St. Ignatius of Loyola Church

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Capul Island
Northern Samar
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12.422773°N 124.182362°E

The church of Capul, built during the Spanish Colonial Period, is dedicated to St. Ignatius of Loyola and is surrounded by a square fort with bulwarks of dissimilar designs. The church structure was actually the third that was built on the site. The first two structures, made of hard wood and nipa roofs, were razed when Moro pirates plundered the island in 1615 and 1768. In 1781, Fr. Mariano Valero, a Spanish architect-priest led the restoration of the church and built the stonewall fortress similar to that in Intramuros, Manila that would fortify it against Moro attacks.

Capul is the only town in the province of Northern Samar with a distinct dialect, Inabaknon, instead of Waray-Waray, the native language spoken by the locals of Samar island. – From wikipedia.org

On Aug. 5, a marker mounted on the wall of the church edifice was officially unveiled by the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP), declaring it a historical site and recognizing it as a “good example of a fortress church during the Spanish era.”

Originally, Capul was called Abak. According to folklore, its present name was derived from “Acapulco.”

During the galleon trade between Manila and Acapulco during the Spanish colonization, many boats would drop anchor at Capul, waiting for the current to flow outward to the Pacific Ocean before they start their long voyage to Acapulco in Mexico.

On Nov. 8, 1870, the island became a parish by decree of the Bishop of Cebu, in accordance with the Royal Decree on Nov. 12, 1874. It was under the administration of the Franciscan Order.

Even before the decree was issued, two churches of light materials had been built in Capul on separate occasions but were razed by Moro pirates who plundered the island in 1615 and 1768. Fr. Juan Isandi, who was assigned to Capul, was killed in the Moro attack of 1768.

In 1781, a Spanish architect-priest, Fr. Mariano Valero, led the restoration of the church and built a stonewall fortress around it in the shape of a cross. The church was known as “Fuerza de Capul.”

An 11-meter stone belfry was constructed at the left side of the church and a stone watchtower overlooking the sea was erected on top of a huge rock, about 150 meters away.

The tower sentinel would blow a “budyong” or conch to warn the people of danger like the coming of Moro pillagers. The people would then rush to the church to seek shelter, bringing along water and food provisions.

The windows and doors of the church, which were made of thick wood materials, would then be closed, and everybody would wait for the attack.

Others were also prepared to fight back. Those posted at the bastions on the left and right corners of the fortification were ready to fire cannons. – From inquirer.net

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