Basco, despite being the smallest province of the Philippines, offers some of the best scenic and cultural landscapes in the country.
Often touted as the Ireland of Asia, this so-called last frontier is blessed with endless rolling hills, rugged terrain and spectacular views of both the China Sea and the Pacific Ocean. Perhaps due to its isolation, tradition and culture remain pretty much intact.
Our hired tricycle meandered through the streets of Basco, taking us to some uphill climb through scenic pastureland, the sea and many hills.
We arrived at Radar Tukon where even the locals still love to hang.
What used to be a weather station in the American era houses Basco’s radar station today.
Up in a hill, the 360° view is awesome, perhaps one of the best in the island.
Not only is it a lovely sight and contributes much to the beauty and uniqueness of Batanes,
these hedgerows are there with a few more purposes.
They are there as a windbreaker, for land delineation, it prevents soil erosion, and sometimes serves as nesting ground for migratory birds.
The Tukon Church can be seen from the Radar Station. Although we didn’t get to see it up close, much less enter it, I believe that the interior is as lovely as the exterior.
Inspired by the Ivatan stone house, this church was a recent project of the Abads, not only to give the communities nearby a church where they won’t have to walk far, but a wedding gift as well to his daughter who got married there recently. The church, I read, have beautiful stained-glass windows, a ceiling of angels painted by the students of the late Pacita Abad and the best thing about this church is the spectacular view of both the South China Sea and the Pacific Ocean wherever one is seated.
Not far from Tukon church is a house sitting on top of a hill, overlooking the Pacific Ocean.
It was once the home-studio of the late Pacita Abad, an internationally acclaimed artist and sister to current Budget Secretary Florencio “Butch” Abad, now turned nature lodge. Refurbished by Butch in her memory, the lodge is not only a pretty sight from afar.
It was in 2006 that I was there, it was still the art and culture center of the Jorge, Aurora and Pacita Abad Foundation.
Her works hanged on the walls and the design of the house, I suspect, characterizes that of the owner. Today, I read that works of famous Filipino artists and emerging young Ivatan artists grace the walls of the rooms.
Nature lodge aside, Fundacion Pacita is also the headquarters of the Pacita Abad Center for Arts. The proceeds earned from the operations supports various projects, one of them is the restoration of Ivantan houses.
More of Basco in upcoming posts. Stay tuned.