This trip's moral lesson: No matter how prepared you think you are, you aren't.
To say I was blown away when I finally got to explore Batanes, this tiny isolated island at the northernmost tip of the Philippines, is an understatement.
What struck me the most was that it was probably the most unspoiled destination I?ve been to wherein normal life coexisted. The Ivatans are far from being backward -- the town?s main road was lined with net cafes, and restos. However, I did not see the usual decay I?ve witnessed for other must-go spots in the Philippines, wherein the effort to keep up the way we live has chipped away at the natural charm of the place. In Batanes, the tour operators and locals won?t try to razzle dazzle you with indulgent packages and over-the-top attractions; all they have to offer is their magnificent unadorned paradise, and that is more than enough.
Want the full write-up? My memoirs of Batanes is posted over at http://ishg.wordpress.com/2010/08/10/bowled-over-by-batanes.
Song: Pocketful of Sunshine by Natashia Bedingfield
Cast: Alvin, Chrissy, Geebee, Ish, Kian, Mia. Also starring a few random Batanes cows.