|Torre Heliografico at Sta Cruz, Magalang, Pampanga|
Torre Heliografico is one of the part of my childhood memories. When i was still young, i saw a tall structure in barrio Sta Cruz which make me curious. One day, i asked my former school service driver of what is that tower. He told me that was a former sugar boiling tower or known as bornal or imburnal. He told me that this tower once produces muscovado sugar and well known sweetener, panotsa. Another tower with the same structure is located in barrio San Isidro. The tower marked the location of the former farmland of my late grandfather who later sold the land to the Cariyana Monastery. However, when i first met Dr. Lino L. Dizon in 2011, he told me that those towers are former communication towers built during the Spanish period! He told me about their findings together with Mr. Joel P. Mallari who they conducted they comprehensive study of the towers in 2006. The story of these magnificent towers began during the revolutionary period.
|Torre Heliografico at Cariyana Monastery compund|
Those towers are built upon the orders of Spanish general Ricardo Monet in 1897. Those towers are made to send signals by using mirrored devices in Morse Code by flashing reflected sun rays to a another station. Heliograph describe that an instrument constructed with small mirrors made o turn upon both a horizontal and vertical axis, mounted upon a tripod, so arranged as to make the flashes appear and disappear in rapid succession, is to a limited extent use in the army; and by its messages may be transmitted much faster than with flags or torches, and can be used at longer ranges. The towers helped the Spanish army to destroy the revolutionary forces in Camansi in Mt. Arayat led by General Francisco Macabulos. Many towers are built encircling the towns of Magalang, and others in Mabalacat and Concepcion, Tarlac. After the revolution, these towers were abandoned and destroyed by natural calamities and treasure hunting. At present, only two towers are only remained intact. One in barrio Sta Cruz and in barrio San Isidro inside the premises of Cariyana Monastery. Recently, the towers declared as Important Cultural Properties by the National Museum of the Philippines.
Torre Heliografico at barrio Sta Cruz; photo by Joel Pabustan Mallari, taken in 2006.
Torre Heliografico at barrio San Isidro in Cariyana Monastery; photo taken in 2017 by Leo Villacarlos. Retrieved at iorbitnews.com.
Dizon Lino L., 2008, Alaya, Kapampangan Research Journal; Juan D. Nepomuceno Center of Kapampangan Studies, Holy Angel University, Angeles City, pages 151-152, 193-194.