The Kids of Chavayan Village Will be Alright | Batanes

Coinciding our visit to Batanes on the windiest time of the year, the weather on Sabtang Island resembled an early winter setting. The scenery along the way to the old village of Chavayan was some of the prettiest I've ever seen. It's impossible to blink my eyes as we pass through seemingly limitless green fields studded by lingering munching cows and goats foregrounding immense blue waters. We arrived in town an hour before sundown, leaving us with little time for exploration that day.

Audrey Tangonan
The kids of Chavayan are alright

While some of my friends chose to relax in one of the homes where a group of fellow travel bloggers had slept the night before, Le Anne and I took the opportunity to roam about. We ended up mingling with children from neighboring homes. I was always fascinated by how young kids live in provincial settings. Coming from the city suburbs, I've often wondered what it's like to grow up in a an environment opposite where I was raised—say, a seaside town in Palawan or where else but in this rustic and picturesque old town.

They even have their own theater. A kid plays in front of Chavayan Theater

Chavayan Village: A beautifully conserved town

It has to be one of the most beautiful and well-preserved towns I've seen in the Philippines. It's a charming hamlet where inhabitants still live in old stone houses, and while modernity ties the past to the present, it doesn't detract from the town's character and heritage. You could sense a throwback vibe persisting in the place, transporting you many years back.

Chavayan Village in Batanes
Jump, Jump.

As soon as we walked out onto the tiny street, the adorable kids surrounded us, asking, "Anong ngalan mo?" (What is your name?). They were all buzzing with enthusiasm, smiling and clowning around with each other. They'd ask me to take photographs of them, and like typical youngsters from the big city as they were presumably introduced to high-tech gadgets by previous visitors, they'd check the LCD screen of my camera and scroll over it with their fingers, mistaking it for a touch screen camera.

They always request for a groupie shot

They wrestled, shadow boxed, played tag, and hopped all over the place as small kids do anywhere. On a few occasions, their parents would whistle at them and motion them to behave, ordering them in their local dialect to 'not annoy the guests,' referring to us, but as their moms flash a smile to us, we would affirm that 'its fine,' and the kids would quickly return to their playful selves.

Audrey Tangonon friend Le Anne
Le Anne and the Kids

They may not have the city life that most of us are accustomed to, there will be no weekend trips to the malls or playing with fancy toys, but what they have now is much better than most of us experienced growing up, or anything I've gone through my entire childhood. Theirs takes place in a kid's wonderland characterized by a picturesque surrounding where every angle should be put on a postcard.

Marky Ramone Go
at one of the many stone houses in Chavayan

Even if they are unaware of it, the children of Chavayan Village have something fantastic going for them. I see myself as a little child with millions of things to do in between running about this town,  accumulating experiences that would inspire me in the latter part of my life.  While that never happened to myself, I'm delighted these adorable children are having that type of childhood right now.

The village church

When I met them again the next day, they were dressed in their school uniforms, waving and informing me they were on their way to class. A tiny school planted near the foot of a steep slope, a few hundred meters down the road and a couple hundred meters from the thundering waves of the sea, is where the children of Chavayan Village feed on newfound knowledge.

All stone houses look alike in Chavayan

When the bell rings to signify the end of the school day, I imagine their routine turns to a repeating page — that of boisterous, mischievous, playful small kids who are milking every bit of their childhood to the full. If a sequel to that best-selling book is written, it should be titled "Everything I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten at Chavayan."

Chavayan by the Sea

Many people believe they can live or retire in Chavayan (if there is a stable and fast internet connection), but for me, it's the opposite. Oh, how I wish I could go back in time and have a childhood in a place like Chavayan Village.