This Flirty Old House Winks At Me!

One of the preserved Ivatan stone houses in Savidug with its own subdued charm. It was mesmerizing to a point of this silly imagination—did it just winked at me?

Day4 – Sabtang Island
Sabtang, Batanes

A neighboring old lady was minding her things when she saw me taking a picture. She introduced me to the house as owned by some famous doctor.

Which I can’t now really recall.

These native stone houses are called vahay in the local Ivatan dialect. Interestingly, the common tagalog word for a house is bahay. And to the south, the Bisayan region, the equivalent word is balay.

000021Port of Ivana (aka Radiwan Port)

You start your journey to Sabtang mainly via Radiwan in the town of Ivana. Visible in the middle distant is the San Jose de Obrero church sporting a separate bell tower.

000020Sabtang at first sight

Behind Radiwan’s huge breakwaters (above) is the island of Sabtang.

Ivana town is at the southern tip of Batan island directly confronting Sabtang in a seeming square off  – face to face.

Captain my captain

It’s quite comforting to just see your destination even before the boat trip begun. This is in reference of course to our very traumatic trip to Itbayat the day before.

A number of passengers positioned themselves standing at the bow eagerly awaiting to see Sabtang. But that probably blocked our very young captain’s view. The only reason I can think of on why our captain (above) was standing and shooting his head out of the sunroof window. Most likely to check our bearing while simultaneously steering with his feet.  Talk about multi-tasking?

000018Sabtang’s town center, aptly named Centro

Centro, as it’s called, is the island’s town center, where the municipal hall, church, schools, market (pictured above) and port is located. More like a plaza mayor in the spanish time.

Also at Centro is the Tourism Information center where somebody’s arranging our tour.

I bumped with a fellow nikonian at the tourism center, Danny T., as we both missed an NCP event the same schedule as our trip.

Well, whose to pass on Batanes anyway?

15 minutes later and our guide, Mang Emil, arrived with our tour jeep.

000016We’re on top of the road

And the first order of the day? Riding on the roof or top-loading… offering a majestic view of the island’s picturesque coastline.

There were 5 takers – me, Manny, Mang Emil’s wife and kid and his cousin. And we have only 1 legitimate passenger left below.


It’s a real bumpy ride, believe me. With no padding  protecting our precious behind, it’s as direct-to-the-metal as you can get, yielding us back to the comfort of a cushioned seat below.

Manny (top) riding on the roof with Mang Emil’s family.

000014Leisure accessories, bikes and hammock

The town of Savidug was our first stop. This is a heritage site with rows and rows of old Ivatan stone houses are still preserved.

Picture above is taken from inside a stone house with a huge and crude stone rice grinder.

000012Chamantad offers a great view

A short trek from the side of the road leads to a breathtaking view of Sabtang’s coast (above).

If only we can take ourselves to have a dip on its unspoiled beauty. But that’s not covered on this part of the trip.

000009Chavayan Church

At the end of the town is a small church.

I’m not sure if it has a proper name but they simply call it the Chavayan church.

It’s a sunny day and I was standing on a pole to take this shot, as Manny tried to take a picture of me (above) as well.

000006Lunch at Nakabuang Arch

Wrapping up our guided tour of Sabtang is a bountiful lunch under Nakabuang arch near the beach.

It’s Manny and Gene (above) with the guide taking a shelter on a shallow cave behind, while us were reviewing our shots and drinking our bukos (coconut milk).

Nobody wanted to swim. Everyone is in a siesta mood – that is a laid back beach bumming after a hearty luncheon.

And we’re done here?

Well not quite, cause I’m still in the mood… see you on my next post.


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