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Military notes on the Philippines. September 1898 online

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Water. — A small river disembogues immediately on the
north side of the cliff, where good water can be obtained with
facility; and on the beach there is plenty of driftwood. The
coral projects i mile from the entrance of the river, and has
10 and 12 fathoms close to its edge.

Caution. — Care must be taken when working into Paluan
Bay, for the squalls come violently off the high land, are very
sudden, and at night do not give the least warning.

Tubile Point has on its southern side two islets, which, as
well as the point, are very steep-to, with 32 and 40 fathoms
outside them and very close to them. From the point the
coast trends eastward, forming a bay full of rocks.

Mamburao Reef extends about 3 miles to the southward,
and has a depth of 1 fathom over it at low water. Anchor-
age can be obtained opposite the mouth of the Mamburao
River, to the westward of the reef, in 4i fathoms, mud and
sand, with shelter from north and east winds.

The coast from Mamburao Reef trends southeastward to
Talabasi Point, and is low, with sandy shores. From this
point, which is surrounded by a rocky shore, the coast con-
tinues to the southeast to Sablayan Point.

The two islands of Pandan are situated to the north of Sab-
layan Point. Protection may be obtained during the south-
west monsoon by anchoring close to the eastward of the
southern island, in 7 to 14 fathoms, mud. In order to reach
this anchorage, pass to the northward or between the islands.

Sablayan Anchorage (ch. 39, p. 196) has a total width of 8



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MIXDORO — WEST COAST. 1!)7

cables between Sablayan Point and the coast to the eastward,
but the available space is reduced one-half by reefs on both
sides, and the northern part is filled by a reef inclosing a
lagoon 4 to 5 fathoms deep, to which there is a nari-ow
entrance. Anchorage may be obtained in 12 fathoms, with
the vantay on Sablayan Point bearing west, at a distance of
^ of a mile from the beach under the vantay, and in 9 fath-
oms, farther in, with the vantay bearing W. by S. ; but great
caution is necessary, as the reefs do not show well. The
inner lagoon is only fit for the native coasters.

Sablayan town, on the western side of the anchorage, has a
church and school, but the padre is the only person in the
town who can sj)eak Spanish. Fowls, fish, and cocoanuts are
obtainable in small quantities. "Water can be obtained from
wells dug through in the coral.

The coast from Sablayan Anchorage trends in a SE. by S.
direction for 35 miles to Mangarin, and is generally low, with
sandy shores. There are high lands a considerable distance
in the interior, and extensive plains to seaward.

Dongon Bay, situated 7 miles to the southward of Sablayan
Anchorage, lies to the eastward of a low, sandy point of the
same name. Vessels can anchor here in front of the low,
sandy shore, protected from northerly winds.

Iriron Bay, about 8 miles SE. of Dongon Bay, affords good
anchorage during the northeast monsoon ; a village is situated
on the north side of a small river, but no supplies could be
obtained.

Lumintau Point lies 6 miles south of Iriron Bay ; a shoal
only 2 or 3 yards in extent is reported to lie ^ mile NW. of
the point.

Mangarix Bay, 13 miles SE. of Lumintau Point, and north
of Ilin Island, is sheltered from all winds by Ilin Island and
the long peninsula Mangarin Point, which terminates in a
sandy spit. At the entrance to the bay, off the spit, the depth
of water is 4 or 5 fathoms, but the interior is very shoal, and
the town of Mangarin, 1^ miles NE. of the spit, is only acces-
sible to boats. Few supplies are obtainable, and those are
very dear; good water is not obtainable; the climate is
unhealthful, because of the marshy surroundings.

Donjon Bank, which lies 4|- miles W. by S. of Mangarin
Point, is a coral bank, rather more than -J- mile in length ; the
center part uncovers at low water ; the remainder is covered



MINDORO — WEST COAST. 11»7

cables between Sablayan Point and tlie coast to the eastward,
but the available space is reduced one-half by reefs on both
sides, and the northern part is filled by a reef inclosing a
lagoon 4 to 5 fathoms deep, to which there is a narrow
entrance. Anchorage may be obtained in 12 fathoms, with
the vantay on Sablayan Point bearing west, at a distance of
:j- of a mile from the beach under tlie vantay, and in 9 fath-
oms, farther in, with the vantay bearing W. by S. ; but great
caution is necessary, as the reefs do not show well. The
inner lagoon is only fit for the native coasters.

Sablayan town, on the western side of the anchorage, has a
church and school, but the padre is the only person in the
town who can speak Spanish. Fowls, fish, and cocoanuts are
obtainable in small quantities. Water can be obtained from
wells dug through in the coral.

The coast from Sablayan Anchorage trends in a SE. by S.
direction for 35 miles to Mangarin, and is generally low, with
sandy shores. There are high lands a considerable distance
in the interior, and extensive plains to seaward.

Dongon Bay, situated 7 miles to the southward of Sablayan
Anchorage, lies to the eastward of a low, sandy point of the
same name. Vessels can anchor here in front of the low,
sandy shore, protected from northerly winds.

Iriron Bay, about 8 miles SE. of Dongon Bay, affords good
anchorage during the northeast monsoon ; a village is situated
on the north side of a small river, but no supplies could be
obtained.

Lumintau Point lies G miles south of Iriron Bay ; a shoal
only 2 or 3 yards in extent is reported to lie ^ mile JSTW. of
the point.

Mangarin Bay, 13 miles SE. of Lumintau Point, and north
of Ilin Island, is sheltered from all winds by Ilin Island and
the long peninsula Mangarin Point, which terminates in a
sandy spit. At the entrance to the bay, off' the spit, the depth
of water is 4 or 5 fathoms, but the interior is very shoal, and
the town of Mangarin, 1^ miles NE. of the spit, is only acces-
sible to boats. Few supplies are obtainable, and those are
very dear; good water is not obtainable; the climate is
unhealthful, because of the marshy surroundings.

Donjon Bank, which lies 4^ miles W. by S. of Mangarin
Point, is a coral bank, rather more than | mile in length ; the
center part uncovers at low water ; the remainder is covered



198 MINDORO — WEST COAST.

by 2 fathoms water. At ^ of a mile SSW. of the southern
edge of Donjon Bank the chart shows the northern head of
another bank, the extent of which to the southward and west-
ward is not known. The lead gives no indication of api^roach
to these banks, there being no bottom with 15 fathoms at ^
of a mile to the westward.

Manadi Bank lies 2^ miles E. by N. of Donjon Bank, and is
similar to it. Between Manadi and Mangarin Point there is
a third bank not named on the chart.

If proceeding to Mangarin Bay from the NW., a safe chan-
nel will be found by passing to the north of Donjon Bank and
south of Manadi Bank, anchoring the moment the channel
between Ilin and Mindoro is fairly open.

Ilin Island, fronting the southwest part of Mindoro, is 10
miles long, NNW. and SSE., with 4 miles greatest width; it
is wooded and hilly, the highest summit on the northern
part of the island being about 850 feet above the sea. The
northern, eastern, and southern shores are clean and steep-to,
but from the northwestern part a reef projects- more than a
mile out, and ojff the end of this reef there is a detached patch
with 2 fathoms on it.

Clearing marks. — To clear the reef off Ilin to the westward,
the west coast of Ambolon Island must not be brought to
bear west of south; and to clear it to the SW. the southwest
point of Ilin should not be shut out by the western point.

Anchorage. — The town of Ilin is in latitude 12° 15' N., 1
mile to the northward of Ambolon Island. Good anchorage
will be found in 10 fathoms off the reef that borders the coast,
with the southern large house of the town bearing east, about
i mile from the shore. A channel, staked by the natives,
leads up to the settlement, where a stream delivers itself into
the sea; but much sweeter water was found trickling over a
cliff' just round the town point, to the southward, to which the
boats had easier access, and from which the Samarang was
readily completed with water. Of the other source, a most
excellent run of water was found, but it is used for all pur-
poses by the people, and difficult to embark, excepting at high
tide, owing to the shore being dry at least a cable from the
mouth of the stream. Fowls, eggs, grain, and vegetables were
procured at reasonable prices.

Ambolon island is 3 miles long, north and south, and 2
miles wide ; it is about 550 feet high at the northern part,



MINDOKO — EAST COAST. 199

and surrounded by a very narrow fringe reef always visible,
and easily avoided. It is almost, if not quite, divided by a
swampy lagoon wliicli forms a small harbor to the SW., with
Kukurrayan islet at the entrance.

Bank. — A circular, rocky bank, f of a mile in diameter, cov-
ered by 2 fathoms water, lies f of a mile SSW, of the south
point of Ilin, having a rock above water at its southern part.
The southwestern side of this shoal has not been sounded;
care must therefore be taken in rounding it. Belcher gives
the following marks for the southern part of the shoal:
"The tail of the shoal is exactly on the line of contact of Ilin
and Ambolon extremes at the moment that Ambolon outer
point shows clear of the smaller semidetached island (to the
southward)."

The strait between Ilin and Mindoro is free from danger,
and the Saviarang passed through it; but owing to the j)rev-
alence of light airs, the passage should not be attempted with-
out a fair wind. Caution must be used when entering Pan-
darochan Bay from the northward by this strait, for the spit
off Mindoro shoals suddenly from 10 to 3 fathoms. The chan-
nel should therefore be kept well open, borrowing rather on
Ilin until Garza Island is nearly locked in by the eastern
point; then haul easterly, anchoring in 13 fathoms.

Lalauigan or Gomez Bay, on the Mindoro coast about the
middle of the strait, is only fit for coasters, to whom it affords
anchorage in 1^ fathoms.

Pandarochan Bay, formed between points Burankan and
Ilin, the south extremes of Mindoro and Ilin islands, is safe
throughout, affording excellent anchorage and shelter from
the northerly winds at the mouth of the strait in 10 or 13
fathoms. Garza Island and its extensive shoal also offers
shelter from strong easterly gusts.

No inhabitants were noticed in Pandarochan Bay.

Garza Island, which lies 2|- miles from Buraiikan Point (the
eastern point of Pandarochan Bay), is low and sandy and
covered with trees ; it is surrounded by a rocky reef which
extends 2 miles to the southward, covered in places by only
2^ fathoms of water. There is a small sandy beach on the
north ]jart of the island, near which anchorage can be had in
8 to 5 fathoms depth at a distance of ^ cable from the beach.

Dominga Shoal, consisting of sand and rock, on which the
Dommga sounded on the 22d of May, 1888, while on a voyage



200 MTNDOKO — EAST COAST.

from Pakian to Lalauigan, and obtained depths of 8 to 9
fathoms, is reported Ijy the natives of Ilin to have a least
depth of 3f fathoms. It is stated to be 2 miles in extent and
to be situated with the summit of Ambolon Island bearing
NW. ^ N., and the northern point of Semirara E. by N. -j N.

MiNDORO Strait. — This wide strait, separating the Cala-
mianes from Mindoro Island, is one of the most frequented
channels for vessels which leave the ports of China for India
toward the end of April and in May, and at all times of the
year from the ports of China to Australia.

It is divided into two passes by Apo Reef.

Apo Reef was examined by the surveying ships Discovery
and Investigator. The j^osition of the islands to the westward
was determined by the Samarang, and the extent of the bank
was verified in 1872 by the Mindoro. From the northern ex-
tremity the shoal extends SE. by S. 7^ miles, where it forms
a very narrow spit or east point ; from the east j)oint the
southern extreme bears S. 35° W., distant Similes, and be-
tween the two points there are several gaps in the shoal hav-
ing 9 feet water. On the western side there are two islands ;
the western one is the larger, being about \ mile in diameter and
covered with trees; white beaches line its northern and east-
ern side, and a surrounding reef x^rojects about -j mile. This
island does not appear to be connected with the Apo Shoal,
but about 1\ miles ENE. of it there is a small island formed
of barren black rocks on the soTithwest part of the shoal.
From the center of the large island the north point of the shoal
bears N. 24° E., distant 7 miles; the eastern x>oint N. 81° E., 8
miles, and the south point S. 56° E., Hf miles.

The whole extent of the shoal is 10 miles from its north to
the south j)oint, and nine miles from its east jjoint to the
western j)art of the large island. There are two high black
rocks NE. of the small island, which may be seen about (>
miles off, and the islands in clear weather are visible from an
elevation of 20 feet, about 10 miles. At low water many
small rocks are dry on the shoal, particularly along its north
side.

If intending to pass between the coast of Mindoro and the
Apo Shoal in the night, keep about G miles off Pandan Island,
as the eastern point of the shoal is narrow, and should the
wind be westerly it would not readily be perceived, nor would
there be breakers to make known the approach to danger.



MIXDORO — EAST COAST. 201

While examining the Apo Shoal, tlie Discovery and Investi-
gator were frequently near it without ol)taining soundings,
and the boats found it very steep-to in all j)arts. Land and
sea breezes were exi^erienced here in March, the latter from
W. and SW., with the tide or current setting northward;
land and sea breezes jn-evailed also to the westward of the
Calamianes.

Apo East Pass is 14 miles wide between Apo Reef and
the nearest part of the coast of Mindoro ; with the exception
of Discovery Bank the pass is quite clear.

Discovery Bank is 1^ miles long, north and south, and very
narrow ; the least water on it is 9 fathoms. The sea does not
break on the bank, nor is it marked by any discoloration of
the water. From the center of the bank the northernmost
of the two small Pandan Islands off Mindoro bears NNE. ^
E. ; Mount Kalavite N. by W. i W. ; and Apo Islet E. .^- S.

Saraceno Bank appears to be If miles in extent from north
to south, and the same from east to west, with a least depth
of 14 fathoms. The shallowest part is of red coral, but as
the depth increases the character of the bottom alters, and at
50 fathoms it consists of coarse sand and gravel.

From a position in IG fathoms. Mount Ilin bears IST. 61° E.,
Mount Ambolon, IST. 70° E., and the south point of Ilin E.

Leonidas Shoal appears to be 3-| miles long, north and
south, and 2| miles wide from east to west, and to be com-
posed of coarse sand, with shells and coral. From the posi-
tion of least depth in 8 fathoms, Mount Ambolon and Mount
Ilin are nearly in the same line, N. 36° E., the south point of
Ilin N. 67° E., and Mount Tundalara S. 88° W.

Apo West Pass, between Apo Bank and Calamianes
Island, is 19 miles wide between Apo Shoal and Tara Island —
the northernmost of the Calamianes ; but Hunter and Meroj^e
shoals lie in the middle of the northern entrance.

Hunter Shoal, on which the sea breaks, consists of a rocky
ledge, about 2 cables in extent, with 13 fathoms on it, and a
patch of 8 feet on its south extremity. The shoal is sur-
rounded by a bank, the depth over which varies between 24
and 65 fathoms. From the shoal, Mount Kalavite bears N.
15° E., and Apo Islet E.

Merope Shoal, on which the sea breaks, lies 5^ miles NE.
of Hunter Shoal, and consists of a ridge 1^ miles in extent
north and south, and 4- mile wide. It is covered bv 2f to 9



202 MINDOKO — EAST COAST.

fathoms, and no bottom with 90 fathoms within ^ of a mile.
From the shoal, Mount Kalavite bears N. 11° E., Apo Islet
S. 67° E., and Mount Tundalara, in Busuanga, S.

Current. — During the Spanish survey of these shoals, 1872,
a current to the SE. of 0.6 miles an hour was observed.

The Calamianes are a group of high islands lying between
the northeast end of Palawan and Mindoro, and extending
between the parallels of 11° 39' and 12° 20' N., and the merid-
ians of 119° 47' and 120° 23' E. Busuanga (ch. 40, p. 202), the
largest island of the group, is about 34 miles in extent NW.
by W. and SE. by E., and 18 miles broad. It is very irregu-
lar in form, being indented with numerous deep bays. The
islands and reefs which front its northeast side form the west-
ern side of Northumberland Strait.

These islands form, with the northern part of Palawan and
the Cuyos Islands, a province, the capital of w^liich is at Port
Tai Tai. The climate of these islands is in general hot and
unhealthful. Intermittent fevers and cutaneous diseases pre-
A'ail, attributable, in all probability, to the great moisture
and the insalubrious quality of the drinking water. All
these islands are, generally speaking, hilly and broken. The
industry of the locality is in collecting Salanganes (edible
birds' nests), honey, and wax; but cultivation is not practiced
to any great extent. The forests produce good timber for
building or cabinet work.

The west coast of the Calamianes, Linapakan, and its sur-
rounding islands, and the coasts of Palawan, are described in
the China Sea Directory, Vol. II.

Islarids and dangers northivard and eastward of the Cala-
mianes. — The following description is from the Spanish Der-
rotero, 1879, and from Captain Maclear, H. M. S. Flying
Fish, 1885.

Kolokoto, or North Rock, is the northwestern and highest
of four large black rocks, which appear as one w^ien seen S.
'A' E. It was estimated to be 100 feet high, and the next
largest to it 60 feet high. Kolokoto is the northernmost of the
islands which lie on the north side of Busuanga, and may be
seen 13 or 14 miles from the deck.

Soundings. — The charts exhibit no soundings within 20
miles of the west side of Kalamion (ch. 33, p. 182), but beyond
that distance are irregular soundings, 19 to 54 fathoms. In
latitude 11° 52' N., longitude 119° 26' E., is a patch of 9 fathoms,







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MINDORO— EAST COAST. 203



with otlier patches, 12 to 15 fathoms, within a few miles
of it. The soundings near the islands westward and north-
eastward of the Calamianes have been given with the descrip-
tion of those islands ; they are also very irregular, 17 to 30
fathoms, with patches of 5 and 8 fathoms, and it would appear
necessary to be on the lookout for shoal water when navi-
gating in this locality.

Near North Rock the soundings to the northward are 40 and
50 fathoms, and the same depths between it and Busuanga, on
a muddy bottom.

A patch of 5 fathoms is shown on the chart 14 or 15 miles
to the northward of the north point of Busuanga, in about
latitude 12° 35' N., longitude 119° 52' E. The Flyiiig Fish
anchored on this bank, which is of small extent, and sounded
over it with boats, but found nothing less than 10 fathoms,
with 25 to 30 fathoms around ; and no bottom with 250 fathoms
close to the north wai'd, which would indicate that the patch is
on the northern edge of the bank on which the Calamianes
are situated.

Dimipak, or High Island, lies about 2 miles to the north-
ward of the north point of Busuanga. It is a small island,
not quite 2 miles in extent, and the channel between it and
Busuanga does not appear to be free of danger, as some rocks
were seen above water eastward of the island.

About a mile northwestward of Dimipak Island are rocks
above water, one of which, named Sail Rock, 140 feet high, is
very remarkable ; and If miles northwestward of this lies a
large black rock, named Northwest Rock or Dichilem. When
passing between these the Discovery had 38 fathoms, and
about 2 miles NNE. of Northwest Rock passed over a coral
spot in 8 fathoms.

Dumunpalit (Turret) Island, bearing S. 50° E,, 7^ miles
from North Rock, is 816 feet high, small and rocky, having
several detached rocks about it, and a remarkable hummock
on its southwest point, somewhat like a turret.

Islands Northeast of Busuanga.— Nanga Islands, lying
15 miles ESE. of North Rock, are two small wooded islands
which have sandy beaches, and about l^ miles to the NNE.
of them there is a black rock above water. The largest of
these islands is 344 feet high. The chart shows them to be
surrounded by a reef extending nearly a mile from them.



MINDORO— EAST COAST. 203



■witli otlier patches, 12 to 15 fathoms, %vithin a few miles
of it. The soundings near the islands westward and north-
eastward of the Calamianes have been given with the descrip-
tion of those islands ; they are also very irregular, 1 7 to 30
fathoms, with patches of 5 and 8 fathoms, and it would appear
necessary to be on the lookout for shoal water when navi-
gating in this locality.

Near North Rock the soundings to the northward are 40 and
50 fathoms, and the same depths between it and Busuanga, on
a muddy bottom.

A patch of 5 fathoms is shown on the chart 14 or 15 miles
to the northward of the north point of Busuanga, in about
latitude 12° 35' N., longitude 119° 52' E. The Flying Fish
anchored on this bank, which is of small extent, and sounded
over it with boats, but found nothing less than 10 fathoms,
with 25 to 30 fathoms around ; and no bottom with 250 fathoms
close to the northwai'd, which would indicate that the patch is
on the northern edge of the bank on which the Calamianes
are situated.

Dimipak, or High Island, lies about 2 miles to the north-
ward of the north point of Busuanga. It is a small island,
not quite 2 miles in extent, and the channel between it and
Busuanga does not appear to be free of danger, as some rocks
were seen above water eastward of the island.

About a mile northwestward of Dimipak Island are rocks
above water, one of which, named Sail Rock, 140 feet high, is
very remarkable ; and If miles northwestward of this lies a
large black rock, named Northwest Rock or Dichilem. When
passing between these the Discovery had 38 fathoms, and
about 2 miles NNE. of Northwest Rock passed over a coral
spot in 8 fathoms.

Dumunpalit (Turret) Island, bearing S. 50° E., 1\ miles
from North Rock, is 816 feet high, small and rocky, having
several detached rocks about it, and a remarkable hummock
on its southwest point, somewhat like a turret.

Islands Northeast of Busuanga.— Nanga Islands, lying
15 miles ESE. of North Rock, are two small wooded islands
which have sandy beaches, and about 1^ miles to the NNE,
of them there is a black rock above water. The largest of
these islands is 344 feet high. The chart shows them to be
surrounded by a reef extending nearly a mile from them.



204 MINDORO — EAST COAST.

Kamanga Islands, soutli of Nanga, are ab(jut 400 feet high,
small and steep-sided ; the chart shows them to be surrounded
by a reef.

Tara Island, when seen from the northward, shows a triple
summit to its northwest end ; while its southern part looks
like a separate island, saddle-shaped. From the eastward the
island appears of uniform height. The southern summit is
730 feet high, and the northern one 560 feet. On the south-
west side there is good anchorage in 10 fathoms in a gap in
the reefs which extend westward from the island, in some
places to a distance of ^ mile. From the anchorage the fol-
lowing bearings were taken : Kokonongon Hill S. 69° W. ;
Kamanga Island N. 80° W. ; and the western point of Lagat
Island S. 7° W. The island does not appear to be perma-
nently inhabited; in March, 1885, it was occupied by parties
from Busuanga, burning the grass and digging cassava.

Lagat is a small island 334 feet high, surrounded by a reef
with a narrow passage between it and the reef off the south
end of Tara.

Soundings. — A patch of 3 fathoms lies west l^- miles from
the south end of Tara; the soundings about the northern end
are irregular; a patch of 6 fathoms lies between Tara and
Nanga; and a patch of 9 fathoms lies N. \ W. 8 miles from



Online LibraryUnited States. Adjutant-General's Office. MilitaryMilitary notes on the Philippines. September 1898 → online text (page 20 of 31)