Fort Sta. Isabel

Fort Sta. Isabel

23 May 2015

Fort Sta. Isabel

Taytay's most popular and widely visited landmark is Fort Santa Isabel. It's the only early-Spanish era fortress that remains intact and the only man-made heritage site in mainland Palawan that the Taytayanos are very proud of. The whole structure was designed and built right on top of an offshore, massive rock formation by Spanish authorities who were aided by friars to intimidate and force hundreds of locals to gather, carve, and lay the coral blocks that were mainly used for its construction. Work started in 1667 and continued until 1738.  It took 71 years of hard labor for migrant and local workers, mostly from Panay and Cuyo Islands, to complete construction work on the fortress using only lard, egg white, and lime to securely bond the coral blocks together.  With the surrounding sea forming part of a series of protective barriers to prevent a direct assault by pirates and other hostile natives, the only easy access to the fort was over a wooden bridge, a portion of which was probably raised or pulled up during night time for added security for the inhabitants. Within the walls are the ordnance chamber, rebuilt in early 2000 and currently being used as a mini-museum, and chapel, now a special venue for weddings and baptism. Both structures, along with portions of the surrounding wall and the main rain water collection chamber, were damaged because of adverse human intervention and also due to time element and environmental factors.  It was in late-1990 to mid-2000 that the project to introduce major repairs to the damage sections was hatched and implemented by the administration of then Mayor Roberto V. Rodriguez, who assigned the restoration task to Vicente T. Azurin, Jr., Silverio L. Catedral, and a handful of local construction workers. Esther Dacuan was given the responsibility to supervise the landscaping component of the project when the repair work was finished. Although there were logistical problems, substantial repair and landscaping work were finally accomplished. Maintenance work continues up to the present time and with the implementation of the collection of entrance fees (P15 - P30 per person) last October 2012. A thorough and lasting repair and maintenance program  is now being undertaken by  the present administration under Mayor Romy L. Salvame.  For aesthetic reasons, it is also planning to introduce in its land use plan a set-back zone for privately owned properties located directly across the road leading to the fortress, and the creation of an historical park ordinance, not only to ensure the upkeep of the whole park, but also  to regulate activities within the park boundaries.                                                                                                                                                    

19 May 2015


The Inter-Alliance Project, a major component of the socio-economic development program of the Province of Palawan and brainchild of Gov. Jose Ch. Alvarez, is now on its way to being implemented. It was officially launched on May 20, 2015 at the provincial capitol with the Governor himself, mayors, specifically LGU Taytay's Hon. Romy L. Salvame,  and alliance coordinators / staff of 13 municipalities in attendance. The flagship projects in each of the partner-municipalities are in tandem, not necessarily in the order as shown below, in order to ensure full socio-economic development of the entire province. They are as follows: Tourism Development, Infrastructure, Welfare Services, Climate Change Adaptation, Coastal Resource Management, Revenue Generation and Mobilization, Reforestation, and Anti-Drug Abuse.

Malampaya Sound and Wonderful Sights


17 May 2015


I recently had another chance to visit and assess the eco-tourism potentials of the Malampaya Sound Protected Land and Seascape and here’s what I have seen/observed in four hours of boat travel within its boundaries:
-        Jellyfish (labong-labong) season is here and will last for another 2-3 months. There was a time when the sound was saturated with millions of jellyfish (about 2-3 feet in diameter) until the Chinese started buying thousands of tons of this creature to feed their outrageous demand for anything that resembles sea food. At P1.50 each, it brings income to the small fisherman, but just enough to buy a fraction of his family’s basic needs.

       Just when I thought that the Irrawaddy dolphin population has been considerably reduced as a result of unregulated illegal fishing and were about to return to our starting point, a pod of Irrawaddy dolphins suddenly appeared and made our nearly 4 hours long search really fruitful.

-        Fish catch has alarmingly and drastically been reduced to insignificant numbers by  illegitimate fishing methods. The unabated use of fine mesh nets to catch dilis or any small-size fish species has resulted to extensive collateral damage to fisheries, and if left to continue would be disastrous to the fishing industry at Malampaya Sound.

-        The mangrove areas in many sites within the sound are still intact and are host to many species of animal life

Lastly, the terrestrial and marine sights are generally still above par and it's just a matter of time before a substantial number of visitors start hearing about Taytay and come over for at least a day or two.