CAMIGUIN, Jan. 7 (PIA)—Sheltering numerous historic that eventually became tourist sites, the Provincial Government of Camiguin underscores the significance of naming the landmarks to the National Heritage Sites in knowing the past and shaping the future of the island.
In the 51st Camiguin Foundation Day, Provincial Governor Maria Luisa Romualdo together with Rep. Xavier Jesus Romualdo reported the success of finally naming four historic sites in the province as National Cultural Treasures and led the unveiling of the markers of the Guinsiliban Moro Watch Tower, Bonbon Church Ruins and Sunken Cemetery on January 7.
“We want to these places preserved so that our children, our grandchildren, your children’s children will know and will be aware of where and how and what we came from. It’s the history of Camiguin,” Gov. Romualdo said.
To further aid in promoting the preservation of the sites, Romualdo urged the teachers to include in their lessons the history of the newly-declared treasures of the country.
Thus, during the unveiling ceremony, the history of such sites was briefly shared.
History of the sites
The Guinsiliban Moro Watch Tower, located at Barangay North Poblacion, Guinsiliban, is believed to be once part of a larger structure or very similar to a typical fortress based on the description of the locals who have seen the old “kota” (fort) before the construction of the present day Gabaldon Building or the Guinsiliban Central School.
Based on the Camiguin Tourism Code, the “Moros” or group of pirate Muslims used to rob and take away women and children hence, to protect themselves from the invaders, the locals built the tower to detect incoming enemies. They called it Kuta “Silipanan” or “Siliban” (fort for peeking) which is now named the Moro Watch Tower.
On the other hand, the Bonbon Old Church Ruins at Barangay Bonbon, Catarman built in 1806 is the bigger structure adjacent to the tower. However, when a volcanic eruption took place on May 1, 1871, everything was destroyed including the Bonbon Church, Convent and the Campanario.
The church is said to be a relic of Christianity introduced by the Spaniards and its adobe walls served as a testament of early converts’ strong faith.
As for the Sunken Cemetery, historians said the cemetery was just part of a community guarded by a fortress where the original church dedicated to San Roque and a convent was built.
The volcanic eruption that destroyed Bonbon Church is the very same tragic event that drove the cemetery underwater.
The large white cross built in 1982 that still stands today is an erected marking of its mute existence. Such serves as a scenic spot to memorialize the location of the old cemetery where the ancestors of the Camiguingnons were buried.
Preserving the treasures
To materialize her dream in letting future generations appreciate the island’s history, Gov. Romualdo urges Camiguingnons to regulate the carrying capacity of the people who will visit the historic sites. For an instance, the church ruins should not be used for other purpose but purely visitation only.
“We do not want to destroy the façade. This is an icon for all of us,” Gov. Romualdo said.
As for the Moro Watch Tower, the governor highly appreciates the effort of the local government to allocate budget in the construction of the passage going inside the historic site since tourists and locals currently use the school facility to enter the tower.
She also assured support for the town’s tiny steps in making the historic sites not just tourist attractions in the island but real treasures as well on weaving a better tomorrow for Camiguin. (RTP/PIA10)