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BATANES postcard beauty (2/2)
Source: Manila Bulletin
Author: Jaser A. Marasigan
Date: 2004-07-25

The Ivatans lie in communities of stonehouses laid out along narrow streets that follow the contour of the land. Completely impregnable, these houses can withstand the wind velocity on bad days.

A typical Batanes Heritage House has two separate structures. The first one serves as living room and sleeping area while another is for the kitchen and bathroom. The house is built with a meterthick of lime and stone for its walls and a two-sloped roof made of one-foot thick of cogon grass.

Regional director Blessida Diwa said that these houses, which speak of the Ivatanís legacy, have been given by the Department of Tourism (DoT) financial support for its preservation and maintenance.

So far, 30 of these houses are accredited by the DoT for its ďhomestay programĒ and for only R100, a person can already stay overnight, plusR50 for breakfast. It is a good way for tourists to experience the Ivatan way of life. While there is already a 24-hour power source, cable TV, cellsites and Internet access, there are still no moviehouses, no malls or even markets (food is being sold door-to-door). You can go spelunking, mountain climbing, trekking, biking, scuba diving, surfing or even bird and whale watching, instead. Itís just going to be you communing with nature...far from the socalled curse of urbanization. And where bikes and scooters are the only means of transportation.


DoT has big plans for Batanes, including the rehabilitation of its airport and construction of a new seaport that could accommodate cruise liners. Others like a spa and an artistís village are well-suited for the image that the DoT is trying to project for Batanes and the market that it caters, that is, tourists who are willing to spend good money.

It is about time that the DoT shift their attention to other places like Batanes. And I hope that they will bring tourism here without destroying its character because as it is, anywhere you look...itís nothing but a landscape of unsurpassed beauty. It lingers in your mind even long after youíve left it...

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