CAPUL, Northern Samar — If you a thinking where to spend your summer then it is a must that you put in your list the historic Capul Island, one of the four island municipalities of Northern Samar.
The unique and rich culture and history of this island that derives its name from the word ‘Acapulco,’ making it a significant route of the famous Acapulco-Manila Galleon Trade during the Spanish period, can be seen in the people’s dialect, traditions and structures.
From 1848 to 1852 Capul Island was the center of trade and commerce in Samar. It was also the last outpost of ships engaged in the Acapulco-Manila Galleon Trade.
In fact one of the wonders in this small island is the lighthouse in Brgy San Luis that was built during the Spanish Era and completed by Americans to serve as guide for vessel passing the San Bernardino Strait.
The lighthouse manifests the significant role played by Capul in the international maritime industry, according to a PNA report. Until now it is still being used by international vessels that pass through San Bernardino Strait going in and out of the country.
At the tip of the seven-hectare area where the lighthouse is situated is a guard railing for tourists to be safe while taking pictures. From there tourists could see Bicol Peninsula and Mount Bulusan in Sorsogon province during fine weather.
Another treasure of the island is the 16th century fortress church, the 11-foot belfry, thick walls and watchtower that are still intact unlike other churches in Northern Samar that are now in ruined state.
The church of St Ignatius of Loyola Church served as protector of the inhabitants of Capul during the Moro raid.
The first church in 1606 was made of nipa and hardwood but was burned down by Moro pirates in 1615. Residents of the island rebuilt the church but was razed again by Moro pirates.
In 1781, Fr Mariano Valero, a Spanish priest and architect, led the construction of the new church with design similar to Intramuros in Manila to fortify it against Moro attacks and serve as refuge of Capul people.
The locales also were able to preserve remnants to prove the presence of Japanese Forces during the World War II in the island.
Three circular Japanese WW II guns were mounted intended against American Forces few meters down the slope of the main building where the light house is erected.
Another attraction of the island is the baňadero the source of potable water during the galleon years and even up to now.
Tourist who will visit the area will be greeted by local residents who are either washing clothes, fetching drinking water or taking a bath at the baňadero.
Other places that tourist must visit in Capul are the Abak beach, Timon-timon rock formation located at the southern most part of the island that looks like its tail from afar, Acapulco beach, Moro-moro point and Bito Cave in Brgy Sawang.
Capul is the only town in Eastern Visayas that does not use Winaray and Bisaya as native tongues.
Instead they use Inabaknon, from the word Abaknon that refers to the locales after King Abak, first ruler of Capul who escaped the influence of Muslim believers in Java.
Inabaknon is considered to be one of the eight rarest dialects in the country. This dialect is said to be similar with the language used by the Tausug in Mindanao.
But Abaknons understood Winaray, Bisaya and Filipino.
Capul can be reach by boat from the town of Allen.
Habal-habal is the means of transportation in the island but there are some that use motorized banca in going to another barangay.
This fifth class municipality has 12 barangays with a population of more than 12 thousand, said Mayor Isidro Bandal.
Capul is bounded by the island of San Antonio and the town of Allen on the east which is located in the mainland of Northern Samar. To the west are Naranjo Island and Naranjo Pass part of Masbate province and to the south is Samar Sea. To the north is the San Bernardino Strait, considered one of the most treacherous waters in the Philippine archipelago.
Communication facilities are already available in the island but internet access is still unavailable.
Electricity is provided by the National Power Corporation and managed by the Northern Samar Electric Cooperative.
But most houses in Capul has generator sets especially those who are offering home stay and resorts.
Electric power from the generator starts at noon time until 12 midnight.