Monday, June 23, 2014

LakbayLoyd Lighthouse Series 08: EL FARO DE PUNTA PATAR, Bolinao, Pangasinan

As my quest for lighthouses continues, finding one in the remotest location  might be fulfilling, but also disappointing that these structures have been savaged by elements or just left for decay.

So far, I have been to eight of so many known lighthouses all over the country, the latest is this one in Bolinao, Pangasinan.

El Faro De Punta Patar, or Cape Bolinao, also known as the Bolinao Lighthouse or Cape Bolinao, is located in Bgy. Patar. It is the second tallest lighthouse in the Philippines, the tallest being the Cape Bojeador in Burgos, Ilocos Norte. This may not be one of the old Spanish-time lighthouses, but listed as one of the major lighthouses and historically relevant structures in the Philippines.

The lighthouse can be seen on top of the hill overlooking the beautiful fine sand beaches of Patar in Bolinao. Patar is now a popular tourist destination with so many choices to enjoy the beach, waterfalls, caves, and the Pangasinense culture as well.

The Bolinao Lighthouse and the entire Patar is very accessible via private vehicles. But if you are taking he public transports, a tricycle is available to take you in and out Patar for the whole day for P1000.00. This may include trips to the caves, the waterfalls, the rock formations, and the pristine Patar White Beach. 

Saturday, June 7, 2014

LakbayLoyd Lighthouse Series 07 : FARO Y LUCES DE RIO PASIG, Muelle De La Industria, Manila

Finding this lighthouse was never that easy. It is located inside Philippine Coast Guard Headquarters along the mouth of the Pasig River. But before entering the PCG gate, one must walk through the congested shanties along the narrow street of Muelle De La Industria from Delpan Bridge. This venture, perhaps, would only be dared by  a handful.

It was a relief to finally reach the gate of PCG compound after that 300 meter or so walk. Before entering the compound, I have to ask permission first to the Guard and after a little questioning on my purpose, I was allowed to go to the lighthouse area and take pictures. A buiding, looks like a gymnasium, is being built next to the lighthouse and the construction materials are scattered all over. I asked one of the Guards to accompany me, and to be my personal photographer, hehe!

The Pasig River Light, also know for its old name Faro Y Luces De Rio Pasig, was built in 1642 erected to protect the country's flourishing maritime industry at the height of the Galleon Trade and the oldest light station in the Philippines. The original structure has been replaced in 1992, completely altered with a more modern design, but sadly, its elegance and grandeur completely lost.

LakbayLoyd Lighthouse Series 06 : EL FARO DE CABO SANTIAGO, Calatagan, Batangas

After that long, very accomplished day of Lobo adventures, we bid goodbye to my very generous friend, Karen Castillo, and headed back to Batangas City where we will stay for the night and prepare for our trip to Calatagan the next day.

By the way, the day before I went to Lobo, I told a pasaway friend about my plans and right there and then she decided to come with me. So it's not really a solo trip - I have an asungot with me, well, a very nice asungot naman, hehe. Peace, Tecla Nanez!

The plan is to visit the El Faro De Cabo Santiago or Faro De Punta Santiago, well, others call it Cape Santiago. From Batangas City terminal, we took the bus to Lian. From Lian Public Market, there are jeepneys for Calatagan Town Proper. Then a tricycle will take you to the parola.

Being on our own and entirely clueless of where to get the ride, we roam around Lian town on foot looking for the jeepney terminal. We were unaware that we are being observed by the traffic enforcer, knowing probably we were tourists, we were led to our point of destination thru PA system. Yes, he talked to us using the microphone telling "Dito po ang sakayan papuntang Calatagan (looking and pointing on us). Opo, lagpas na po kayo!" Hilarious! Now the whole town knows where we are going hahaha!

Finally, we reached Calatagan. That 13 kilometer stretch took us more than an hour, not because of the traffic but because the jeepney ride was toooo slow! Anyway, we had lunch to relieve ourselves when we reached the town proper and then had to barter for the tricycle driver. He charged us 400 pesos, round-trip, for that lighthouse trip. Whew, ok, ok!

We met the caretaker along the way to get a permit and to guide us to the lighthouse's facilities. He then explained that they would ask for donations to maintain the lighthouse.

Cape Santiago is located on the western tip of Calatagan shoreline and standing on top of the cliff by the shore. The lighthouse has kept its grandeur state over the years, and unlike the Malabrigo Lighthouse, the structures are not painted - making it appears really, really old but properly maintained. It was built in 1890  and one of the oldest working Spanish lighthouses in the Philippines.

We were not able to climb the tower back in Malabrigo, but here it's permitted. The view from the top is spectacular looking at the clear blue waters of Calatagan Bay and beach fronts in the surroundings.

We headed back to Manila that afternoon overwhelmed with fulfillment. Tecla realized that it is indeed fun to travel with LakbayLoyd and would definitely not miss coming with me on any of my future trips! Where and when would be next? Anytime and anywhere, we will cross every street and bridge to get there.

LakbayLoyd Lighthouse Series 05 : FARO DE PUNTA DE MALABRIGO, Lobo, Batangas

My fascination to visit different lighthouses heightened and I am determined to add more to my list. My eagerness led me to visit the nearby province of Batangas where there are two existing old lighthouses namely, the Malabrigo Lighthouse in Lobo and the Cape Santiago Lighthouse in Calatagan,

Based on the materials I gathered from the net, I immediately planned my way to Lobo and Calatagan. Traversing Batangas province from extreme southern tip of the province to the extreme southwest tip may seem to be strenuous, but I know the difficulty will be paid off.

First destination - Faro De Punta De Malabrigo (Malabrigo Lighthouse)

Getting to Lobo is not that easy as I thought. There will be four transfers if you are going solo - bus to Batangas City Central Terminal from Manila, jeepney ride to Lobo terminal located in the city proper, then a long and winding 3-hour ride, again by jeepney, going to Lobo proper. To get to to the lighthouse is via tricycle which will take 15-20 minutes and would cost roughly 150-200 pesos, one way. Luckily, a former colleague who lives there found out from my FB account that I was going there and she offered me take me to the lighthouse plus other places in Lobo.

But getting to the lighthouse is my ultimate purpose. Seeing the lighthouse to its original glory was quite an amazement. Thanks to the Adopt-A-Lighthouse program by the government. The lighthouse is currently taken care of the Thomson family (Akiko is one) and is currently in very good shape.

The lighthouse was built in 1896 and I was delighted to see that despite it's centennial age, the structures are intact and well-preserved. We were not able to climb the tower, I am not sure if it's permitted. But nontheless, a must-visit for tourists and travelers.

LakbayLoyd Lighthouse Series 04 : FARO DE CABO ENGANO, Palaui Island, Sta. Ana, Cagayan

Faro de Cabo Engano, or Cape Engano, was built in 1892. This historic landmark stands in the extreme northeastern end of Luzon and situated on the highest point in Palaui Island, Sta. Ana, Cagayan.

Recently, Palaui Island was featured as a location for the reality show "Survivor" which earned the island's popularity among local and foreign tourists. Aside from the white sand beaches, the lighthouse is frequently visited because of the scenic view it can offer.

Cape Engano was part of the masterplan by the Spaniards to illuminate the whole Philippine archipelago (also part of the plan is the Cape Bojeador). But, just like most of the lighthouses built during the Spanish era, Cape Engano was unkept and left in ruins at the turn of the 20th century. Now, the octagonal stone tower and keeper's house are still standing but somehow the structures were dilapidated and cracked.

Hoping to preserve its historical and cultural significance, Cape Engano was declared as National Cultural Heritage site by the National Historical Commission.

To get there : Take the bus to Tuguegarao City from Manila (10 hours). From Tuguegarao, take a van going to Sta, Ana (2.5  hours). Take a tricycle to get you to San Vicente Port. Register at the Tourism Office, pay the banca ride (good for 5) for the entire day going to and from Palaui Island.


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