ANNOUNCEMENT

We are proud to announce that on the 22nd of March 2004, Environmental Protection of Asia Foundation Inc., and the 103rd Squadron and Air Operations Wing of the Philippine Coast Guard Auxilliary, in association with the Philippine Coast Guard, have entered into an agreement to create a National Marine Environmental Monitoring System located throughout the Philippines providing real time monitoring capability of meteorological data providing ambient air temperature, rainfall, solar radiation, prevailing winds, and tidal data, also water quality assessments, such as temperature, salinity, total suspended solids (TSS), nitrates, phosphates, fecal coliform, and other relevant trace elements within the marine environment. This system will also develop scientific criteria and measuring methods relating to physical oceanography. These will include hydrology, current circulation, tide flux, and freshwater input. Each location shall have an independent stand alone capability with provisions for remote access from a central head-end location for compilation and comparison of data received. Another facet of this system will provide for remote access radar located in the many lighthouses throughout the Philippines.

The Air Operations Wing of the 103rd Auxiliary Squadron of the Philippine Coast Guard Auxiliary performs the following functions:

assists in the enforcement of all applicable laws upon the high seas and territorial waters of the Philippines, including ports, custom zones, waterways, and all other inland waters;

assists in the enforcement of laws, and in the promulgation and administration of regulations for the promotion of safety of life and property within the maritime jurisdiction of the Philippines;

develops, establishes, maintains, and operates with due regard to the requirements of national defense, aids to maritime navigation for the promotion of safety on high seas and territorial waters of the Philippines, including the administration and enforcement of rules and regulations, operation of rescue facilities;

assists in developing, operating and maintaining aids to navigation and facilities for search and rescue operations as well as prescribing and enforcing rules and regulations relative thereto;

provides assistance to government agencies in promoting and preserving the economic development of the maritime industry of the Philippines;

enforces laws, disseminates and administers regulations for marine environmental protection within the territorial waters of the Philippines.

EPAFI and the PCGA are diligently working to identify further areas for collaborative efforts and mutual cooperation.

We have identified an initial site for the implementation of this exciting project for our National Marine Environmental Monitoring Network.

Environmental Protection of Asia, on its part, proposes the formation of a special purpose marine area, possibly a Marine Protected Area covering an area of approximately 6 square nautical miles covering the coastal communities of Brgy. San Miguel and Brgy. Pundaquit with the lighthouse complex to be the headquarters of this project. The complex shall be named Capones Island Marine Conservation, Research and Development Center and will be located within the proposed Capones Island Marine Park. The objective of these efforts will be primarily to protect and preserve the existing coastal environment as well as a prolonged remediation effort intended to restore the dwindling fisheries resources through the restoration of the coral reefs within the proposed areas and community participation in the regulation of fishing and other maritime activities within this areas.

Environmental Protection of Asia proposes to restore the existing buildings of the lighthouse complex to its former grandeur, to serve as a Marine Conservation Research Station. These efforts will provide a variety of functions with their overall objectives being: the mitigation of the stresses that cause reef degradation, protection and maintenance of a large section of the diverse marine ecosystem and biodiversity and ecosystem processes at all levels around the Capones Islands, protection of as wide variety of marine habitats and their marine life, including continental shelf deep water rocky and sediment habitats not represented in other marine reserves; protection of safe havens for marine animal species and plants presently impacted by fishing, and allowing these to recover their population and social structure naturally, or by applying methods to accelerate natural recovery processes; to provide a marine reserve large enough to minimize edge effects of fishing, and to provide a large central core area of protection to allow ecological, social and behavioral characteristics of marine communities to function without interference; To provide opportunities for scientific study of the relative merits of marine reserves, to provide opportunities for public enjoyment of non-extractive high quality marine recreational activities, formation of a link to a national network of marine reserves in accordance with the Philippines’ biodiversity strategy and to contribute to the government’s target of protecting a significant portion of the Philippines’ marine environment, and to maintain and maximize the flow of benefits to local stakeholders.

Currently, we are 30 days into a 120-day feasibility study period defining the over-all scope of the project, conducting various marine surveys, and continuing our on-going design of this exciting project. The following data consists of two reports compiled by the chairman including architectural drawings, renderings, and primary maps outlining the scope of the proposed Capones Island Marine Park MPA.

ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION OF ASIA FOUNDATION INC.
CHAIRMAN'S REPORT ON THE PROPOSED MARINE
CONSERVATION RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT CENTER

 

The following is a compilation of information obtained through research from various archival resources and recent onsite surveys conducted on November 1st and 22nd 2003, assisted by personnel of the 103rd Coast Guard Auxiliary in Subic. Preliminary site surveys were conducted with moderate inspection of the structural integrity and current existing conditions of the structures within the lighthouse complex located on Punta Capones, within the western extremity of the Island of Capon Grande.

This project is strategically situated within 5000 meters of our turtle hatchery located in San Antonio, Zambales. This turtle hatchery is integral to EPAFI’s ongoing Coastal Management Program in Brgy. San Antonio, Zambales, and the addition of the lighthouse can only enhance the ongoing projects of the Foundation in the area.

On April 25, 2001, Rear Admiral Reuben Lista of the Philippine Coast Guard proposed an “Adopt a Lighthouse Program” with the goal of maintaining and preserving the 479 existing lighthouses in the Philippines which represent a rich national heritage as well as a useful component of the maritime industry nationwide. Lighthouses, buoys and beacons serve as important aids to navigational traffic for the safe passage of ships plying the country’s seacoast.

HISTORY OF CAPONES ISLAND LIGHTHOUSE

The Faro (Lighthouse) de Punta Capones on the Island of Grand Capon is a significant lighthouse of the first order. Its light guides ships entering and leaving the port of Manila and Subic Bay. The lighthouse also warns navigators of the rocky shores surrounding the Island of Capones. As a warning beacon, it serves together with the lights situated in the islets of Los Frailes, and Los Jabones as a series of warnings due to the dangers of the surrounding seas as well as the islands close proximity to shore, thereby making the seas very treacherous to unseasoned navigators. As a navigation guide, this lighthouse serves the main artery for ships heading towards China, which therefore makes it a very busy and important shipping route.

Responding to the need for better navigation guides throughout the Philippines, the Spanish colonial government initiated a substantial building program of lighthouses and light stations throughout the Philippine archipelago. One of the initial projects to be approved in this significant undertaking was the lighthouse on the Island of Grand Capon or Faro de Punta Capones.

The initial surveys to determine a suitable location for the lighthouse were executed on the 22nd of June 1884 under Antonio de la Camara. Difficulties wrought by the advanced state of storms and other weather problems that forced ships to go to Subic then to Mariveles served to delay the progress of the studies and results were thereby not very elaborate. As such, plans and recommendations made by De La Camara were not approved until March 10, 1885. Even then, the point chosen for construction was changed by the consulting committee because of its height and distance from the sea which was 300 meters, as well as the accompanying high cost of the road to be constructed. Finally, in August 8, 1885 Francisco Cristobal Portas proposed changes to the plans which were accepted by the Governor General of the islands on 17 September 1885.

The contract for the construction of the lighthouse was awarded to Juan Mendoza Esplana on February 26, 1886. Subsequent studies to determine the most suitable spot for construction of the lighthouse were then made. These studies extended to the Zambales Coast. Findings showed that the Capones Island Grande 1.5 miles of length and 2 miles from the Capones Point was causing a blind area of 18-20 degrees and a zone of shadow farther away the boat was (boats were not visible at a distance). These results and with further recommendations from lighthouse experts on July 1886 caused the lighthouse to be elevated 53 meters above the sea with a 196-degree angle of illumination to cover the canal. These changes meant corresponding variations on the heights of the building and tower and pavilions to be consistent with the geography of the land and to avoid costly excavations. The rectangular 8 x 22 building was then divided by 5.10 meters- high walls to form rooms, a transverse corridor serving as vestibule cutting into 2 parts. The left part was for the toreros (the lighthouse keepers) while the other side served as storage and work area communicating to the tower.

Owing to the geography of the land, the living area could not have the same elevation. Elevation was hence 2.8 meters, traveled by a staircase about 4.8 meters wide and .50 meters high above the level of the patio (courtyard). To the east, another access of 0.90 meters passage has been provided from the road that opens ahead of the door grills that limits the patio. Grills between pavilions and the house serve to close the area laterally. The tower is prismatic in form. It is square 5 by 5 meters with a height of 15.30 meters and a zocalo (a flat square member under a pedestal) of 80 cm. It is connected to the house at one of the angles and a by a small balcony with tiles covering the Molave wood floor.

Inside was a hellicoidal stairs made of iron. There is a service hall 3.30 meters sq. and the light area is constructed from metal with marble with a covering of white tiles to support the weight of the lighting apparatus and to prevent the accumulation of dust. Materials for the light and equipment were imported from France and manufactured by Henry Lepaute and Barbier Bernard. These materials included 1) a friction belt with the precision to maintain the manual movement with the lantern flashing at intervals of 32-30 sec. 2) the optical parts consisted of 16 annular lenses with lamps of 5 threads, capable of using vegetable or mineral oil for combustibles; 3) with a lantern of 3.5 meters in diameter with a double roofing of copper and a gallery for servicing the iron planks situated at the top of the lighthouse.

Engineer Guillermo Brockman was commissioned to purchase additional materials which included a clock, a barometer, thermometer, a boat used for service transportation, and a bronze plaque containing the name, situation and principle characteristic of the lighthouse. This plaque was placed at the entrance to the tower.

During construction, because of the high prevalence of monsoons, two roads were being used. One road led up to the beach to the south 345 meters and 391 meters on the opposite side. The strong current also prevented building of a pier so materials had to be loaded in balsa’s (barts) with great difficulty. Because of this difficulty in transporting materials, a hydraulic molding device was brought onsite for the composition of bricks. This material was also used for the foundations. Galvanized iron over wood were used for roofing and molave was used for the windows and door jambs. The floors of the houses were made from tindalo wood and the interiors and doors were made from narra. Chairs were made from volcanic stones and water came through the sea from Zambales in San Antonio situated 5 miles away. Vassal stones from nearby areas were also utilized while la cale was brought from Binangonan and the rest of the materials were brought from Manila.

After seven years of construction, the Capones Island Lighthouse went into operation on July 16, 1890; with its formal inauguration on August 1, 1890.

Today, the Capones Island Lighthouse is still in operation and is powered by solar cells and has a meteorburst radio transmission system that notifies the Coast Guard when any of the lights or lenses is not in working order. These significant improvements have restored the lighthouse proper to full operational capacity, while the buildings themselves remain in a highly denuded state.

 

SITE SURVEY CONDUCTED ON NOV. 22, 2003
CAPONES ISLAND LIGHTHOUSE

On November 22nd 2003, Bruce L. Oliver, James Crossley, Guy Hilbero, current directors of EPAFI, accompanied by Abigael C. Alcoriza, an architectural graduate of Bulacan State University and Donnie Arenas, EPA Volunteer; along with Rene Lontoc, former lighthouse keeper and his son, Rex Lontoc, current lighthouse keeper, arrived at Capones Island to conduct a full site survey of the existing buildings and their immediate surrounding areas. A full photo survey was conducted along with measurements of the existing structures in the lighthouse portion area of Capones Island.

 

The site, measuring 924.64 square meters, consists of four buildings with an adjacent lighthouse attached. The buildings are Spanish colonial era brick-and-mortar construction, with a wood framed roof supporting metal corrugated sheets. The main building, pavilion (A), with an area of 218.04 square meters, is divided into eight rooms. There is a central entryway located on both sides of the pavilion, with one side opening onto a balcony and balustrade overlooking the central courtyard; with the remaining entrance exiting the building on the eastern side facing a hill which increases to a level higher than the building.

The lighthouse (B) has an area of 25 square meters at the base and 3.30 square meters each on three levels. Like major light stations throughout the Philippines, it was laid out in a 3-part arrangement. It has an enclosed 282 square meter courtyard, which contains flanking service buildings (C and D): mechanical, kitchens and store areas. Each has an area of 48.25 square meters. On the northern side of the flanking buildings is a two-room building of later construction consisting of hollow-block walls with a plaster finish and also a corrugated steel roof (E). This has an area of 32.8 square meters. A cistern and apparent deep well (F), although yet to be confirmed, was provided, located below the courtyard. Water was supplied to the cisterns by canals installed around the courtyards as well as pipes and downspouts from the roofs of all the buildings. The pavilion (A) which is accessible through a flight of stairs has four apartments, each with its own living area and sleeping quarters. The lighthouse tower (B) 15.3 meters high, is located on the northwestern portion of the pavilion and is accessible via a covered verandah, totaling 38.88 square meters, overlooking the courtyard and is accessible only through the watch room (B). This watch room also served as the office of the keepers. The site is accessible through the rocky southwestern portion of the Island following a path that leads to the station at the summit of the island.

Although structurally sound, the pavilion (A) has extensive roof failure and leakage, especially on the southern portion. Window and door frames are in an extremely deteriorated state and will have to be replaced, along with the entire roof structure of the pavilion (A), which provides an overhang covering the balcony overlooking the courtyard. Presently, the wall on the balcony appears to be of late hollow-block construction and it is suggested that this be removed to provide for an ornate wood railing. The upper southeastern portion of the brick wall and roof support has greatly deteriorated, with the loss of a fair amount of brickage apparent. A cursory external survey of the foundation of the pavilion (A) appears to be intact and in good condition.

The outbuildings (C and D) located within the courtyard are also of brick and mortar construction and appear to be structurally intact. The southern outbuilding (D) was originally used as a mechanical and generator room with a diesel tank located on the eastern wall. The roof structure is still mostly intact, with minimal leakage observed, and will have to be replaced. Doors and windows are in a highly denuded state and will also require replacement. The northern outbuilding (C) is in generally good condition, with the easternmost room housing batteries, voltage regulators, and monitoring equipment, and has a recently installed metal door and is overall structurally in good condition. The two remaining rooms of building C were kitchens with grill areas and masonry counters. These areas are in a high state of deterioration. As with Building D, we recommend the replacement of roof, windows and door areas. Building E, located to the rear of the northern portion of building D appears to be of later construction, consisting of hollow blocks with a plaster facing. Although of newer construction, this appears to be the most deteriorated area within the complex, and will require new windows, doors and roof.

The two cisterns (F) located in the middle of the courtyard and to the area directly east of the lighthouse tower (B) appear to be relatively intact and full of water. According to the lighthouse keeper, these cisterns are a part of five cisterns partially buried underground, which hold upwards of 50,000 gallons of water. Located to the western side of the courtyard entrance are two open concrete cistern apertures which apparently served as a washing area and a collector of gray water which can be used for garden irrigation.

The entrance to the courtyard consists of an ornate brick and iron fence featuring a double gate that enters into the courtyard. The walls and gate are in relatively good condition and will require cleaning, painting and the replacement of hinges and latches. To the south, is a half brick wall that apparently is lacking the original ironwork and this will need to be fabricated to bring the wall back to the original design. Directly adjacent and south to this wall rests a series of solar cells enclosed within a modern chain link fence topped with barbed wire. This enclosure is in new condition and will require at best a good cleaning.

The area around the site is overgrown with vegetation and strewn with litter which will need to be cleared.

 

RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE CHAIRMAN

After an initial survey of the Capones Island Lighthouse and its surrounding environment, I am of the opinion that this particular facility and island could serve as a useful showcase for the ongoing projects of EPAFI concerning coastal management issues, coral reef conservation and propagation, and serve as a pilot project in monitoring and conserving the Philippine marine environment. The historical nature of the Capones Island Lighthouse would provide an ideal backdrop to the protection, conservation and preservation efforts of the Foundation. The “Adopt a Lighthouse Program” proposed by the Philippine Coast Guard creates a highly conducive atmosphere for local, community, national and international participation in the formation of a broad coalition of parties to unite in the common goals of protecting, conserving and preserving our precious marine resources as well as restoring a national treasure and heritage of the Philippines to its former grandeur.

I envision a living and working environment within the Capones Island complex and its immediate surrounding areas with useful examples of environmentally friendly technologies and practices to achieve an ecologically independent, sustainable and stand-alone research facility and working environment. To achieve these goals, it will be necessary to renovate the existing buildings to their original and functional state. This process would be undertaken through a series of studies to determine the exact nature of renovations necessary with the application of positive and forward-thinking concepts to utilize these facilities in a showcase fashion.

I propose that we engage the Philippine Coast Guard to adopt the Lighthouse Complex and if possible, the entire island. Furthermore, I strongly endorse the establishment of a new marine sanctuary in cooperation with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Coast Guard Maritime Agency and the local government units (Brgy. Pundaquit, the Municipal Government, The Provincial Government and the Office of Congress, Zambales); in line with the current and specific goals that EPAFI has to offer. In my initial estimation, the renovation of the complex, excluding the lighthouse proper, to its former state with the addition of the necessary mechanical and interior renovation could easily be handled by EPAFI. These monies can be appropriated through our existing budget which has been approved at an institutional level and will be available shortly and through additional international funding sources.

In return for the appropriation of these monies, EPAFI would require a Memorandum of Agreement giving us appropriate control of the facilities for a duration of at least 25 years with an option to extend for a like amount of time (to be used for proper purposes only); with the provision that EPAFI will provide annual maintenance and upkeep of the lighthouse facilities for the duration of their Agreement, and the Philippine Coast Guard’s assistance in the establishment and policing of a new marine sanctuary area comprising the three islands and their adjacent marine areas. To achieve these goals, it will be necessary to conduct a 120-day pre-feasibility/feasibility study of the facilities and surrounding areas. This period will allow for thorough studies to be conducted in all areas, refinement of proposal concepts and preparation of the overall budget and scope of work.

At the commencement of a Memorandum of Agreement with the Philippine Coast Guard, the pre-feasibility/feasibility stage will begin with EPAFI appropriating all of the initial monies needed for this design and evaluation stage. Upon completion of feasibility and the initial design phase, given that there are no major obstacles, EPAFI would commence with the actual restoration (with careful pre-planning), which would take approximately 5 to 6 months. A project of this nature would only have a positive impact on the surrounding communities and populace creating jobs, livelihoods, and providing continuing education for the local populace.

Furthermore, I see the need for a nationwide network of marine environmental monitoring and conservation efforts. This could be provided through the continuing efforts of the Foundation to secure and renovate additional lighthouses located throughout the Philippines. As a patent holder of various communications technologies, I envision an environmental monitoring system that could provide from each location real-time monitoring of various factors such as weather, wind speed, water temperature, as well as localized radar stations that could provide nationwide coastal monitoring and would allow for remote access by the Coast Guard and other agencies of the Philippine government. The scientific data accumulated by a national marine environment monitoring network would be of enormous value to scientists and researchers throughout the world, and I strongly believe that the necessary funding for such a project could well be achieved.

In short, I strongly recommend our participation in this proposed project and feel that it has a high probability of success.

BRUCE L. OLIVER
Chairman

 

 

 
 
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