BATANES ADVENTURE PART III: FUNDACION PACITA

Given the two weeks it took us from planning it to getting there, our Batanes vacation can be considered quite spontaneous. It’s normally a trip that takes time to prepare, where hotels and flights have to be booked weeks or even months in advance. Luck had something to do with it. We’re fortunate that our schedules matched, and Philippine Airlines still had seats available. The third crucial factor was figuring out where to stay. We’ve read a lot of great things about Fundacion Pacita Batanes Nature Lodge, so we checked their website. We fell in love with a particular room as soon as we saw it. And while this room was mostly booked for the rest of the year and well into 2015, it just so happened to be available on our target dates. This pretty much sealed the deal, and we were frantically making room and seat reservations within minutes.

Choosing to stay at Fundacion Pacita turned out to be a wonderful, memorable part of our Batanes trip. The evening before we flew in, Bloom from Fundacion sent a text updating us regarding schedule changes with our flight from Manila. When we landed at Basco Airport, Dennis was already waiting at the arrival area with our names on a signboard, ready to whisk us off to the hotel.

IMG_6754Their reception area/office is quaint and very charming.

IMG_6918IMG_7734Our room was this lovely stand-alone villa a short stroll away from the main hotel building. It’s called Pangaditan, which, if we remember correctly, means East or East Wind in Ivatan.

IMG_6935IMG_6952IMG_6699 IMG_6704 IMG_6707 IMG_6713IMG_6695 Just like the other rooms in the Fundacion, Pangaditan had no wifi and no TV. No problem. We had books, notebooks and sketchpads.

IMG_6791Plus, who needs a TV? We could simply stare at the breathtaking, majestic view of the Pacific Ocean from the balcony. We actually did stare. A lot. Aside from the Pacific, from this side of the Batan coastline, we could see the Tukon Lighthouse across the water. And, much closer, Fundacion Pacita’s main house majestically perched on the hill.

20141206_115805 IMG_6732Once we had time to freshen up (and calm down a bit from all the excitement), we walked over to the main house for lunch. Walking up the brick path, and seeing the main house and its hedges up close got excited once more. It was easy to see why Fundacion is considered a Batanes attraction on its own, and is actually visited by the guided tours.

IMG_6880 IMG_6882 IMG_6899 IMG_6908 IMG_6916 IMG_7729Fundacion Pacita is the former home and studio of the internationally known artist Pacita Abad. Proceeds from the hotel go to a foundation that supports the community, particularly young Ivatan artists. The main hall of the lodge is both the dining area for Café Du Tukon and a permanent exhibit of some of Pacita’s work. We could see how much she, and her family had influenced the community in terms of art and aesthetics.

IMG_6819 IMG_6871 IMG_7707 IMG_7763 IMG_7987We loved how this sense of beauty made its way into every moment of our stay.

We would wake up to birdsong and the distant crashing of waves on rocky cliffs, and the cool breeze coming in from the Pacific.

IMG_8070We certainly enjoyed walking up to the main house for meals. We usually had them in our favorite spot.

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IMG_7708Fundacion Pacita has pretty gardens with iconic blue wooden benches, beautiful memorials, and little secret details behind manicured hedges, just waiting to be discovered. The place is inspiring and we were glad we brought sketchbooks along.

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IMG_6747 IMG_7737 IMG_7889 IMG_7881 IMG_8016 IMG_8045Exploring its immense backyard was a breathtaking treat.

20141206_094536 IMG_7784 IMG_7817 IMG_7820After every day of adventure, whether around the island or within the Fundacion’s grounds, it was a delight to once again walk up to the main house for dinner.

IMG_8084 IMG_8118And, after heading back to our room, to see the cheerfully lit house on the hill.

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IMG_7630It’s a view that, as with the rest of Batanes, we’d definitely want to see again soon.

Our reco: Fundacion Pacita is about 15 minutes away from Basco by car. Their shuttle makes two trips to town per day, so check schedules with the office.

Here is Fundacion Pacita’s website.

Up next: what’s good at Café Du Tukon?

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