Sunday, March 22, 2015

LakbayLoyd Lighthouse Series 22: EL FARO DE ISLA CAPUL, Capul Island, Northern Samar

Another historical landmark in Northern Samar is the Faro De Isla Capul. It was built on an elevated area in Bgy. San Luis in the island town of Capul overlooking an important body of water, the San Bernardino Strait. The lighthouse not only played a very important role in the galleon trade during the Spanish era but it is so important that it signifies the entire Capul's rich history.

The island was originally named Abak, after the name of the chieftain of a group of people that migrated from the south. These migrants brought with them one of the eight rarest dialects in the country called Abaknon. The language is on the brink of becoming extinct, according to locals. The island's name Capul derived from the word Acapulco (a Mexican town). It was a frequent stop-over for galleons during the Acapulco trade.

The lighthouse was built by the Spaniards in 1896 and was completed during the American Period by the US Army Corps and Engineers. It is 143 feet above sea level with a 40-foot tower that commands a panoramic view of the San Bernardino Strait and extending towards the Pacific Ocean. the pavillion was designed in the Victorian Renaissance revival by Guillermo Brockman (as written in the lighthouse's didactic panel).

The Capul Island Lighthouse is one of the few remaining functional lighthouses in the country. However, just like almost all the heritage lighthouses I have visited, the pavillion is ruined and I wonder if renovating the facilities would matter. I have to say, let them stay in their current state while maintaining what has remained for its historical and architectural importance.

How did we get there?

The plan to traverse Northern Samar from east side to west side has been established in our itinerary. After the Batag Island Lighthouse visit, which took us less than a day to accomplish, we headed back to Lietco for Catarman (aircon van for P70 each). From Catarman, we took another jeepney going to Allen (more than an hour - P60 each). From Allen, we took the odd-looking-big-wheeled-good-for-one-and-a-half-persons pedicab to Port Of Allen (P10 each).  We checked-in at Pahayahayan Lodge with basic amenities for P800 - 12hour stay, perfect but quite costly for waiting or stranded passengers going to Manila en route Matnog, Sorsogon on RORO.

We learned that there is only one trip to Capul and the boat leaves from Port Of Allen at 12 noon daily and leaves Capul going to Allen at 8 am the following day. Now that stirred a problem because we don't have the luxury of time to spend overnight in Capul. We also need to go to work, hehe.

DOT to the rescue! I called up Ms.Jade (from Laoang) again and immediately, she gave the number of Ms. Ivy Nalda (09154806538), the Tourism Officer of Allen. After a series of calls and texts, finally Ms. Ivy was able to arrange a boat to take us to Capul and back on a half-day tour - but costly!

The following morning, we headed towards Dapdap Port from Port of Allen and by 7 am we are sailing aboard Vanessa (boat's name) to Capul Island. We docked at Barangay San Luis after an hour. A habal-habal was waiting to take us to the lighthouse, We also managed to arrange a tour to the town proper to visit the historic Saint Ignacius De Loyola Church. The entire habal-habal ride costs P350.

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