Living in an island is a struggle. Yet, for the Batans, life in the island of Batanes is one thing they will never ever trade for a life elsewhere.
What many does not know is the fact that the Batanes group of islands sit in what experts call the Ring of Fire or also known as the Circum-Pacific belt. It’s an area of the Pacific Ocean where major earthquakes and volcanic eruptions happen. This year, a Filipino scientist discovered the world largest caldera which existed 25 million years ago, and probably a large feature in the 40,000 kilometer horseshoe shaped belt, now filled with trenches, volcanic arcs, belts and plate movements. About 75% of the world’s volcanoes or about 452 volcanoes, 90% of the world’s earthquakes and 81% of the world’s largest earthquakes emanate from this area.
Looking at Google Earth, and you’ll find that Batanes group of islands are the exposed mountain tops of a bigger and wider expanse of land, now submerged underwater. Any movements in the tectonic plates would surely cause earthquakes. Fortunately, the group of islands stand on very solid granite rocks which gives it stability.
Millions of years of geologic time manifest itself in the dramatic rolling hills, and those shapely mounds that punctuate in most of the islands. The richness of the soil makes planting ideal in Batanes yet the lack of pools or springs of fresh water makes life hard in Batanes.
Ships bearing goods from the mainland Luzon, particularly Cagayan arrive in Batanes and do trading with the Batans only during the six months of summer. Rough waters prevent the steady arrival of big ships and the lack of a safe anchorage is likewise an issue.
Yet, Batanes shows promise. It is very near Taiwan and mainland China. These islands have enough space for infrastructural development.