Bo. Chavayan, Sabtang, Batanes
Jumpoff: Opposite Chamantad sanctuary, Bo. Chavayan
LLA: 160 MASL
Days required / Hours to summit: Half-day / 30 minutes
Specs: Minor climb, Difficulty 3/9, Trail class 4
The elusive and distant island of Sabtang in Batanes is one of the most beautiful places in the entire archipelago. Villages of stone houses – such as in Chavayan and Savidug – are in themselves enchating, but they are even made more so by the backdrop of grand coastlines, facing the waters between Pacific Ocean and South China Sea, as well as the rocky hills.
The customary tour of Sabtang includes, as its first stop, the Chamantad Marine Sanctuary, at the arc marking the entrance to Brgy. Chavayan. PinoyMountaineer is introducing a short but very nice trek as a great addendum to this stop. The destination is called valungid Peak, and it is just at the opposite side of the road relative to Chamantad. This hill is rocky and meadowy at the same time, with plants called voyavoy beautifying the place. The highlight of the climb is scrambling up the rocky face of the peak. Sometimes you have to pass between two boulders. The winds are fierce and deafening and the views magnificent; in spite of the low altitude (160 MASL), the feeling is as though you are on the highlands.
At the summit, marked by a rock which is reminiscent of Pico de Loro closer to home, the views are tantalizing: you can see the roads winding along the western coast of – culminating in Bo. Chavayan; and prominent in the views are also the other hills of Chavayan,. To the east is Batan Island with Mts. Iraya and Matarem; and directly below you is the Chamantad landscape. Both literally and figuratively, the Valungid hike heightens the Sabtang tour, and for mountaineers, this brief trek is highly recommended.
Valungid Hill is just a thirty minute hike from Chamantad Marine Sanctuary. Although grand, the overwhelming landscapes of Sabtang is essential to the experience and thus the itinerary for this destination will fall under the main “Batanes for Mountaineers” article to be posted shortly in PinoyMountaineer.com
Some rock climbing/scrambling experience is required when attempting a climb of Valungid Peak. Whereas Chamantad beneath does not have cellphone signal, Valungid has good reception. Must-brings include a windbreaker for the fierce gales and gloves for the G2-like rocky face.
Nomenclature: No pre-existing data for names has been detailed, so PinoyMountaineer is taking the liberty of provisionary nomenculature. we are preferring Valungid Peak since it is the local name according to village elders. The spelling follows the correct Ivatan.
I was told by village elders that the PALMC did an earlier, 30-man exploration of Sabtang as a mountaineering destination way back in 1996.