Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Batanes: North & South Batan Tour

To avoid the influx of other tourists, our guide decided to start the tour the other way around, South-to-North Batan, that is. Pleased to show you my handpicked favorites.


Calm and clear turquoise water from the Mahatao Boat Shelter. This serves as a refuge for the fishing vessels in times of unfavorable weather conditions.


Ancient churches always gives me a nostalgic feeling. Like it is endowned with powers that evokes such holiness. This is the San Carlos Borromeo Church in Mahatao. It's excellent state of preservation made it a National Cultural Heritage Treasure by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts on July 2001.


Basco Lighthouse in Naidi Hills. Visitors wishing to climb it can use the spiral staircase inside the lighthouse. Lo and behold! at the 5th floor floor is a viewing deck which gives a stunning 360 degrees view of Baluarte Bay, Basco Town, Mount Iraya and the rolling hills of Batan Island. 
OOTD: Dress by: Fievre

Across is the Bunker's Cafe, which serves per-ordered meals. A lovely setting for a romantic dinner.    



An array of handmade souvenir items. Bring home a taste of Batanes with mini replicas of Ivatan stone houses and Vakul .


Vacul, the unique headgear of the Ivatans. Made of shredded leaves of a unique palm in Sabtang Island. I was really contemplating if i should bring home one. (tee-hee)




House of Dakay. One of the oldest Ivatan houses. Perhaps the most photographed stone house in Batanes. Visitors are welcome to take photos in front of the house, or even inside the house. Just ask for permission before you enter. Dont forget to remove your slipers or shoes before stepping into the house.


Honesty Coffeeshop. This is a self service store. You are free to browse and purchase items that are for sale. Prices are fixed. There are no shopkeepers to serve and take your payments. Kindly list the item/s you purchased and the amount paid in the log book. Please pay the exact amount, nobody is around to give your change. If you want to pay more, we would like to tank your generosity.


We believe that human beings are HONEST, may the good Lord bless you. The income generated by this store is used to buy medicines, food and other basic necessities fo the elderly owners. May you have a fruitful visit. Thank you for your visit. God bless all of us




This is probably one of the most photographed places in Batanes. Also known as the "Marlboro Country", because the grasslands reminds some people of the Marlboro commercial where the animals roam freely in a wide area.




Racuh A Payaman is a communal pastureland with panoramic view of endless rolling hills, the ocean, towering mountains and lush green pastureland


Being here right at this moment on my birthday is truly priceless. I can't help but gasp in awe, the surreal beauty of Batanes right before my very eyes.


Batanes has a certain mystique or perhaps it’s the purity of the place — a beguiling rawness to it. 


We were in for a special lunch, a feast rather at the Marlboro Hills. Thank you for making this possible! Two thumbs up for Ryan Cardona, our nicest and most efficient tour guide. 

The rare Coconut Crab ( Tatu ) The pinchers of this terrestrial crab are so strong it can crack open the coconut-husk shell. Regualrly sold in Sabtang Island, it has a sweet heavenly flesh, when boiled simply in water with salt to taste



Steamed fresh lobsters anyone?




Delectable Ivatan cuisine plus a majestic view of the Marlboro Hills = truly priceless!


The exact scene from the movie where the famous tag line i-Dawn Zulueta mo ako was coined.

Off to the equally stunning North Batan. Hills upon hills of green greet you at the the Rolling Hills of Vayang Ranch.


Exasperated for words amidst the blue summer sky and the stillness of the ocean.




Weather turned kinda gloomy later in the afternoon. But nonetheless, rain or shine nothing can stop me from setting foot on the boulders of the famed Valugan Beach.

Ivatan culture immersion. My admiration for Ivatans grew all the more because of this visit. Whatever it is one learns about them in books and articles is just a small fraction of what one would learn when one takes time to actually be with them.



I felt His love and presence with these lovely people


I think i left my heart somewhere in this quaint and lovely Mt. Carmel Chapel in Tukon. Nestled atop the hill, it is the perfect venue for intimate ceremonies like weddings, and the like.


Kapiyan kamu pa nu Diyos!  Our lady of Mt Carmel Chapel needs funds for repair. in this connection we are humbly asking for your help.

You may drop your donations in our donation box or deposit at our bank account 1081-0553-15 Land Bank Basco Branch or you may contact our Brgy Pastoral Council President Ms. Maria G. Hordonez on her mobile number 0908-3688786


Our Patron Saint, Our Lady of Mount Carmel will shower you and your family with abundant grace and countless blessings.



For God loves a cheerful giver


Kabaya dinner. Instead of plates, it  was a common practice to serve food on the big leaf of the breadfruit (locally called Kabaya) — at Jessica Salamagos Kabaya Restaurant



BATANES NORTH & SOUTH BATAN TOUR 
( with lunch at Marlboro Hills ) P5,200/ head
Add-ons:  Dinner at Kabaya Jessica Salamagos +P400/head
Tour Guide: Ryan Cardona (Highly Recommended )
Contact No: 0998-9885898

Monday, July 7, 2014

Fundacion Pacita Hotel Batanes

Dios Ma Majes (Thank you! ) Grateful to have experienced the surreal, pristine, tranquil, majestic and breathtaking beauty of Batanes!  

  

Fundacion Pacita Batanes Nature Lodge. One of the best boutique hotels in the country, located on top of a cliff with a 270-degree view of the sea, mountains and the sky.
 

The lodge, once the home studio of internationally acclaimed artist Pacita Abad, pays homage to its creative roots with ivatan inspired rooms and suites.



Our lovely room for the weekend. The Family Terrace Suite. With 1 queen bed and 1 single bed. Each suite (a total of 8) combines organic design and interiors with contemporary comforts.




Mesmerized by the enchanting scene by our room's view deck. Utterly priceless!


The hotel's iconic blue bench chairs and tables. Ivatans have  a penchant for blue color, attributed to the beauty of the sea.

Set atop a lush hill and caught between the mountain, sea and sky, the hotel offers the best spot from which to view the scenic landscape and cultural and aesthetic heritage of the Ivatans   

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Staying in this destination hotel, nurtures the artistic lifeblood of its community. It continues to strongly support the local community, from its farm-to-table cuisine to various projects that benefit Ivatan artists and heritage-conservation initiatives.


Breakfast, anyone?




The very same day when I let the sun kissed my skin and the waves touched my feet. Just plain grateful. 


Fundacion Pacita Batanes Nature Lodge
Brgy. Chanarian, Tukon
Basco, Batanes 3900
Philippines
0939-9016353 /0917-8559364
 Email: inquiries@fundacionpacita.ph

Monday, June 23, 2014

Bustling City of Busan: Jagalchi Seafood Market & Nampodong Shopping

This is Part 3 of my Korea series. Have you read my other posts?
Part 1: Winter Sonata's Nami Island and Myeongdong Shopping in Seoul 
Part 2: Everland Resort: Korea's Disneyland 


We took the efficient KTX bullet train from Seoul to Busan. Korea's modern high-speed train completes the journey from the capital's central railway station to Busan in around three hours. Ticket costs 58,000 won (P2,500) one-way. For convenience, have a korean friend book and buy your tickets online because these are the trains most likely to sell-out ahead of time. KTX website and iphone apps are in Korean.

A piece of advice:  If you can possibly avoid it, try NOT to travel back to Seoul on a Sunday night. Tickets sell fast, can be quite pricey and poor souls wanting to get back to Seoul might end up in standing room.
 

Welcome to the vibrant, bustling and cosmopolitan city of Busan! Beside the busy port in the heart of the city is Jagalchi, South Korea's largest seafood market. Giant fishing boats deliver the latest catch directly to the stalls day and night.



Korean women dressed in wide sunhats, heavy aprons and long rubber gloves attend to their respective stalls. Women are called Jagalchi "ajumma" - the Korean word for "middle-aged woman'' or "married women.' History tells us that this market survived in the years immediately after the Korean War when there weren't many men around to take care of business.


Being here in this precise moment is truly experiencing stalls and stalls of commercial trade of selling raw fish and other seafoods straight from the ocean. 


Almost right off the boat, fish and shellfish, eels, squids, mollusks, mackerels, sea squirts and even whale meat are sold fresh to consumers daily.


As a spring season delicacy, Yuni made us try a hwe (sashimi) slices of some flat fish. It was very fresh and had a sweet delicate taste.

 

Another way to enjoy those hwes is to place it on the leaves, spread on a layer of red pepper sauce and top it off with kimchis.


Adjacent to Jagalchi Market is the enormous Nampodong International market, also known as Guk-je Market.


We were in for some serious shopping and bargain haunts! With only a few hours to spare, we hurriedly browse hundreds after hundreds of trendy clothes.


Shopping during spring season means dainty pastels of        cardigans, fluffy sweaters, cover-ups, flashy trench coats and denim jackets.  


Snow boots likewise known as UGGS are a steal for as low as 5,000 won! ( $5 or P220 pesos) I've checked its counterpart prices in Seoul where it retails for 20,000 won. These faux sheepskin boots are amazingly warm and oh so comfy!


I think I just died and went straight to korean dress heaven! For these fashionable pieces, prices starts for as low as 10,000 won or P450 pesos.


The effect of retail therapy on us! Big wide grins (tee-hee)






Locals flock the alley ways lined-up with various tasty Korean street food. There's fish cake, churros, deep fried dumplings, sushi and more.




When in Korea, eat what the locals eat. And we would never pass up the chance to try our hands on an authentic bowl of bibimbap. Mixed rice with assorted meat and vegetables.


Busan I will always remember you as the greatest place for the freshest ocean catch, trendy affordable clothes, delicious street food and authentic bibimbap.