Batanes Beckons : Sumdup Kamu

Monday, November 01, 2010

basco batanes coast
Photo Credit: chemanyulo
Sumdup kamu.

Those are the words that come to mind when I imagine Batanes. My good college friend Pam Castillejos, who is Ivatan, taught it to me 10 years ago and I haven't forgotten it since. I tried using these words when I visited Pam in her Quezon City apartment while her parents were there. It was our first time to meet. I greeted them with the only Ivatan words I knew: 'Sumdup kamu'. I was embarrassed when they both laughed. I had told them 'Come in, enter' as I was walking through their door!

My Ivatan vocabulary hasn't greatly improved since then. But my desire to witness the majestic seascapes and rugged terrain of Batanes has not waned and in fact has grown even more so in the recent years.

Chichi and I share the same passion (we're Sole Sisters after all). We have long been wanting to explore Batanes for many reasons:

The Sole Sisters want to see the stone houses with thickly thatched roofs and wear a vacul, the local headgear, to protect Ivatans from the unpredictable storms and typhoons.

Photo credit: aileron

We want to taste uvod, (deboned fish and core of banana steamed with local herbs), dinakdakan (cattle’s skin chopped up with vinegar) and pancit Ivatan. We would also like to sample Palek, a sugarcane wine that is unique to this island.

We want to hop on a bike and explore those dirt roads and rolling hills without a map like Ferdz did.

I'm not a winter person. I don't even like air conditioning. But I'm willing to brave the below 7°C temperature just to experience the only place in the Philippines that actually has 4 seasons. No snowfall though. 

The Sole Sisters want to experience Ivatan honesty, hospitality and simplicity of life. We  want to visit the famous Honesty cafe where no one minds the store. Everyone is welcome to the goods as long as you drop your payment in the box. You often hear stories of travelers who have been there and have been warmly welcomed into the homes of the Ivatan people. They were fed with the local fare of fish and edible ferns.

We want to see the empty jail cells and walk free on the deserted beaches and not be bothered by thoughts of safety.

Photo credit: aileron

And yes, we want to see the lighthouses where some scenes from the movie Hihintayin Kita Sa Langit (Filipino version of Wuthering Heights) with Richard Gomez and Dawn Zulueta were shot. (No snickering please)

Most of all we want to go because Batanes beckons. 

We hear her say, Sumdup Kamu.

Until the next dream,
Sole Sister Lois

This post is an entry to the Seair Batanes Winter Bloggers tour. Please help the Sole Sisters experience Batanes for the first time by following these steps:

1 Go to Seair's fan page on facebook and become a fan by clicking LIKE.
2 Look for the Sole Sisters' entry and click LIKE.
3 Encourage your friends to do the same.

We promise to blog about the whole experience and take a million photos to encourage everyone to visit Batanes as well.

South East Asian Airlines (SEAIR) is one of the few airlines in the Philippines that offers flights to Basco, capital city of Batanes. Check out their website at For details on the Seair Batanes Winter Bloggers tour promo: go to

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20 sole trails

  1. Very peaceful place... i love the work very inviting!!! Very GOOD JOB to Sole sisters!!!

  2. Hey anonymous, whoever you are, thanks for your comment. We absolutely want to go to Batanes and maybe next year, we'll realize that dream.

  3. Hi JJ, Thanks for the boost. It means a lot to us. FTW!

  4. gusto ko rin magbatanes. goodluck! check mo tong blog na to. baka mag-enjoy ka

  5. hi lois.. i feel so guilty not being able to bring you home. But this time, you will. I forgot how much i wanna go home.. smell the lime-scented walls of my lola's house and have my mom's famous adobo for breakfast. Thank you for reminding me... "mangay tanti"...

  6. Hi Anonymous.. thanks for your comment and the link. I'm not able to access the site though :-(

  7. Hey pam.. usapyon.. I've been wanting to go to Batanes since I met you. And I can't wait to tast your mom's Ivatan adobo!

  8. Nice! Good read! Makes me want to go to Batanes. Now.

  9. Thanks for stopping by lefty! Let's go to Batanes!

  10. Good luck!!! You guys will win that contest! I can feel it! :)

  11. Awww.. Thanks Abbie! You're so sweet!

  12. ah. awesome picture. kita kits po sa batanes. :)

  13. Thanks Brenna! Keeping our fingers crossed that we'll get to see Batanes once and for all! Good luck to you as well!

  14. ah. awesome picture. kita kits po sa batanes. :)

  15. Hi Anonymous.. thanks for your comment and the link. I'm not able to access the site though :-(

  16. wow ... very good quality and readable content of posts you have made this
    greetings Alat Bantu Sex and thank you very much for posting a stunner share


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