Thursday, May 7, 2009

Cuilon Fort • Culion, Palawan

lifted from

In the 1750s, Delgado describes the fort at Culion as “fortaleza.” Although the Culion fort is attributed to Fray Severo the 17th century fortification may have been a palisade because the 1738 Valdes Tamon report says that Culion’s fort was in the process of completion. This quadrilateral fort enclosed a small chapel, whose facade served as the entrance to the fort. Built on promontory overlooking the sea, the fort made of coral stone was still standing up to 1936, when it was partially demolished to make way for a larger church. The present church of Culion, built on the site of the fort uses stones from the fort as foundation and lower storey. The original facade of the fort, bearing the arms of Spain has been incorporated into the entrance of the church. Behind the church a circular bastion and part of the wall remains. Canons are mounted on the bastion.

Landor (1904: 74-76) describes Culion, but did not think too highly of the aesthetics of the church or chapel inside the fort: “Let us go to Culion town on the northeast coast of the same island, in a sheltered inlet of what is called Coron Bay. The anchorage is small and rather narrow, in fourteen fathoms of water, in front of the picturesque Spanish fort occupying a prominent rock that protrudes into a spur on the east side at the entrance of the harbor. The town itself consists of a number of buildings stuck against the hillside and astride of it; the doors of one tier of houses being on a level with the roofs of the houses below. An ugly, corrugated roof, rising from within the centre of the fort, within the walls of which it is enclosed, covers the white painted building.

From the fort—a quadrangle of forty paces square, with a stone wall thirty-two inches thick and some twenty-five feet height—one gets a fine view of the town with its three parallel streets upon the hill-side. Six handsome modern church-bells and some bronze cannon on one bastion seem a strange contrast of peace and war as all these forts do. Nearly half the fort is occupied by a spacious church, the lower part of stone, the upper of wood, the door ornamented with graceful fluted columns and most elaborately artistic capitols. The inside is, as usual, plastered white, and has no peculiarity except a wheel with several bells to announce the beginning of mass.…
The fort was approached by an imposing flight of semi-circular steps, at the bottom of which stood a big wooden cross.”

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