Purpledot Wisdom

Purple wisdom on a Saturday.

Purpledot in photo: Sr. Amparo, RA


The universe heard the beating of a heart starting to wallow in grief. Classic Sr. Fids, I sent her a message saying “I miss you.” She went straight to the point and said, “I have free time, let’s meet up!” The heart didn’t get a chance to get mad at the world. The heart beat for a chance to be surrounded by goodness… in brilliant violet no less!

Yesterday, I was daydreaming about meeting up with her at Casa Santa and eventually getting invited to having lunch with them. Presumptuous, I know. But it did happen. And my heart sang the hills are alive, even though a bit out of tune.

I’ve been asked why I spend time with them. Well, why not? There’s reality and there’s spiritual reality. Our lives are composed of these two, though we may sometimes choose to deal with them separately. How we are as spiritual beings echo through our material existence and our treatment of those around us. I like spending time with them. It heals the soul. They are always a breath of fresh air from the realness of reality.

Ojo de Dios for Sr. Marge, RA

Oh, my heart didn’t just sing the hills are alive. It also did a bit of awkward dancing upon learning that Sr. Marge has been proudly showing off the Ojo I gave her! Well not really “showing it off.” Ahhhhhhh! They’re more like our second mothers, so many of them. I guess somehow each of them presents to us the many faces of Mutti. Thank you. Even by that simple fact, it makes me want to spend more saturday lunches with you.

These words from Sr. Rose Peter, uttered in a voice full of heart and saddened by years of on and off grief, gave voice to the heart of this child: My Dad passed away when I was nine. I miss him.


Santo Domingo Church, also known as Basco Cathedral, is a Roman Catholic church located in Basco. Because Batanes was named Provincia de la Concepcion in religious records at the time of its establishment, the first church was dedicated to Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception, Patroness of Batanes Prelature. It is speculated that the image of the Immaculate Conception was brought to Batanes during the 1783 expedition. It bears the name of Santo Domingo de Guzman as the Patron Saint of Basco. (Wikipedia)

Santo Domingo de Basco Church was built in 1812 under the supervision of the Dominican friars. It is one of the first limestone buildings to be built under the Spanish regime. The convent beside the church was built in 1814. These buildings were built around 1795 with the help of imported masons, stone cutters, and carpenters from Cagayan.

The 10 Commandments in Ivatan.

The structure was first built from 1787 to 1796 by Father Baltazar Calderon, OP and Father Bartolome Artiquez, OP. The walls of the church were installed with massive pilasters from the foundation to top to protect it against typhoons and earthquakes.


In 1860, the church was damaged by a fire and rebuilt by Father Antonio Vicente, OP in 1863, and the roof was added by Father Mariano Gomez, OP in 1891. It survived the Filipino-American War (1899 to 1901) and the World War II (1941 to 1945). (Vigattin Tourism)

According to our guide, Mark, Basco Cathedral was nominated as one of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites in 2003. However, the San Agustin Church in Paoay, Ilocos Norte won that title.



Before the Spaniards came to Batanes, everyone lived peacefully and quietly in Naidi Hills. Naidi was then better known as “Idi” which means a town or a village.  When the Spaniards came, they forced the people in “Idi” to go to the plains as ordered by the Generals.

Under forced labor, the Ivatans built small schools, libraries, churches and houses for the Spaniards. After the buildings were finished, the Spaniards began to enhance knowledge of the Ivatans.  They taught the Ivatans how to read and write in Spanish.  The Spanish priests baptized the Ivatans and taught them how to pray and sing church hymns.

After the domination of the Spaniards, none of the Ivatans ever lived in “Idi” again. All of them resided on the plain which is now called Basco. (The Ivatan Untold Stories)

The Basco Lighthouse was built on Naidi Hills, at the site of the old telegraph facility used during the American era and was destroyed by the Japanese during World War II. (The Poor Traveler

The structure is a 6-story building with a gallery or viewing deck on the fifth floor. Located next to the 66 feet (20 m) tower is a dwelling of vernacular architecture. Traditional Ivatan houses are made with stone or rubble masonry. (Wikipedia)

The viewing deck is a perfect location to view the whole of Batan Island (the main island where Basco is located) from end to end, including Mount Iraya. One can also have a clear view of Sabtang Island in the south of Basco and Itbayat Island to the north. (Wikipedia)

A variety of souvenirs are sold inside, including: miniature Ivatan houses, refrigerator magnets of the stone houses made of recylced  glass, native fans, key chains of mini a Ivatan. You can also have your photo taken wearing the Vakul. Here is a picture of a not so native Ivatan in Vakul, holding the travelling Assumption Plaid Journal.  

Vakul is a headgear used to protect the Ivatans from rain, wind and sun. Vakuls are used by women while its counterpart Talugong are worn by Ivatan men.

Vakuls are made out of Philippine Date Palm or Voyavoy leaves. The palm leaves are being dried under the sun, shredded into thin parts and woven to make a Vakul. (WikiPilipinas)


Assumption Journal: VAYANG ROLLING HILLS

Vayang Rollings Hills is the point where you can see both the East and West side of Batan Island. 

In order to get this view, the car had to drive through one-way wide roads while ascending to the top. Phew.

After parking just a few meters from this spot, the humans had to walk on a path twelve inches wide atop a very very steep hill. Scary.

You can’t see it but this poker faced cattle is silently smirking as we (well, the human carrying me, took slow shaky steps on the very very thin path on top of a very very steep hill). 😑But just as this journey began without any expectations, the courage that beat out of our hearts had surprisingly led this pair of almost-frozen-feet to take each shaky step one at a time. The goal was to experience the beauty God made as seen on the edge of the hill.    


Valugan means “east” in the Ivatan language. The Valugan Boulder Beach is located in the eastern side of Batan island, which faces the great Pacific Ocean. The countless boulders lining on the shores were scoffed up by Mt. Iraya during its last eruption in the 1400’s.  

Listen to the waves whisper the song “On This Day” by Asgeir Trausti with this video of the Plaid Journal (and Assumption Tali) at the Valugan Boulder Beach.

Valugan Boulder Beach

Assumption Journal: JAPANESE HIDEOUT

Dipnaysupuan Japanese Tunnel is one of the tunnels built during the Japanese occupation. The Ivatans labored under the firm command of the Japanese soldiers. They were paid with Mickey Mouse money, hoping that if they saved enough of it they will have something when the war ended. This particular tunnel has five bunkers/exits.

The plaid journal wasn’t able to take (selfie) photos inside the Dipnaysupuan Japanese Tunnel.

You can also watch the I-Witness documentary by Jay Taruc on the history of the Batanes Tunnels. Very Interesting!


Assumption Journal: IDJANG VIEWING

Also called Batanes Castle

This is one of four high rocky formations locally known as ijang (also spelled as idjang). These idjangs were used for habitation and fortification. They somewhat functioned as a castle, similar to European structures in terms of purpose but not in terms of appearance.

The Savidug Idjang also shares similarities with the Okinawan castles called gusuku, located in the Ryukyu Islands between Japan and Taiwan.

The builders of idjang and gusuku were selective in choosing the natural topography to be utilized: Both structures were strategically built in high places. The artifacts found in Savidug such as 12th-century Chinese beads and Sung-type ceramics are also proof that the idjang‘s establishment coincided with the foundation of the Okinawan castles beginning c. AD 1200.