Batanes Tour Day 3: Southern Batan Island (UnMarlboro Country, Honesty Coffee Shop)

What do you do in Batanes on a rainy day?  I called Front Office to ask.   We had the morning free as Kuya Art, our tour guide, had to attend a tour guide association meeting in Sabtang Island today so our meeting time was moved to 12:30pm.

IMG_1841Ramil suggested a massage. Oh I love this idea specially since I woke up at 4am today. Must be jetlag. Haha. He further suggested that we order our complimentary breakfast for room service. Shortly thereafter, our breakfast was delivered to us.

We merely opened our room door to the adjacent dining room where we enjoyed our cool, breezy, windy oceanside view with our delicious Arugula Parmesan Salad, Ivatan Naked Longganisa, and Dried Flying Fish with Fresh Tarragon Tea, Breads with Tomato Jam and Herbed Butter, Calamansi Juice.

Soon our masseuses, Rowena and Charmagne arrived. It was very relaxing. Each of the ladies holds other day jobs too. Malu started sharing the bible with them during our massage while I prayed that God open their hearts. But afterwards, as my tired muscles got stretched and kneaded, I dozed off. While I was snoring, Malu spent more time to explain God’s free gift of salvation to them and they both received it!

Charmagne (left) and Rowena (right)

With a little time before tour begins, I started appreciating more of the interior details…

and the cover feature of Fundacion Pacita on Mabuhay Magazine.IMG_1843I went ahead to explore the entrance at the property and got a little education on the Ivatan life from one of the gentlemen at the Front Office (More on that in a future post).

Exactly on time, we got picked up by our tour shuttle van and brought to Paulvana’s for lunch where we had beef soup, beans with cuttlefish, Chicken Afritada (with a tomato based chicken sauce and potatoes), with Bocayo (dessicated coconut sweet).

At the ground floor are some souvenirs for sale—Turmeric Tea, Turmeric drink. The messages on the wooden hand-carved decor/paper weights evoke Ivatan sensibilities. We want to get stuff but are mindful of the 10 kg baggage allowance on the flight.

We proceeded to Bahay Estrella, now more popularly known as House of Dakay, which was built in 1877 through bayanihan spirit, the Filipino culture of volunteerism: people from the community came together to help Jose Dakay build his house.  The walls are made of stone and coral, the reason the structure has lasted thus far. The thatched roof from cogon is replaced every twenty-five years or so. This is a typical Ivatan house, built in Spanish colonial times with a separate next-door kitchen and comfort room while the main house had a basement where root crops, firewood were stored and domesticated animals can stay. The Ivatans would remove their slippers right by the door before entering the house barefoot.

bahay estrella

We stopped by the Spanish Bridge, a relic of the Spanish occupation in the Philippines but still a functioning passageway today.


White Beach and Hohmoron Lagoon. The sand here is coarser than that in Sabtang Island’s Morong Beach but it has its own charms along with the clear water and surrounding mountain landscape.


We visited some churches. On the left is Ivana San Jose Church built in the 1800’s, still of stone structure to withstand the regular typhoons. On the right is San Antonino de Florencia Church in Uyugan built in 1871.

Honesty Coffee Shop. This is the place to get varieties of souvenirs, handicrafts made locally.  What makes it unique is that there is no cashier. You pay based on your honesty. As we passed by the sign that says “The Lord is my Security Guard,” one of our companions said, “That’s high definition CCTV.”

I got shocked when I saw the price of this item only to find out I misread it.

Along the way, we see these goats neatly nestled in nooks on the mountain side.


UnMarlboro Country.  The place has a name. Racuj a Payaman. (Silent J).

Joanne and I got stuck to each other’s back like conjoined twins because it was too cold if we moved. Gigi was freezing, too. I didn’t realize just how blessed we are in Manila. I sometimes find the heat inconvenient and unpleasant but on this day without the sun, I appreciated it very much.  The weather forecast was for 73/78F    23/26C Windy with Morning Shower but the real feel, I would say was 50F / 10C, definitely colder than what we get in Manila. The wind was so strong, I felt like I could entrust my most of my weight by standing against it.

I-DawnZulueta-Mo-Ako (Sweep Me Off My Feet) Beach: Madangay


Paderes Point and Cliff Road

Chawa Viewing Deck


Work-in-Progress National Museum

This beautiful sculpture may be amended to be more realistic in portraying the Ivatan way of fishing.

Mahatao Spanish Lighthouse


It was so providential that the Tour Guide Association meeting of Kuya Art was today, the rainy day of March 6. That moved the originally scheduled boat ride today to yesterday which was perfectly sunny. Even then, the waves were bumpy, all the more if we had to take it today. I thought the schedule change was because of the weather but Kuya Art said it was really because of the meeting.

So thankful that the Lord made a way for us to better and more safely enjoy our short time in Batanes.

Psalm 31:15a My times are in Your hands.

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