Saturday, January 18, 2014

Ang Parola ng Poro Point (Poro Point Lighthouse)

"Guiding Light for Maritime Navigation"

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-my pagnapagna-

(First Visit - January 15, 2014)
At downtown San Fernando, La Union, I rode a jeep bound for Poro and got down at the PPMC (Poro Point Management Corporation) office building where i talked to some personnels and let my intent for visiting the lighthouse known.
Together with Engineer Buccat (an employee of PPMC and a previous schoolmate of mine), from the PPMC building, on a pick-up truck, we went to see the lighthouse which was just some 5 minutes away. We have to enter through a gate of a Military facility for the direct road leading to the lighthouse was still under construction at that time.
After driving through some grassland, we finally arrived at the lighthouse. Through lighthouse keeper "Benjamin", we entered the lighthouse and went up to its gallery (viewing deck) where the lantern (lighting) was placed.

The view from the top was breathtaking. The Thunderbird Resort, the golf area, the distant downtown San Fernando City and the distant mountains of the Cordilleras can be seen on the eastern side, the military facility and the west Philippine sea at the western side, the San Fernando Bay at the North while the Philippine sea at the south.
We went down from the lighthouse to see the older lighthouse. 

The cliff near the Lighthouse

The old lighthouse is located at the back of the existing old lighthouse keeper's house overlooking the sea at the cliff.

The old lightkeeper's house and the old Lighthouse 
at its back as seen above from the Poro Point Lighthouse.

At the Old Lighthouse Keeper's house with Engineer Buccat 
and manong "Benjamin" the Lighthouse Keeper

After taking some photos, we told the lighthouse keeper that i will be coming back in the late afternoon for the sunset. Together with Engineer we went back to PPMC office where i thanked them and rode a passenger jeep that got me back to downtown San Fernando City.

(Second Visit - January 16, 2014)

I was at the lighthouse area around 4:25 in the afternoon. 
I learned from the list by National Historical Commission of the Philippines Historic Preservation Division that the Poro Point Lighthouse was installed with historical marker dated January 28, 2008 but when i asked the Lighthouse Keeper "Benjamin" about it, he said he had never seen the marker. Maybe it was still with the authorities he added. Instead, he showed me the "Aerowatt" with a historical marker.
Within our discussion, he also explained how the two smaller lighthouses/beacons at downtown San Fernando works.

Manong "Benjamin" Explaining how the two lights work
 as guides for ships entering the San Fernando Bay  
and into the piers at Poro Point. 
(More of his explanation below under "Leading Lights")

The sun was going down at the horizon so, i went to get photos and videos of the lighthouse with the setting sun as its backdrop. 

I lingered there for a while and decided to see the lighthouse at nighttime with its light on.
We talked on a table under an umbrella tree near the lighthouse while waiting for the day to turn into night. It turned dark but unfortunately, as i kept on looking above at the lighthouse i did not see any hint of any light emitting. Pertaining to the light, I said "Awan sa met manong" (I think there's none sir). He went to see it and it was confirmed. 

Fixing the wiring of the Lighthouse

With his tools and flashlight, under the full moon, we went up to the lighthouse. While i held the flashlight, he did the fixing. The problem was a corroded wire that connects the battery with the bulbs. Now, that was some experience I'll never forget with my visit to this Lighthouse.
After some conversations and photo shoots with his family, i thanked them and went back home through their tricycle driven by his son.

-end of pagnapagna-

Thanks to:
Engr. Mennen Mendoza
Archt. Marc L Aquino
Engr. Sonny Buccat
Benjamin the Lighthouse Keeper

Located just beside the Poro Point Lighthouse.
Here is what is written in its historical marker:
          The first functional wind generator installed in the
          Philippines as part of  the national energy conservation
          effort. Installed 12 December 1979, it provides power 
          to operate one of Poro Point navigational lights with 
          some excess electricity for household purposes of light-
          Power............................................ 300 watts
          Minimum impeiling wind velocity .........  5 mph
          Maximum impeiling wind velocity ......250 mph
          Sustained operation without wind........10 days
          Batteries: 24 volts in 2 arrays
          Manufacturer :  Automatic Power Inc.
                                  Pennwalt Corp.
                                  Houston, Texas, USA
          Supplied / Installed by : Marcel Pars Supply
                                  757 EDSA, Pasay City
                                  Metro Manila
          Installed during the incumbency of:
              Commandant, Philippine Coast Guard
              LCDR JOSE G. GARCIA
              Commander, Aids to Navigation Command

The Aerowatt as seen from the Lighthouse

- Constructed around the year 1885, it is made up mainly of steel material which is now corroded and non-functional.
- Located at the back of the old House of the lighthouse keeper near the edge of the cliff.
- It is said that it used kerosene fueled lamps.

The Old Lighthouse

Constructed at the eastern front of the existing old house of the lighthouse keeper, it is a rotund tower with a simple viewing deck that serves also as the lantern area.
- It has a 95 to 96 concrete steps that spirals to the top. (more or less 19 to 20 meters total height of the structure)
- It is a secondary lighthouse (Cape Bojeador Lighthouse of Ilocos Norte, also known as Burgos Lighthouse is considered as primary lighthouse while the one in Ilocanos Sur and the one at the Top of the Hill near La Union National High School are Tertiary Lighthouse/Beacon)
- It has 6pcs.-12 volts bulb each of 2 to 3 amperes. It automatically revolve to the other bulb when the one being used gets busted.
- Flashes 2 white lights every 5 seconds.
- Light visibility emitted is 10 nautical miles (more or less 20 kilometers)
- Solar powered 
- Under the "Adopt-a-Lighthouse" program of the government

The Poro Point Lighthouse with the concreted road and sunset

Here are the "leading lights" or "range lights" in San Fernando City, La Union.
The one located along the shore of barangay Ilocanos Sur is a front light or a low light that is nearer to the arriving ship while the one located at the top of a hill near the La Union National High School (LUNHS) at barangay Catbangen is the rear range or high light that sits further back.

Parola at Ilocanos Sur
Located at the seashore
- manually operated
Parola at Catbangen (near LUNHS)
located on top of a hill
- solar powered

As explained by Light Keeper "Benjamin", as ships enter the mouth of San Fernando Bay to the port area, the leading light at Ilocanos Sur and at the top of the hill at Catbangen should be aligned as seen from the ship as not to run aground on shallow waters.

For the Burgos or Cape Bojeador Lighthouse CLICK HERE

Update: As of year 2016 to present, Manong "Benjamin" and his family can no longer be found at the old lightkeeper's house. They are no longer residing there and the building is now abandoned ☹ .

Subject   :  Poro Point Lighthouse
Location  :  Poro, San Fernando City
                  Province of La Union 

How to get there:

From Manila, you may take a bus bound for either of these: Laoag City (Ilocos Norte), Vigan City (Ilocos Sur), Candon City (Ilocos Sur), Bangued (Abra) or San Fernando City (La Union). You have to get down at San Fernando City.
Get down at San Fernando City, either at:
  • At the City Plaza. Ride a tricycle or walk your way to the passenger jeep area located at corner Gov. Ortega St. and Gov. Luna St.. Ride on these jeeps bound for Poro for around 9+ pesos fare.
  • At Monumento. Get down at the Unknown Soldier's Monument locally known as "Monumento" which is located before downtown San Fernando and ride a tricycle going to Poro Point . (It cost higher)


Entering the Lighthouse (inside the tower itself) is not generally permitted as to some sensitivity of lighthouse lighting system parts and for security purpose.

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