Thursday, January 26, 2017

Bohol: Punta Cruz Watchtower After the Earthquake

Punta Cruz, situated in the western edge of Maribojoc, is well-known for the Punta Cruz Watchtower. Built in 1796, this watchtower is said to be the only structure in the country formed in perfect isosceles triangle. Like other watchtowers built during the Spanish colonization period, its purpose was to help guards watch over the coast of Bohol strait from incoming invaders.

Punta Cruz has always been a part of every Bohol summer vacation since my childhood days. Since it is only a few kilometers from the town proper of Maribojoc where my mother hails, we often visit this place for picnic and swimming.

During our most recent vacation in Bohol, with my wife and kids in tow, I made sure to visit Punta Cruz. My main purpose is not only for my kids to see the place for the first time but also to know how it looked like after the magnitude 7.2 earthquake struck Bohol in October 2013.

The earthquake caused major damage to the watchtower, specifically on its upper portion. When we were there, it was fenced to prevent visitors from going inside. I felt sad that my kids did not get the opportunity to see and climb this historic structure.

Since we could not get inside the watchtower, we instead explored the Punta Cruz uplifted coast. The 2013 earthquake was so powerful that the seabed was lifted up to 1.2 meters.

I was so astonished with this sight as I could still remember how deep the seawater was in this portion years ago.

In 2015, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources declared the uplited coastal area which stretches from the town of Loon to Maribjoc as a "geological monument".

According to DENR, its declaration was based on the unique geoligical features which resulted after the quake lifted the land and that it constitutes an irreplaceable segment of the earth's history and geological heritage.

Geological monuments are sites that show outstanding features or processes considered by geologist and other scientists as worthy of conservation. There are six other national geological monuments earlier declared by the DENR. These are the Chocolate Hills in Bohol; the Hundred Islands in Pangasinan; the sand dunes in Ilocos Norte, the St. Paul Limestone Formation in Puerto Princesa, Palawan; the Taal Volcano in Batangas; and the Montalban Limestone Gorge in Rodriguez, Rizal. (SOURCE)

Despite the damage done by the 2013 earthquake, a visit to Punta Cruz Watchtower is still worth your time. You will get the opportunity to see not only the historic structure but also the unique geological features of the uplifted coast. It will definitely make you realize how powerful forces of nature could be.

If you are curious how Punta Cruz looked like before the earthquake, here are two photos I took last August 2013, or about two months before the catastrophe:

How to Get There:

From Tagbilaran City, take a bus bound for Loon or Tubigon. Tell the driver or conductor that you will disembark at the entrance of Punta Cruz, just a few kilometers from Maribojoc proper. Travel time is about one hour. From the highway, you need to walk about 700 meters to get to the watchtower.

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