Faro de Isla Capul

Credits:  JSprague Typewriter2 Paper kit; DD MWISE A la Mode Brush- Scroll; KPertiet Grunge up photo block; JSprague Grungy edge frame; KPertiet Storyboard Negs frame; Alpha from JSprague’s Grand Intention Kit.

The mystery of lighthouses – they’ve always fascinated me.  Standing tall, alone and mysterious, shining its light on travelling vessels… never fails to evoke a sense of romance and adventure.  But nothing prepared me for this.

Zooming along a rugged coastline and through rows of coconut trees, we ended up at the northernmost part of the island of Capul.  And there perched atop a hill, 40 ft. tall and 143 ft. above sea level is Faro de Isla Capul, simply known as the Capul Lighthouse serving as a beacon till today to vessels traveling through the treacherous San Bernardino Straits.

The approach from the street — insipid.  The lighthouse, in dire need of repair.  So, imagine the stir it invoked when we walked past the lighthouse and down the steps.  It greatly impressed.  We were dramatically surprised.

About 200 meters from the lighthouse, down below the shoreline is a pool shaped like a giant footprint.

It was calling E who just couldn’t fight the urge to take a dip.  😀

How Capul Got Its Name

Beneath the lighthouse are natural rock formations that served as anchorage of the galleons during bad weather.

The location and proximity of the island to the Pacific Ocean and the strong currents flowing through the Straits made it useful for the galleons about to leave the Philippines to weigh anchor and start the voyage back only when the current was flowing outwards.

Evidence of how strong the winds are.

As the Manila-Acapulco Trade flourished so did the frequency of the stopovers.  According to folklore, to while a way time, a galleon crew engraved the name Acapulco on a rock.  It was later on used to designate the sitio where the engraved rock was located before it was eventually applied to the whole island replacing the name Abak.  As we Filipinos love shortcuts, Acapulco was corrupted to Capul.  And that, as legend has it, was how Capul got its name.

Scenic Sunday

An old fortress church

Still on our island-hopping day, our next stop was Capul.  It’s an island that sits in the middle of the San Bernardino Straits, originally named Abak from a chieftain that migrated from the South.  These migrants brought with them one of the rare dialects in the country – they’re the only ones that speaks “Abaknon”.  Abak was changed to Capul (short for Acapulco) in the late 16th century because galleons from Acapulco, Mexico frequently stopover the San Bernardino Straits to barter.

The island is known for its lighthouse and old fortress church and from the port where our boat docked, the old reliable habal-habals (motorbikes) took us to both sites.

The fortress was first.  On a side street with a basketball court in front lays a 16th century church, 85% of its original form still preserved, its surrounding walls still intact.

It is one of the oldest Catholic Church that withstood pirate attacks and natural disasters and calamities and until the coming of the Americans, the church and a watchtower constructed on top of a large rock overlooking the town harbor, served as a warning system and as a refuge for the people of the island during the Moro raids.

At the time of our visit, we heard that a foreigner was rescued from their waters the night before – a miracle he survived the harsh waters drifting all the way from Biri losing his fins and mask along the way.  Glad he’s ok.