New Lighthouse Alfaro In Busuanga Philippines
Image courtesy Juliet Solar
Almost complete, atop the southern arm of Puerto Del Sol Bay, Busuanga, is a new lighthouse that will guide vessels from the South China Sea into Coron Bay. The Lighthouse is not an initiative of the Philippine MARINA Department nor the Philippine Coast Guard but instead a unique resort development by an entrepreneur who simply wishes to assist seafarers to find a safe anchorage.
Puerto Del Sol Bay is the home of the Busuanga Yacht Club and a dozen moorings are located in the sheltered bay, to the North of the lighthouse. Puerto Del Sol Bay is considered a safe typhoon anchorage and through the adjacent, Puerto Del Sol Resort, offers accommodation, restaurant facilities, Internet and freshwater at the moorings. Puerto Del Sol Bay is oft referred to by locals as the bay at the end of the Earth because it occupies one of the least accessible (by land) parts of Busuanga Island.
On the headland, where the lighthouse is located, a mid/high-end resort is also almost complete and should be accepting visitors before the end of 2011. Named (appropriately) Alfaro, the resort enjoys spectacular views across the western reaches of the Calamianes Islands Group. The restaurant, built into the lower levels of the lighthouse itself, will probably become the most popular lovers-in-Palawan dining destination because of the deeply romantic sunset vistas it will offer all of its guests . . . it may become the Palawan-honeymoon hotspot for the same reason.
The first lighthouses in the Philippines were built by the Spanish. The Spanish built 27 major lighthouses & 31 minor light-stations during their stewardship of the waterways of the archipelago; a total of 58 lighthouses seems rather too few for safe navigation through 7107 islands that make up the Philippines, but that probably explains why there are so many known wrecks and many times more as yet undiscovered.
Some of the original 58 lighthouses still exist as working light-stations but many have been replaced by modern, unmanned, solar powered versions – less expensive to operate but plagued with frequent maintenance issues, in the absence of the traditional lighthouse-keeper. The disappearance (theft?) of batteries is a frequent challenge for the authorities, aiming to maintain safe navigation for the thousands of boats that ply the passages between the islands.
Some argue that with the advances in GPS technology and digital charts, lighthouses have become redundant. It is true that any vessel with a working GPS and digital charts actually does not need lighthouses for navigation, but when you are sailing towards land on a storm-front, drenched with rain and spray, there is nothing quite as comforting as seeing the confirmatory flash of the lighthouse that you know should be there. And, despite having GPS and digital charts, I do not know a ship’s captain worth his salt, when voyaging unfamiliar waters, who would set out without paper charts in reserve – just in case the GPS service or the batteries fail.
New lighthouses are a rarity and something to be celebrated. The fact that this lighthouse is specifically designed for people to also celebrate romance, passion and Mother Nature in its shadow makes it even more significant.
Bookmark this page for it will be updated as the official inauguration of the lighthouse and the Alfaro resort draws near.