Some years ago I finally made it to Batanes, the most northerly of the Philippines’ 7,100 islands, having dreamed of them since childhood. These islands and their culture are quite different from the rest of the country. The thatched cottages, built to withstand interminable battering from typhoons, are nothing like the customary ones in Luzon. The walls are built of cobbles — of which there are plenty on the beaches, apparently thrown up by past volcanic eruptions — and set with limestone-based mortar. Some of the historic buildings, such as a church dating back more than 3 centuries, have walls so robustly set that restorers have had difficulty prying the foundation cobbles apart, even with modern tools. The knack of making such enduring mortar has been lost to local builders; perhaps the secret may still be found in Europe.
This charming cottage seems straight out of a British countryside — Cornwall perhaps or Devon. Minus the exotic palm of course (though in some sheltered parts of Cornwall, protected by the warm Gulf Stream, there are magnificent gardens with subtropical plants).
Shutters are often painted blue — a feature that I really like.