Batanes is undeniably special in its mountainous landscape, genuinely honest and kind-hearted locals, and quiet and simple way of living. Located in the most northern part of the Philippines, it is easily one of the must-visit provinces. But maybe a thousand other destinations qualify in the list with the mentioned, sometimes abused, adjectives. I asked an Aussie guy which destination he considered to be the most fascinating. He has traveled 80 countries so far so he had a bit of difficulty answering as he said that all places are unique in their own flavors. But I insisted that if he could choose one, only one, what would it be? He responded with Israel. However this is not an elaboration nor a justification of how beautiful and captivating the country is. Because in a heartbeat, I will agree that all places offer its magic to everyone who is willing to see and appreciate. In the quantity of it all, we have to take a step back and meditate and let rawness shed its beauty before our unjudging eyes. Sometimes, or in our generation, probably most of the time, we take for granted the everyday. What appears repetitively may lose some of its charm. Yet when traveling comes to play, it instantly illuminates our sense of wonder and expands our presence. All explorations become adventurous without trying to be.
More than a thousand flowering reasons, I am most charmed by the unassuming Batanes because of its emphasis on the ordinary. Take a (visual) walk with me along the streets of Basco and Sabang and together let’s find both adventure and solace on the painted doors and windows and the bare walls of houses in the north.
Let the daily elements heal our daily grind. Let creativity infuse balance into productivity.
Beautiful things don’t ask for attention. –James Thurber, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty