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The South Penghu Marine National Park include Dongjiyu, Xijiyu, Dongyupingyu and Xiyupingyu. They are an unfamiliar and mysterious place for many people due to the islands’ unique geographical location. Although only a handful of residents reside on these distant islands, the dilapidated buildings and remains on these island failed to conceal their past historical prosperity. “Land of Capes: A Cultural and Historical Record of South Penghu Marine National Park”, the publication of the Marine National Park Headquarters in 2017, attempts to discover the treasures of these islands by interviewing expatriates and local residents, to lead readers into a time travel of the South Penghu Marine National Park with sentimental steps. It is a living record on the relationship between “people” and “environment”.

 

One Dried Fish (hû-póo-á) after another is the Taste of Hometown
The book starts off with “Hometown”. The author recalled that in his childhood, his father always chewed “tshàu-bah-un” (dried Etrumeus micropus) in his mouth. He later realized that the awful smell he could not understand when he was a kid is the taste of his hometown. People of Penghu are just like Etrumeus micropus: they swim far away to feed themselves and would travel back to their birthplace after a while, thus migrating back and forth over and over again between the ocean and their hometown.

Cover of Land of Capes
△ Cover of Land of Capes
(source: Land of Capes: A Cultural and Historical Record of South Penghu Marine National Park)
Dried fish (hû-póo-á) is the most familiar hometown taste for residents of the South Penghu Marine National Park.
△ Dried fish (hû-póo-á) is the most familiar hometown taste for residents of the South Penghu Marine National Park.
(source: Land of Capes: A Cultural and Historical Record of South Penghu Marine National Park)

 

Old Marine Route Relay Point Dongjiyu and Fantastic Island of Columnar Basalt Xijiyu
The development of Dongjiyu and Xijiyu started from the Qing Dynasty, as vessels traveling on the Taiwan Strait from the coasts of Fujian and Zhejiang to Taiwan-fu (current day Tainan) could not reach Taiwan within a single day due to their speed. Therefore, Dongjiyu, an island closest to Taiwan, became the relay point for commuting between Taiwan and mainland ChThere was once a saying in Penghu that went, “Ladies of Dongji and dried turnips of Xiji.” This saying praised the beautiful appearance of women living on Dongjiyu. Given that there were many vessels commuting between Dongjiyu and Taiwan, they had access to more fashionable accessories, thus allowing the women of Dongjiyu to be more attractive in their outfits and makeup, symbolizing the prosperity of Dongjiyu. As for the dried turnips of Xijiyu, given that Xijiyu is a basaltic island, not many crops besides turnips can be raised due to its infertile soil, thus making dried turnips the featured gourmet of Xijiyu.
The two islands of Dongjiyu and Xijiyu are really close to one another and shared a close relationship. From their relative locations and harbor advantages, Xijiyu depended on Dongjiyu for resource transportation and emergency rescue and fishermen from Xijiyu are often working partners to vessels from Dongjiyu. After the government implemented the Xijiyu relocation project in 1978, it became a deserted island with no one to be seen.

 

The buildings that have both Japanese and western designs demonstrated the past prosperity of Dongjiyu.
△ The buildings that have both Japanese and western designs demonstrated the past prosperity of Dongjiyu.
(source: Land of Capes: A Cultural and Historical Record of South Penghu Marine National Park)
Nearly 800 meters of columnar basalt stretches magnificently along the coast of Xijiyu.
△ Nearly 800 meters of columnar basalt stretches magnificently along the coast of Xijiyu.
(source: Land of Capes: A Cultural and Historical Record of South Penghu Marine National Park)

 

Memories among Coral Stones and Old Bricks
Dongyupingyu has a 61-meter highland, highest among the South Penghu Marine National Park, and the unique Caizhai terrace, while Xiyupingyu has the special scenery of highland villages. According to local seniors, there were scarce resources on the islands in the early days, so besides using coral stones they collected from the ocean, they also used stones from other places for construction. They would ask the ships pile those stones by the hillside and ask children who finished school to carry a few stones up the hill in exchange for several cents. After they had accumulated enough materials, they would gather their neighbors in building houses. The highland village of Xiyupingyu was built brick after brick under mutual assistance.
Each of the South Penghu Marine National Park had their characteristic customs, such as the Dongji Church, Ông-iâ belief, Kiong-á and Yinci that worship unknown ghosts and gods, and the mysterious Aofang legends of Dongjiyu. When the terraces of Dongyupingyu were suffering from crop failure, they had to rely on Chou-tu-tzu-yu for food. The children of Xiyupingyu play in the ocean from the age of 3 or 4 and they prefer jumping into the ocean than being beat up by teachers as class when they had bad grades. The seaside, the beach, hilltops, the grass and fields are all the children’s playground.
After their prosperous days, villagers of the South Penghu Marine National Park have resided to Taiwan, Magong and other places due to traffic, studying and other reasons, causing their population to gradually decrease.

 

Dongjiyu is the only village of the South Penghu Marine National Park that have a Christian church.This picture features the century-old seats of Dongji Church.
△ Dongjiyu is the only village of the South Penghu Marine National Park that have a Christian church. This picture features the century-old seats of Dongji Church.
(source: Land of Capes: A Cultural and Historical Record of South Penghu Marine National Park)
The bricks and tiles of the highland village of Xiyupingyu are carried one by one from the hillside.
△ The bricks and tiles of the highland village of Xiyupingyu are carried one by one from the hillside.
(source: Land of Capes: A Cultural and Historical Record of South Penghu Marine National Park)
Chou-tu-tzu-yu is the main dish of Dongyupingyu.
△ Chou-tu-tzu-yu is the main dish of Dongyupingyu.
(source: Land of Capes: A Cultural and Historical Record of South Penghu Marine National Park)
The grocery store of Auntie Meizi is the supermarket of Dongjiyu.
△ The grocery store of Auntie Meizi is the supermarket of Dongjiyu.
(source: Land of Capes: A Cultural and Historical Record of South Penghu Marine National Park)

 

Old Stories that have Discontinued for 70 to 80 Years Deserve Our Attention
Stories that originated from the seniors’ memories recorded in this book are witnesses to the rise and fall of the South Penghu Marine National Park. Present and past images alternate between the stories collected in this book, leading readers on a time travel to the South Penghu Marine National Park and unveil the past prosperous yet innocent settlements. With sentimental words, the author illustrates the culture and history of these lands to present another layer of cultural aesthetics in details besides the scenery and ecosystem of the South Penghu Marine National Park.

 

Going to school from Dongji to Magong in 1971.
△ Going to school from Dongji to Magong in 1971.
(source: Land of Capes: A Cultural and Historical Record of South Penghu Marine National Park)

 

 

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