Monday, May 04, 2015

Changing shorelines.

Dress: MGP
Shoes: Converse
Bag: Rebecca Minkoff
Shades: Ray-Ban

Country: Philippines, Bohol (Maribojoc)
Location: Punta Cruz Watchtower

The Fuerte de San Vicente Ferrer, more often known as the Punta Cruz watchtower, is located at the western tip of the municipality of Maribojoc. This Spanish colonial era watchtower was built in 1796 by Augustinian Recollects in dedication to Saint Vincent Ferrer. Well known for being the only perfect isosceles triangle watchtower in the Philippines, the iconic fortress tower was erected near the seas South of Bohol. As an excellent viewpoint of the surrounding waters, it served as part of a wider defense network built along the Visayan coast against the Moro pirates who plagued the people of Bohol.

Behind the watchtower stands a large wooden cross in a rock clip, facing the sea. The townfolks believe that they were protected by this Holy Cross. According to local legend, whenever the Moro marauders attempted to raid the town, the cross emanates a bright glaring light that confounds the attackers.

With such a rich heritage, the Punta Cruz watchtower was declared a National Historical Landmark in 2009 and subsequently, National Cultural Treasure in 2011 along with the other watchtowers of Dauis, Panglao, Pamilacan, Loay and Balilihan.

From the highest deck, the rampart offers a magnificent view of Cebu, Siquijor and Mindanao. It's such a pity that I wasn't able to take in that breathtaking view for myself 'cause the 7.2 magnitude earthquake on 15 October 2013 resulted in substantial damage to the watchtower.

After that devastating earthquake, the Punta Cruz watchtower is no longer directly adjacent to the sea due to the uplift of portions of the intertidal zone of Maribojoc. Plate tectonics is one my favourite modules in Geography, so you could imagine how amazed I was when I saw the 400 hectares of uplifted seabed. Reading and learning about lithospheric plates, plate boundaries, continental drift, seafloor spreading, etc was one thing, but seeing the evidence of plate movement right before my very eyes just brought the experience to a whole new level!

I actually read up about the earthquake and thought it'd be interesting to share a thing or two. The seismic event in 2013 occurred along a previously unknown fault which has been named the North Bohol fault (NBF). Shoreline changes was caused by ground uplift. An approximately 50-100 meters shift in the high tide mark was measured, implying that Maribojoc is on the upthrown block of the reverse NBF. When the water eventually receded, the sanctuary in which a highly diverse community of coral species thrived in was exposed. Without being submerged in seawater, the corals started bleaching.

Oh, Bohol! Your beauty is inescapable even after all the destruction. The Punta Cruz watchtower area will always be a geological monument. It holds mystery and valuable lessons of geological phenomena with respect to plate tectonics, as well as, biological and ecological survival following a change in environment entirely.

To get to Punta Cruz watchtower, you can take the bus from Tagbilaran Integrated Bus Terminal that heads towards Tubigon.

Before I end the post, Maribojoc celebrates its town fiesta on 5th May (which is tomorrow) in honour of Saint Vincent Ferrer and the Holy Cross, so HAPPY FIESTA to you folks in Maribojoc!

Photos by Ing
Editing by yours truly

"We travel, initially, to lose ourselves; and we travel, next to find ourselves. We travel to open our hearts and eyes and learn more about the world than our newspapers will accommodate. We travel to bring what little we can, in our ignorance and knowledge, to those parts of the globe whose riches are differently dispersed. And we travel, in essence, to become young fools again-- to slow time down and yet get taken in, and fall in love once more." -Pico Lyer

With love,
 photo f60ffb83-5a2a-48b4-a5c7-8c11e00d3d4a_zps00748fdb.jpg
Clarabelle Faith


  1. I enjoyed reading your commentary. My wife is originally from Bohol and we visit Tagbilaran from Australia often. Pre and post quake is an interesting experience. Love your work! Cheers John and Virginia

  2. Thank you for your kind words! I'm glad to know that there are people who enjoy reading what I write. Bohol is truly an amazing place that keeps me going back for more.

    Sending you and your wife much love from Singapore!