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Laoag Unveils Historical Marker Of Spanish-Era Watchtower

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Laoag Unveils Historical Marker Of Spanish-Era Watchtower

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Officials and residents here witnessed on Monday the unveiling of a new marker of the Spanish-era watchtower located in Sitio Torre, Barangay 35, Gabu Sur this city.

Laoag Mayor Michael Keon said the marker would serve as a reminder to preserve the city’s history for the next generation.

“The Gabu Sur watchtower built during the Spanish colonial period and used as an outpost for sentinels tasked to warn residents of pirate attacks now stands tall as a symbol of resilience and strength, overlooking our lands with a silent grace that speaks volumes about our past,” he said in his message as he expressed hope that the marker would further inspire the public to persevere in the face of adversity.

On December 17, 2020, the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) and the National Museum of the Philippines (NMP) recognized the ruins of the Gabu Sur watchtower as a national cultural treasure that needs to be rehabilitated and preserved.

Unveiling of the marker forms part of the city’s month-long 59th Charter Day celebration this June.

More than a boost to Laoag’s cultural tourism attractions, Bernard Guerrero, a cultural worker and heritage advocate told the Philippine News Agency that the watchtower not only stands as a testament to a bygone age, but also illustrates how important this place is to regional trade.

“Until such time that the Filipino people truly realize the vital nature of their own heritage, these vulnerable sentinels of the sea will remain unnoticed and unappreciated,” he said.

Guerrero had been instrumental in the conduct of cultural mapping of Laoag City and made an inventory of the city’s cultural properties, including the old watchtower, which locals are now realizing its importance.

“I first surveyed the Sitio Torre of Gabut Sur in the city as early as 2016 to verify the existence of a watchtower. Initial attempts always led me to the communication tower of the nearby airport, as most locals would point me toward it. However, my efforts were rewarded when at last I accidentally stumbled upon an old structure almost hidden by overgrown trees and plants. It was obvious then that the importance of the watchtower was not fully realized even by locals living around it,” he narrated.

As the capital city of Ilocos Norte, city tourism officer Angel Lao said heritage structures here are varied and these include the Laoag City Hall, Ilocos Norte Capitol, Marcos Hall of Justice, Gilbert Bridge, Museo Iloco, sinking bell tower, Puente De Barit, abolition of the tobacco monument, and recently, the Gabu watchtower. (PNA)