(April 16, 2008 to July 16, 2008)

Farola: Colonial Lighthouses of the Philippines

There are very few architectural wonders which were built for the service of mankind, though the nature of architecture itself is to protect life through shelter, historically significant builders are those which were built to promote a particular faith or project the image and stature of particular personalities.

Lighthouses are an exception. They are built not to give homage to a god nor are they built to house important people. They are either built to ward off invaders nor used as a means of commercial activity. Lighthouses are built to guide, to navigate, to forewarn, to safteguard and to protect. Used by navigators and sailors alike, these monuments to safety are located in the most inaccessible locations around the globe. Its primary function which is to navigate, lighthouses have been built as early as the ancient world and until the present day, with modern satellite technology still line and function the same way they did millennias ago.

The Philippines, being an archipelago is dotted with lighthouses. Built early during the Spanish colonization of the islands, these monuments to safety line the country’s most important commercial sea routes. The Spanish Colonial Government built over 50 lighthouses throughout the archipelago. Some of these were built in magnificent Victorian Style Architecture, during the last quarter of the 19th century. Though most are isolated and difficult to reach, the beauty of their architecture together with the spectacular though albeit dangerous location make this architectural form a wonder to behold.

The exhibit “Farola” highlights selected lighthouses built during the Spanish Colonial Period. Though built during the era of colonization, these lighthouses today, still serve a noble function of lighting and guiding our seas. As part of the Filipino Heritage Month, a highlight of our maritime past through these lonely sentinels is a fitting tribute to a maritime country like the Philippines.

The Spanish Colonial Lighthouse of the Philippines

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