January 14, 2011

Fall in Love with Itbayat

Batanes... where the intensity of nature is magnified and the people still have genuine warmth in their hearts.  Basco is your first stop, then Sabtang, but you must not leave until you've been to Itbayat.  The farthest of the three islands of Batanes, when you look beyond the northern most horizon you will seeTaiwan! Look inland and you will experience a town and a people where the community spirit is still so authentic.  Where money is rarely exchanged and the town elders police makes visitors feel secure with the authority of wisdom.  

The landscape does not disappoint, of the three islands it is most intense in this little paradise. 

 Come trek to the caves bordering the ocean cliffs that ancient Ivatans called home.  This is where the strength and the power of the crashing waves meet the calm of habitats that both nurtured and protected. 

Heralded by a bell heard from every corner of the island, mass is attended by literaly every towns folk and is celebrated in the small parish church, where men are seated to the left, and the women are seated to the right, and children sit along the aisle.  While mass is celebrated one humble home's front door is littered with many little slippers.  Children too young to sit still for one hour are all cared for here until their families come to fetch them after the service. I'm not too sure if the church is Dominican.  I can't remember exactly what language mass was celebrated in, but I think it was Spanish, the priest looks like he was a praile left over by the conquistadors. 

Photos and Texts by Popi Laudico


  1. I’ve witnessed how people magically fall in love with these northernmost islands of Itbayat. One of the main things that we totally love about is the waters -- so clear and so cool.


  2. The whole of Batanes was under the jurisdiction of the Dominican Missionaries.

    The remaining Dominical Spanish priest in Itbayat is Fr. Dennis Carpintero (Dominican Superior in Batanes) and a local one Fr. Algerico Gonzales (my very own classmate from Elementary and High School). Among the best priests we Ivatans are deeply indebted were Fr. Alfredo CastaƱon, OP (RIP) and Fr. Gumersindo Hernandez, OP (retired). They served the Ivatans for years.

    The language used is never in Spanish, could be partly the Traditional Tridentine (I am not sure). Dominicans are known to have the skills in learning the language of the natives so ever since Spanish Dominican Missionaries in Batanes used the Latin or the Ivatan (only at times Spanish Church songs were sang).

    Yes, the Ivatan culture is deeply Catholic. That's the reason why almost every member of the community is seen in the church on Sundays... at least in Itbayat but not anymore in Basco.

    God bless Ms. Mandy. Hope one day I can attend to your sponsored photography seminar.

    Dios mamajes.

  3. wow, feels good to see this perfectly taken pictures once again, it reminds me of those great childhood days in Itbayat, my idol Fr. Domingo Denniz, O.P.

    The cliffs of paganaman and the refreshing sea.

    I miss the holy week which is really holy in Itbayat.

    I really wanna learn the art of taking pictures.,


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