During my last visit to the beautiful town of Liloan, south of Cebu city I spent almost the whole day studying the Iglesia of San Fernando del Rey, a church that has been a rich source of local folklore. It took so much of my time that I never got the chance to visit the parola and the town’s bantayan sa hari.
And so I went back, devoting one Saturday looking for that famed American era Parola and that forgotten watch tower along its coastline.
The Parola or the Bagacay Point lighthouse, which now figures prominently in the town’s insignia, was originally built by the Spaniards in 1857. It’s ideal location made the Americans decide to build a new tower, brighter and taller. William Howard Taft, the first American Governor ordered the construction of the 72 feet parola and it was finish in 1904.
The Parola is treasured among the locals, respected as the symbol of the coastal town – a heritage site that they’ve protected for more than 100 years. Liloanons enjoys its lush grounds and its scenic beauty with the sea as its background – families and lovers can be found under tall trees while the circular road serves as an ideal practice for novice motorcycle riders. There is a subdivision being develop near the Parola, the developers is actually using the lighthouse in their marketing brochures.
The other tower is Liloan’s Bantayan sa Hari, a forgotten historical treasure that is located near the Parola, it is often mistaken as the Parola that the Spaniards built. This sentry that looks like a chess piece was built during the height of Moro raids, these amazing small sentry structures was conceptualized by Fray Bermejo, who doubled as defence tactician and whose strategy forever secured the coastlines of the growing Christian population of Cebu.
* 6 June 2009