Published December 24, 2020, 7:00 AM

by Atty. Jun De Zuñiga

Congratulations to the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas for featuring an anthology of twelve (12) lighthouses dispersed across the Philippine archipelago in its 2021 calendar aptly titled: “Parola: A Homage to Philippine Lighthouses.” Based on diligent research, accompanied by superb photographs,”Parola” traces the history of these lighthouses which for complete listing are as follows: (1) Cape Bojeador Lighthouse in Ilocos Norte; (2) Parola de Labuan in Zamboanga; (3) Malabrigo Point Lighthouse in Batangas; (4) Capul Island Lighthouse in Samar; (5) Cape Bolinao Lighthouse in Pangasinan; (6) Bayangan Island Lighthouse in Zamboanga del Norte; (7) Diguisit Lighthouse in Aurora; (8) Maniguin Island Lighthouse in Antique; (9) Basco Lighthouse in Batanes; (10) Cape Santiago Lighthouse  in  Batangas; (11) Bagacay Point Lighthouse in Cebu; and (12) Sabtang Lighthouse in Batanes.

All these lighthouses were built for a common purpose: to serve as navigational aids to ships and fishing boats and guide them as they traverse through perilous waters and rocky coasts going to shore. They provide assurance and comfort to mariners that their passing lanes are safe. The lighthouses serve other purposes as well. They were built to be as tall as they can be to symbolize landmarks and as watchtowers providing panoramic views of the seas and landscapes around them. Their architectural designs were reflective of the periods during which they were constructed as well as of the aesthetic sense and ingenuity of the builders. The character of the local people was also combined therein. The Sabtang Lighthouse, for example, imbibes the spirit of the Ivatans who stand tall amidst the harsh typhoons, rough seas and difficult terrain to which they are continually exposed.

The oldest of the lighthouses is the Cape Santiago Lighthouse, built in 1890, followed by the Cape Bojeador Lighthouse, built in 1892, and then by the Malabrigo Point Lighthouse and the Capul Isaland Lighthouse, both built in 1896.Most recent vintage would be the Diguisit Lighthouse which was built in 2015. Four (4) of the lighthouses were declared as National Historical Landmarks, namely, the Cape Bojeador Lighthouse, the Capul Island Lighthouse, the Cape Santiago Lighthouse and the Bagacay Point Lighthouse. The Cape Bojeador Lighthouse was also declared as a National Cultural Treasure.

Other interesting trivia: The lighthouses are still functional and continue to be relied upon, notwithstanding the availability of radar and other electronic navigational aids. Modernity has blended with their lighting apparatus. From the kerosene and gas powered lanterns, there are now lighthouses featuring electrical lighting, halogen lamps and even solar power generation. From massive concrete, iron and heavy wood materials, a lighthouse, the Bayangan Island Lighthouse, used fiberglass for its tower. The lighthouses were able to withstand the ravages of decay and time and have been preserved. They are now tourist attractions showcasing our country’s pride.

 The lighthouses remind us of history and I thank the Bangko Sentral for this valuable reference. On the personal side, they also remind us that we need our own lighthouses as we journey through life. A powerful lighthouse for us would be the season of the Lord this Christmas with its inspiring and timeless message of hope, peace and goodwill to all men. This message is an illuminating guide for all of us this Christmas and thereafter! Merry Christmas!

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          The above comments are the personal views of the writer. His email address is [email protected]