House of Dakay: Oldest Stone House in Batanes

Lola Ida January 2005 - House of Dakay

House of Dakay in Ivana, Batanes

The town of Ivana is not only known for the most talked-about “Honesty Coffee Shop but” it also has a heritage building that is popularly known as House of Dakay.

Lola Ida January 2005 - House of Dakay
Lola Ida January 2005 – House of Dakay

The House of Dakay is probably the most visited in Batanes. It is also the oldest house in Batanes, which is being maintained by Lola Ida – one of the oldest women on the island. Many things have changed since the first time I visited her house (2004). I noticed that the wooden floor is dusty and the house is no longer well kept.

I also noticed that Lola Ida has gotten really weak and nurses painful joints much more now since its “winter” season in Batanes.

House of Dakay June 2004 - The Oldest Stone House in Batanes
House of Dakay June 2004 – The Oldest Stone House in Batanes

I know she couldn’t recognize me, but everyone recognizes her since almost all of the magazines that feature Batanes have a photo of her in it.

For the benefit of the first time Batanes visitors like Gail, Marc, Nina, and Karla, we asked Lola Ida some questions about the house and her experiences. Her answers were pretty much the same as the first time I heard it, but it never gets boring.

Floresida Estrella, popularly known as Lola Ida, was not born in Batanes; she was born in the Visayas, where she spent her childhood with her family in Silay City.

Lola Ida June 2004 at the House of Dakay
Lola Ida June 2004 at the House of Dakay

Being the most photographed person in Batanes, she already knows what to do each time she welcomes tourists in her house. She poses beside the thick wooden door while sharing her stories with a humorous twist.

The House of Dakay was constructed of lime and stone in 1887, originally owned by Luisa Estrella, who bequeathed it to her favorite nephew Jose Dakay Estrella.

Lola Ida shared that their family went back to Batanes in 1939; she was seven years old when her grandaunt Luisa Estrella bequeathed the house to her father.

One of only 5 structures that withstood the strong earthquake of September 13, 1918, which totally leveled the town of Ivana to the ground.

Its native cogon roof is changed every 30 years: 1917, 1947, 1977, and the most recent was the summer of 2007.

Lola Ida of Batanes
Lola Ida of Batanes

Lola Ida’s hospitality is beyond compare, given the fact that she never gets any monetary compensation for entertaining each tourist who visits her house.

Now that Lola Ida is weak, I hope someone can extend help to her considering her current condition. I think the local government should also extend their assistance in maintaining the house since its one of the island’s tourist attractions.

Lola Ida November 2008
Lola Ida November 2008

I remember the last time I visited her, she requested that I send her a copy of her photograph and put some notes at the back, much like a postcard.

During my last visit to her house last January 2005, I promised myself that I will give her something on my next visit, so before leaving her house, I gave her my extra Muslim Scarf as a token.

Sad News: Lola Ida or Florestida Estrella passed away last January 2014, Reset in Peace Lola Ida.

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  1. Valerie says

    I’m dying to go to Batanes. I hope it will not be harassed by mass tourism in the future…

  2. Leslie Arcinue says

    I was wondering if “Lola Ida” is your real grandmother, or if that is just what you call her. Please email me when you get a chance. I would love you ask you a few questions on a more personal basis regarding Lola Ida.

  3. rhoda says

    me and my friends are traveling to Batanes this weekend and i’m saddened by the news that Lola Ida has already passed away 🙁 hopefully her house is taken care of.

  4. […] House of Dakay – Batanes […]

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