San Isidro’s lonely sentinel by the sea

Remnants of the watchtower in San Isidro, San Francisco, Pacijan Island in Camotes.

Remnants of the watchtower in San Isidro, San Francisco, Pacijan Island in Camotes.

In the island of Pacijan, in the Camotes group, there’s a remnant of an octagonal moro watchtower that has been a silent sentinel over the past hundred years or more. It sits atop a coral outcrop just beside the sea with its upper level gone and one side is open, where the entrance might have been.

Barangay San Isidro in San Francisco municipality is one of the existing towns in Camotes that have been established by the Spaniards during their colonization. A testament to this is not only the more than a century old watchtower but also an old chapel with its limestone and haligis of tree trunks still intact.

But more on the watchtower, Camotes was one of the sea routes taken by the muslim slave raiders during the amihan (northwest monsoon) when, from their raiding activities in Luzon and Bicol, they set sail via the central Visayas to Northern Mindanao and eventually to their base in Sulu.

During the months of the amihan, December to March, they raid and pillage Samar, Leyte, Bohol, Cebu and Camotes as they sail towards home. And this explains why the central Visayas has a collection of watchtowers and little forts (Punta Cruz in Madridejos, Bohol, Carmen in Cebu, now in ruins) peppered along the entire stretches of these island provinces.

However, in the Camotes group of islands: Pacijan, Poro and Ponson, I’ve only come across this watchtower considering that there are several old towns. Are there still other existing watchtowers like in Pilar, Tudela, Poro and Santiago? Or, except for this one, the rest have just crumbled to oblivion?

The watchtower as seen atop its coraline  base.

The watchtower as seen atop its coraline base.

Interior of the watchtower with a view of the sea at the background

Interior of the watchtower with a view of the sea at the background

Top view of the watchtower

Top view of the watchtower

Backview of the watchtower

Backview of the watchtower

Related Posts with Thumbnails

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *