Thursday, November 10, 2011

Batan Island, Batanes: Old Spanish Bridge and House Of Dakay

The misty, winter morn progressed in a whirlwind. A pace that overwhelmed my sleepless being. I awkwardly joined the blithesome chatter amongst a wacky bunch of characters I just met that day. We're all winners of SEAIR Batanes Winter Bloggers' Tour Contest, and were on a road cruise around Batan Island.

Old Spanish Bridge. Journeying James taking a photo of us taking a photo of him.

My half-slumbering brain struggled as it ingested Batanes facts shared by our guide, Engr. Joseph Dy. Like schoolies on a field trip, every so often we hopped off the van to visit Batan's famous attractions. The first-timers' infectious enthusiasm kept me on my toes, and their constant chuckles kept me astir.

Bless and James lovin' the local kiddos.

After an obligatory snapshot at Ivana's welcome signage, we alighted on Ivana Bridge. Engr. Dy pointed at the Old Spanish Bridge (most likely the oldest in the province, functional to this day) across us. James sprinted towards it and the rest of us trudged after his footsteps. We found a couple of local kids crossing to the other side, who shyly posed for our cameras.

House Of Dakay.

Not distant from the bridge is the House Of Dakay, where we headed next. This traditional Ivatan house, one of the survivors of a 1918 earthquake, was named after its former owner Jose Dakay Estrella. Descendant Florestida Estrella, fondly called Lola Ida by everyone, is its lone occupant today.

The house's exterior wall. Beautifully made with unpolished corals.

Though a bit sick, Lola Ida welcomed us in her humble abode. Her old age is depicted in her somewhat sluggish movement, but the glint in her eyes expressed a younger aura. Our party of seven fit comfortably in the teeny, sparsely furnished house. We gathered around her and sat on the floor, mimmicking the set of Mga Kuwento ni Lola Basyang sans granny's rocking chair.

Lola Ida. Under the weather but on top of the world!

We listened to her recollection of the past, and how she lives her golden days in this renowned house. I must say, she herself is an attraction. How I wish we had more time to stay with her longer, but we had not even accomplished a quarter of our must see list (plus she was in dire need of rest anyway).

Sadly, we bid farewell much too soon. Lola Ida watched us walk back to our van. Her face, illuminated by faint rays, was perfectly framed by the antique window. A picture I was not able to capture with my camera, but is embedded in my mind.


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Batang Lakwatsero said...
November 12, 2011 at 1:32 PM

perfect. old bridge, old woman. old stories. mataas ang aking pagtingin sa mga luma.

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
November 12, 2011 at 3:48 PM

Me too Ivan! I really love old stuff!

juanderfulpinoy said...
November 12, 2011 at 9:05 PM

old stuff is extremely fascinating!

dong ho said...
November 12, 2011 at 9:20 PM

galing at dami pa palang nakekwento ni lola ida. stories like that are priceless

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
November 13, 2011 at 4:21 AM

Dong, priceless indeed. Sana we had more time with her.

Ian | Going Places said...
November 13, 2011 at 11:53 AM

Hanggang Batanes nasakop talaga ng Spain noon as evident with the bridge. I wonder how did they travel to Batanes during the 18th century period.

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
November 13, 2011 at 3:22 PM

Ian, haha... Yeah! They were really keen on taking over the whole country.

joniphilippines said...
November 13, 2011 at 4:53 PM

one of your best photography mam! living picture!!

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
November 13, 2011 at 5:53 PM

Ahihi! Thanks Joni. I'm not really into portraits, but this Batanes trip's mostly about the people I met :)

Edmaration etc said...
November 13, 2011 at 7:44 PM

feel ko napakamagical ang islang to. malayo talaga eh. lola ida astig ka!! hehe. break dance naman jan lola hahaha

The Nomadic Pinoy said...
November 13, 2011 at 11:21 PM

I heard about how some locals are now changing their traditional Ivatan homes into more modern designs!

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
November 14, 2011 at 2:14 AM

Edmar, "magical" is a very apt description.

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
November 14, 2011 at 2:22 AM

Dennis, that's sadly true :(

Ronster said...
November 14, 2011 at 10:16 AM

i always wanted to go there. sigh. nice shots by the way...:)

D. Ordonez said...
November 14, 2011 at 11:04 AM

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joan | the backpack chronicles said...
November 14, 2011 at 1:33 PM

backstage stories of travelers heard from locals are one of those priceless things you gain during travels. i would love to hear Lola Ida's stories..

journeyingjames said...
November 15, 2011 at 2:25 AM

aba, extra nanaman ako. salamat sa link kompanera!
teka, usapang matanda ba ito? di ko talaga makakalimutan na tinulugan mo yung higaan ni lola.hahaha

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
November 15, 2011 at 2:32 AM

James, hahaha! Wala kayong pruweba na nakatulog ako ;p

Untied Escape said...
November 15, 2011 at 7:28 AM

This is the place I'm craving to visit someday.

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
November 15, 2011 at 7:40 AM

Hope you do someday soon :)

blissfulguro said...
November 15, 2011 at 8:26 AM

minsan talaga may mga moments na forever etched in your heart and mind and even without photos, you can clearly describe that moment... i love lolas talaga :)

Seair said...
November 15, 2011 at 4:37 PM

stories from lola are ALWAYS the best :)

lzlpio90 said...
November 23, 2011 at 1:41 PM

Wow, what a precious place you had been... Vintage things and places are really fascinating!

Elal | The Shades of Grey said...
November 30, 2011 at 4:44 PM

The rural life in Batanes is something I've long wanted to experience!

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