Skip to main content

P200-M Panay Lighthouse Needs P50-M Repair Job - CT

To the first-time visitor, the Lolong Point Lighthouse is a sight to behold, especially in the early morning.

Perched on a promontory that looks like the back of a monstrous whale when seen from the sea, the lighthouse thrusts its 30-meter length into the blue sky, from where anyone can look out into the Pacific Ocean and see big ships passing by miles away.

However, it is doubtful whether any seaman on board such ships could see the weak, red light now issuing from the Japanese-made lighthouse’s remaining navigation aid: a pilot light going by on solar power.

Former lighthouse keeper Florenio Angeles, 65, still remembers how his brother-in-law, a member of the Philippine Coast Guard, plucked him off his security guard job at the Catanduanes Agricultural and Industrial College in 1990 and brought him to Lolong (Lorong to native Panganibanons) to oversee a small lighthouse that stood just a few meters away from where the rocket-like but useless high-tech version now stands.

He said he was paid P11,000 a month for overseeing the structure and was at the site when engineers and workers of Zeni Lite Buoy Co. Ltd. of Japan started work on the P200 million project. Zeni Lite, which is a leading designer and manufacturer of marine aids-to-navigation, had guaranteed that the lighthouse would withstand severe storms.

The lighthouse was one of the many Philippine lighthouses constructed or rehabilitated under the Maritime Safety Improvement Project, Phase B, funded by a P3-billion loan from the Overseas Economic Cooperation Fund (OECF) of the Japanese government.

Construction started in 1997, Angeles said, with the Japanese contractor bringing in heavy equipment, materials, cement, steel bars and even sand and gravel by barge from the mainland. When work was finished in October 1998, the lighthouse stood about 30 meters from the base to the tip of its antenna and weighed a total of 9.4 tons (9,400 kilograms). The lantern house containing the rotating beacon sat on top of an aluminum tower, with its perimeter fence also enclosing the power house and solar cell modules.

However, Angeles said a powerful storm knocked out two windows in the lantern house three or four years ago and dislodged the beacon from its mounting, rendering the lighthouse technically inoperable and invisible from international ships passing by Philippine waters from as much as 40 kilometers away. A few years back, technicians from Cavite PCG installed the pilot light as a back-up to the downed rotating beacon at Lolong, as it would cost at least P50 million to repair the beacon and power system, with equipment to be sources from Zeni Lite at Okayama, Japan.

"Only the government can decide if the facility will be repaired," Angeles said, adding that when he retired in 2007, the PCG asked him to inspect the lighthouse from time to time. The keys, he said, are with a local farmer whom he asked to look after the landmark which can be reached via a 20-minute boat ride from the busy banca terminal at Tarahid.

The former lighthouse keeper, who is now the barangay captain of San Pedro, Panganiban, laments that when he heeded the request of PCG to bring the solar panels and 100 storage batteries for loading on a small barge in Virac, he used his own money and never got reimbursed for the expense and effort.

Among the objectives of the Coast Guard in its Aids to Navigation function is to attain 100% operational efficiency in all lighthouses in the Philippines and monitor and supervise the construction and rehabilitation of such facilities in coordination with concerned government agencies and local government units.

It is claimed that the Philippine government would be hard put allocating P50 million for the repair of the Lolong lighthouse, which its website ironically still describes as "operating." Aside From Lolong, the other lighthouses in Catanduanes are those in Baras (not operating), Calolbon, Pandan Point, Sialat (Calolbon), Tabugoc (Pandan) and Virac. The Tribune tried to contact the chief of the PCG Virac district in Sta. Cruz last Friday afternoon but he was in the mainland while his officer-in-charge was out "resting" in nearby barangay of Rawis.

Source: Catanduanes Tribune - 5 August 2009

Popular posts from this blog

Pantomina Lyrics And Music

Pantomina is Spanish for pantomime, movements imitating the courtship movements of the rooster and the hen. Ang mga babaye
Kung mayo pa nin agom
Maugay nin aga maugay nin hapon
Alagad kung sinda igua na nin agom
Maugay Octobre, Disyembreng sunudon. Ica palan, Nenang ang pinagsasabi
Magayon na burac sa lugar na ini
Magayon ang tindog malinig ang pisngi
Arin pa daw ang puso ang dai mawili. Can ica sadit pa sadit pa man aco
Si satuyang cawat magkudot-kudotan
Kinudot mo aco kinudot ta ca man
Sabi mo sa saco luhayluhaya man. Ang mga lalake
Hudyan sisaboot
Ang pinagsasabing ngarang pagcamoot
Kundi ang babayeng iyo minahilod
Akong minahiling can mga pangguyod.

Philippine Mining Act of 1995

With the recent issue of magnetite ore mining overwhemingly opposed by residents in the town of Bagamanoc and recently moved the mining site off the coast of Panganiban (Payo), I am compelled to post this Mining Act to serve as reference. "Republic Act No. 7942 or the Philippine Mining Act of 1995 (“Act”) is the governing law that regulates mineral resources development in the country. One of the primary objectives of this act is to revitalize the ailing Philippine mining industry by providing fiscal reforms and incentives and maintaining a viable inventory of mineral reserves to sustain the industry through the infusion of fresh capital through direct investments to finance mineral exploration and/or development activities. The original implementing rules and regulations of the Act was prepared in 1995, and was revised in 1996 under DENR Administrative Order 96 – 40, the revised implementing rules and regulations (RIRR). Collectively, the Act and its RIRR take into considerat…

The Batalay Shrine

The site of the first cross in Catanduanes, believed to have been constructed over the grave of the shipwrecked Fr. Diego de Herrera of the Augustinian order in 1576, who died in the barangay of Batalay. A well believed to have water with healing powers can be found in this shrine. From the town proper of Bato, it would take only 15 minutes to reach this place. Reading the online historical accounts about the fate of Fray Diego de Herrera and Espiritu Santo crew, I found some interesting yet inconclusive accounts as to what really happened. "Located at the Southeastern coast of Catanduanes is a reef called Nagumbuaya Point which is linked by traditional with the place where a Galleon Espiritu Santo taken by Fray Diego de Herrera and nine other companies which embarked from Mexico suffered shipwreck on April 25, 1576 on their way to Cebu because of the negligence of the pilot of the ship and bad weather." - wikipedia In October last year, the Historical and Nautical Archa…

Catanduanes Remains Top Abaca-Producing Province - BM

Abaca-fiber production in the country’s top abaca-producing province from January to May 2009 went up by 22 percent to 8,646.32 metric tons (MT), said the Fiber Industry Development Authority (FIDA). FIDA noted that in January to May 2008, abaca farmers in Catanduanes produced 7,084.23 MT. The attached agency of the Department of Agriculture said a total of 16,231 farmers were involved in abaca production in the province in 2008. FIDA said the island province of Catanduanes is renowned as the “abaca capital of the Philippines.” The province is now the top producer of abaca fiber, has the largest area planted to abaca and has the biggest number of abaca farmer-producers in the Philippines. Joining Catanduanes as the country’s top 10 abaca-producing provinces are Southern Leyte, Leyte, Davao Oriental, Northern Samar, Davao del Sur, Surigao del Sur, Samar, Sulu and Sorsogon. FIDA said the province also adjusted its production for the year due to the projected slowdown in demand for…

Lorong Point Lighthouse on Panay Island

Constructed in 1997 and finished in October 1998, the Lorong Point lighthouse was one of the many Philippine lighthouses constructed or rehabilitated under the Maritime Safety Improvement Project, Phase B, funded by a P3-billion loan from the Overseas Economic Cooperation Fund (OECF) of the Japanese government. Located in Panay, a small island northeast of Catanduanes. It is often confused with the much larger Panay Island in Western Visayas. The island is politically under the province of Catanduanes and subdivided between the municipalities of Bagamanoc and Panganiban.