Palawan’s Historic Stronghold: Fort Santa Isabel
After an hour of travel from El Nido one of our flock thought of passing by Taytay. From the highway, we went to the town proper until we reached the shore where a Spanish Fort was constructed. To be honest, I have no idea about this and when I saw it my historic sense was tingled.
The fort is under the supervision of the National Museum. According to the installed NHI marker, the historical Taytay Fort or Fuerza de Santa Isabel (Fort Santa Isabel) was first constructed using wood during 1667 under the Augustinian Recollect Fathers. It was used by the Spaniards as a military station in Paragua (now Palawan). And through the efforts of Gov. Fernando Manuel de Bustillo, the fort was reconstructed using stones and was completed on 1738.
The fort was completed as a defense against the Moros rebelling against the Spanish rule. Cannons which are still in good condition are installed in strategic places. The fort’s small chapel and cannons are still intact. The fort also serves as a strong fortress to guard the trading ships and to detect the pirates.
Inside the fort there are galleries about its history as well as that of Taytay town, as well as the bones, paintings and some photos of other places in Palawan.
As sunset draws near, the place starts to crowd with people. The fort is one of the top places for hanging out and it also serves as a public park. There are abundant plants and trees that serve as shade to visitors. At the top, the Taytay Sign and Taytay Bay at the east which is actually a part of Sulu Sea can be seen. Kudos to the caretakers as they did a great job in keeping its cleanliness. The place is lively and unlike in other national treasures, I saw almost no vandalism at all. As of now, this piece of history is a reminder of Taytay’s past and a place for relaxation for the locals.
- PhP 30 – Visitors
- Free – Taytay Residents
Take the Puerto Princesa North Road until reaching the town of Taytay. At the junction turn right to enter the town proper. Go straight until reaching the shore beside the fort. There are free parking available.
Take the bus or van going to Taytay or El Nido. Tell to the driver that you will be going to Taytay junction. From here, take the tricycle going to the fort. (Drivers know where it is.)
The town is 170 kilometers from Puerto Princesa, and trip can take 2 to 3 hours. It is 60 kilometers from El Nido whose trip can take an hour.
If coming from El Nido, the fort is a good place for stopover because of the long trip.
DASH OF HISTORY
During the Spanish rule, Taytay became the capital of the province of Calamianes, the entire territory of Paragua (now Palawan), in 1818. During the American occupation, Taytay ceased being Palawan’s capital, and its administrative boundary was reduced by approximately 500,000 hectares upon the creation of the Municipality of El Nido in 1916.