San Carlos de Borromeo was the first stone-made church built in Mahatao, Batanes in 1787. Also known as Mahatao Church, this structure was declared a national cultural treasure by the Philippine National Commission for Culture and The Arts in 2001. More than being a Spanish colonial edifice, this church is popular for the little library located next to it.
The Maywang A Libro Du Vatan (Batanes Blank Book Archive) contains shelves of hardbound books with blank pages. It’s open to the public, and anyone with a pen is free to write his/her thoughts on the blank pages of any book. If you browse through what other visitors have written, you’ll find prayers, wishes, rants, letters, drawings, and other random thoughts in different languages and dialects.
Batanes’ Blank Book Archive has become a library of people’s thoughts and innermost feelings. It’s interesting to learn about how visitors choose the book and page they write on. Some go by gut feel. Others look to astrology by choosing a book number based on their birth dates, while some turn to a higher being by praying or meditating before being led to a specific book.
Me, I went for my gut feel. Many travel bloggers take a snapshot of what they’ve written in the library and share it with their audience. I think I’ll keep my message to myself.