There are people who’d want to escape to a small island, far from everything and everyone. There are people who cherish soaking under the sun, and bathing and swimming all day. I am not one of those people. While I occasionally want to escape, the thought of being alone in an island scares me. When we went to Capitancillo, an islet and a light house off the city of Bogo in northern Cebu, I thought the line “No man is an island” is really true.
The islet was some 30-40 minutes away from Bunzie’s Cove. You can also reach the islet from the city of Bogo, which has legal jurisdiction over it. The islet houses a lighthouse, crucial to vessels that ply the Visayan Sea. The body of water is busy because of boats coming from and going to Cebu. According to an article from The Bogo Times, the islet was named after Capitan Basilio, a captain of a sea trading vessel, known as galleon, during the Spanish Times. The Freeman said the islet was named after an American, Captain Cillo, whose vessel ran aground the islet. The lighthouse was established in the early 1900s, specifically in 1905, but the tower is now closed off from visitors.
I was fascinated with the lighthouse and the marine sanctuary surrounding the islet, but I was more interested on the ruins and how the caretakers live. The structure surrounding the lighthouse is now in ruins. It used to be the house of the lighthouse’s caretaker. When he died, people from neighboring towns looted the islet, took all of the things inside the house, including the woods, mostly hardwood, that made up the house. The house would have been grand, according to Nong Antonio Rivero, the caretaker assigned the day we visited. He said the former caretaker also had a house in the mainland and his children and wife lived there. There are several caretakers on a two-day shift schedule. That day, only Nong Antonio was around because his partner went to the mainland to ask for food.
The ruins make a great stage for a Grecian drama or a fashion shoot. I was thinking of Atlantis, and a great fear came over me while I was looking out into the sea. The islet is not just important because of its lighthouse, but also because of its marine biodiversity. Nong Antonio underwent training on marine life conservation and is always on the look out for fishermen who take fish from the protected area. He related that Capitancillo is still in the infant stage when it comes to marine life preservation. Many fishes were lost due to dynamite fishing. The islet is kept impeccably clean. While it may not be my idea of a “paradise on Earth,” although I spent almost all my time there sleeping (and anywhere I can sleep peacefully is my kind of paradise), I’m sure many water babies would find the islet their kind of paradise.