that I was skeptical at first to ride the faluwa as I've seen horrible videos on Youtube, showing how huge the waves and how scary the ride is. In fact, I almost dismissed the idea of going to Sabtang Island days before our trip, but I convinced myself to take the risk in the end.
Contrary to what I've watched on videos and what I've read on blogs, we did not experience rough seas during our trip. It was smooth and just a little bit bumpy in the middle, but nevertheless it wasn't the worst boat ride I've ever had. (If you've read my posts on San Vicente, Palawan, you will understand what I mean). Take note that we went to Batanes in June. Travel time from Batan Island to Sabtang port was exactly 30 minutes.
|Passengers boarding the faluwa|
|With Ryan Cardona of BISUMI Tours and Services|
|One smooth ride|
Approaching Sabtang Island, we were welcomed by sights that instantly captured our hearts: white shores, a lighthouse, and beautiful rock formations. Alas, I survived the faluwa ride!!!
|The Malakdang Lighthouse|
|The lighthouse from afar|
|Arriving at the port of Sabtang|
|In Sabtang, tricycles usually have cogon roofs|
Usually, tourists opt to only do a day tour of Sabtang, which enables them to go back to Batan Island by around 1:00 pm. However, many guests now spend more time on the island to appreciate its breathtaking views. We really allotted a night in Sabtang Island simply because we wanted to explore its neighbouring island of Vuhus.
There are several accommodation options on the island. One is to stay at a stonehouse in Brgy. Chavayan. This allows guests to experience how Ivatans live within cogon roofs and limestone walls. Kindly note though that Brgy. Chavayan is a bit far from the capitol, so you must buy all your supplies like food, booze, etc. before proceeding to your homestay.
Alternatively, one can stay at the Municipal Tourism Office, where there are basic rooms that can be your shelter for a night or two. Unlike in Brgy. Chavayan, this accommodation is right at the heart of the capitol and is near the port.
|A room at the Municipal Tourism Office|
|The house beside the Malakdang Lighthouse|
|A fan-cooled room for four persons|
|The living took, dining and kitchen|
Oh, and did I tell you the house has its own videoke, too? Yes, you can sing out loud and no one will bother you (or the other way around) until the power shuts down at midnight.
|A view from the backdoor of the house|
|A view from the veranda|
|From the lighthouse, you can see the long stretch of sand and the Sabtang Port|
|From the lighthouse window|
|From the backdoor|
|A glance at the lighthouse before we proceed to Vuhus Island|
We started the tour of Sabtang and Vuhus Islands right away after picking up our lunch at an eatery near the port. What a pleasant experience it was to hop on a cogon-roofed tricycle! Our first stop was the Nakanmuan Village, the smallest baranggay in Sabtang, which only has around 20 families--that's how small it is!
Along the way, I couldn't help but be in-love with the stunning vistas. There were back-to-back white sand coves, verdant hillsides, towering cliffs, as well as cows and goats freely roaming around common pasturelands. My heart was shouting with joy!
|A view of Nakabuang Beach from the uphill road|
|That's Vuhus Island across the blue waters!|
|Another cove along the way|
|And this one, too!|
|Winding road, right?|
|Our faluwa to Vuhus Island|
|Low tide at Vuhus Island|
|Docking at the sand bar|
|The ranger house|
|Can you spot who's the real beachbum here?|
|Best lunis ever!|
|The tide's getting higher|
If you plan to snorkel around Vuhus Island, it is best that you bring your own gears like masks, snorkel, aqua shoes, lifevests, and of course, an underwater camera.
|See how beautiful and clear the water is?|
|Look what they have caught!|
|A fisherman on his faluwa|
|Stonehouses line a street in Sumnanga|
|Cattle on an expansive pastureland|
|The gleaming fine white sand|
|The other side of the beach|
|Gazebos where lunch is usually served|
|Our home in Sabtang Island|
Isn't it priceless to go home after a tiring day with this view right at your backdoor? Sorry, I couldn't get over the fact that we were actually staying beside a lighthouse which commands fantastic views of one of the most elusive destinations in the Philippines!
|Sunset in Sabtang|
For dinner, I requested again for lunis while they also served us adobo (the saucy variety), fish sinigang (local soup), and veggies.
|Lunis for the win!|
Sabtang and Vuhus Islands certainly stole my heart. It was love at first sight. This side of the country is indeed, heaven on earth.
Up next: More of Sabtang Island
BISUMI Tours and Services
+63919.279.5963 / +63915.803.4582