So you think that Biri Rock Formations is awe-inspiring?
Tweet: “Sudden change of plans…will go to Capul island instead, learned that there is a 16th century church there, got me interested.”
It was amusing to know that the name of this island was a shortened ACAPULCO. In the late 16th century the San Bernardino Strait along the northern coast of Samar island was an important part of the Galleon trade route. Acapulco Island (now called Capul Island) was the last stop of the galleon ships from Manila before they head out to Acapulco, Mexico.
The location and proximity of the island to the Pacific Ocean were found to be practically useful during the Galleon Trade. Boats that are about to leave the Philippines (from Manila and Butuan City) would only start the long voyage when the current was flowing outward through the San Bernardino Strait.
The Manila-Acapulco Trade flourished, especially when the Spanish, Mexican and Peruvian households kept a high demand for the abaca, beeswax and agricultural produce from the Philippines.
How Did This Island Got its Name?
According to history, one of the itinerant Spaniards engraved in block letters the word “ACAPULCO”on the rock near the port. Before that, Acapulco was used only to designate the sitio where the engraved rock was located but later on it was applied to the whole island replacing the old name “Abak” to Capul, a shortened from of ACAPULCO.
I told you, it’s forgotten but its historical significance is interesting enough for me to discover.
At the center of the town is a massive 16th century fortress church; the belfry, thick walls and watchtower are still intact but in a ruinous state. It was mix emotions to see the walls being used as firewalls of houses being built around the church.
I’m no expert with Catholic Churches but a big church in a small island definitely means that this island served a very important role during the Spanish period.
During my stay, I also learned that they speak a different dialect, Inabaknon or Abaknon. It’s not Waray or Bicolano or Bisaya. I talked about this on my Inabaknon Dialect post.
Capul Island is a tourist destination as you can visit a lot of places here. They boast of a white beach, a lighthouse, an islet and caves used by the Japanese soldiers during the WWII. A historic island such as this could easily be marketed not to mention that they have their own dialect that makes this island interesting.
Tweet: “White sand, blue sea, coconut trees… early summer here at Abak Beach, Capul island.”
Travel Tip: If you choose to explore the island, be prepared to stay there for a night. Accommodation is available at Php100/night, just ask the boatman when before you leave the boat as the owner of the boat is also the owner of the lodge.
How to get to Capul Island:
From Allen port, look for the big out-rigger boat that goes to Capul Island. There is only one trip per day, which leaves at 12:00nn. Fare: Php 60. Travel time is about an hour.
Going back, you have to be at the port by 6:30am the next day, the boat leaves between 6:45-7:00am for Allen.
Where I stayed in Capul? I stayed inside the Municipal bldg. inside the Tourism Office as I was traveling on a budget. Thank you for your generosity Sir Bords! Until next visit?
Secrets of Northern Samar is a series of blog posts that encourages intrepid travelers to try the out-of-the-usual-tourist-trail. This happened last February 2011, one of the no-plans-whatsoever trips I made. I have a ticket to Catarman and I just said to myself, go and let’s see what’s in it for me… So I found these: