Friday, April 24, 2015

LakbayLoyd Lighthouse Series 23: LUZ DE ISLA BAGATAO, Magallanes, Sorsogon

Brief History

First lit in 1904, the Luz De Isla Bagatao is the last remaining of the tourelle-type towers which is still intact after 111 years.  Situated on top of rocky headland in Bagatao Island, Magallanes, Sorsogon, the lighthouse marks the entrance to Sorsogon Bay. It's primary function is to assist ships in navigating the bend around Ticao Island of Masbate as they head to San Bernardino Strait and exit to the Pacific Ocean.

The metal tower used for the lighthouse was bought by Spain and prefabricated in France by the end of the Spanish colonization in the Philippines.  The Americans later on took over the project and finished  the construction from 1903-1904.

To date, the local government of Magallanes plans to improve the lighthouse's facilities to became a major tourist attraction in Magallanes. A view deck is proposed to be built next to the lighthouse to offer a wonderful view of the Sorsogon Bay.

How Did I Get There

More often than not, each lighthouse I visited not just put a tick-mark on my bucket list but served as catalysts to embark on a journey on off-the-beaten odd locations on its path.  Luz De Isla Bagatao led me to this modest hidden paradise town of Magallanes, Sorsogon.

Magallanes is only accessible by land travel. One has to travel 48 kilometers for Sorsogon City, and has to pass through towns of Gubat, Casiguran and Juban. The breathtaking view of Mt. Bulusan seems to welcome me as we go up and around that winding road passing by lush green rainforest on one side and the Sorsogon Bay on the other side.

Among the famous attractions frequently visited by both locals and tourists is the almost-undisturbed white-sand and emerald-water beauty of  Parola Beach. Located in Bagatao Island, such name was given to the place simply because it is adjacent from the Bagatao Lighthouse, or commonly known as Parola.

 Magallanes possesses a rich history not know to many. It is believed to be the site of the first mass celebrated in Luzon in 1569 on the onset of Spanish colonization in the Phillippines. Nonetheless, the Bagatao Lighthouse only proves that Magallanes was once a very important center for commerce during the Galleon Trade era.

One unique resources that Magallanes can truly be proud of is their source of drinking water. Not bottled, not distilled, but naturally purified spring water. A reservoir catches the water and distributed among households and for FREE. Excess water from the reservoir fill the swimming pools of Bucal-Bucalan Spring Resort, a must-visit.


A heartfelt gratitude to Sir Joel Carrascal, the town's very hardworking Tourism Officer, for sparing all his time during my stay in Magallanes, provided me with transfers from Legazpi Airport, guided tour around Magallanes plus sidetrips to Juban's rugged mountainous landscape and heritage landmarks. He also arranged everything - the boat to Bagatao Island, meals, and even accommodation in his house - full service! Thank you Sir Joel for an exceptional display of hospitality to someone you just met. Our meeting may be short but  truly noteworthy.

Most importantly, I am deeply honored for the warm welcome given by the  Mayor of Magallanes, Hon. Augusto Manuel Ragrario. Thank you, Sir and more power.

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