Tuesday, August 04, 2009


The island of Capul lies in the middle of two other islands of San Vicente and Dalupiri in the western part of Northern Samar. Although both San Vicente and Dalupiri speak Cebuano yet Capul has its own peculiar language very much different from all the Filipino languages. It is said that in the 13th century the followers of King Abak, a petty king in Java resisting Muslim conversion after the conquest of their land decided to depart in three "barangay" boats for the archipelago. One boat landed and remained in Sulu, the other went eastwards to Marianas and the third boat proceeded northward and landed on the island of Capul. In memory of their king they named the island Abak. Their language is called Inabaknon. However, during the galleon trade which flourished during the Spanish era, Capul played an important role for the navigation of the galleons which took the routes of Acapulco and Manila. Since Capul was strategically located at the mouth of San Bernardino strait which is the gateway to the Pacific Ocean, the galleons would first dock in Capul and would wait for favorable winds before embarking for Acapulco or to Manila. Some mariners carved the name of Acapulco in one of the rocks in the island. At the start this place with the carved marking was called by the people as Acapulco. Later on the name was extended to the whole island but already shortened to Capul, hence the name.

The old fortified church of Capul dedicated to St. Ignatius of Loyola is still intact. It was built in 1615 and renovated again in 1781. The existing stone walls were built by the Franciscans in the late 18th century after the Jesuits were expelled from the country in 1768. The altar like in many old churches in the country has already been remodeled. When we were there, the parish priest was renovating the old and large convento. During the time of the Jesuits Capul was the central house for the Jesuit missionaries for Northern Samar. From Capul they served also some towns in Bicol (Matnog, Bulusan and Sta. Magdalena in Bicol and the town of Calbayog.

The boat ride from San Antonio to Capul was just a little of an hour. We went right away to the church where the parish priest, Fr. Annie Cesista, also a former student was eagerly waiting for us. We then looked around the old church and its fortifications. We also visited the municipal hall where a photoethnographic exhibit of Capul by Francisco Datar was being displayed. As a clear manifestation to all, disco sounds were already blaring at the town plaza just in front of the church. We then partook of the hearty lunch that Fr. Annie prepared for us.

After lunch we went to visit on motorbikes the lighthouse situated in the northernmost tip of the island. Made by the Americans already in the early part of the 20th century, the 40 foot lighthouse has besides it a spacious building which sadly is in a state of dilapidation. From the hill where the lighthouse stood one had a commanding view of the island and the Pacific Ocean. At the foot of the hill by the rocky shore, there is a pool called Big Foot as the shape resembles a giant foot.

After going to the lighthouse, we bid goodbye to the parish priest as we wanted to visit the Abak Beach Resort which is found at the southern end of the island in the barrio of Oson. Instead of going there by motorbike we decided we will take our boat in going there and from there go back to San Antonio. We had wanted to have an overnight stay in this place but when I called up the owner who was a priest, he informed me that the place is not yet ready to accept guests as he had the place renovated. They were still trying to connect water pipes from the barrio. The place was about five kilometers away by land from the town proper. The sea was a little bit choppy when we went there. We would be informed when we arrived that an hour earlier there was a subasco (strong winds) and the waves were so strong. Indeed how blessed we were. Near the Abak Beach resort is a famous unique landmark of Capul. It is a rock formation at the southernmost tip of the island which resembles like a boat rudder hence it is called Timon-timon. To the ordinary onlooker though it looks more like an erect phallus. We were surprised to see the priest-owner was there in the resort overseeing his project when we arrived. Some of our group were his classmates in the seminary.

There are seven barangays around the island which are not yet fully connected by land to each other: San Luis, Aguin, Landusan, Sawang, Sagaosawan, Jubang and Oson. It is 14 kilometers in length and 5 kilometers in width. The usual port of embarkation in going to Capul is from the town of Allen.

A panoramic view of the church from on top of the municipal hall.

Disembarking from the boat in Capul.

Lots of children are always on the beach.

A cow has just been butchered in preparation for the fiesta in honor of St. Ignatius of Loyola.

A tarpaulin welcoming the Bishop of Catarman is hung at the entrance of the fortified church of Capul.
The church of Capul with the town plaza and basketball court just in front of it.

A black and white photo of the church.

A side door of the church.

Fr. Mony enjoying his new slr camera. Some of the pictures here were taken by him.

The Altar of the church of Capul

Here are a few phrases of the Inabaknon language.

The first chapter of the gospel of St. John in Inabaknon. An American who has now become an Anglican priest painstakingly spent some 15 years in Capul trying to translate the New Testament into Inabaknon.

The spacious convento of Capul. It is under renovation.

Another view of the dining room of the convento.

Our gracious host, Fr. Annie Cesista, the parish priest of Capul.

One of the delicacies of Capul called Langgang. It is made of rice and young coconut.

The lechon lies almost untouched. After having lechons from the previous two meals there was no more appetite for more.

One of the favorite pastimes during the short vacation was playing cards.

Some of the ruins at the side of the church. This could have been part of the old convento.

The stone walls at the right side of the church are getting ruined.

The lighthouse.

The 40-foot lighthouse which sits on a hill 143 feet above sea level.

A view of Capul from the lighthouse.

At the promontory near the lighthouse is this picturesque tree.

Waves splashing on the rocky shore below the lighthouse.

Riding on the motorbike in going to the lighthouse.

Abak Beach Resort at the southern end of Capul.

Fr. Cecil Lucero, the owner of the Abak Beach Resort.
Note: This would be the last picture alive of Fr. Lucero. Last Sept 6, 2009, he was ambushed in a barangay in San Jose, N. Samar while he was on his way to his parish in Catubig, N. Samar after having officiated a wedding in Capul.

Abak Beach Resort

The wide expanse of the beach in Abak makes it a perfect place for beach sports.

Part of the complex in Abak Beach Resort

At the end of the resort is the famous landmark of Capul, the Timon-timon.


A last look of Timon-timon as we departed back to San Antonio.

Some pictures of the children in Capul


Anonymous said...

your picture of the children mgsr make it sharper....then next time you picture faces of smiling children you may join them...:-) best!

jtorres730213 said...

Good PM. Does anyone know my father Dulcisimo Decena Alvarez, all I know is he is from Catbalogan or Daram Samar? He left us last 1977 and I have no idea about him. email me at jtorres730213@yahoo.com, thank you very much.

Anonymous said...

I am just really curious by what you mean when you said the preist who was the owner of a beach resort in Abak island was ambush in Northern Samar.

Was he ambushed by the NPA or just regular bandits? How's the peace and order in Samar and other island close by?

beachanatic said...

The ambush has not yet been solved until now. Some witnesses pinpoint the military as the perpetrator while some others blame the NPA.

Capul, itself is a very peaceful island. In the mainland of northern samar there has lately been some problems of peace and order with the police and military being victims of ambushes.

kamagra said...

without a doubt an incredible place full of joy of the kids who surround and lush natural settings, I wish to visit a place like this and relax with only the beauty that surrounds me

Anonymous said...

I like the way you express your ideas. Can I please post some of them into my blog? opera mini

Anonymous said...

Hello is this a safe place for local.and foreign.tourist??how to contact abaka resort