April 17, 2024

Bicol Express News

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Sorsogon’s San Bernardino Island Lighthouse for restoration, says PH historical body

Photo: Bulusan Municipal Tourism Office

National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) Chairman Dr. Rene Escalante visited San Bernardino Island in Sorsogon Province, Philippines, for the proposed restoration of the Lighthouse.

The proposed Lighthouse restoration will boost up Bulusan town’s current program for tourism, culture and arts development as laid out by Mayor Mike Guysayko and Vice Mayor Weng Rafallo.

NHCP’s installation of the Historical Marker at San Bernardino Lighthouse will happen soon.

San Bernardino Island is off the coast of Bulusan, Sorsogon, a 45 minute boat ride to the island from Sabang (Bulusan Poblacion).

(L-R) Mayor Mike Guysayko, Vice Mayor Weng Rafallo and Dr. Rene Escalante. Photo: Bulusan Municipal Tourism Office

San Bernardino Strait

The San Bernardino Strait (Filipino: Kipot ng San Bernardino) is a strait in the Philippines, connecting the Samar Sea with the Philippine Sea. It separates the Bicol Peninsula of Luzon island from the island of Samar in the south.

The San Bernardino Strait’s location is between the Bicol Peninsula and Samar, with
Coordinates at: 12°35′15″N 124°11′47″E.

Photo: Bulusan Municipal Tourism Office


Rewinding back to history, a lone small expedition ship, San Juan de Letran, with a skeleton crew of only 20 men, logged more than 5,000 kilometres in Philippine waters, including those of the San Bernardino Strait, and the San Juanico Strait between Samar and Leyte.

The San Juan also completely circumnavigated the island of Mindanao, then tried to reach Mexico, but was blown back to the Marianas by a storm in the North Pacific.

It made its way back to the Filipinas (as Samar and Leyte had been named by Villalobos), and on January 3, 1544 ran aground in the treacherous currents of the San Bernardino Strait “just as dozens of Spanish vessels were to do for the next three centuries”.

Photo: Bulusan Municipal Tourism Office

In order to guide ships traversing along the strait, the Capul Island Lighthouse was built from 1863 to 1896 under Francisco Perez Muñoz, following the designs of Guillermo Brockman in 1892.

It was given a historical marker by the National Historical Commission on October 24, 2018.

During the Battle of Leyte Gulf in the 2nd World War, Imperial Japanese Admiral Kurita took his main battleship force through the strait to reach the American transports anchored in Leyte Gulf, but withdrew after the Battle off Samar.