Last Updated on April 24, 2023 by Tina
One Sunday in 2021, my siblings and I went “watchtower hopping”. My interest (obsession) with the watchtowers of La Union started one afternoon while I was doing my daily walk at the beach. The route I took was Taboc Baywalk to Urbiztondo Beach. Halfway through the walk, I passed by the watchtower of San Juan. I probably saw it before already because I used to walk on that part of the beach too a few years ago. I went near the watchtower and took some pictures. Then I Googled it. That’s when I found out there are other watchtowers in La Union.
The only watchtower in La Union I know prior to this was the Luna Watchtower, popularly known as Baluarte Watchtower. The other watchtowers can be found in Balaoan, San Juan, San Fernando, and Bacnotan. The ruins of a watchtower in Bauang can be found in Brgy. Pugo. We were able to visit all except for that in Bacnotan because we’ve read that it is inside a private property and is not easily accessible.
These watchtowers were built along the coastlines during the Spanish era. They were made of coral limestone and bricks. They served as a lookout point for impending attacks by pirates or danger from the sea. These were collectively declared a National Cultural Treasure in 2014 by the National Museum of the Philippines.
The Watchtowers of La Union
The Luna Watchtower is a famous tourist spot in La Union and the most famous among the six watchtowers. Half of the watchtower had collapsed after it was toppled by big waves and strong winds brought about by typhoon Lando in 2015. It was restored by the LGU in 2017. The Luna Watchtower is on the Luna Pebble Beach and is a good place to catch the sunset.
How to get to Luna Watchtower
The Luna Watchtower is located at Barangay Victoria in the Municipality of Luna. To get there, take a jeepney to Luna and alight at the town center. Then ride a tricycle and tell the driver to drop you off at Baluarte Watchtower.
If driving, head to Luna town proper then take the road towards the beach at the side of the road.
Never Miss An Update
Balaoan Watchtower stands at the beach of Almeida, overlooking Darigayos Cove. There is no sign of it being preserved. However, on June 25, 2021, a watchtower declaration marker was unveiled by the Provincial Government of La Union, the La Union Provincial Tourism Office, and the National Museum of the Philippines.
How to get to Balaoan Watchtower
Balaoan Watchtower is located in Brgy. Almeida in the Municipality of Balaoan. If taking public transportation, ride a jeep going to Brgy. Darigayos or ride a tricycle from Luna Town Proper.
If driving, the road going to Almeida Beach where the watchtower is located is in between Almeida Manmade Forest and Navalta Beach.
San Juan Watchtower
Almost 75% of the San Juan Watchtower is reconstructed. 25% of it is the ruins that were left of the original watchtower and the remaining was reconstructed with hollow blocks. The ruins are composed of coral stone and bricks.
How to get to San Juan Watchtower
You can reach this watchtower either by walking on the beach of San Juan or by taking the road to the left side of the San Juan Municipal Hall. Walk towards San Juan National High School and at the left side of the school at the end of the road is the watchtower.
If you’re walking on the beach, it is less than 2 km. away from Little Surfmaid Resort, and will take around 30 minutes of walking. It is after Villas Buenavista Hotel and Restaurant if coming from Urbiztondo Beach.
San Fernando Watchtower
The San Fernando Watchtower can be found in Carille Terraces. It is made with coral stones. Weeds and plants were left to grow. Inside, the wall was painted.
How to get to San Fernando Watchtower
San Fernando Watchtower can be accessed from the beach or from the highway. It is located in Carille Terraces in Brgy. Carlatan, near the Coca-Cola Plant.
To get to Carille Terraces, if coming from San Fernando, ride any jeep going north (Lingsat, Bacnotan, Luna, etc.). Alight at Coca-Cola Plant and take the narrow road that goes to Carille Terraces.
If accessing from the beach, it is an hour’s walk from Urbiztondo Beach. When you see Jesus Point, take the stairs that go to Carille Terraces.
Only ruins of the watchtower can be found in Bauang. We had a hard time locating this because the people from that area don’t know its existence. Good thing a guy who has been here posted photos of it in Google Maps. I showed the photo to the kids on the beach and they recognized it but they were having a hard time giving me directions on how to get there.
As per San Josenyong Gala blog (www.sanjosenyonggala.blogspot.com), the materials used in the construction of this watchtower are river rocks.
How to get to Bauang Watchtower Ruins
The ruins of Bauang Watchtower are located in Barangay Pugo in the Municipality of Bauang. Follow the directions stated by Google Maps but when you reach Brgy. Road, turn left when you see the sign of Sector-5 Boundary. Refer to the pictures below.
Next time you visit La Union and would like to do something other than surfing, why not check out all the watchtowers listed here. Need more information about traveling to La Union? Check out La Union Travel Guide.