Lola Ida, the most photographed person in Batanes and the only resident of “The House of Dakay,” was sickly when we visited her. But she didn’t let it affect her and continuous to welcome visitors in her old vernacular house. I was surprised to learn that Lola Ida was actually born in Silay City, Negros Occidental in 1926 and migrated with the family year 1935. She still remembers that it took them weeks from Manila to finally reach Batanes. From then on, she never left the place.
“Dakay” is Lola Ida’s father. Jose Estrella is his birth name but he was fondly called “Parakay” in this small town of San Jose, Ivana. Parakay means “red hair,” apparently, Mang Jose in his childhood was always playing under the sun and that made his hair reddish. Parakay has been his alias until then, it was reduced to Dakay as time passed by.
The “House of Dakay” has been a popular tourist stop as it is one of the best preserved old houses in Batan Island. The time-honored house is made up of lime and stones thatched with cogo grass. It was built to last as it was not affected by the two major earthquakes, let alone the strong typhoons that continually ravish the island. It still stands today as a testament of the Ivatans’ fine architectural skills.
Now, this same house is a UNESCO-stamped heritage building.
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Visit Batanes is a 9-part series that paints the unfading beauty of Batanes, her citizens, churches, culture and cuisine. Posts are filled with photos that will surely convince readers to be thrilled in islands ata northernmost part of the Philippines. Come! Explore Batanes!
Visit Batanes Series: Colorful Churches / Sabong at Diura Fishing Village / Lola Ida and the House of Dakay / Surviving the Faluwa Ride / Quotes & Reflections at the Honesty Café / Chill Time with the Ivatans / Snapshots from Sabtang Island / 10 Must-Try Foods / Accommodations in Batanes