"You must be joking. You must have taken the jeepney!"
But today I ran all fifteen kilometers from Ivana to Basco, Batanes alone.
It has always been my dream to run the whole island of Batan, long before I started lacing up my running shoes. It must be the boundless breathtaking views. Views you simply can't take in all at the same time in just one riding. Views you wanna slowly absorb in your own time, your own stride, and your own pace.
I have been to Batanes four times already and I came into a conclusion that I could only experience the most of this place through running. I have seen my route a couple of times. Driving from Basco to Ivana is actually a long 30-minute ride. I have doubted myself every time I plied this route. Yet each time, I carefully studied the zigzagging corners, all fifteen kilometers. "One day I will!," I told myself. And yes, one day became today.
I started at exactly nine in the morning (not exactly the time of day for joggers.) But here in Batanes, you've got a fine weather all day long. The first six kilometers was fast. Along the way, about twenty Ivatans greeted me their Good Mornings and about another twenty more of them looked at me with surprise, as if it's their first time to see someone zooming past their roads. (And later an Ivatan told me that Ivatans don't jog at all! With vast farms to work on, who would really need a jog?)
I also inched past two road constructions, to warm me up for zigzagging roads ahead.
It was sunny and windy at first but after the sixth kilometer, the blue skies started turning into gloomy overcast, as if a storm's about to come. The winds also became fiercer, sending my heart rate up! From afar, I could see Mt. Iraya covered with thick dark clouds and the far municipality of Basco also dulled with more clouds! Que horror! This is not really the sight a lone runner would want to see. In between towering cliffs and rolling hills, I don't really have anywhere to go to in case the skies suddenly decided to weep. I ran faster because of this. And in each stride, I prayed that the clouds would grant a lone runner's wish. It wasn't also comforting to hear the roaring ocean croon with the whistling wind. I have never imagined that the wind could actually topple my iPod's blasting volume! This is the kind of sound I normally hear during stormy nights in Manila. Blame it to my strong imagination and paranoia; I feared that the strong winds would push me out of the road and into the merciless water!
All you have to do is hear the pounding of waves, the music of white birds, the strange melody of crickets, and from time to time, that deafening silence.
All you have to do is smell the grass, the commanding sea breeze and that distinct scent of strange land.
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