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From a Distance

One night, my brother looked up the sky and, noticing the many stars that smiled ever so brightly, sent me an SMS: “Ate, ituloy mo na ang lakad mo bukas, maganda tiyak ang panahon.”

The next day greeted me indeed with a great weather. It was a perfect day to go out to the sea on this fishing boat…

and enjoy island hopping…..

….until the boat found a strong whirlpool which broke its rudder. A rudder is a blade positioned at the stern of a boat. It helps steer the boat to the desired direction.

“The rudder’s broken. I am so sorry but we did not bring a spare,” said the fisherman at the helm in a calm manner.

The water was relatively calm but I noticed a strong undercurrent which was followed by some counter-undercurrents. We were in a place which is subject to strong curents, whirlpools, and eddies. I am used to traveling in the sea and by how the boat behaved in the few minutes with a broken rudder, it seemed to me that the she was in danger of being swept off her course.

“What do we do now, Manong?” I asked the fisherman.

“We just have to hope for a good wind to carry us to San Isidro,” he replied.

And hope we did. While the fisherman tried to paddle with all his might against strong counter-undercurrents, I prayed. Because admittedly, I was a bit worried. The sun was about to set and I wouldn’t want to be floating in the ocean the whole night.

The fisherman patiently continued paddling. I continued hoping…and praying.

After a while, the sun started its descent, painting the sky with different colors.

Slowly, the blue sky turned into gold with bursts of crimson. Being a fan of sunsets (and sunrises), the scene was such a comfort.

As my eyes traced the sun slowly disappearing in the horizon, I felt a certain lightness in my heart. I was happy. And comforted.

Perhaps, God stalled us for a few hours so we could witness another nature’s beauty.

Perhaps, the magnificent sunset was His way of assuring us that He’s got our back.

He was there. I knew He was there all along—looking down on us from far, far away throughout the entire 5-hour boat ride which would have taken us only an hour with an unbroken rudder.

Posted 4 years, 11 months ago at 7:08 pm.


Farola de Isla Capul: A Silent Sentinel

In Barangay San Luis in the sleepy town of Capul is a hill called Titoog Point. This grassy hill in the northernmost tip of Capul has a very picturesque view. On clear days, one can see the outline of Mt. Bulusan, an active volcano in the nearby province of Sorsogon. Looking at the edges surrounding it, one will see the swift rush of current washing over the San Bernardino Straight which separates Bicol from Samar.

On the other side of the hill, one will see a stretch of rugged coastline. The water was calm the day I visited. But when the weather is bad, big waves usually lash the island town. The strong, eddy currents sometimes make it almost impossible for boats to go in and out of Capul.

Perched atop Titoog Point, standing proud 143 ft. above sea level, is a silent sentinel: the Farola de Isla Capul, known to locals simply as “Parola.”

The lighthouse has every right to stand proud. Recently, the National Historical Commission bestowed upon it a marker for its historical significance. The Spaniards started building the lighthouse but it was finished, with modifications, during the American occupation. Since the American period, it has warned countless of ships of the narrow treacherous waters between the Port of Matnog and Capul.

Notice the half-circle spot near the tree (first picture). It is one of the three circular World War II gun emplacements where big guns were mounted to be used by the Japanese Navy against the American soldiers.

Beside the lighthouse is a pavilion, which, sadly, is already dilapidated. But I heard from a tourism officer that this will soon be repaired. I say, it’s high time.

So…I hope you, my dear readers, will also visit this 7-hectare complex someday. It is a great place for having a picnic, picture taking, dating, and some soul-searching 😉

How to get there:
From the town proper of Capul, look for a habal-habal and ask the driver to take you to “Parola.” Ask the driver to wait for you as the place is far and it is hard to get a ride back to the town proper. Rate as of today, Sept.14, 2012, is Php200.

How to go to Capul:
Click here.

Posted 5 years, 1 month ago at 6:50 pm.


Hello, Capul!

I have long been wanting to visit the town of Capul in Northern Samar. But whenever I would mention this to my mother, I would always sense that she worries about it. I couldn’t blame her because this island town is known for its brisk currents and crashing waves. I was happy when, recently, my desire to visit Capul was fulfilled. Thanks to a fisherman’s boat which was lent to me. And thanks to one bright, sunshiny day.

Capul is a small, sleepy town that has always intrigued me. First, because it has its own distinct indigenous language called Inabaknon, a language we, from neighboring Waray-speaking towns, do not understand. However, most Capuleños can understand Waray (and Tagalog and English, of course). What puzzles me is that Capul, being geographically located in Visayas, has a language that is not strictly classified as a Visayan language. According to studies, Inabaknon belongs to the language of the Bajaos in Mindanao and the Sama people of Malaysia. Many language scholars from all over the world have visited Capul to do research on Inabaknon.

The second thing that interests me about Capul is its 18th-century-old church, the St. Ignatius de Loyola Church, which has earned last year a marker from the National Historical Commission of the Philippines.

Situated right in the town’s plaza, the ancient church, stands proud as if to remind Capuleños of its heroic past: during Spanish time, it became the people’s refuge from the Moro pirates who raided and plundered the island.

Notice the three holes above the base of the belfry. Those are small windows. The guards would open them and shoot at enemies who got close.

The church is surrounded by a stonewall fortress shaped like a cross.

During those troubled times, stationed on the left and right corners of the fortifications were guards who were ready to fire cannons to protect the people inside the church.

Just a few steps away is the municipal hall which is a stark contrast to the state of the fortress which is already in ruins.

I wish I had more time to explore the town but I was just there for a day. Perhaps next time I can stay for two or three days.

Lodging: There are no hotels in Capul. But there are houses that accept homestay for Php150. Just ask the boatman about it. I heard there is a big house for rent but was not able to check it out because I was in a hurry. Unless you have hired a boat for a special trip, you have to stay in Capul overnight because there is only one trip going out of Capul and that is at 6:45AM. Capuleños are very friendly so don’t hesitate to ask if you need any help.

Transportation: Going around Capul is by habal-habal. The town has narrow streets and there isn’t many vehicles around.

How to get there from Manila:
Route 1: Take the early morning flight to Calbayog Samar. Take a jeepney bound for the town of Allen. In Allen, look for the port and the boat that is bound for Capul. It is a big outrigger boat. It leaves at 12:00noon. Fare is PhP60.

Route 2: Take the early morning flight to Catarman. Take a jeepney bound for the town of Allen.

Route 3: For the more adventurous ones: Take the early morning flight to Calbayog. Take a jeepney bound for Allen. Alight in the town of Victoria. Hire a boat (usually kontrata ito) going to the town of San Antonio where there are some nice beach resorts. With the same boat, proceed to Capul. If you still have time and if the boatman would agree, you can proceed to the town of San Vicente where there is a beach with pink sand.

Next post: Farola de Capul and other attractions

Posted 5 years, 1 month ago at 6:50 pm.