Everytime I hear Batanes, I always imagine myself sitting on the ridge of a rolling hill with the cool breeze from the ocean shattering on me. But when I browse online for places to visit in the northernmost province of the Philippines, a great structure on a hill overlooking the east side of Batan Island and is known as a place for people who love arts, comes out in the search result. The structure is no other than Fundacion Pacita Batanes Nature Lodge.
From our sunrise viewing at Valugan Boulder Beach, we headed the other way passing by the Dipnaysupuan Japanese Tunnel. We continued all the way to the Fundacion – Tukon road. We were greeted by a panoramic view that captivated us: Mount Iraya, Basco proper as well as the Basco Lighthouse and the Mahatao area on the other side.
I thought that was it. But a more charming garden welcomed us. The nature lodge is atop of a hill that offers a lush and landscaped garden in front of it. The blue painted chairs were really cute and blended well with the flourishing ornamental plants used to landscape the area. In addition are the large jars with flowing water placed in between the sets of chairs and tables. Indeed, Fundacion Pacita is great spot to relax and just bum all day.
Fundacion Pacita was the studio of the internationally-acclaimed artist Pacita Abad. It was renovated by his brother former DepEd Secretary Butch Abad and converted it to a lodge amid the luxuriant beauty of Batanes. Before the main dining room is a quadrangle featuring Pacita’s passion in painting. The hall also serves as a gallery showcasing some of her works. On the other side of the hall are frames detailing her biography from the time she started to fall in love with painting. Most of her craft has a vibrant and colorful theme.
As per the artist profile, Pacita Abad (1946 – 2004) was born in Basco, Batanes as fourth of the twelve children of Jorge and Aurora Abad. Her painting career began when she traveled to the United States to pursue graduate studies. She also studied painting at Corcoran School of Arts in Washington, D.C. and The Art Students League in New York City, and then started to “paint the globe,” living in 5 continents and working in more than 80 countries. Pacita created over 3,500 artworks and even painted a 55-meter long bridge in Singapore and covered it with 2,350 multicolored circles.
We inquired from a staff of the lodge if they offer breakfast for walk-ins. Since there were fewer guests having breakfast at that moment, we were allowed to enter. We found ourselves in the dining area with a panoramic view of the east side of Batan Island. We tried their Continental Breakfast with homemade longganisa, fried egg, bread served with homemade tomato jam and tuna spread, and coffee on the side.
It was my first time to try a longganisa with rosemary as ingredients. I hate rosemary but I loved the flavor and juiciness of their longganisa. What made our breakfast really enjoyable was their homemade tomato jam. The spread has the perfect amount of sweetness and the sour taste of the tomato wasn’t evident on the entire flavor of the jam. We consumed every bite of our meal appreciating the wonderful nature on sight.
Fundacion Pacita is definitely a must place to visit in Batanes for it offers a spectacular panoramic view of the province, interesting art works, a lush garden and appetizing food offerings.