Monday, April 27, 2015

Cycling Philippines Batanes Day 7-1.1 : Romancing The Hills

You are at - Jotaro's Blog / AhPek Biker / Cycling Philippines Batanes / Day 7-1.1 : Romancing The Hills     | Jump to Day 1 / 2-1 / 2-2 / 3-1 / 3-2 / 4 / 5-1 / 5-2 / 6 / 7-1.2 / 7-2 / 8
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Cycling Philippines Batanes Day 7-1.1 : Romancing The Hills
Batanes Islands - Day 7-1-1 : 20th March 2015, Siew Yung's Tale of  Mahatao Hills

The hills of Mahatao hold many interesting places to go to; much to be seen and much to experience. It was a free day for us to do whatever we want, and what we wanted was to go up there and explore the place. We did that in our own separate ways, up to the hill with it's crazily steep slopes which holds many an attraction at it's various corners. A bit of hard cycling/pushing is required to get around; but it was worth it. Then it was back down to Mahatao town, a seemingly quite town that has much to offer; talk to the people and the shyness seemingly starts to slowly peel away and reveal the heart of the place.
We did it in our different ways; Ong and me headed our way while Siew Yung went hers to carry on her own exploration.
It was fun and pleasure in our own different ways; I will tell Siew Yung's tale of our last full day in Batanes first, as she did experience so much more. Below are photos from her Facebook posts with description in her own words of her time in the hills of Mahatao.

This is page 10 of a 13-page blog, Click Here To Go To Title Page.
Go to D6 Sabtang           |          Go to Other Days       |      Go to D7.1.2 Mahato 2 >

I was supposed to take the turn at Mahatao but I saw this little road on the left. A quick check with a local confirmed it could take me to Tayid Lighthouse, which was the supposed destination. But he did not tell me about the hellish was all climbs all the way....

Arrived at Tukon Chapel aka Mt Carmel Church. I was awed by this little fairy-tale-like chapel coz it was so different from all the other church buildings I have seen in Batanes. Built in 2006, it was designed based on traditional Ivatan stone houses and initiated by the prominent and politically inclined Abad family. It sits atop a hill overlooking the gentle West Philippine Sea on one end and the roaring Pacific on the other.

The interior is filled with beautiful woodwork.

The ceiling is decorated with beautiful frescoes of saints painted by art scholars of Fundacion Pacita.

Paintings by skilled Ivatan artists.

Beautiful stained glass.

I am not surprised that this is a popular church for weddings....makes picture perfect memories. I really liked this building! Quaint and cosy.

A few metres down the road is the Tukon Barrio School. The children here were playing with a cultural game called tiyakad which is balancing and walking on bamboo or tree branches. I was told barrio means "far away from the city".

Took a class photo with the teacher, Noel, and the kids. There are only 4 teachers in this school.

The Pagasa Weather Station....looks like a giant football.
The Pagasa was formerly a lighthouse, now converted into a weather station.

At the crossroads turning into Fundacion Pacita.

Fundacion Pacita from a distance.This place was previously the art studio of the lawyer cum artist, Pacita Abad, now converted into a lodge and restaurant. This is the most luxurious and expensive accommodation in Batanes.

An angelic stone carving perched atop the roof of the Cafe du Tukon.

A life-size statue of Pacita Abad. I didn't know anything about her until I stepped into the restaurant when I read about her intensely passionate life story.

It means "May God Bless You" in Ivatan.

The entrance to Fundacion Pacita. You will need to make an appointment to dine or visit this place, else you would be turned away. Since I came alone, the staff told it was ok to look around for 10 minutes.

Her life story and art work are displayed on the walls. Pacita led such a fascinating life that I took more than 10 mins to devour the walls but fortunately, the workers did not ask me to leave.

The view outside one of the high windows.

Tastefully decorated with dried flowers picked from the gardens.

Pacita Abad.

One of the workers took me to visit a private garden behind the lodges. He also offered to take my pic grin emoticon

Beautifully trimmed private garden.

Here's me overlooking the Pacific Ocean...sunlight's too harsh so can't see my face.

The cemented road snaked ahead, much like the Great Wall of China from a distance.

The Sumhao Wind Turbines
Apparently there were three (I only saw two) French made wind-diesel turbines lying on the ground, rusting away.

It was a Php 55 million project which wasted away.

The road snaked on endlessly. No shortage of climbs for the hill demons. (Siew Yung was referring to cyclists friends who like to take on hills, climb... climb).

Mt Iraya not shrouded with cloud for the first time. The hedgerows are the distinct feature of this region. They serve as wind breakers to protect crops and as boundaries of ownership.

The hexagonal-shaped Tayid Lighthouse.

Glorious view of the Pacific.

Mt Iraya at a distance, peak clearly seen.

Tayid Lighthouse.

With that Siew Yung rode down to Mahatao town where she had another interesting adventure of mingling with the locals and savouring Ivatan food.
That's a tale for another blog; I did mentioned that she did get to do much *smiles*
(... click here to see her Mahatao tales).

This is page 10 of a 13-page blog, Click Here To Go To Title Page.
Go to D6 Sabtang           |          Go to Other Days       |      Go to D7.1.2 Mahato 2 >

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You are at - Jotaro's Blog / AhPek Biker / Cycling Philippines Batanes / Day 7-1.1 : Romancing The Hills     | Jump to Day 1 / 2-1 / 2-2 / 3-1 / 3-2 / 4 / 5-1 / 5-2 / 6 / 7-1.2 / 7-2 / 8
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