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Archive for the ‘Lighthouses’ Category

Capones Island Lighthouse (San Antonio)

Posted by admin on January 2, 2007

This light station is on Capones Island, Zambales, off the west coast of Luzon north of Manila. The lighthouse, built off the same plans as Isla de Cabra, is a 56 ft (17 m) square brick tower completed in 1890. The lantern and lens have been replaced with modern equipment. Noche found the tower to be in fairly good condition, but the keeper’s house is in bad shape. In March 2004 the Environmental Protection of Asia Foundation signed an agreement to restore the light station as the Capones Island Marine Conservation Research and Development Center.

For more information on San Antonio, Zambales, read Anawangin Cove in San Antonio, Zambales

Posted in Industrial Heritage, Lighthouses, Zambales | 4 Comments »

Punta Santiago Lighthouse (Calatagan)

Posted by admin on January 2, 2007

Cape Santiago Lighthouse of the Philippines, also known as Punta de Santiago, is located on the western head of Balayan Bay, southern shore of the province of Batangas. It lights the Verde Passage between the island of Luzon and Mindoro’s western entrance. At first, nothing seems to be of special admiration in this tower but rather an eerie nostalgic feeling of a bygone era. As we walked the hallway leading to the entrance of the tower, a sudden flashback of Spanish galleons mightily riding the peaceful Balayan Bay struck my mind.

A brick tower with lantern and gallery, the lighthouse is unique among other lighthouses in the Philippines because of its continuing circular shaft. Its focal plane is 27 meters (89 feet) and 10 meters

high. Built in December 15, 1890 by Magin Pers y Pers and later continued by Guillermo Brockman, it is one of the principal lights of approach to Manila Bay, the center of maritime industry, from San Bernardino or the southern route across the islands. The lighthouse is painted in white while the modern Japanese aluminum lantern is silver in color. We noticed the decorative metal grills, a classic example of rich Spanish architecture, that support the overhanging balcony used as a lookout.

Posted in Batangas, Industrial Heritage, Lighthouses | 4 Comments »

Cape Melville Lighthouse

Posted by admin on July 27, 2006

Posted in Industrial Heritage, Lighthouses, National Historical Landmarks, Palawan | 2 Comments »

Cape Bolinao Lighthouse

Posted by admin on July 27, 2006

101-year-old lighthouse is Bolinao’s landmark

By Yolanda Sotelo-Fuertes
Last updated 00:26am (Mla time) 06/28/2006

Published on Page A19 of the June 28, 2006 issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer

Editor’s Note: This is the third of a series of reports on lighthouses in Northern Luzon. The Inquirer is featuring these century-old structures to highlight their importance to the country’s northern sea lanes and call attention to their neglect.

FOR 101 years now, the Cape Bolinao lighthouse stands proud atop Punta Piedra Point in Barangay Patar in Bolinao, Pangasinan, guiding ships and vessels cruising the international passage along the South China Sea.

Nestled amid trees, the lighthouse was built in 1905 by Filipino, British and American engineers. It is one of the five major lighthouses in the country and the second tallest, next to the Cape Bojeador lighthouse in Burgos, Ilocos Norte. It has become a prominent landmark that tourists frequent.

The 30.78-meter (101-foot) tower provides a panoramic view of the blue sea and white beaches, offshore reefs and rock formations, as well as rolling verdant hills. Once in a while, a passing vessel dots the sea, an international route of vessels going to Hong Kong, Japan and the United States.

The 140-step winding stairway of the tower leads to the illumination room, 76.2 m above sea level. According to Pedro Honrada, the lighthouse’s head keeper, the lantern is visible 44 kilometers away, guiding seafarers (led toward this area by a lighthouse in Zambales) toward the lighthouse in Poro Point, La Union.

The late Bolinao historian Catalino Catanaoan said the original light machine was manufactured in England, while the lantern, with three wicks and chimneys, was imported from France.

“Filipino machinists were able to copy the original [when they repaired it]. The light machine is rotated by a system of gears like that of a big clock with a pendulum of weights, winded and suspended with steel cable,” he said.

Kerosene fuel

The lighthouse was fueled by kerosene during its first 80 years of operation. When the Pangasinan I Electric Cooperative extended its lines to Patar, the lanterns were powered by electricity.

In 1999, the lighthouse was renovated through a loan package extended by the Japanese government to the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), which is in charge of the facility. Aside from repairing and repainting the tower, the assistance included setting up solar panels, a new apparatus and two beacon lights. The panels recharge the lights.

The lighthouse has also been getting the attention it deserves from the municipal government.

In June last year, Mayor Alfonso Celeste entered into a memorandum of agreement with the PCG to “adopt” the Cape Bolinao lighthouse to ensure its preservation and maintenance, under the PCG’s “Adopt a Lighthouse Program.”

Under the MOA, the PCG continues to be the sole owner of the lighthouse. It has the right to deny entry into the area during emergency cases and is responsible for the operation, repair and regular maintenance of the beacon light and its supporting mechanisms.

On the other hand, the local government will take charge of rehabilitation and maintenance of the immediate vicinity (except that of the beacon, solar panels and other equipment), provide maintenance personnel, and protect the facilities from vandals.

Cultural heritage

The local government is also tasked with promoting the declaration of the lighthouse as a cultural heritage.

Already, the lighthouse compound has been spruced up. The uphill road leading to the tower has been paved with the help of Pangasinan Rep. Arturo Celeste. A view deck has been put up in the area.

The rehabilitation of the administration building and a public bath was funded by the Department of Transportation and Communications.

Brunner Carranza, municipal planning and development officer, said a worker assigned by the local government keeps the area clean all day.

While the lighthouse has become a tourist attraction by itself, it has failed to do its “job” of guiding sea vessels at night, Honrada said.

In early November 2004, the beacon lights started to dim until it finally shut off on Nov. 8.

“The batteries bogged down,” Honrada said. He has been following up with the PCG navigation command the repair of the batteries that cost about P1 million—to no avail.

“My wish is that before I retire [in October], the lighthouse will be working again,” Honrada said.

Posted in Industrial Heritage, Lighthouses, Pangasinan | 85 Comments »

Cape Engaño Lighthouse

Posted by admin on July 27, 2006

Cagayan’s guiding light won’t let darkness fall

By Melvin Gascon

EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the second of a series of reports on lighthouses in Northern Luzon. The Inquirer is featuring these century-old structures to highlight their importance to the country’s northern sea lanes and call attention to their neglect.

TERESA Jamorabon was beaming as she recalled the years when living at the Faro de Cabo Engaño was everything she, her husband and their brood of nine could only dream of.

Her husband, the late Gregorio Jamorabon, was among the longest-serving lighthouse keepers in the Cape Engaño light station on Palaui Island at the northeastern tip of the archipelago.

From 1946 to 1968, the Jamorabons called the Cape Engaño lighthouse their home.

“It was wonderful. We were like living in paradise; we had everything we needed. We were happy because best of all, my husband was working while he had with him his family,” Jamorabon, 80, said.

The Cape Engaño is one of the 27 major lighthouses in the country, which, until now, continues to play a crucial role in navigation, especially for ships traversing the Babuyan Channel in Northern Luzon and the Pacific Ocean. It is under the supervision of the Department of Transportation and Communications, through the Philippine Coast Guard’s lighthouse division.

Perched on the northern edge of the island, Cape Engaño is still regarded as one of the most beautiful lighthouses in the country.

Built in 1888, mostly by Filipino laborers, the structure has withstood the Spanish-American War and World War II, as well as the wrath of scores of typhoons.

The fortress-like station sits atop a hill 92 meters above sea level, overlooking the Cape Engaño cove on the east, the clear waters of the Babuyan Channel and the Dos Hermanas (Two Sisters) Islands on the north, and the vast Pacific Ocean on the west.

It is said that Spanish seafarers who first set foot on the cape were so enthralled by its natural beauty that they named it Engaño.

From the Santa Ana town proper, the station can be reached by a 30-minute boat ride from the Barangay San Vicente port, going northward and docking at the white sand beach of the Cape Engaño cove. It takes 20 minutes to hike the top of the hill.

The station has four major structures: The one-story main pavilion that serves as the office and the workers’ quarters; two smaller identical buildings, which used to be the kitchen; and the storage and powerhouse.

At the center is the 11-m (47-foot) octagonal tower, whose protruding attic (the platform on which the crown and lantern rest) is visible from all angles around the cape.

Lighthouse families
According to Jamorabon, the complex used to shelter seven crew members tasked with maintaining the lighthouse. Their families lived with them.

It used to be like a castle, she said, describing how for a long time, it stood in all its grandeur, and how its lights used to glow at night like a modern city in the middle of the jungle.

To live there was to be the object of envy for many people in Santa Ana, according to Jamorabon, because, for one, it was the only place in the area where residents enjoyed electricity.

“Santa Ana was still then a dense jungle, so that when people came here, it was like they had gone to the city,” she said.

Jamorabon described how well the government took care of the lighthouse keepers and the station. The workers’ families lived harmoniously in separate rooms, but under one roof.

Their rations—rice, beans, noodles, cooking oil and kerosene—arrived every month and were shared equally among the workers, regardless of rank, she said.

Imelda Jamorabon-Leaño, 47, Jamorabon’s eighth child, recalled how she and the other workers’ children, coming home from school every weekend or during Christmas or summer breaks, found joy in watching ships as these arrived from the Pacific Ocean and the Babuyan Channel.

The lighthouse keepers also raised goats to augment their food. The forest and the sea were also abundant sources of food, said Leaño, now a grade school teacher at the Santa Ana Central Elementary School.

But the light station received substantial attention from the government only until the early 1980s, said Jamorabon, adding that assistance dwindled with the change of administrations.

She has not set foot again on Cape Engaño since her husband retired from service in the 1960s.

Sorry state
But Jamorabon feels that pinch in her heart whenever she hears people’s accounts of what has become of the lighthouse.

Today, the light station sits forlorn on the island and is in a sorry state of decay and neglect. It continues to be destroyed by elements, aggravated by the government’s apparent apathy to preserve this cultural and historical treasure.

The windows, doors and roof of the main pavilion, as well as that of the kitchens and the storage rooms, have been destroyed, leaving only the two-foot thick granite walls intact. The rusting power generators are now pieces of junk.

The tower has also fallen victim to thieves and vandals. The eight bronze lion busts, which used to cling onto the tower’s eight corners underneath the attic, have been stolen. Even its bronze marker was also pried off from the front wall of the pavilion.

The cisterns or concrete reservoirs, where lighthouse keepers used to collect rainwater for drinking and household needs, are no longer in use.

Treasure hunters had dug a tunnel underneath the main building and graffiti dominate the buildings’ white granite walls.

But all is not lost for the Cape Engaño light station.

Thanks to dedicated lighthouse keepers like 51-year-old Cesario Sumibcay, who, despite the low pay and lack of adequate attention from the government, continues to ensure that the lighthouse remains functional.

The Coast Guard has replaced the lantern with a solar-based lighting mechanism, which required little human intervention.

Gov. Edgar Lara is optimistic that a joint restoration project that the provincial government was embarking on, in partnership with the Cagayan Economic Zone Authority and a number of nongovernment organizations, would restore the luster of Cape Engaño.

“This is why we are opening up the place to ecotourism to raise public awareness about the need to preserve the lighthouse and possibly attract future investments on the island,” he said.

Posted in Cagayan, Industrial Heritage, Lighthouses | 1 Comment »

Cape Bojeador Lighthouse

Posted by admin on July 27, 2006

Faro de Cabo Bojeador is set majestically on top of a hill overlooking the South China Sea. Located approximately 35 kilometres north of the City of Laoag, the lighthouse is the most accessible of all lighthouses in the north of the Island of Luzon. Situated 160 metres on top of a hill named Vigia de Nagparitan, the lighthouse of Cape Bojeador serves as a station point for ships veering towards the Pacific Coast heading towards the Babuyan Channel. Similarly, it as well assists ships heading towards the ports of Salomangue in Ilocos Sur which is 87 kilometres south from the lighthouse, and Curmimao, which is 60 kilometres away in Ilocos Norte. In addition, beyond to the port of Manila. Completed on the 30th of March, 1892, the design and construction of the Lighthouse of Cape Bojeador was initially undertaken by the Engineer Magin Pers y Pers but was subsequently reconfigured and finished by the Engineer Guillermo Brockman.

The station has an arrangement that is typical of lighthouses in the Philippines with light tower, living quarters (living pavilion), serviceable apartments, and enclosed courtyard. The buildings are all erected with bricks that were baked in a kiln located at the bottom of the hill. The tower which rests on the highest portion of the hill is 16.3 metres high. The whole complex is arranged in three different levels. The lowest level contains the courtyard and service buildings, the second level, which is approximately 3 metres above the courtyard contains the main pavilion. The tower, which constitutes the highest level, is situated in the rear, five metres higher than the pavilion below. Built of locally made brick, the octagonal shaper tower has an inner dimension of two metres and an exterior dimension of three and half metres. The lower one fourth of the tower is truncated whereas the remaining body of the shaft is straight. The top of the tower supports an overhanging balcony, which is surrounded and supported by decorative grill works. The attic where the cupola and lantern rests is cylindrical. What is notable about the Bojeador Lighthouse is that is still has intact the original cupola and lantern.

The cupola, made of bronze is surrounded with glass panes. The dome on the other hand supports a ball shaped flue, which exhausts smoke from the flame of the original gaslight. The lantern on the other hand is fitted with a first order Fresnel Lens that is partially intact. “During my very first visit to this lighthouse way back in the 70’s, the original lens and mechanism was still operational. Sadly due to the intense earthquake that shook the region in 1990, parts of the lens collapsed and the alignment of the mechanism was displaced.” Nevertheless, the Coast Guards has retained the original mechanism for historic purposes and only retrofitted the lighting mechanism for its daily operations. According to the head of the Lighthouse division of the Coast Guard Commander Danilo S. Corpuz as well as Ruben R. Labuguen PCG light keeper stationed at Cape Bojeador, the Coast Guards, as well as the Department of Transportation and Communication has no plans of retrofitting the lighthouse with a new cupola and lantern due to its pristine state of preservation and the fact that it is frequented by tourists and visitors alike. In addition, due to its spectacular landscape, the lighthouse is among the most photographed and filmed of all Philippine light stations, as attested in the numerous movies shot on its location.

The mechanism fitted into the lighthouse at Bojeador was of the basic specification for all first order lighthouses. It contained a winding mechanism composed of a counter weight which when wound would enable the lantern supporting the lenses to rotate. The housing of the counter weight is located in the centre of the spiral staircase which when wound would drop all the way to the bottom of the stairs. It takes approximately one hour for the weight to reach a full cycle, which would enable the lantern to rotate numerous times. The job of the lighthouse keeper was to religiously wind the mechanism to ensure the continuous rotation of the lens throughout the night. This practice was subsequently stopped when the tower suffered damages during the 1990 earthquake.

The pavilion located below the tower is in relatively good condition. Though proper restoration of some of its architectural detailing; such as capiz and louvered windowpanes, decorative iron grilles, plastering and gutter works need immediate attention. The pavilion contains five apartments: four quarters, each provided with a separated living area, bedroom, and one watch room overlooking the Cape. A connecting hallway adjoins all the rooms except the watch room, which is accessible only through the verandah overlooking the courtyard. The lowest level of the grouping is the courtyard. In the centre of which is a well and below it the cistern, used by the keepers for their water needs. Straddling the courtyard to the east and west are the kitchens and store areas. The main gate of the lighthouse is located in the southern and western flank of the courtyard. A flight of stairs in a “T” formation directs the visitor to the pavilion. The whole lighthouse complex is accessed from the main road by a zigzag side road, which was recently widened and cemented by the Department of Public Works and Highways. A steep flight of steps leads to the lighthouse from a cul-de-sac, which marks the end of the access road.

Compared to the Lighthouse at Cape Engaño in Palaui Island, the Lighthouse in Cape Bojeador is in an envious position among Philippine Spanish Lighthouses. Not only does it protect one of the more treacherous bends of the vast Philippine coastline, but it has as well earned the distinction of being the most visited light station in the country. The lighthouse of Cape Bojeador today is not only a mere light station with an obvious functional use, its pavilion has now been transformed into a mini-museum as well as lodging for people seeking basic accommodation, though except from shared cooking facilities and water from the cistern, no other amenities are provided. Its tower is quite accessible and with little enticement from its friendly light keeper, accesses to its lantern and, if the winds are not that strong, the precarious perch from its overhanging balcony is possible. As a tourist attraction in a politically powerful province, the lighthouse of Cape Bojeador has ensured its preservation and protection for years to come. (by Arch. Manuel L. Noche)

Photos by Ivan Anthony S. Henares.

Posted in Ilocos Norte, Industrial Heritage, Lighthouses, National Cultural Treasures, National Historical Landmarks | 40 Comments »