United States. Adjutant-General's Office. Military.

Military notes on the Philippines. September 1898 online

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farther south, has 6 feet of water on its bar.

Lamon Bay, comprised between two points, Inaguikan to
the NW. and the land of Mambulao to the SE., is protected
from northerly winds by the islands Polillo and Jomalig.

The little island Balesin lies in the middle of the bay, and
farther in, the islands Cabalete and Alabat; these two last-
named islands form with the coast a well-sheltered port, with
good holding ground. The passage on the eastern side of
Alabat is free of danger, but that on the western side is shal-
low and foul. It must be remembered that the coast hero is
not well known, and the bays along it have not been sounded

Polillo Island rises in the center to a mountain of moderate
height with wooded slopes. The north coast is clean and
steep ; the east coast is bordered with islands and dangerous
reefs, but the west coast is clean, except before the jiort of
Polillo, where a great reef runs NW. parallel to the coast,
leaving a narrow channel some 14 fathoms deep leading to
the port. Soundings show 9 to 18 fathoms water at a distance
of 4 mile from this shore.


Port Lain[)()n, in the iiortlnvosleru part of Lamon Bay, is a
small but well-sheltered povt, of a depth of 5 to 12 fathoms
over a bottom of sand and mud. The shores are covered by-
dense vegetation, and commanded by the remarkable moun-
tain by name Binangonan; several rivers flow into the port,
and good water may be obtained. This port is celebrated in
the history of the Philippines by having been during a part
of the Sixteenth Century the depot of the Spanisb galleons
and the treasures of Manila, as being situated in a freer posi-
tion for communication with New Spain than might have
been any port in the then little known and difficult strait of
San Bernardino.

Mauban Anchorage lies about 20 miles south of Port
Lampon. Information is lacking about this anchorage, but
it must be a place of trade, as steamers call there. An out-
line sketch of the port was made by the officers of Malaspina's
Expedition in 1792.

Alabat Harbor. — There is no information about this har-
bor beyond Avhat is stated above from the Spanish Derrotero,
viz, that the islands Alabat and Cabalete form with the main
coast a sheltered harbor of good holding ground ; and there
is an old record of the tides.

Tides. — It is high water, full and change, at Alabat Harbor
at lOh. ; springs rise 9 feet.

Port Mambulao, between Pinandunguan Point and the
Dajikan Islands, is safe, sheltered from all winds and easy of
access. The depth of water diminishes gradually from 11
fathoms at the entrance of the bay to 2 fathoms before the
mouth of the river at the head of the port. The number of
fishing inclosures within the harbor considerably obstructs
the navigation. The town of Mambulao, at the mouth of the
river, is of slight importance. This town and the neighbor-
ing one of Parakale are famous for red-lead ore found in the

Tanaos Islets are five low flat islets lying 3 miles NNW.
of Pinandunguan Point. Another low flat island named Ta-
busao, lies west of the same point.

Kalaguas Islands are a group of eight islands and several
small islets, the largest and most central of which is Tinagu ;
they are mostly bordered by reefs, and are all low, except
Makulabo, which can be seen in clear weather at a distance
of 24 miles. Anchorage may be found eastward of Makulabo,


frcjin the soutliwest pai't of Tiiuigii to :> miles N. by E. of
Parakale on the main coast. Water can l)e obtained on tlie
east side of Makulabo.

Matandumaten Islet is shown on the chart at 10 miles SE.
of Kabalisai, the easternmost of the Kalagua Islands, and
midway between these two another islet is shown, with a rock
off its southern side. Information is wanting about these

Danger. — A great bank is shown on the charts as lying 23
miles NE. by E. of the Kalaguas, stretching 20 miles WNW.
and ESE., with 3 to 5 fathoms of water over it. No sound-
ings are given in the neighborhood of this bank, nor between
it and the coast ; but it is believed that the channel between
the bank and Kalaguas is deep.

Coast. — Parakale is a town in a little bay T miles SE. of
Pinandunguan Point. Parakale Point, the westernmost point
of the bay, is low, covered by mangroves, and bordered by a
reef. From Bakai Point, the eastern point of the bay, the
coast trends south 62° E. as far as Indang Point (Jimdang),
and is low and bordered by a beach, off which there is good

Indang Island (Kinamanokan), off Indang Point, is low,
fiat, and bordered l^y sand beaches ; it is separated from the
coast by a channel 5 to 10 feet deep.

Daet River, which enters the sea 6 miles SSE. of Indang
(Kinamanokan) Island, is 11 feet deep at the mouth and 16
feet deep farther ut). When entering the river the western
shore, upon which stands a fort, must be kept aboard, as
there is a reef off the eastern point, which is low and covered
by mangroves. Steamers from Manila call here.

Kanimo and Kanton islands, situated at a short distance
SE. of Daet River, are of moderate height. Kanimo, Avhich
is the larger of the two, is about 2 miles long, north and
south ; its shores are mostly surrounded by rocks, but on the
northeast side there is anchorage on sandy bottom. Five
small islands, named Rasas, lie to the southward and south-
westward of Kanton Island. The water in the neighborhood
of these islands is shallow.

Kolasi Point, formed by the slope of Kolasi Hill, is high ;
there is a little bay, 3 fathoms deep, between the point and a
peaked hill SW. of it. The town of Kolasi, which stands on
the northern slope of the hill, must be a place of some trade,
as steamers call there.


San Miguel Bay. — To the eastward uf Kolasi Point the
coast forms a clean circular bay, some 20 miles in diameter,
surrounded by high mountains, and capable of harboring,
in safety, vessels of great draft. When entering from the
eastward care must be taken to avoid the reefs off Siruma
Island and Pinitan Point. Tlie depth of water in the middle
of the bay is 7 to 8 fathoms, lessening gradually toward the
sides. The western shore, between Kolasi Point and Kabusao
Eiver, at the bottom of the bay, is very low, and edged by a
sandy beach, with shallow water off it.

Kabusao River, which discharges itself through a low, flat
shore, is 1 cable wide and 3| fathoms deep at the mouth;
farther iip it carries a depth of 2i fathoms throughout a
length of 24 miles, as far as the town of Nueva Carceres.
A bank of sand, covered by 3 feet water, projects 2 miles to
the NE. from the mouth. There are two other shoals to the
westward of the outer end of the bank. Kabusao is only a
fishing village.

Kabalanga River, 6 miles to the eastward of Kabusao, has
a good depth of water. The town of the same name is built
a little way up the stream.

Siruma Point and Island. — From Kabalanga River the
coast rises and continues of moderate height as far as Siruma
Point. The depth of water off this coast is irregular, and
some shoals and small islands lie near it. Siruma Point is
connected with the small island close to it by a reef ; another
reef extends 1^ miles WNW. of the island, and dries in places.

The coast. — Siruma Bay, to the eastward of the point, has
depths of 7 to 9 fathoms, sand. From the northern point of
the bay a reef projects 2 miles to the ISTW. ; the breakers on
this reef can be seen to some distance. Between Siruma Bay
and Port Sisiran, the coast is bordered by islands and rocks.
The several bays that it forms are foul, and accessible to fish-
ing boats only. Botauanan, the northernmost island on this
part of the coast, is high and surrounded by rocks.

Kinalasag Island, which forms the northern side of Port
Sisiran, is about 4 miles in length, moderately high, and clean
on the side toward the port. Bagakai Island and several
smaller islets lie off the northern point, and from the north-
ern part of Bagakai a reef with rocks awash extends ^ mile
out. A rock (Laja) on which the sea breaks lies 1^ miles off
the northeast shore of Kinalasag, off the entrance to Port


Sisiraii. Of the two passages on either side of this rock, that
to the westward is the best; soundings show depths of 14 to
23 fathoms at less than a mile from Kinalasag.

Sisiran Port is clean and capacious, and has good anchorage
sheltered by high ground. The entrance, open to the north,
is 1^ miles wide and has a depth of 10 to 12 fathoms near the
point of Kinalasag, and 7 fathoms near the edge of the reef
which surrounds the eastern point to a distance of 2 cables.
Within the port the depth of water decreases gradually from
10 fathoms at the mouth to 2f farther in; bottom sand and
mud near the shore. Water can be obtained on the eastern
shore, but no provisions are procurable.

Tagun Bay, east of Port Sisiran, has not been explored.

Lahui Island is -t miles long, NNE. and SSW. Its north-
western extremity terminates in a remarkable sharp peak like
a sugar loaf, higher than several islets Avhich lie near it. The
northeastern jjoint is bordered by a reef to a distance of 3
cables. At a distance of 3 miles NW. of the Sugar Loaf there
is a group of four islets, the largest of which is 3 cables in
length, with a reef projecting 1 mile to the northward from
it, and surrounding two still smaller islets. The southern
islet of the group lies 7 cables SE. of the largest islet, and is
clean and steep-to. The channel between these islets and
Lahui Island is safe, and has a depth of 12 to 27 fathoms.

Coast mark. — The Sugar Loaf above mentioned makes a
good mark for the entrance of Port Sisiran when coming
from the eastward.

Kanamuan Port, situated at the foot of the highest moun-
tain of this part of the coast, is very small, and has a depth
of only 2i to 3^ fathoms. The town Kanamuan is 4 miles
inland, on the left bank of the river. Kanamuan Point, 4
miles east of this port, is high and steep, as is also the coast,
which runs SE. by S. for 5 miles from it, as far as Point

Katanaguan Islands, 2 miles east of Kanamuan Point, are
small, low, and surrounded by reefs. Tacbun Channel, be-
tween the above-named islands and point, is clear, with 17 to
8 fathoms of water. The two islets Palombon, east of Point
Bungus, are separated from that point by a channel 1^ miles
wide and 15 fathoms deep.

Katanduanes Island, separated from Luzon by Maqueda
Channel, is about 38 miles long, north and south, and


22 miles broad, and traversed throughout its length by a
chain of mountains. It is abundantly supplied with small
rivers, from the sands of which the natives obtain gold dust.
The soil is fertile and produces rice, maize, sesame, indigo,
cotton, and abaca (manilahemp), and there are good pastures
for rearing horses and oxen.

The west coast is in general safe and steep ; the east coast,
bordered by little islets, presents some bays with bad anchor-
ages ; and off the north coast there are various islets and shoals
detached from the shore to a distance of 10 miles.

lot Point, the northern extremity of the island, is of mod-
erate height and steep-to. Matulin Island, 3 miles ENE. of
lot Point, is the center of a circular reef about 2 miles in
diameter and awash throughout its entire extent.

Horadaba Islets are three rocks, the northernmost of which
bears N. 31° W. distant 3 miles from lot Point. Abriop
Bank, 1 mile NW. of Horadaba Islets, has not been surveyed.
It is shown on the chart as extending 3 miles from east to west
and 1 mile from north to south.

The Palumbanes Islands are a little group of three islets 4
miles west of Karao Bay. A shoal upon which breakers were
seen is reported to be situated about 4 miles northward of
Palumbanes Islands. A rocky bank, 1 cable in extent, lies
in the channel between the Palumbanes Islands and Karao

Karao Bay, on the northwest part of Katanduanes Island,
offers fair anchorage over a rocky bottom ; there is no other
anchorage on the west coast of the island.

Sialat Point, on the southwest part of Katanduanes, is high.
Agajo Point, 5 miles south of Sialat, is low and covered by
mangroves ; from this point the coast trends SE. by E. for 7
miles to Tuguntun Point, and is high, with little bays in it,
which do not afford anchorage. The town of Kalolbong lies
midway between the two points; the chart shows two shoals
off Kalolbong.

Kabugao Bay, on the south side of the island, is 11 miles
wide between the points Tuguntun and Nagumbuayan, and 18
fathoms deep, shoaling gradually to 4 fathoms near the shore.
Tuguntun Point, the southern point of the island, is low and
bordered by rocks, and 2 miles NE. of the point there are two
rocky shoals. Farther north, on the left bank of a little river,
stands the town of Birak, the most important on the island.


Kabugao River, on the eastern side of the bay, is fronted by
two islets, and has a bar whieli nearly dries at low water.
The towns of Cabngao and Bato stand on the banks of the
river. The western shore of Kabugao Bay is bordered by
banks and rocks.

East coast of Katanduanes . — Port Baras has a depth of 3
to 7 fathoms, but is obstructed by reefs which make the en-
trance difficult. Port Bagamanok, on the northeast coast,
offers two anchorages. The southern anchorage is between
the island Panai and Anajao Point ; the entrance which runs
east and west leads into a little semicircular bay, between two
islets, having a depth of 4^ to T fathoms. The northern an-
chorage is situated at the southern extremity of the narrow
channel between the reef off Minigil Point and off Panai
Island, and it has a depth of 17 fathoms, lessening to 7 fath-
oms, sand, opposite the town of Bagamanok.

Winds on the east coast of Luzon. — From Cape Engaiio to
the Bay of San Miguel, nortlieast winds prevail from October
to March, the monsoon here beginning with north winds
which are of short duration and soon pass into the northeast ;
in January and February the east winds begin, and terminate
the monsoon. The heaviest rains fall from October to Janu-
ary, and in October typhoons sometimes occur. In March and
April, and sometimes in the beginning of May, variable winds
blow, bringing in the southwest monsoon ; but the dry season,
of which April and May are the driest months, is uninter-
rupted by rain.

Thunderstorms occur from June to November, most fre-
quently in August. During the southwest monsoon the sea
is very calm, but in the middle of the northeast monsoon all
navigation ceases on the east coast.

Tides. — The flood stream sets to the northward, both on the
east and on the west side of Katanduanes Island, and to the
westward along the part of the coast between Katanduanes
and Polillo Island. There is no information as to the hours
of high water.

Lagonoi Gulf has not been sounded, nor are its coasts well
known ; it appears, however, to be safe, and no dangers have
been reported on the route between Maqiieda Channel and
Tobako Bay in the southern part of tlie gulf. The part of the
coast that runs NW. of Tobako for 8 miles, as far as Tibi
town, is bordered by a sand beach with good depth of water
off it.


Mount Isiii'o, which rises to a height oi (;,4G2 feet between
San Miguel Bay and Lagonoi Gulf, is an extinct volcano of
3G miles in circumference. Its eastern slopes reach nearly to
the waters of Lagonoi Gulf, while its western slopes are
separated from San Miguel Bay by a wide strip of alluvial
soil. Mount Iriga, between Mount Isaro and Albai Volcano,
is 3,970 feet high.

Tobako Bay, in the southern part of Lagonoi Gulf, is fronted
by the islands San Miguel and Kakrarai, and is by them
formed into an excellent and capacious harbor G miles long
and 3i miles wide, with a depth near the shore of 9 to 5^
fathoms. These two islands are connected by a reef, and
Kakrarai is only separated from Sula Point, the southern
point of the bay, by a narrow, winding, and impracticable
channel. The entrance to the harbor, between points Natu-
naguan on the main coast of Luzon, and Guinamban on San
Miguel Island, is 7i cables wide. The first of these two points
is clean ; but a reef projects to theNW. from Point Guinamban,
to a distance of 1 mile, and continues round the north coast
of San Miguel.

The town of Tobako, in the northwest ]iart of the bay,
carries a brisk trade with Manila, steamers calling there three
or four times a month. Fr(nn Tobako the coast is steep, with
4i fathoms close to it, as far as Bagakai, situated 4^ miles
SSE. of Tobako. Anchorage may be had anywhere between
these two places, but the best is off Tobako, in front of the

From Bagakai a reef stretches across the southern part of
the harbor to Kakrarai Island, inclosing the islet Bugias,
which is round and fiat-topped, and closes the mouth of the
Sula Channel. Pilis Bay is a lagoon some 7 fathoms deep,
into which vessels of very light draft can enter at high water.

Tides. — The flood stream sets to the north and the ebb to
the south.

The islands of San Miguel, Kakrarai, and Batan are sepa-
rated from each other by channels full of rocks and shoals
that dry at low water, rendering them impracticable; the
north coast of San Miguel is bordered by reefs, the extent of
which has not been determined ; it is, therefore, prudent to
give the coast a berth of 2 miles at least.

Rapurapu Island is high; it is separated from Batan by a
channel 2 miles wide, but too much obstructed by rocks to be


navigable; a reef stretclies about a mile out from the middle
of the south shore and dries at low water, and a rock lies 1
mile WSW, of the western point of the island.

Albai Gulf, south of the above-named islands and 23
miles long, east and west, is 4 miles wide between Rapuraj)U
Island and Montugan Point in Bulusan, and of the same
width between Kakrarai Island and Paron Point. The shores
are in general steep, but the opening in the southern part,
called Poliki Bay, is shallow and foul. The Spanish Derro-
tero states that there are only two shoals in the inner part of
the gulf, 2 miles from the shore at the head, but the Spanish
chart of 1873 shows " varios bajos" (several shoals) in the
middle of the inner part.

Sula Port, formed by the southern part of the narrow chan-
nel that separates Kakrarai Island from the mainland, is
well sheltered and has good holding ground. It is 4 cables
wide and 11 fathoms deep at the mouth, continuing the same
width and depth for ^ mile to the northward. The channel
then curves to the westward and narrows to ^ cable, so that
only the lightest of coasters can enter Tobako Bay by it.
Both of the entrance jjoints are bordered by reefs 1 cable

Livok, at tlie head of Albai Gulf, is a town on the left bank
of a little river. A reef lines the shore near the town, and is
shown on the chart to extend to f mile from the shore.

Shoals. — SE. of Livok, at a distance of 2 miles, there are
two rocky shoals, 1 cable in extent and covered by 3 feet of
water. From the northern shoal Sula Point bears N. 56° E.,
and Livok town N. 30° W. From the southern, Sula Point
bears I^. 56° E., and Livok town N. 22° W. This locality
should be approached with caution.

Albai River, about 6 miles south of Livok, is of no great
importance, and has only 1 foot of water on the bar at low
water. The new town of Albai, capital of the province, stands
on level ground 1 mile WSW. of the old town of Albai,
which was the capital before the eruption of the volcano in
1814. The new town is sheltered from the volcano by an
isolated hill named Linguin, which, as also a low hill named
Kapuntakan on the south point of the river, are good marks
for making the ancliorage. Between Livok and the river Albai
the shore is bordered by a sand beach, having depths of 9 to
11 fathoms near it. The town of Albai exports hemp to the
value of 83,000 annually.


Albai Volcano, situated on a great ])lain about 5 miles from
the shore near Livok, is one of the most remarkable volcanoes
of the Archipelago; it forms a perfect cone 8,374 feet high,
always crowned by a great plume of vapor, and is a good
mark for navigating the coast.

Poliki Bay is obstructed by reefs, at the edge of which there
are soundings of 5^ fathoms ; on the western side there are
several little channels which do not afford good anchorage.

Paron Point, the northeast point of the gulf, is high and
steep ; there is a thermal spring near it, the vapor from which
can be seen at a great distance.

Jesus Point, 2 miles SE. of Paron Point, has on its western
side a little beach, near which there is anchorage. From Point
Gajo, 2 miles SE. of Point Jesus, a reef, which extends west-
ward nearly a mile, fringes the shore as far as the head of
Sugot Bay.

Sugot Bay is li miles wide, and penetrates 2 miles to the
southward ; the eastern shore only is accessible and is bordered
by a sand beach with a depth of water of 5^ fathoms near it ;
the western shore is fringed by a reef. The river and town
of Sugot are at the head of the bay; vessels drawing 19 feet
can approach the mole of the town.

Coal. — A layer of coal, similar in quality to Australian coal,
has been discovered at Gatbo, a village SE. of Sugot town.

MoNTUGAN Point. — A line of reef, extending more than a
mile out, fringes the shore from Point Pagjuriran to Point
Montugan, and continues round the coast into San Bernardino


It is bounded on the north by the Province of Bulacan, on
the east by the District of Morong and Laguna de Bay, on the
south by the Province of Cavite, and on the west by the bay
of the same name. The area is 264 square miles and the pop-
ulation 400,000.

Manila (see plan of Manila on separate map), capital of the
Philippine Archipelago and the province of this name, has
110,000 inhabitants and was founded in 1571, on the left bank
of the moutli of Rio Pasig at its junction with the Pacific

It is a fortified city, encircled by a wall with bastions and
bulwarks and a ditch and outer ditch, where it does not front
on the sea or river. The waters of the sea or river can be let


in and thus isolate the city l)y opening the sluices constructed
for this purpose. There are six gates — three to the north, on
the road to the river Pasig, called Almacenes, Santo Domingo,
and Isabel II. ; and three on the land side, called Parian, Real,
and Santa Lucia. All are well defended by bastions, partic-
ularly on the land side. Besides the gates, there is a bastion
to the north-northwest of the gate of Santa Lucia, which is
not always open.

The gate Real formerly enfiladed the Plaza Mayor and the
palace of the governor, but since the taking of the city by
the English in 1762 it has been placed in front of the college
of San Jose, where it is now situated, and public entrance is
made through the gate of Parian. The land side is the most
exposed and the best fortified, but for convenience the descrip-
tion will begin at the most advanced point formed by the river
and sea, which is to be found at the extreme northwest of the
city and defended by the royal fort of Santiago. Thence it
will follow the bank of the river to the extreme northeast,
where the bastion to San Gabriel is situated, from which point,
proceeding along the trace in an oblique direction, first to the
northeast, then to the east, and finally to the south, the
extremity of the part in the battery of San Gregorio and the
bastion of San Diego is reached. From here one turns to the
southwest along the coast, which leads to the before-mentioned
fort of Santiago. This fort is a citadel, defending the entrance
to the river and the northwest angle of the city. Originally
built of wood, it assumed its present form by order of Gov-
ernor Gomez, who surrounded the city with good fortifica-
tions. The fort has a gate to the plaza and a false one to the
river. In front, and on the other side from this, is found the
fort of Fernando, which has no great strength.

On the east of the royal fort of Santiago, and at a short
distance from it on the same side of the river, is found the
bastion Tenerias; next, in the same direction the gate of
Almacenes; more to the east, the battery of the military
hospital. Not far from this and on the same line, the gate of
Santo Domingo with its strong battery ; next, the bastion of
the customs house (Aduana) ; next, the gate of Isabel II., and

Online LibraryUnited States. Adjutant-General's Office. MilitaryMilitary notes on the Philippines. September 1898 → online text (page 10 of 31)