SANTA ANA, Cagayan: The Batanes Island province-based Philippine Navy (PN) on Saturday hoisted the Philippine flag in Mavulis Island, the country’s northernmost island debastated by Typhoon “Ferdie” last year.

Also known as the Y’ami Island which is said to be closer to Taiwan than it is to Aparri town, the place is one of the unoccupied islets in Itbayat Island described as the paradise up north, that reaching the place is only for the brave.

Commodore Jeff Rene Magdugo led 22 researchers from the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and two local fisherfolk from Itbayat Island, one of the six municipalities of Batanes with a population of close to 3,000 in five barangay (villages).

It was during the height of Typhoon “Ferdie” (Meranti) in September 2016 when the flagpole in the island was damaged. It was recently restored for the reinstallation of the Philippine flag.

“We have to reinstall the Philippine Flag in Mavulis Island to assert the country’s sovereignty and to let all the people know that this is part of our country,” Magdugo said, adding the area also serves as the country’s northern boundary marker.

He said it was a pleasure for his team to hoist the flag despite challenges along their way to the newly repaired flagpole.

“We had to climb up rocky mountains and slippery cliffs and crossed rough and high seas just to hoist again the country’s national symbol in one of Itbayat’s unoccupied islets,” Magdugo said.

In May 2016, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) made history after soldiers hoisted the Philippine flag for the first time in the island.

According to the AFP, it was done to support the local government’s call for help to transform the islet into a resting place and shelter for Filipino fishermen.

The island is full of vegetation, of mango and palm, and is part of the Luzon Volcanic Arc.