“Spend a night in Chavayan!” said Christian, who had just arrived in Manila that day after spending several ones in Batanes. I was bugging him for a few insider tips, but secretly hoped he would leave out the part about crossing the Balintang Channel to reach the island where the little village of Chavayan is located. You see, stories of Sabtang and the infamous waves faced during the 30-minute boat ride getting there frightened me.
I winced when he mentioned Sabtang. Since I cannot swim to save my life, one of my biggest fears (see also: big wave capsizes boat, passengers drown in the ocean) was playing on loop in my brilliant, paranoid head. But my friend insisted, adding that if I wanted to immerse myself in an authentic Ivatan environment, that is where I needed to go.
On our second day, Kuya Jun picked us up from our guesthouse at an ungodly hour and drove us to Ivana Port where we waited, inside Honesty Coffee Shop, for the faluwa to arrive. 30 minutes later, I found myself about to hop on the medium-sized boat that would transport us to the smallest inhabited island in the Batanes Group of Islands.
The open sea was waiting for me. “Bring it on.”, I whispered to myself, before remembering how Pi challenged the storm that eventually led to their ship sinking down Marianas Trench. Luckily, the waters were subdued that morning I even got the balls to climb up the faluwa’s roof and ride the rest of the trip without holding on to anything. I’m so hardcore. Continue reading