Basic courtesy reminders for an "Ipula"

Basco Still Life

“Ipula” is a term used by Ivatans for someone who is not a native of Batanes. They would know if you are an Ipula or not, simply because you are a new face, and you do not speak their dialect.

Ivatans are naturally courteous people. It is very heartwarming to know that the basic virtues taught by our grandparents and our parents still thrive in Batanes. Why not? Perhaps we can attribute it to the fact that they are an island and rarely do we, Ipulas, have the chance to intrude in their culture and tradition. It is because we feared Batanes for its strong typhoons. Add to it the fact that transportation then was not that reliable.

Because of the extreme weather that Batanes is known for, it is only in the past two decades that Batanes has been fully explored as an alternative tourist destination.

For those who fear Batanes’ extreme weather, it is good to note that you no longer have to fear being stranded—at least for now, because the strong typhoons have not passed through Batanes for the past 20 years. If you want to have an idea what a strong typhoon in Batanes is, it is very much much like typhoon Milenyo in 2006—only a little stronger, according to Mang Nards who drove us around.

So here are some reminders for Batanes wannabe explorers:

  • Everyone calls the elders “uncle” or “auntie” which is a form of endearment and a sign of respect—very much like “tito” and “tita”.
  • When you are invited into a household or introduced to an elderly, do not forget to “kiss the hands” of the elders, by doing the traditional “Mano po”
  • Whenever you meet someone along the street, make sure you have that ready smile and say “Magandang umaga/ hapon po!” (Good morning/ afternoon!), or just simply say “Hello!” (and do not misinterpret it that the stranger who said "hi" or "hello" has the hots for you!)
  • When taking photos of people, just ask for their permission, and they will oblige. Thank them afterward.

Let us help them preserve their culture. It does not hurt much if we say a simple “Hello!” One thing that makes me feel good is their courtesy.

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Aside from my day job, I love photography and storytelling. Going places--be it a cliche destination or the far side of the road--stoke and free my soul. I dig deeper into the people’s psyche, culture and ethnicity, and heritage. I love to observe how they thrive and build social institutions, preserve their culture and traditions.


Christian | Lakad Pilipinas said...

Punta kami Batanes sa Lunes, salamat dito Ding =P

Admin/Author said...

Wow! Nge may bagyo...anyway, enjoy your trip!

Er said...

Dios mamajes for this nice reminder. And if I may add, please keep Batanes clean by not littering. And Ivatan people still hold on to what is perceived by modernists as traditional and backward:we call it DECENCY. God bless and welcome to Batanes.

Admin/Author said...

Thanks, Er! That is true. And in my 5-day sojourn in Batanes, what struck me most are the people--and of course, the scenery.