Monday, December 29, 2014

2014 Travel Review - Lakbayloyd's Travel Doctrines

EXPLORE - All journeys have a secret destination and the happiest as a traveler always seem to come when you stumble upon one thing while in pursuit of something else.

EXALT - We live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm and adventure. If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religion and avoid people, you might better stay at home.

ENDURE - Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.

ENJOY - To travel is worth any cost or sacrifice. Have fun - live, learn, love!


Thursday, December 25, 2014

LakbayLoyd 2014 Year-End Travel Review

Travelling is the greatest true love of my life. That, I learn every time I go to different destinations I hardly had any notions at all. My peculiar itineraries, which consist of trying out new things, wandering off the beaten paths, meeting new people, and looking beyond what is usual and conventional, almost always give me the heightened consciousness through which to apprehend and give importance to almost everything that exist in this world. 

I was never a tourist - I am a traveler.

The peculiarity of my travel agenda brought me to discover and see for myself the almost neglected and forgotten beacons which are witnesses to more than a hundred year of our nation's history - The Spanish Colonial Lighthouses.

2014 is LakbayLoyd's year of the lighthouses. 

Roughly 70 lighthouses were designed and built during the Spanish Colonial Government. 22 are major constructions works while the rest are of lower classification lights.

I have been to 18 of these lighthouses - 3 of them I visited unintentionally during my earlier years of traveling - simply to look at. Then, I realized this passion to discover for myself the historical importance of these lonely sentinels by the sea and eventually completed 15 in 2014.

By 2015, I am determined to visit and complete my collection of all major lighthouses in the Philippines.

Monday, November 10, 2014

LakbayLoyd Lighthouse Series 18: EL FARO DE ISLAS CALABAZAS, Calabaza Island, Ajuy, Iloilo

Brief History

Another historical lighthouse built during the Spanish era is the El Faro De Islas Calabazas located in the northeast part of Panay Island, off the shore of Ajuy, Iloilo Province. Due to growing maritime activity along the Guimaras Straits going to Port of Iloilo, the lighthouse was built though Islas Calabazas was not the first choice as site for the lighthouse. Work began in 1892 and the lighthouse was made operational in 1895. The lighthouse is one of the 27 major lighthouses built to illuminate the Philippine archipelago during the Spanish reign.

Faro De Islas Calabazas was built above a small hill overlooking the Guimaras Strait leading towards the Port of Ajuy with housing pavilion and service buildings for the keeper and his family. The tower was that of the tourelle type. The top of the lighthouse was a dome, similar to that of Cape Bojeador Lighthouse's dome. The original tower has collapsed over the years and replaced by a modern light tower similar to Islas Gigantes and Islote Manigonigo.

The entire structure seemed to be abandoned for long time even before I stepped foot on the island. It was a daunting sight to see the tower was gone, the buildings are abandoned and in ruins, rich fauna has grown uncontrollably everywhere since no one tenders the buildings. According to the locals of Barangay Nasidman in Ajuy, they wanted to maintain the lighthouse and clean its surroundings but it will depend on the budget, which up to now, the local government of Ajuy cannot provide.

How I Got There

From Carles (Faro De Islote Manigonigo), I took the bus for Iloilo City and told the bus conductor to drop me off near Ajuy Municipal Hall.

Before I came to Ajuy, I was in constant communication with Ms. Jocelyn Maalat, Ajuy's Tourism Officer for all the information I need which she hardly manged to provide due to her busy schedule. Instead, Ms. Vema (owner of Chateau De Aow in Carles) referred me to Engr. Roy Latap (09275226031), a resort owner and an advocate of tourism development in Ajuy.

It was a complete delight to know Engr, Roy. I learned how they managed to cope up after Yolanda's devastation and how positive he feels about Ajuy's tourism success.Hours before I came, he arranged my accomodation at the El Jardin Inn located near the town's center and along the national highway. We toured the entire town with his motorbike shortly after my arrival. And most importantly, he managed my tour for Islas Calabazas Lighthouse by renting a boat for a minimal cost.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

LakbayLoyd Lighthouse Series 17: EL FARO DE ISLOTE DE MANIGONIGO, Manigonigo Island, Carles, Iloilo

Brief History

El Faro De Islote De Manigonigo was erected by the Spanish government on the tiny Manigonigo Island, one of the fourteen islands politically administered by the town of Carles in Iloilo province. This lighthouse, which was built in 1894 is part of the 27 major lighthouses built during the Spanish era.

Described as the "gray iron tower", the original design of the light tower was a 10 meter cylindrical cast iron fabricated from France and was believed the be the first of the tourelle-type lighthouses similar to Luz Del Puerto De San Fernando, Faro De Sibulac-Babac De Gigantes, Faro De Punta Luzaran, and Faro De Islas Calabazas.

The original tower no longer exist and was replaced by a modern white metal light tower erected near the original location of the old one, and can be seen from Carles shores. The ruined keeper's house is still standing, and it's fortunate that some caretaker managed to cut the thick bushes allowing me to take clear pictures of the lighthouse and the surroundings.

How I Got There

I could consider this as one of my Off-The-Beaten-Track lighthouse exploration. Carles, for some obvious reasons, was badly hit by Yolanda and even then, was never a prefered travel destination for tourists. Manigonigo Island is likewise isolated and no one visit the island except for Bantay Dagat staff.

Knowing my limitations, I called the Iloilo Provincial Tourism Office to get information which they delightedly provided. Mr. Bombet Marin, the Provincial Tourism Head was more than accomodating and referred me to Ms.Annie Abad, Carles' Tourism Officer (09178311977), who also referred me to Ms. Vema Monteclaro, her resort-owner friend from Bancal, Carles who provided me with a wonderful accomodation at a minimal fee and arranged my boat to Manigonigo Island by persuading the Bancal Barangay Captain to allow us to use the Bantay Dagat Patrol Boat. The 3km distance from Bancal Port took us around 30 minutes to get to Manigonigo Island,

Ms. Vema is the owner of Chateau De Aow located few meters before the Bancal Port. Call the resort for reservations.

They also accommodate Gigantes Islands tour c/o Jeonard Monteclaro, Ms. Vema's son.

To get there, from Roxas City or Iloilo City, take the Ceres Bus to Carles (direct) or via Balasan then transfer to another bus for Carles and get off to Bancal Port.


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