The rape of Iskong Bantay

Iskong Bantay, once a proud watchtower that looked out for muslim slave raiders is now a badly designed park

Iskong Bantay, once a proud watchtower that looked out for muslim slave raiders is now a badly designed park

Iskong Bantay is the lone watchtower left in Atimonan, Quezon. According to the historical marker, there used to be seven built in 1752 which served the town as a lookout and defense structure from muslim slave raiders who ravaged these parts, and most of the Philippines.

READ MORE: Tea, trade and tears: the Muslim slave raids of the 18th-19th centuries, Part 1 of 3

It was named after the chief defender of the town, named Francisco Tandas, popularly known as Iskong Bantay, who saw action during the raid in 1872 (this information is contained in the historical marker attached to the watchtower wall.) In 1948-1951, it was repaired.

In 1995, under the so called beautification project of then Mayor Remedios Diestro, the current look of Iskong Bantay took form. The interior of the watchtower was filled and was leveled at the top to become an elevated park. Most of the wall surface, except the back was irregularly patched with cement. A cement staircase was built in the middle. Where the stairs part, is the head of a carabao.

Tacky. Badly done. the landscaping and beautification doesn’t give justice to the proud structure that defended the town. And what about that parting stairs with a carabao’s head and a Japanese/Chinese garden in the middle? What about those faux cement bamboo at the side? The idea on paper or in the minds of the project proponent might have been good, noble, in fact but unfortunately, why do people let the tasteless do the beautification?

Poor Iskong Bantay.

Iskong Bantay

Detail of a section of the top part of the watchtower

The top of the watchtower was filled and leveled

The top of the watchtower was filled and leveled

Side of the watchtower with badly patched cement work

Side of the watchtower with badly patched cement work

Behind the watchtower is the still original material that wasn't patched with cement

Behind the watchtower is the still original material that wasn’t patched with cement

Late afternoon at a town road in Atimonan. Iskong Bantay is at the right.

Late afternoon at a town road in Atimonan. Iskong Bantay is at the right.

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