SkyJet Airlines partners with Batanes’ local mayor to make an 80m artwall on Sabtang, the first of its kind on the island

Artist’s render of the Sabtang Seawall mural by Awee Abelardo.

SkyJet Airlines, in partnership with the Municipality of Sabtang, one of three main islands that make up the Philippines’ northernmost province, Batanes, has an ambitious art project—they’re looking at painting on a big chunk of Sabtang’s seawall.

Here are a few things you should know about the upcoming Sabtang seawall mural:

It’s the perfect Sabtang teaser

Sabtang Mayor Maxilindo Emilio Babalo (left) shakes hands with SkyJet Airlines commercial head Joseph Edward Alvarico.

The seawall mural will be the first thing people will see when they visit Sabtang. “It is meant to excite tourists to the places and experiences they have been looking forward to seeing and doing in Sabtang,” says SkyJet Airlines commercial head Joseph Alvarico.

Which parts? These ones, to be specific, if you ask Sabtang mayor Maxilindo Babalo, are the old Ivatan houses, Sabtang’s famous spots, and the Vakul-Kanayi Festival. “It doesn’t even have to be the actual festival. If it shows Ivatan men wearing kanayi and Ivatan women wearing the vakul, we will be happy.”

It’s a 60m to 80m art-on-wall

The mural will make up about 60m to 80m of the Sabtang wall, or about 85% of the inner side of the seawall, according to Awee Abelador, lead artist for the project. Eight artists will work on the wall, all comprised of Creative Hub’s art group, the Hangtay Artist.

Work on the mural is set to begin on Wednesday, March 4, 2020 and will likely be completed in about 11 days. Follow the entire process of creating the mural on Creative Hub’s YouTube channel, Creative Hub TV.

Sabtang’s history and culture, on display

“The Mural project of SkyJet, in collaboration with Sabtang’s local government unit, will emphasize Sabtang’s historic and cultural perspective making them unique as a tourist destination,” says Joseph. To be depicted are iconic landmarks of each of Sabtang’s villages like the Ivatan Houses of Savidug and the viewpoint in Chamantad-Tinyan, Morong Beach.

An Ivatan woman wearing a vakul. Photo by Ferdz Decena

The mural will also highlight signature pieces of Sabtang like the vakul, the kanayi (cogon vest for Ivatan men), the panikal (a way of splitting flying fish), and their cogon-roofed tricycles, among others.

It’s a work of art by Ivatans for Ivatans

SkyJet Airlines and the municipality of Sabtang are not alone in showcasing Sabtang to its locals and visitors. The parties have commissioned the Hangtay Artist group under Creative Hub, Batanes’ new breed of artists. It will be the biggest mural project, to date, of said Ivatan artists as a group.

Get there. SkyJet (flyskyjetair.com) flies direct from Manila to Batanes daily. Sabtang is a 30-minute boat ride from Ivana port in the southern part of Batan Island.