CAPE SANTIAGO – Calatagan, Batangas
“Truly it is not what you’re getting away from but what you’re getting away to.”
I looked up to this weekend in great anticipation.
Eyeing two lighthouses in Batangas (One is Malabrigo in Lobo) is definitely exciting since the rest from my list of Lighthouses (here and abroad) are thousands of miles away from me.
Unexpectedly, it also took me 5 looong hours travel from my house to this lighthouse in Calatagan, Batangas. Two vans passing by Tagaytay which made me and my foodie buddy be able to eye new and exciting places to visit, and 1 tricycle (rented at p300) from the town proper to the “parola” as they call it when we asked them to “please bring us to the light house.”
Kuya Junior as people calls him is already warning us and apologizing in advance that he can no longer accommodate us when darkness sets in. It’s already half past 5pm when we reached the town proper. The information that the travel will take us only 3 hours is never true.
Kuya Junior by the way is the official care taker of the light house. According to him he is taking care of 15 more parolas though Cape Santiago is the most visited and the one that was restored and claimed by the government as one of Batangas’ Heritage sites.
My eyes are fixed on the road waiting to see that arrow signage that says:“Cape Santiago”. Upon reaching where it used to be, a new bigger signage was installed and the smaller one that I often see from most blogs was placed under. I assumed they can’t afford to throw it away.
The strict kuya Junior that we thought of is very friendly and accommodating in person. As our vehicle is climbing up the road to the entrance gate. We saw two bonfires and upon plight I called out “Kuya Jun!!!” As if we’ve known each other like decades. He instantly replied:”Yes maaam!” And we were laughing when we met him face to face.
It is very evident that his patience with guests taking photos of almost anything is something that is ordinary to him. He is used to it. I missed some interesting subjects and he was the one to remind me not to miss taking them souvenir photos.
He is well informed of the lighthouse’s history. He enumerated the turn of events while simultaneously pointing on the frames and signages to validate his claim.
He is the third generation to take care of Cape Santiago. Personally, he shared with us that now he doubts if his son would want to continue the legacy as he can’t see any sign of interest. We asked him if it’s okay with him and with a smile that I could not define. He told us that he is just there to support whatever plan his son is up to. Hmmmm. Typical father. (–,)
After taking pictures on the ground floor,
I am very impressed with his spiels while we were climbing the spiral staircase for us to reach the top.
Honestly, I felt dizzy because it was too high but with the stories that he is narrating while we’re climbing, I forgot about my dizziness. He would pause as well if I am taking photos as if he knows that taking pictures requires concentration. I recalled how my papa taught me how to take photos, bought me a book on basic photography and I could not forget him telling me to hold my breath if I want to capture an almost perfect shot. I have been doing that ever since.
Kuya Junior enumerated the # of steps, how many floors, the full height of the lighthouse while we were climbing and I jokingly asked him to repeat all the numbers that he mentioned later when I’m no longer dizzy. Ahaha!
It was awe-inspiring upon reaching the top. It awakened my sleeping soul. And while the scenic views are taking my breath away. Kuya Junior is still talking. He was very informative and I see a sense of ownership from him. Even the roofs are clean, there isn’t a single trash or dry leaf on the roof, the land around the lighthouse base.
It is so clean and well-maintained. He also volunteered to take our pictures. And he’s good at that!
So here are the numbers that he enumerated a while ago. The lighthouse is equivalent to a 5 floor building, the steps that we took are 65 steps in total and the elevation from the sea level is equivalent to 4 floors making it a total of 9 floors. The halogen bulbs are working well however to cut on cost, they alternately use the led lights to serve as guide for the seafarers.
Much as we want to chat more with kuya Junior, another group of guests has arrived and he is still expecting one more group. He told us that they usually came from the neighboring resorts in Calatagan. Visiting the town is incomplete without experiencing history from this epic lighthouse.
He kindly directed us at the back of the perimeter to get a full length view of the tower as if it is the highlight of the tour. And he was right. You need to see how mighty it stands tall. You feel the rich grandeur that is in every lighthouse like an innate enigma.
Dreaming awake, I can’t wait where my next lighthouse will be. =)