Local traditions and culture in Province of Batanes

  • Hedgerows in Verdant Hills
    Hedgerows in Verdant Hills
    by cyndymc
  • Rakuh
    Rakuh
    by paolodecastro
  • Me taking my picture in  the oldest Ivatan House
    Me taking my picture in the oldest...
    by paolodecastro

Most Viewed Local Customs in Province of Batanes

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    Learn more About RAKUH

    by paolodecastro Written Dec 8, 2011

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    Did you know that the Ivatan house is called.............RAKUH...:)

    An Ivatan house as they said is built with limestone or corals as walls, reeds and cogon grass for their roofs which can withstand earthquakes and typhoons which frequently visits the Island of Batanes.

    Did you also know that the Ivatan House only has three (3) walls which has windows. And the wall that doesn't have a window usually faces the direction of the strongest winds during a typhoon. They also said that the temperature in the interior is conditioned, thus making it relatively cool during the summer months and warmer during the cold stormy months.

    Rakuh Me taking my picture in  the oldest Ivatan House
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    Be curious with the Nakamaya

    by paolodecastro Updated Nov 1, 2011

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    I haven't seen it in Batanes......I just read this on a magazine.......They said that this is the site of the boat-shaped burial markers of the ancient Ivatans. They can only be found in Batanes and is said to be like those in Europe where Viking Kings once dominated.........If you happen to visit Batanes.....Please make a research and have a picture of this......ok....or make a tip on this...for us to see...how this look like..:)

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    Brush Up a few Ivatan Language

    by paolodecastro Written Nov 1, 2011

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    The Ivatans language is Chirin nu Ibatan.......or simply Ivatan......did you know that?

    When you plan to go here....much better if you can say a few of their Language......
    like:

    Dios Mamajes...you can see it everywhere...in their Welcome arch...but do you know what does that mean?...It simply means....."God will repay"...but this is how the Ivatans say Thank you...

    Kapian capa nu Dios - You can greet the first Ivatan you meet with this phrase which means "May God be good to you".....much better than saying Hello....isn't it......:):)

    Avek Dana - which means "Goodbye"....once your trip is over........

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    Get to Know the Ivatans

    by paolodecastro Written Nov 1, 2011

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    Mingle with the Locals........they are very kind...and pure-hearted....I can attest to that....;)

    As they said the Ivatans are peaceful (one proof is that there is a ZERO crime rate in Batanes),friendly...(very...I have seen that) and hospitable people (very true). Many of them are farmers and fisherfolk (visit the fisherman's village) and their culture is largely influenced by the climate. They usually have this "Vakul" thing on their head for protection against the heat of the sun or rain.

    Hardworking Ivatan
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    HONESTY...is definitely the best POLICY

    by paolodecastro Updated Oct 12, 2011

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    The Honesty Shop...whatelse......
    I once saw it in TV before.......and it is very different now...
    maybe because....it has become the most famous shop here in Batanes....
    a tourist attraction......so they have Upgraded...;D their store......

    The shop without the vendor/owner
    this is one of a kind shop in the whole country.....;D

    This just shows that the Ivatans valued HOnesty..........in the Highest level........

    Me taking over the HonestyShop...;D

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    Honesty Prevails

    by cyndymc Updated May 27, 2011

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    Ivatans are generally honest people and they expect the same from others. They are very trusting, leaving the doors and windows of their houses open while in their workplace. Even with the presence of tourists walking around their village, Ivatans leave their homes open, trusting that nothing will be lost when they come back. This is the very essence of the now popular open but unmanned Honesty Store & Cafe.

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    Multi-Purpose "Tangkal"

    by cyndymc Updated May 27, 2011

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    From the Japanese tunnel, I was intrigued by the sight of a unique sled on the road. I asked our guide what it was, and he said it was "tangkal", a utility sled that Ivatans use primarily to carry water containers for their animals. The sled is designed to be easily pulled on the roads and the slopes of pasture lands. Sometimes, a small child who tags along with the parent rides the "tangkal".

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    Unique Ivatan Cuisine

    by cyndymc Updated Dec 16, 2010

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    Though you might not be used to the ingredients or the cooking method, the aroma, food texture and taste will tempt you to try their unique but healthy Ivatan cuisine. Some of the native food we tried were:

    Yellow Rice: It is rice (usually the sticky variety) cooked with the extract of turmeric (yellow ginger that abounds in Batanes) and pork broth."

    "Uved" (called "uvud" in Mahatao and "tabtab" in Sabtang): Resembling the meatballs, "uved" is actually made of minced or finely grated corm found at the base of the trunk of the banana (the big rhizome), mixed with ground meat (pork or beef), minced fish (like tanigue), onion, salt and pepper.

    "Venes": Similar to the Bicol and Tagalog Regions' "laing", but uses dried gabi stalks NOT the leaves. "Venes" is sauteed with coconut cream, but is cooked until the coconut cream is absorbed or almost dry.

    One-Day Old Dried "Dibang" (Flying Fish): Fish is cleaned, salted and dried for a day, then crispy-fried.

    "Lataven": Similar to "kinilaw", the diced raw fish is marinated in a vinegar-based mixture with condiments and spices.

    Ginataang Tatus: Coconut Crab with coconut cream

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    Simple, Good-natured & Hardworking Ivatans

    by cyndymc Updated Dec 16, 2010

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    Ivatans live a simple life and can do away with material comforts usually accompanying modern living. They are gentle people, friendly, peace-loving and polite. It comes natural for Ivatans to greet strangers/tourists with a warm "Good morning" (or afternoon/evening as the case may be), often with a smile. They say goodbye wishing the visitors a good day. It has become contagious, such that everywhere I went, when I met an Ivatan on the way, I also greet them. I asked our guide if this gesture is a conscious act of hospitality to make tourists feel welcome. He said such act is actually a sign of respect and goodwill imbibed to them since their early education.

    Ivatans are hardworking people, used to multi-tasking. It is common for them to have more than one job. Even civil servants and career people like teachers busy themselves with livestock-raising or farming or fishing, as they have been used to help in the household or farm when they were young. At the MIAA Terminal4, I met a local government official who also works at a government-owned and managed hotel, and serves as tour guide, too. Ms. Lydia Roberto, the manager of our hotel owns and manages her restaurant, still has time to manage a new airline that brings tourists from Tuguegarao to Basco to Itbayat Island, and also works as wedding coordinator, with a dress shop and catering business. There is no such thing as "moonlighting" in Batanes. People can have as many jobs as they can handle.

    Lydia Roberto (L) Arranged Our Package Tours
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    Ivatan Stonehouses

    by cyndymc Updated Dec 16, 2010

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    Don't be surprised, but the traditional Ivatan houses in Batanes are not only for show. Many locals still live in well-maintained old houses built with lime and stones, using thatched cogon grass for roofing and reeds for the ceiling. Our guide explained that the grass roofing needs to be changed every 30 years. Some have roof nets as protection during typhoon season.

    The traditional Ivatan house is said to be cool during summer and warm during cold or stormy season. It has only three walls with windows. The wall facing the direction of the winds and rain during typhoons doesn’t have a window.

    The electric meter outside the house is encased in steel, unlike the usual glass-covered electric meters you see in other parts of the Philippines. I find it amusing that some locals cover their electric meters with hard hat or safety helmet to prevent rusting.

    Traditional Ivatan Houses In Sabtang Island Reeds Used As Ceiling Of Traditional Ivatan House Thatched Cogon Grass Roofing Of Traditional House Electric Meter in A Stonehouse In Sabtang Island Electric Meters Covered With Hard Hat
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    Iconic "Blow Your Horn" Signage

    by cyndymc Updated Dec 15, 2010

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    I wondered why our friend (who had been to Batanes only last year) wanted so much to take a picture of a "Blow Your Horn" signage. She explained that it is iconic; anyone who sees it associates it with Batanes...and so, I appreciated it more.

    The iconic "Blow Your Horn" signage along the Mahatao cliffside roads is an evidence of Ivatan ingenuity and creativity. Carved out from cliffs or boulders, the unique road signs remain serviceable for years despite torrential winds of the strongest typhoons.

    Iconic Iconic
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    "Kapayvunung" and "Kabaya"For Special Gatherings

    by cyndymc Written Dec 15, 2010

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    When we had a special birthday dinner for our friend, as well as when we had a picnic by the Kabuangan Beach in Sabtang Island, I loved the food presentation. I learned later that it was a common practice to serve food on the big leaf of the breadfruit (locally called "Kabaya"). This custom is called "Kapayvunung", usually done during important public gatherings like fiestas and weddings. It wasn't fiesta day, but we were given a taste of "Kapayvunung". The food items are laid out per viand per leaf.

    The "kabaya" leaf is so big, it is not only used as improvised plates, but can also be formed into a cone and used as as drinking glass. Dried "kabaya" leaf also serves as cooling fan. Isn't that so cool?

    Baby Lobsters On
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    Traditional Jacket, "Kanayi"

    by cyndymc Written Dec 15, 2010

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    As protection from rain and cold weather, male Ivatans wear a native jacket called "Kanayi". Like the "vakul", it is commonly made out of "voyavoy" (Philippine date palm) leaves which abound in Batanes mountains. Some are made of dried abaca stalk.

    Lady (R) Wearing
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    Amazing Hedgerows in Batanes

    by cyndymc Updated Dec 15, 2010

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    Nowhere in the Philippines have I seen such beautiful landscapes with labyrinth-like hedgerows except in Batanes. According to our guide, Ivatans use the hedgerows as boundaries of their farms. They are typically tall rows of reeds, trees, cogon grass or piled stones that help prevent soil erosion. Hedgerows also serve as some sort of windbreaker, protecting the crops against the harsh winds and typhoons.

    Hedgerows in Mahatao Hedgerows in Mahatao
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    Ivatan Traditional Headgear

    by cyndymc Updated Dec 15, 2010

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    One of the things tourists never fail to do is try on a "vakul" at Chavayan, Sabtang Island. The "vakul" is a headgear used by women made from Voyavoy (Philippine Date Palm) which grows freely in the mountains and roadsides of the island. "Vakul" used by women to protect them from rain, wind and sun, while "talugong" is worn by men. Tourists, not knowing the distinction between the two headgear, make the mistake of wearing the wrong headgear for souvenir photo. My hubby is no exception. He borrowed my vakul, and laughed when he was told it was only for women.

    "Vakul" may be rented at the Sabtang Weavers Association for only P20/vakul/person. You can buy it for P500. There is an enterprising Chavayan resident who opened a refreshment & souvenir stand who rents out and sells "vakul" for less: P15 rental; P450 retail.

    Me, Wearing A Vakul Me With Hubby, Laughing At His Mistake For Wearing Hubby, Laughing At His Mistake For Wearing The Lagy Is Wearing Talugong Headgear For Men
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Province of Batanes Local Customs

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