Sunday, March 22, 2015

LakbayLoyd Lighthouse Series 21: EL FARO DE ISLA BATAG, Batag Island, Laoang, Northern Samar

The Faro De Isla Batag or the Batag Lighthouse is a historic lighthouse on Batag Island off the coast of the town of Laoang in the province of Northern Samar. This is the third major lighthouse fully designed and built by the Americans during the early part of the American colonization. The other two being the Faro De Isla Maniguin and Batag Light's exact replica, the Faro De Punta Patar or the Bolinao Lighthouse. It was first lit in 1908.

The light marks the northeastern point of Samar Island and lead vessels to the entrance of San Bernardino Strait marked by the San Bernardino Lighthouse. One of the most traveled waterways in the archipelago now and even during the American occupation, with the Capul Island Lighthouse, these stations are invaluable to vessels coming from the Pacific Ocean and entering the country through the San Bernardino Strait on its way to Manila or any ports of the Philippines.

Batag Lighthouse, together with with the Capul Island Light, was declared as a historic landmarks of the province of Northern Samar in 2008. Unfortunately, the lighthouse is no longer functional and most of the remaining structures are dilapidated. It is one of the lighthouses listed by the Coast Guard for adoption, allowing the use of its facilities and property in exchange of lighthouse's maintenance.

How did we get there?

Getting to Laoang is very easy. It is accessible by air or by land. For this travel, Tess (my now-constant travel buddy) and I took the PAL flight via Catarman. From the airport, we hired a tricycle to the Catarman Bus Terminal (P60 for the entire trike), where vans or jeepneys going to Rawis are waiting (P60 each). After one and a half hour, we reached Lietco, short for Laoang Intergrated Enterprises Terminal Complex, in Barangay Rawis (as the jeepney sign says). We took another tricycle going to the port (P10 each), got to a boat to take us to Laoang proper(P10 each). Then we hired a boat to take us to and from Batag Island (P700 round-trip).

Our drop-off point in Batag Island is the Bgy. Marubay. From there, after a courtesy call from the Barangay Captain, we started our traverse by hiking to the top of the hill where the lighthouse is located. Although a habal-habal can be hired, we preferred to hike for the experience. It was an exciting hike because we got lost for a while, have to walk back and opt a different path until we reach the lighthouse after almost an hour.

One will be delighted and awed with the magnificent view of the Pacific Ocean and other islands composing Laoang as you reach the lighthouse.

Our visit to the Loaong Town was made very easy with the help of Loaong's very hardworking Tourism Officer, Ms. Jade Adora, who rendered a considerable amount of time and effort on a very short notice to accommodate us in Laoang. She took us around the town, gave us a brief tour, and provided us hefty information on town's modest history. The tour ended with a courtesy call from Hon. Madelaine Mendoza-Ong.


Our Batag Island hike was bonebreaking (Yes! one of my grueling hike to experience, so far) but worthy of the agony. A million thanks to our guides and companions, Sir Ronnie Adora, the loving husband of Ms. Jade, and Sir Kiram. How could we ever survive Batag without them?

Visit Laoang, Northern Samar. Call or text Ms. Jade Adora, Laoang's Tourism Officer, at 09466573000 for more information.

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