Monday, October 1, 2012

Time Travel At Capones Island

Since Philippines is a large body of island, it is not unusual to find lighthouses in different parts of the country. It serves as beacon to all vessels coming in and out of the Philippine waters. I have been  and seen some lighthouses in the country and the Capones lighthouse is one of them.

The Capones Island lighthouse is one of the interesting destination in San Antonio, Pundaquit, Zambales. It is situated on top of the island which is a huge rock that emerged from the ocean, that is how I see it. The rock formations around the area are massive and not advisable to frolic nor dive in the beach.

Going to the island is just 15 minutes boat ride from San Antonio, you can hire a boat early in the morning while the tide is low, the waves are calm, and the wind is cooler.

There are two ways to get to the lighthouse, it's either you swim along the rocky beach or hike on the other side of the island for an hour or so. There is a part of the island where boats can dock nearer to the beach, but rocks underneath causes collision to most boats that's why boatmen are very cautious. It's only about 5 minutes swim from the boat to the beach and an old concrete stair will already lead you to the lighthouse. Another way of going to the lighthouse is by hiking, you'll pass by steep trails usually densely covered with large trees, rocky and slippery shores wherein you have to more be careful while walking. Sharp rocks may harm your feet so slippers are not advisable instead hiking shoes are more appropriate.

The view of the blue ocean gives you a relief from sweat from walking along big and small rocks on the way and it makes you stop and stare and just take pictures of them! As I approach the summit I noticed an old structure surrounded by dry grass and old trees, an aged concrete stairs with moss and tattered paint greeted me. The smell of quaint wood beams and rusted iron steels sends me back in time when the old structure was on it's glory, guiding ships for safety.

The construction of Capones Lighthouse was completed in the 1890's after seven years of construction. Materials for the light and equipment were imported from France and manufactured by Henry Lepaute and Barbier Bernard. Galvanized iron over wood were used for roofing and molave was used for the windows and door jambs.  The floor of the house were made from tindalo wood and the interiors and doors were made from narra. Chairs were made from volcanic stones and water came through the sea from San Antonio. The rest of the materials were brought from Manila. 

 Inside the tower is a helicoidal staircase made of iron. The light area was constructed from metal with marble with a covering of white tiles to support the weight of the lighting apparatus and to prevent the accumulation of dust. 

Old floor tiles are still intact which survived several decades still gives dignity to the historical structure. As I went near the concrete window, I was amazed by the  magnificent overlooking view of the ocean and nearby islands from the tower,  the smell of the sea water dominated the place and if only I have enough time I would stay there for long and make the most of it.

Unfortunately I cannot stay there all day, and so we must pack things up and prepare for another painstaking but adventurous long walk.

This was the view of the Capones Island from the lighthouse, the cliff was just a meter away from where I stood and I thought I still got a nice picture of it.

As I set down from the summit, and another amazing rock formation stands proudly along the beach which gives an impression of the island's sturdiness be it God made or man made. 

Some parts of the blog were taken from "The Department of Tourism, History by Charles David Jr. ".

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