Behold Batanes, Philippines (A Photography Series)

Let me invite you to travel with me to the northernmost tip of one of the seven thousand plus islands of the beautiful Philippines.

Arriving in Batanes, Philippines

Arriving in Batanes, Philippines

It’s been weeks since our country was hit by a super typhoon (one of the strongest and most powerful storms ever recorded) that caused us to be a worldwide buzz and abruptly stopped news about Napoles and even Miley Cyrus. I’ve never seen the Philippines shown on CNN in most of its airing time.

The gravity that Yolanda or Haiyan left was so intense that it left not just our nation to limp from it’s devastation and damages but left other nations to mourn with us too. For the last quarter of 2013, despite this painful season in our country, we’ve also never seen our nation and the world unite to help us get all the aid that we need for Visayas.

From everything that is happening in our nation, through the difficulties and victories, here is a simple piece to take us to a refreshing break and to somewhat impart a blessing of hope to us Filipinos by featuring Batanes.

The usual rain and wind in this place.

The usual rain in this place.

Philippines, behold Batanes. It may be the smallest province, but it was left the mightiest from all the storms and shakings it experienced.

Their houses were made of stones with lime mortar which helps them win over the beatings of the strong winds and rains. Their roofs were made of kogon and reeds or what they call viahon which makes them feel warm when it’s cold, and still comfortable when it’s hot.

Solid through the storms.

Solid through the storms.

I hope that Batanes will not just preserve and continue building these kind of homes but even impart and inspire the rest of the Philippines. I’m reminded about this verse from the Good Book which says:

“It is like a person building a house who digs deep and lays the foundation on solid rock. When the floodwaters rise and break against that house, it stands firm because it is well built”. (Luke 6:48)

 

Our nation needs to be rebuilt with solid city PLANNING, it needs to be well built from the inside out. We need to spring back into righteousness and strategy so we may not just stand firm through the storms but experience and see genuine and lasting transformation in our country.

Our vast green pastures.

Our vast green pastures.

I believe we are called to rise again, taller and stronger above the challenges. Our wide and green pasture is here. And Batanes taught me that it can be done. It can start from small and simple beginnings.

Honesty is part of righteousness.

Honesty, a coffee shop that honestly doesn’t need any “tindera”.

I had a rare opportunity to take a “needed break” at a prison cell’s loo. It was an experience because other than taking a break in the dark and uhmmm not so feminine-friendly place, their prison cell was empty. As in zero. The biggest crime in this place would be intoxication and “karaoke offenses” (or late night noises). Doors at houses are left open, people are warm, friendly, and honest that I can leave my treasured luggage inside an open car without worrying about it. It’s that honest, that quiet, and that peaceful.

I think this kind of environment can be done too, starting from us. To govern ourselves with integrity.

A sneak preview of what's yet to come.

A sneak preview of what’s yet to come.

So here is my simple tribute of devotion to my Philippines where love, inspiration, grace, and hope still happens.

Brighten your spirit.

Brighten your spirit.

Filipinos have this remarkable quality, a spirit that’s strong and even smiles amidst the “Goliaths”. We are Filipinos and we are strong, we have faith that can never be destroyed or shaken by any typhoons and shakings. We are like David, who can defeat giants in our lives.

And we can look on the road ahead …

Take the road to righteousness and transformation (internal & external).

Take the road to righteousness and transformation.

Holding our heads up high knowing that all things will work together for our good as we love God and love each other.

Psalm 23

A David Psalm in 23: “God, my Sheperd! I don’t need a thing. You have bedded me down in lush meadows, you find me quiet pools to drink from. True to Your word, you let me catch my breath and send me in the right direction.”

We walk and take action together, as we see the beauty of Batanes, may we also see the bright future that our nation will soon have. Restoration is on it’s way…Philippines be restored.

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