Thursday, April 21, 2011

BATANES: Start of Nature Exploration

DAY1: I was standing in massive green cliffs rising from 50-70 meters above sea-level and as I stood still, it’s like I was at the top of the famous cliff of Moher in Ireland. Taming the cold easterly winds and enjoying the panoramic view of the 35 km² Batanes Island. Wow! Yes, I thought I was only dreamin’ but no, it’s not. This is real. I am here, with my newly found friends, enjoying the serene beauty and breathtaking landscapes and seascapes of the northernmost tip of the Philippine archipelago — Batanes.

I have been so lucky that I have made it to join Mandy Navasero's Photo-Safari Tour in Batanes last April 1-4, 2011. (My gratitude to the Almighty for allowing me to see His wonderful creations. This is an experience that I won’t forget.) This trip is another treat for me and an escape from a hard day’s work. A fun and nature adventure courtesy of my boss Madam Nila. She and her husband Ronnie joined Mandy’s photo-safari and for reasons that I share same passion for photography, she decided to tag me along. hehe

Mang Roger conducts his tour briefing 

As I have said in my previous post, I almost didn’t make it to the airport but fortunately, as my boss said, I was meant to go there. So, here I am making notes again to share a bit of info about this once in a lifetime nature adventure in Batanes. 

For almost two hours, we were traveling. We arrived at the Basco airport via Sea Air around 7am. But prior to that, for some reasons, management announced that our luggage will be withheld till the following morning.

After staying for a while at the airport, a van brought us to a restaurant for breakfast briefing headed by an eloquent resident tour-guide Mr. Roger Amboy. Mang Roger as many called him, is a familiar face among Ivatans (natives of Batanes). He’s been doing this for 20 years and that’s the reasons why he knows every corner of Batanes. Then he moved us to the famous Batanes Seaside Lodge-our official home for our 3 nights and 4 days stay. Everyone was so excited already and we hop-in to our designated 12-seater jeep.

During our trip, he is giving us a brief lecture about the history of Batanes. He even cited personalities who went there. He told us lots of stories as we moved from one location to another. I saw how Mang Roger managed the tour, how he made his guests comfortable during the trip and got them to enjoy every destination that they visit. Participants like me

Batanes21 group pix at the entrance of Japanese tunnel
Bulacan beauties prepare their gadgets as they move through the tunnel :)

Our first stop is the Dipnaysupuan Japanese Tunnel. It served as hideout for Japanese soldiers during World War II. The tunnel is pitch black even during daytime and as we passed by, we had to turn on our flashlights. As we dive into the tunnel, 10-feet vertical drop, Mang Roger simultaneously narrated to us some events that had transpired during those periods. From what I see, this underground passage has five chambers, one leads to a cliff and the others are exits to the road. As we walk, we had to be watchful because the passage is a bit narrow and the ceiling is inches away from the head.

30-minutes of tunnel spelunking is an experience that really excites every tourist who visits the place. Though its not as famous as other tunnels, this Japanese-made tunnelscape made you realized how it feels when you are virtually being squeezed by the earth's mouth..tremble yourself as Americans bombarded this island during the World War II.

( Watch out for my next post soon..)

Monday, April 11, 2011

BATANES: The Departure

AN EARLY WAKE UP CALL  arose me from a good night sleep last  April 1, 2011. I've thought that I might have been a victim of the April fools' thingy but at the back of my mind, even If I am partly conscious, I am sure that this call is of utmost importance to me at that very moment. But I was unperturbed, still. 

After almost an hour, the alarm got my attention again from stupor when I heard "Mandy's voice and glanced at the time on my mobile, it's 4:30am. For no reasons at all, I do not know why my alarm  keeps on ringing. Honestly, I'm weighing myself if I will still go or not with my appointment with Mandy.

I had to decide right away or else, its now or its never. Our flight schedule is 5:45 and worst is, I'm still in Quezon City. I want to fly to be able to get there easily, I told myself, but reality tells me to comply with how the system works. To tell you, I have some inhibitions: that maybe this trip is not for me, that I have more things to accomplish and prioritize for or the fact that I could not wake up on time due to staying late in office the previous nights. I looked out of the window and asked God for a sign. 

Suddenly, Mandy called and said that she had my boarding pass secured, that I had to be there before 5:30. Immediately after this I took my luggage, ran to the dark corridors of the street, hopped on a cab to the airport and tell the driver, "Don't ask me how much I will pay you, but please get this goddamn taxi to the NAIA (Ninoy Aquino International Airport) in less than 30 minutes."

And so we flew like hell as if the cab I was in is the king of the road. But a few meters away from Sanctuarium (Crematorium) in Araneta Avenue, police patrol held us for over speeding with my PhP300 worthless explanations. Thanks to this gallant driver who made my day and made me reached my destination very right on time.

So This is It! This is really for me. I am destined to go to Batanes.... not just to explore the place but to make wonderful and memorable stories once again for my almost dying travel blog :)

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