Tuesday, July 26, 2016

National Cultural Treasure Series - SAN IGNACIO DE LOYOLA PARISH, Capul, Northern Samar

Set in the middle of the San Bernardino Strait in Northern Samar is the island town of Capul - a small piece of enticing island rich in history and culture.

One of the evidences of the island's historic past (aside from the famous Capul Island Lighthouse) is the San Ignacio De Loyola Parish, a 400-year old stone church that has been declared as a National Cultural Treasure by the National Museum of the Philippines in 2014. The church is surrounded by stone walls connoting that it was more than a house of worship, as it was also a fortress and a refuge of the CapuleƱos during the times of Moro raids. At present it looked like a mini-Intramuros.

Capul was originally named Abak after the name of the chieftain, the deposed King Abak of Java, Indonesia. These migrants landed and settled on the island and brought with them one of the eight rarest dialects in the country - the Inabaknon.

The island is now called Capul from the word Acapulco, a contraction of the name Acapulco in Mexico where the galleon trade with Manila flourished. During the Spanish era, it became a frequent stop-over for galleons that came in and out of the Philippines during the Acapulco Trade. The island was a safe harbor for galleon traders when strong currents prevailed.

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