26
Jan
08

Fort La Playa Honda • Botolan, Zambales

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This is one of the early fortifications built by the Spaniards in the bid to consolidate rule in Luzon. As early as 1617, the Spaniards under Juan Ronquillo damaged three of the six Dutch ships led by Admiral John Derickson Lamb. The battle that lasted two days off the Zambales coast is one of the many naval battles waged between the Dutch and the Spaniards for control of trade in insular southeast Asia. The conflict begins in 1606 when Spaniards under Gov. Gen. Acuña drives out the Dutch from Tidore, which the Dutch had earlier seized from the Portuguese. Spain gains control of the Moluccas. The vulnerability of the western coast of Luzon facing the south China Sea and near the entrance to Manila Bay plus the Zambals who attacked the colonial settlements convinced the Spaniards to build a fort at Playa Honda (Botolan). Playa Honda was the name originally given to Zambales, its capital Paynauen meaning resting place is now Iba, consequently the fort was also known as Fort Paynauen. The Zambals, called fierce by Spanish documents, were subdued by the presence of a well-garrisoned and equipt fort. Until is constitution as a separate province in the late 18th century, Zambales fell under the jurisdiction of Pangasinan.

 The clearest documentation comes from the Valdes Tamon 1738 report.  Details of construction are uncertain. The ruins were documented by National Museum before the fort was further damaged by lahar after the eruption of Mount Pinatubo in 1991.  Located near the shore at the mouth of the Bancal River, the fort was between the towns of Iba (former name Paynauen) and Subic. The site as built plan is in the National Museum, Restoration Department.

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