Let me share one of the many travel experiences that I gained during my stay in Batanes in 2010.
Reading broadsheets is part of my routine, for me the newspaper is an important source of information and this keeps me updated on current events. During my stay in Batanes last April to the early part of May 2010 I tried to find a store that sells and buy a newspaper.
I asked the different general merchandise stores along Abad Street, the main commercial area, in Basco (the capital of Batanes) if they are selling the daily broadsheets and I found out that they do not have any. Luckily, I was informed by one of the shops that I asked that there is only one seller of newspaper in Basco (or even for the whole province) and it is located near Ivatan Lodge.
|A Street Scene in Basco, Batanes with a clear view of Mount Iraya (2010)|
Following the instructions I received on how to go to the lone seller of newspaper I reached the location by walking a short distance from Abad Street. Almost every place in Basco is of walking distance because of the small size of the town, the fresh air, mild temperature even at noon, and the view of Mount Iraya would be enough reasons for you to walk when you are going around Basco.
Newspaper can be bought at a house near the Ivatan Lodge; the front yard of the house is planted with round upo that is now rarely seen in public markets in the metro. The newspapers being sold, broadsheets and tabloids (only the wholesome ones), are displayed at the porch area of the house along with a few pieces of harvested round upo that is also for sale, when I arrived there was no one watching over the newspapers and the round upo. In Batanes it is safe to leave merchandise like that for honesty is still a valued and observed virtue there. The elderly couple that sells the newspaper was busy doing household chores during that time; I said “dios” to inform them of my presence. An old man, maybe around 80 years old, attended to my inquiries regarding the price of the newspaper and I learned from him that all of the newspaper he is selling was airlifted by Sea Air from Manila earlier in the morning.
The supply of newspaper that is for sale in Basco is dependent on the arrival of flights from Manila. In this way of supply delivery Basco gets its supply of newspaper ahead than the town of Sagada in the Mountain Province. Sagada gets its supply of newspaper from Baguio City and is transported by bus via the Halsema Highway. Up-to-date newspaper is available for sale in Basco at around 9 am (if the weather permits the regular early morning flight) while in Sagada the newspaper is available for sale early in the afternoon (given good road conditions sans the incident of landslides).
The Philippine Daily Inquirer (PDI) was priced 33 pesos each and the same price goes for The Philippine Star, I remember seeing newspaper in tabloid format such as People’s Journal, Pilipino Star, and Tempo also for sale. I bought PDI and this is so far the most expensive copy of newspaper that I purchased. I kept this copy as one of the souvenirs of my trip in Batanes.