Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Stone Fortress : Fuerza de Santa Isabel

Brgy. Poblacion, Taytay, Palawan
by lakwatserong tatay

Few meters from Parish Church of Sta. Monica lies one of the most famous relic that could be found in Palawan. A 17th century old fort that still stands today and takes center stage in Taytay's magnificent seacape that once been old Spanish town founded in 1623.
Fuerza da Santa Isabel
Fuerza de Santa Isabel also known as Fort Santa Isabelle has withstood the test of time, and it is in good condition and being preserve by city government. This fortress is popular among all of the locals and tourists before going to El Nido, but not most of us know what's the real beauty in this town. Fuerza de Santa Isabel stone fortress was built by the Augustinian Recollects Fathers and construction commenced in 1667. With forced local labor and much hardship, it was completed in 1738. Standing by the fort and looking outside the shallows of the Taytay coast, makes you feel that this was a place where one part of our country's history made. The ghosts of the battles still seems to reflect - some of the old relics are still intact, a huge brass canyon is still placed infronting the ocean that seems always ready to fire.
The fortress converted into a park.....
This fortress was named in honor of Spain's Queen Isabel II in the 1800's. A small chapel was build inside the fortress and remained still intact. This fort was described by UNESCO as "a quadrilateral fort with four bastions each of which has a bartizan. Each bastion is attributed to following Saints, San Toribio, San Migue, San Juan and Sta. Isabel.

what if......?
 Here's a complete history about Fuerze de Santa Isabel:
---words were taken from a brochure in the Fuerza de Santa Isabel Musuem and Information Center...
 
Fort Santa Isabel was first built as a wood palisade in 1667 under the Augustinian Recollect Fathers. After 71 years of forced labor (Polo) and material contributions by the Taytayanos, it was constructed and completed as s stone fort in December 17,1738 by Tomas Castro, a Spanish military engineer, under the command of Capt. Josef Tierra de Salcedo in 1700's, the first batch of exiles or Distireros from Luzon and Visayas were recruited to help in the construction of the fort.
This thick stones that strength in times......
A reminder to us how important is this fortress....
I do hope i could get back on this place..........
The fort was constructed to protect the inhabitants from the attacks of the Moro pirates from Sulu who hide from the mask of piracy to fight the spread of Spanish colonization and growth of Christianity. It's occupation also becomes a threat to the standing trading relationship among the Moros, Chinese, Malaysians and some local inhabitants. From years... 1730 to 1739, Datu Bigotillo and 3,800 Moro pirates were sent by Maulana-Diafar Sabiesa, the Sultan of Jolo to take over the Fortress of Taytay. The fort was a collosal obstacle in their piratical forrays.
To see this again.............
The old entrance....
Don Geronimo Sundillon, the first hero of Taytay. During the 21 days siege posted by the Moro pirates in 1739, Sundillon was captured. The pirates asked him to point the secret passage of the fort. But instead, he exposed the pirates to the fort sentries, thus curtailing the plan of a surprised attack. Bigotillo thinking he was betrayed by Sundillon commanded his men to torture him. He died as a martyr and saved the local inhabitants  and the Spanish people from further aggression.
Upclose facade of Fort Sta. Isabel
Three saints in place infront fort's facade.....
During the siege of the Moro pirates, the legend of Sta. Monica, the patron sainrt dress in white garment, her identity is unknown, advised them to boil water and fats extracted from the slaughtered cows and carabaos. It was poured down on the scaling pirates causing the walls to be slippery and scalding the marauders as well. It sent the attackers to their surrender. They re-embarked and sail back to Jolo, never to bother the Taytayanos.
Fort's History Marker
So let's get back to our story...enough from being historian...thanks to the brochure....thanks po ate...(i forgot the name actually...hehehehe)...All of us were so excited to enter this fortress, although it's just me and Carlo got inside the fortress late due to some photography session we've taken outside of it...hehehehe....
let starts with this few steps....
are you ready to go outside......
And now...we've entered the fortress, my first stop was fortress mini-musuem and information center. Upon entering inside, it really looks like creepy room, maybe because the only light inside is the sunrays from the sun that entering via those windows, but as you've enter inside, it's look like nice but a bit creepy...
The Fort's Sta. Isabel Museum & Information Center
You will see some old artifacts maybe redeemed within this fortress, few paintings about this fortress and there's one thing and artifact that really catched my eyes....
Some of the paintings you could see inside their mini-musuem..
A bone structure of an dolphin called Irrawaddy, that said to be found in coast of Malampaya Sound in Taytay, Palawan. This mammal was featured in one of my favorite shows at GMA 7, The Born to be Wild, as i remember it was part of their Born Expedition II regarding Irrawaddy Mystery and Snake King, it was aired around October last year.
Bone structure of an Irrawaddy
This is a unique dolphin species, its face has some resemblance to the dugong's, it lives in brackish waters, it's shy and does not "bow ride" or play near boats like other dolphins. Irrawaddy's is critically endangered and there was only 39 counted as of last count in 2005. There were many groups, most experienced wild photographers tried to document Irrawaddy to finally revealed to us public, in hopes to know more about this species and would be the one step to protect them in getting harmed.
You may check this link to watch the full Irrawaddy's Mystery.
Skull of Irrawaddy
The next spot that you could see on this fortress is the Old Chapel that stand inside Fuerza de Santa Isabel, said that is made of coral stone, and stay's the resemblance and stands still to view the past of this fort.
The Old Chapel of Sta. Monica

It's entrance
For me, i think this chapel would be a great place in having a solemn promise between two lovers, although it's quite short in walking towards the altar. I found it really sweet together with it's backdraft views of Taytay coast and on other sides are hills that surrounding the town of Taytay would be a nice addition on your solemn day...hehehehe...But if the town of Taytay would allow this, i do hope they would still preserve the resemblance of this fortress that represents part of our history.
A glimpse of this Chapel
The Church Altar...
How old do you think this rock that made this Chapel?
The other of the Chapel
Aside from this structure, the fortress it self was converted to very comfortable park place that you could chillax for a moment, think of something else, forget for the meantime all of your problems.....^_^, because of it's beautiful surroundings, the flower fauna that you could check out, the huge brass canyon that fronting the Taytay coast line.
This lamp post could say so.....

Flower fauna that can  be seen inside this fortress...

A fortress from our past...now converted to a relaxation area....
A scenic ocean view from this fortress....
Here is one of it's survivor...........
An old canyon............

An old bunker that facing it's Taytay coastal line....
Here's one shot that i've taken while some of my co-trippers feels the sea breeze inside this fortress....
The trippers experience......
Aside from a scenic view around this fort, this fort is made of a very thick brick wall type, that been standing for so many years. As we have seen it, most of us were wondering how they did it.
Another hill on its west side..........

A scenic and romantic view of Taytay Hill from Fort Sta. Isabel

A forest scenery on it's southwest side
An ocean view from southeast side....
The Taytay port view....

The thick wall that facing the sea ocean....
The thick wall that facing the highway....
The urban neighborhood infront the fortress....
My last look and shot of Fort Sta. Isabel
Lakwatserong Tatay was here....^_^
All in all our stopover in Taytay, Palawan was really great seeing those remarkable sites, having set our foot on one place that is part of our history, is one remarkable remembrance from this town. I really do hope that the Town of Taytay would really take good care of this treasures, they have so many scenic spots, tourist friendly destinations and a very friendly and accomodating locals. Like Mac Arthur said....I shall return....^_^

After that stopover we're back on the road to have more grueling ride to get to our target destination - El Nido.

This story is part of : Five Days of Trip at Palawan

6 comments:

lakwatsera de primera said...

Meron din palang stone fortress sa Taytay, mukhang mas marami pa yatang artefacts and relics on display dito kesa yung nasa Cebu.

lakwatserong tatay said...

@ms. claire, opo, actually napakaganda ng lugar, kaya nga nasabi ko, this place could be a perfect wedding place for some lovers out there, but i do hope they will still take in mind to be cautious kasi this one part of our countries history....^_^

dong ho said...

the remnants of an irrawaddy is interesting. havent been to this part of palawan yet. looks like i should go there.

it's good to see that they preserved fort isabel and some ruins there.

lakwatserong tatay said...

@sir dong, yes po, sana nga sa next visit ko mapuntahan ko talga ung place kung san nakikita ung mga irrawaddy...

Pinoy Adventurista said...

it's like a travel back in time... :)

lakwatserong tatay said...

@mervin, parang ganun na nga....pgnagpunta ka na ng El Nido don't miss this town, include this in your itinerary, dami spots din kasi dito eh...^_^

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