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Ruins of historical landmark restored on the coast of Victoria

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By Erwin Beleo

HISTORICAL WATCHTOWER — At left is a file photo of the 400-year-old watchtower known as the Luna Baluarte when it was wrecked after typhoon Lando in 2005. Below is the restored historical landmark sitting on the coast of Barangay Victoria in Luna, La Union. It now has a boardwalk along the beach for retirees and exercise fanatics. (Erwin G. Beleo)

Luna, La Union — The Luna Baluarte, a 400-year-old historical landmark that had slowly powdered away on the coast of Victoria in this town has been restored and now stands as majestic as it did in the early Spanish times.

Considered as one of the country’s national treasures, the Luna Baluarte was one of the watchtowers built by the Spaniards on the edge of the La Union coastline, the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) said.4

But since it was too close to sea, tropical storms and big waves have thrashed it for centuries until its weather-beaten walls collapsed when typhoon Lando struck in 2015, said Luna Mayor Victor Marvin Marron.

The 5.6-meter tall structure; one of La Union’s most sought-after tourist destinations was destroyed.

The structure was split right in the middle – half of it standing and the other half crumbling like a giant cookie on the sand, Marron recalled.

With the help of the National Historical Institute (NHI) and the NHCP, Marron said a P6-million fund for its restoration was made available.

“It was a difficult decision after typhoon Lando had destroyed it in 2015 because if we will not rebuild it, some of its debris might be carried away by the sea and we can never recover the scattered pieces,” Marron said.

The goal was to reconstruct its broken half with concrete materials and bricks and reinforce what was left of it standing so that it can be whole again like a view deck to the sea.

National Museum Director Jeremy Barns recently inspected and approved the new structure – now built with a circumferential boardwalk around it – and told the mayor that they would help promote it as a tourist spot.

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