Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Half-standing & Half-fallen Baluarte Watchtower

"It will happen and then it happened"

Typhoon "Lando" with international name "Koppu" just gave a heavy beating with its fierce winds the night of October 19, 2015, a Monday.

 I've heard from a local radio station just the other day about the sad fate of the most visited old Spanish-era watchtower in La Union.

The Luna Watchtower or "Baluarte" was once a whole one piece structure before it cracked during the 2009 typhoon Feria and now six years later its other half had fallen into pieces.

I made it a point to be there the following day to continue my documentation of these watchtowers of La Union.

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-my pagnapagna-
(October 21, 2015 Wednesday)

It was a rainy day. It rained on my way to downtown Luna, La Union
For a while it stopped as i walked my way to the watchtower.
The strong wave had washed anew pebbles along the shores and lots of people were busy stone picking.

As I approached the watchtower, I can not believe what I was seeing. I felt sad and in my mind I asked, why am I seeing it through. The door that once previewed the interior bricked wall is now empty that it betrayed secrecy.

A boy sits on top of one of the chunks of fallen wall 
while workers do stone picking at the distance
I went inside only to be outside. The once interior is now exposed overlooking the furious sea. The remaining half is at the edge of the ground where it stood of about 2 meters high from where its other half had lost its struggle to stand and lies broken in parts, a remnant of what had happened that stormy night. 

The concrete piles that had supported its base to stop further leaning did not have that strength against those battering waves of the sea, it lies scattered and swept away as far as 30 to 50 meters from where it used to.

The looks of it now reminded me of the Currimao watchtower of Ilocos Norte.

There was one who got a stone not smaller than a shoe box, from the fallen wall and he said that it's a good antique one for sharpening knives. I get guilty of not stopping him but I managed to stop a group of students, armed with sign pens from further writing on its remaining standing wall.

I sat on top of the damaged gabion wall fronting the the watchtower and started sketching.
For my Sketch CLICK HERE

Before noontime, a group from the municipal office of Luna, La Union came and they started cordoning the area to avoid further damage of the remaining wall particularly eroding the existing ground of the remaining standing wall as well as to discourage looting of its fallen parts. This is done in preparation of its restoration/conservation in the future, one of the officials said.

It rained and the wind blew stronger as they cordoned the area.
The authorities from the municipality of Luna
 led by Mayor Victor Marvin U. Marron cordoning the area

 I left the area for a while and went for a lunch at the public market area.

Came back with my co-artist "Jog" Austriz who i happened to meet on my way from the public market. "Jog" is a resident of Luna, La Union.
He told me that before, the shores were still mounded with pebbles that one can not see the shoreline at a distance and not like now which has gone deep from its previous level. We sat down and talked for a while but later on he left.

the now cordoned "Baluarte"

Lots of visitors were arriving as the day deepened. Surely the tragic fate of the watchtower had contributed to its popularity.

At around 2 o'clock in the afternoon, I left the area saddened that the watchtower is now only a face with no back resembling that of a giant mask by the seashore. 
Lots of questions were running in my head 
(the signs were there, did we came short of protecting it?)
 as I went back to Home Sweet Home.

-end of pagnapagna-

For the previous blog post on the Baluarte watchtower CLICK HERE

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