Magin Pers y Pers’ Spanish Lighthouses
There are technological advancement of a bygone era desperately trying to survive in the digital world. Spanish Colonial Era lighthouses were very useful since its inception until a century later.
Global Positioning System or GPS has since replaced these navigational aids. But for small-time boatmen and fishermen, they are still indispensable.
Being an archipelagic country, the Philippines have Spanish and American period lighthouses scattered on various islands and points.
During the Spanish Colonial Period, the conquistadors commissioned Engineer Magin Pers y Pers to design lighthouses that will be put up in Luzon.
In Burgos, Ilocos Norte, the Cape Bojeador Lighthouse is the highest in the country. Situated in Vigia de Nagparitan Hill, it is mounted at an elevation of 160 meters. Designed in 1887 and finished in 1890, it was declared as a National Historical Landmark by the National Historical Institute on August 13, 2004 and as a National Cultural Treasure by the National Museum on June 20, 2005.
On the northeastern coast of mainland Luzon in Palaui Island, Sta. Ana, Cagayan is the Cape Engaño Lighthouse. Construction was started on September 21, 1888 and finished on December 31, 1892. It has been declared as an Important Cultural Property.
In Capones Island in San Antonio, Zambales is also another lighthouse built based on the design concept of Pers. Although it is still operating to this day, it has since become decrepit and lying in state of disrepair.
The fourth lighthouse is located in Cabra Island in Lubang, Occidental Mindoro. It became operational on May 1, 1889.
Originally built as navigational aids, these Pers-designed lighthouses are now tourist attractions as historical landmarks and cultural treasures. The challenge now is not to make it still relevant and useful in the digital world but to preserve it as a reminder of the sacrifices and ingenuity of our ancestors.