February 22, 2012… Wednesday, Ash Wednesday
The Island Province of Batanes is the smallest province in the Philippines with a land area of about 230 square kilometers. It boasts of ten islands (of the 7107 of the Philippines), three of which are inhabited by peace-loving and friendly Ivatans.
When people asked me about Batanes, I always end my story saying that every Filipino should go there in their lifetime just to experience how was it living in the olden times when we have to make do with what nature hands to us.
Batanes has a different beauty, it has similar land forms with that of Scandinavian countries (as I’ve seen in pictures and movies) rolling hills, endless black rock cliffs and strong waves splashing on them, can you imagine what that look sounds? You would wish you can capture a shoreline scene with your video and bring back the memories to your home so you can play it over and over again.
The group, whose trip to Batanes I have been directed to facilitate, arrived on a 32-seater plane from Manila ( note that I arrived yesterday from Tuguegarao City where my office is based) and were heralded by the third day of the cold front. You can see what I mean by the pictures I’ve taken with the Cannon IXUS digital camera. Let’s call them PHILTOA.
After checking in at the Batanes Resort and a hearty breakfast off we go St. Carmel Church
Batanes and it is said that the faces of the saints depict that of local people/local townsfolk. It is said to have been built as a venue for the wedding of a daughter of a renowned political leader of the country who hails from Batanes.
The place is so serene and could be a very wonderful setting for a rustic wedding ceremony, that is, if the bride and groom can afford to bring the entire entourage to Batanes. Add to the trip, a couple of days to see the sights, sounds and culinary delights of this wonderful province.
Please note that when I say “can afford” I take note of the fact that going to Batanes has always been “on official trip” for me, otherwise, I could not really afford to go there because my salary as a government employee is not that much, unless I save up for at least a year, hahaha. No, seriously, during this trip, I saw a wedding invitation that was left at the church pew by a Filipina and a foreigner.
Today, Batanes’ facilities for tourists range from spartan to one of the best money can buy if one dreams of a relaxing vacation. So, where do you go for the reception and honeymoon to complete the out-of-this-world wedding experience? Fundacion Pacita…. Look at my pix in the previous blog lying on a bed . . .
If you plan to wed in Batanes (or in any of the churches in Batanes which are all equally enchanting), it has to be in the Roman Catholic rites. The priests in Batanes are some of the great preachers in town. You can also bring your own minister though and have the wedding officiated outdoors, in windswept locations.
Every time I get back from Batanes, I always feel rejuvenated physically, emotionally and spiritually. As a practicing Roman Catholic, I had the privilege of celebrating Ash Wednesday while in Batanes for two years in a row now, today happens to be the second time.
Oh, where can you find a place without noise, traffic, burglars, loud blaring music, dust maybe… and because the ivatans eat healthy you will be able to really enjoy the vacation without worrying about the excess weight. No big shopping malls either!
If reading my blogs can make you think you wanna get there, I suggest you please go from Tuguegarao City and enjoy the valley first before flying to Batanes :).
Gosh! I love what i do for a living!
Now, live a marvelous and enchanting life!