Ruins of 300-year-old Philippines town resurface as extreme heat dries up reservoir

Pantabangan was submerged when a dam was built in 1970s

Stuti Mishra
Tuesday 30 April 2024 13:01 BST
Roads melt in India heatwave

An old sunken town in the Philippines has reappeared after intense heatwaves and droughts partially dried up a major dam.

Remnants of Pantabangan in Nueva Ecija region, located in the middle of the dam’s reservoir, emerge on rare occasions when the water levels are extremely low.

The town is said to have been nearly 300 years old when it was submerged in the 1970s to build the reservoir.

Whenever local people get a glimpse of the old settlement they flock to see it.

This time, the town has been exposed for the longest duration since the dam was constructed, Marlon Paladin, an engineer with the state agency that operates the country’s dams, told AFP news agency.

Authorities say it is due to the extreme heat and droughts this year.

The settlement has been seen just six times since the reservoir was built.

As the water levels began dropping in early April, parts of the town’s old church became visible.

Now visitors are taking pictures at its old public cemetery and auditorium.

An aerial view of the old sunken town of Pantabangan in Nueva Ecija province, Philippines, on Sunday
An aerial view of the old sunken town of Pantabangan in Nueva Ecija province, Philippines, on Sunday (Getty)

To reach the site, tourists take two boat rides from the Pantabangan dam and get 40 minutes of time to spend there.

The Philippines, along with much of South East Asia and South Asia, is reeling under extreme temperatures that have led to shutting of schools in several countries and urgent health warnings throughout the region.

The Philippines told millions of students in its public schools to stay home on Monday.

The same day, Myanmar recorded its highest April temperature of 48C. Several towns in Myanmar were on a list of the hottest spots worldwide last week.

Bangladesh was forced to close all primary schools for the second time this summer as temperatures topped 43C, while India reported two more deaths from suspected heat strokes.

Thailand has seen 30 people die from heat strokes between January and April 17 this year.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in