Asian Geographic - - On Assignment -

Kapian capa nu dios /ka/pee/an/ka/pah/nu/dee/os/


Some 35,000 peo­ple speak Ivatan, or Chirin nu Ibatan, the Aus­trone­sian lan­guage ex­clu­sive to the Batanes Is­lands and dis­tinct from the north­ern Lu­zon lan­guages. The Batanes were an im­por­tant way sta­tion on the risky jour­ney of the Aus­trone­sian-speak­ing peo­ples from Tai­wan to north­ern Lu­zon around 4000 BC. Be­fore they could make the jour­ney suc­cess­fully, they had to in­vent a ca­noe with an out­rig­ger and sail, to keep their boats from cap­siz­ing in the fierce north­ward cur­rent. The Aus­trone­sian ter­mi­nol­ogy for ‘sail’ and ‘out­rig­ger’ dates back to that pe­riod of time. Ivatan has two di­alects, namely Ivatan, spo­ken on the is­lands of Batan and Sab­tang, and It­bayat, spo­ken on the is­lands of It­bayat.

As the Chris­tian faith of the main­land per­me­ates the Batanes, the Ivatan con­tinue to be­lieve in any­itu, the em­bod­i­ments, ghosts and souls of their dead an­ces­tors. This com­plex ne­go­ti­a­tion of faiths is con­ducted through rit­u­als and of­fer­ings to the any­itu, un­der­stood strictly as non­wor­ship­ping prac­tices.


Fol­low des­ig­nated pedes­trian cross­ing and jeep­ney stops.


Refuse an of­fer of food dur­ing a home visit.

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