They say when travelling, one must experience how to be one with the locals. This is why my family was lucky that our tour guide in Batanes brought us to their local pool. Most tourist don’t visit the place because it’s not on most blogs or sites and mostly because it is only accessible from the beach during low tide.
After our morning in Sabtang Island, my niece requested to go swimming. I’ve decided not to go swimming so I spent time with our guide sitting on a rock under the coconut trees, talking about their lives in Batanes and their culture. A group of teens passed by our spot when our guide’s eyes lit up, suggesting we should go with them because they were heading to the local pool. The guide warned us it won’t be like the ones in the hotels in the city but it’s filled with freshwater, which is a big deal when you’re in an island miles away from mainland.
We all followed the guide, walking on corals, seeing sea urchins, discovering a sight most tourists don’t see. Just a day ago, we were looking down on this beach from the mountaintop. That was the common ‘tourist view’ but looking from the beach up is just as amazing. I’ll say it again – Batanes is photogenic on all angles.
We had fun looking for swaki – an edible sea urchin (no, you don’t eat the thing, just the roe). On our way, we found a bagful and got two clams and a crab (which we didn’t know was the poisonous kind, said the locals). It’s so good to see my mom smile like a child as she collected all these, though we ended up giving them away.
This experience concluded our Batanes trip. Another good memory I can keep to cherish in the future.