Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Batanes: Homestay in Charming Chavayan

Because it is the last village accessible by road, we decided to spend the night in the quaint village of Chavayan

Welcome to Chavayan

The local Chavayans take pride in being home to the oldest man (Isabtang) alive, Marcelo Hostallero
with centenarian Mr Marcelo Hostallero

We paid him a visit and shook hands with him. His grip was still strong as that of a teenager. His grandchildren said that his secret is a daily diet of sweet potato and a local plant called tub-ho. We made sure to bring home some and hope to live more than a century like he did (Yup, past tense. I heard the news that Mr Hostallero already passed away this year, after years of being recognized by the Island of Sabtang as the "Longest Man Alive"). His granddaughter's house is where we were supposed to spend the night, but a foreign couple raced to us first. 

they ran out of tub-ho, so we sampled palek instead

Good thing, there's another house that's open for home stay. Since we were unexpected, they needed time to clean up the place of a similarly significant home. Our accommodation was the house of the late Mr. Ireneo Hornedo, more popularly known as Mr. Yaru. In Ivatan culture, yaru means "many" and it is similar to what Filipinos know as the spirit of "bayanihan". Yaru involves the voluntary help and cooperation of the community where each family is expected to send at least a member to render services like road repair, church construction, community beautification, or even as simple as cleaning the cemetery. 

conspicuously displayed

During the lull, we took the time to walk around the tiny village of Chavayan and explored what else is there to be seen. We passed by the workshop of the Sabtang Weaver's Association and bought a pair of indigenous sandals. 

the Batanes sandals I bought
Ivatan Vakul

We took a leisurely stroll to the end of the village and witnessed the lack of activity in the fishing village as it was nearing the end of the day.  

Chavayan coastline

By the time we settled to our new home, our host Auntie Lilia already prepared a bountiful dinner of flying fish (cooked in a variety of ways) for us. I think dinner was finished by 7pm, and we hit the sack just a few minutes after that, as there wasn't really any form of night entertainment in Chavayan. 

Philippine coins at the doorstep

our home for a night

The following day, we were up by 4am to go back to Batan Island, and Auntie Lilia was already ready with breakfast of (yep you guessed it) fish and some boiled uvi. 

Mang Edwin was prompt to have picked us up by 5am. On our way back to the port, we took the opportunity to drop by the lighthouse, which we missed the previous day due to the heavy rain. 

Sabtang Lighthouse

gaiting horse and goats

the community cleaning the street

an Ivatan in vakul, cleaning the chapel

We left Sabtang with a bit of sadness in our hearts as we were endeared to our host, but with the hope of coming back to Batanes again.

with our host, Auntie Lilia

Have you tried homestaying before?


  1. nice reading ur blog..may i know how much per night for d homestay @ chavayan?


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