Lighthouses of the Philippines: Southwest Luzon

The Philippines include more than 7000 islands stretching over 1750 km (1100 mi) of the western Pacific. The archipelago was a Spanish colony until the Spanish-American War of 1898, which brought the islands under U.S. administration. Japan occupied the islands during World War II (1942-45), and the country became independent shortly thereafter (1946).

Site of the capital city of Manila, Luzon dominates the northern half of the Philippines. This page describes lighthouses of the southwestern side of the island, including the greater Manila area. There are separate pages for Northern and Eastern Luzon and for the Bicol region in the southeast.

The Philippines is divided into 79 provinces, and the lighthouses are listed by province.

The lighthouse preservation movement is gaining some momentum in the Philippines. Until recently, all of the historic light stations were in very poor condition. However, the Philippines Coast Guard, which operates aids to navigation in the country, has recently repaired and renovated many of the towers. An "adopt a lighthouse" program has taken hold, and there's hope more extensive restorations will be carried out within the next few years.

Lighthouses in the Philippines are maintained by the Coast Guard's Marine Safety Services Command. Filipino and English are official languages in the Philippines. In Filipino, lighthouses are called parolas; an island is isla or pulo.

Many Philippine lighthouses are not well known, so better information and photos are needed.

ARLHS numbers are from the ARLHS World List of Lights. PCG numbers are the Philippines Light List numbers, where known. Admiralty numbers are from volume F of the Admiralty List of Lights & Fog Signals. U.S. NGA List numbers are from Publication 112.

General Sources
Philippine Lighthouses
8 historic photos posted by Johann Stockinger.
Lighthouses in the Philippines
Wikipedia article, with links to articles on several of the individual lighthouses.
Spanish Lighthouses of the Philippines
The Directory's own list of the Spanish light stations, with notes on their current status.
Lighthouses in the Philippines
Photos by various photographers available from Wikimedia.
World of Lighthouses - Philippines
Photos by various photographers available from Lightphotos.net.
Marine Safety Services Command - Lighthouses
Lists of active lighthouses maintained by MSSC.
Leuchttürme Asiens auf historischen Postkarten
Historic postcard images posted by Klaus Huelse.

Malabrigo Point Light
Malabrigo Point Light, Batangas, April 2007
Panoramio photo copyright Jazz Ramiro; used by permission

Southern Quezon Lighthouses
* Catanauan
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 11 m (36 ft); red flash every 5 s. 10 m (33 ft) square concrete pillar with a buttressed or pyramidal base. The local tourism office has a photo, and the shadow of the tower is seen in Google's satellite view. Located on the waterfront of Catanauan, a fishing port facing the Sibuyan Sea. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty F2594; NGA 14208.
* Pitogo (2?)
Date unknown (station established 1903). Active; focal plane 24 m (79 ft); red flash every 5 s. 10.5 m (34 ft) slender white concrete tower with a buttressed or pyramidal base. A photo is available, but the slender tower is not seen in Google's satellite view. Located near the historic Saint Paul's Church in downtown Pitogo. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS PHI-041; PCG-0077; Admiralty F2600; NGA 14216.

Batangas Lighthouses
* Malabrigo Point
1896. Active; focal plane 56 m (184 ft); three white flashes every 15 s. 17 m (56 ft) cylindrical brick tower with modern aluminum lantern and double gallery, rising from 1-story keeper's quarters. Buildings painted white; keeper's house roof is red. Jazz Ramiro's photo is at the top of this page, another 2007 photo and a 2008 closeup are available, Cesar Cambay has a 2009 photo, Google has Remerico Cruz's 360° street view inside the light station compound, and Google has a satellite view. Stockinger has a historic photo, and Wikimedia has a 1903 historic photo. This is one of the better-preserved Spanish Philippine lighthouses. The tower has been refurbished and solarized by the Coast Guard. In February 2004, the Olympic swimmer Akiko Thomson, who has a vacation home adjoining the light station property, organized the Friends of Malabrigo and signed an agreement with the Coast Guard allowing them to develop the station as a site for youth swimming and sailing competitions. These plans came to naught. In 2006, a crew filming a movie without authorization did some damage to the light station. When Jazz Ramiro visited in 2007 nothing had been done to improve the facility, but the house appeared to be in fairly sound condition. In 2014 the municipality of Lobo signed a agreemenmt to adopt the lighthouse. Google's 2015 street view shows considerable improvement with the light station freshly refurbished and repainted. Located on the southernmost point of Batangas province in southern Luzon, about 5 km (3 mi) from Lobo, overlooking the Verde Island Passage. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS PHI-046; PCG-0075; Admiralty F2604; NGA 14220.
* Verde Island
Date unknown. Active; focal plane unknown but at least 20 m (66 ft); white flash every 3 s. 9 m (30 ft) white concrete tower with four buttresses at the base. Charisse P. Macalalag's photo is at right, and another photo shows the tower and a nearby skeletal communications tower, but the tower is not seen in Google's indistinct satellite view of the area. In 2015 the stairway that circled the tower was removed and replaced by an external ladder. Located on the northeastern point of Verde Island, an island about 6 km (3.5 mi) in diameter in the center of the Verde Island Passage. Site open; it appears that one can climb the tower. PCG-0074; Admiralty F2604.2; NGA 14221.
Arenas Point
2011(?). Active; focal plane unknown; white flash every 5 s. Concrete tower, height unknown. No photo available, but Google has a satellite view. The light is on the grounds of a large power plant. Located on a point of land on the mainland directly opposite the Verde Island Light. Site and tower closed. PCG-0073; Admiralty F2604.6; NGA 14222.
Matoco (Matoca) Point
Date unknown. Active; focal plane unknown; white flash every 8 s. Approx. 10 m (33 ft) hexagonal cylindrical white aluminum tower with gallery. A view from the sea is available, the tower is at the left in a second view, and Google has a distant satellite view. Located on a steep promontory at the eastern entrance to Batangas Bay. Site status unknown; there's a good view from ferries between Batangas and Mindoro. Admiralty F2604.8; NGA 14226.

Verde Island Light, Batangas, February 2016
photo copyright Charisse P. Macalalag; used by permission
* Batangas Customs House
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 12 m (39 ft); three white flashes every 15 s. Lantern centered on the roof of the 3-story Bureau of Customs building. Ground-level photos of the building do not show the lantern, but it is seen in a Google satellite view. Located on the waterfront of Batangas City. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty F2604.9; NGA 14229.
Malajibomanoc Islet (Culebra Island)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane unknown; three white flashes every 15 s. 10 m (33 ft) concrete tower with gallery. A distant view is available, and Google has a satellite view. Located on a small island on the west side of the entrance to Batangas Bay. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty F2607; NGA 14224.
* Mabini (Anilao)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane about 14 m (46 ft); white flash every 5 s. Approx. 12 m (39 ft) round barbell-shaped white fiberglass tower. Wikimedia has numerous photos, and Google has a satellite view. Mabini is a tourist-oriented town, known for diving and snorkeling, on the east side of Balayan Bay. Located on the quay of Mabini, in front of the visitor center. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty F2607.5; NGA 14234.
* Cape Santiago (Punta de Santiago)
1890. Active; focal plane 27 m (89 ft); two white flashes every 10 s. 15.5 m (51 ft) brick tower with lantern and gallery. Lighthouse painted white; the modern Japanese aluminum lantern is white. 1-story keeper's house painted white with a red roof. Jazz Ramiro's photo is at right, Jena Gonato has a March 2007 photo showing the need for some fresh paint on the tower, Rex Dimaala's 2008 photo shows little improvement, Stockinger has a historic photo, Lighthouse Digest has a feature article on the lighthouse by Clarita Amora Gultiano, and Google has a satellite view. A relatively well-maintained light station, renovated in the 1990s by the Coast Guard. However, by 2007 there were concerns about its deteriorating condition. In October 2007 the region's Philippine Coast Guard Auxiliary proposed to adopt and restore the lighthouse as its headquarters. Located on the cape, at the southwestern corner of Batangas province. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS PHI-078; Admiralty F2614; NGA 14244.
Fortune Island
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 126.5 m (415 ft); white flash every 10 s. 9 m (30 ft) white aluminum tower with gallery. No closeup photo available, but the light is visible in Rudy Fuentes's photo of the island (click on the photo for enlargement), and Google has a satellite view. Fortune Island is a small island 14 km (9 mi) west of Nasugbu in northern Batangas. A notorious hazard for ships northbound to Manila, the island has been the site of countless shipwrecks. Located at the highest point of the island. Site status unknown; the island is a privately owned resort. Admiralty F2624; NGA 14260.

Cabo Santiago Light
Cape Santiago Light, Batangas, March 2007
Panoramio photo copyright Jazz Ramiro; used by permission

 

* Nasugbu (Port Wawa)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane about 12 m (39 ft); green flash every 5 s. Approx. 10 m (33 ft) slender square concrete tower, with an external concrete stairway winding around the tower. A closeup photo is available, and Google has a satellite view. Nasugbu is a fishing port and beach resort at the southern edge of the Manila metropolitan area, south of Cavite. Located on the pier on the east side of the port entrance. Accessible by walking the pier. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty F2626; NGA 14262.

Cavite Lighthouses
[La Monja]
Date unknown (station established about 19080. Active; focal plane 39 m (128 ft); white flash every 5 s. Approx. 8 m (26 ft) white concrete tower with gallery. A distant view is available, and Google has a satellite view. La Monja is a steep-sided islet about 5 km (3 mi) west of Corregidor. Located at the highest point of the islet. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown; the island is a nature reserve. Admiralty F2632; NGA 14264.
**** Corregidor (2)
1950 (station established 1835). Active; focal plane 193 m (633 ft); three white flashes every 20 s. 14.5 m (48 ft) octagonal cylindrical stone tower with lantern and double gallery, rising from the center of 1-story stone keeper's house. Windows on the four sides of the tower are arranged in the shape of crosses, and light shines through them at night. Buildings painted white. Ben Bligh's photo is at right, Laz'andre Cawagas has a good closeup, Wikimedia has a photo, and Google has a satellite view. Wikimedia also has an 1893 historic photo. Corregidor, a rocky island in the entrance to Manila Bay, is famous as the heavily armed fortress where American troops resisted Japanese invaders until forced to surrender in 1942. The lighthouse was heavily damaged during the war; Lighthouse Digest has a 1945 photo showing the damage. This historic light station was recently restored with funds from the Spanish government, and the lantern was replaced with modern equipment by the Japanese government. The Pacific War Memorial is nearby. Located at the highest point of the island, known as Topside. Site and tower open. ARLHS PHI-021; PCG-0045; Admiralty F2634; NGA 14272.
[El Fraile (Fort Drum)]
2001. Active; focal plane about 15 m (49 ft); white flash every 5 s. Approx. 6 m (20 ft) round white concrete post with gallery. Michael Gutib has a view from the sea, another view and an aerial photo (just over halfway down the page) are available, and Google has a satellite view. The tiny islet of El Fraile (The Friar) was covered in concrete before World War II and armed with guns from a ship, so that it resembles a warship from the air. Located about 3 km (2 mi) off the south side of the entrance to Manila Bay, south of Corregidor. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty F2635; NGA 14276.
San Nicholas Shoal (4?)
1997 (station established 1880). Active; focal plane 11 m (36 ft); red flash every 5 s. 11 m (36 ft) red post mounted on a square concrete platform supported by piles. This is a historic light station. The original prefabricated iron tower was overthrown by a typhoon in August 1881. The Spanish built a second tower on the shoal late in their administration; U.S. authorities put it in service in 1905 and replaced it with (probably) a sturdier tower in 1914. Located on a shoal on the south side of Manila Bay about halfway between Corregidor and Cavite. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS PHI-055; Admiralty F2643; NGA 14284.
Corregidor Light
Corregidor Light, Manila Bay, December 2009
Flickr Creative Commons photo by Ben Bligh

Metro Manila Lighthouses
Manila Yacht Basin
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 11 m (36 ft); red flash every 5 s. 8 m (26 ft) square cylindrical white concrete tower. A photo and a second photo are available, and Google has a satellite view. Located at the end of the curved breakwater of the yacht basin on the south side of downtown Manila. Site and tower closed. Admiralty F2662; NGA 14296.
Manila West Breakwater
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 12 m (39 ft); green flash every 5 s. 10.5 m (34 ft) steel post mounted on a broadly conical concrete base. Post painted white. Christian Lucas Sangoyo has a photo, another photo is available, and Google has a satellite view. Located at the end of the west breakwater of the harbor, just south of the mouth of the Pasig River. Accessible only by boat (the breakwater is not walkable). Site open, tower closed. Admiralty F2654; NGA 14316.
* Manila Customs House
Late 1930s? Active; focal plane 60 m (197 ft); red flash every 10 s. Light mounted atop the central tower of the Customs House. A good photo is available, David Montasco has a 2013 photo, the building appears at the lower left in a historic aerial photo, and Google has a great satellite view. According to the Philippine Star, the Customs House is a Neoclassical building designed by the architect Antonio Toledo in the late 1930s. Located on the Manila waterfront on the Muelle San Francisco about 800 m (1/2 mi) south of the Pasig River. Site open, tower status unknown. ARLHS PHI-117; Admiralty F2653; NGA 14320.
* Pasig River (3)
1992 (station established 1642). Active; focal plane 13 m (43 ft); white flash every 5 s. 14 m (46 ft) round concrete block tower with lantern and gallery. The Philippines Coast Guard station for Manila is adjacent to the lighthouse. Stephen Wong's photo is at right, the Coast Guard has a page and a photo, David Montasco has a photo, and the lighthouse is centered in Google's satellite view. This is the oldest light station in the Philippines. The present tower replaced an elegant Spanish tower built in 1846; Klaus Huelse has posted a postcard view of that lighthouse, and Wikipedia has two historic photos. The new tower is built on the base of the old one, according to Manuel Noche. Located on the dike on the north side of the entrance to the river from Manila Bay. The location is downstream from downtown Manila but upstream from the main port area, next door to a shantytown neighborhood called Parola. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS PHI-095; Admiralty F2669; NGA 14324.

Pasig River Light, Manila, 2010
photo copyright Stephen Wong; used by permission

Bulacan Lighthouse
* Binuangan
2015. Active; focal plane 18 m (59 ft); two white flashes every 5 s. 16 m (52 ft) square solid concrete tower with a staircase spiralling around the tower. Entire lighthouse is white. The lighthouse is too new to appear in Google's satellite view. Note: there is another Binuagan Light in Northern Mindanao. Located on the waterfront in Binuagan, a fishing village in the Obando municipality, 16 km (10 mi) north of Manila.

Bataan Lighthouse
* Sisiman Cove (Gorda Point) (2)
2015. Active; focal plane about 20 m (66 ft); white flash every 5 s. Approx. 14 m (46 ft) square concrete tower with an external stairway winding around the tower. Entire lighthouse is white. Jap Salem's December 2013 photo shows that the tower was completed by then, but the light had not been installed. It was finally activated in August 2015. Google has an indistinct satellite view. The original light, an 11 m (36 ft) concrete post light with an external stairway spiralling around the tower, collapsed in 2011 due to beach erosion. Timothy Adams has a photo of the older lighthouse, and a 2008 closeup is available. Keith Kennedy visited this site on 30 October 2011 and found only ruins of the light; it fell sometime after Apol Seban's photo of 29 August 2011. Built on the southern tip of the Bataan Peninsula, this light marks the east side of the entrance to the bay of Mariveles. The new light is about 80 m (260 ft) north of the original location. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS PHI-119; PCG-0043; Admiralty F2631; ex-NGA 14270.

Zambales Lighthouses
** Subic Bay Lighthouse Marina
2006. Active (privately maintained and apparently unofficial); two white flashes every 8 s. 27 m (89 ft) octagonal pyramidal tower with lantern and gallery. Lighthouse painted white with red trim, lantern red. Grisel Garcia has a photo, John Willy Uy has a closeup, and Google has a satellite view. This lighthouse was built as part of a large marina development. There is a bar in the lower level, and the second floor has an observation deck. The owners have applied for official recognition for the light. Located about 1.5 km (1 mi) southeast of Kalaklan Point, on the southwest corner of the Subic Bay Free Port, which has been developed on the grounds of the former U.S. Navy base. Site open, first and second floors of the tower open. Owner/site manager: Lighthouse Marina Resort.
Kalaklan Point (Subic) (2)
2007 (station establishment date unknown). Active; focal plane 23.5 m (77 ft); green flash every 6 s. Approx. 15 m (49 ft) concrete post, mounted on a 1-story equipment shelter and carrying a large lantern structure. Entire lighthouse is white. A 2009 photo is available, Christian Lucas Sangoyo has a 2008 photo, and Google has a satellite view. The original lighthouse was a 10 m (33 ft) concrete tower with lantern and several buttresses at the base, painted white. Located at the north side of the entrance to the Subic Bay naval harbor, south of Olongapo. Site status unknown. ARLHS PHI-115; Admiralty F2675; NGA 14376.
Mayanga Island
Date unknown. Active; focal plane about 40 m (131 ft); white flash every 5 s. Approx. 15 m (49 ft) white concrete tower, flared at the top and bottom. A view from the bay is available, but the light is hard to see in Google's satellite view. International light lists have this light with a green flash every 6 s; NGA misspells the name "Mayagna." Located on an islet in the northern end of Subic Bay about 4 km (2.5 mi) northwest of Kalakhan Point. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. Admiralty F2676; NGA 14377.
Grande Island (2?)
Date unknown (station established 1903). Active; focal plane about 25 m (82 ft); two white flashes every 10 s. Approx. 25 m (82 ft) square skeletal tower with gallery. NGA lists a concrete tower at this location, but a view of the island shows the top of a skeletal tower. Google has a satellite view. Grande Island, about 1.5 km (1 mi) long, is located in the center of Subic Bay. The light is at the northwestern tip of the island. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. Admiralty F2675.8; NGA 14366.
Sueste Point (Subic Bay) (1)
1905. Inactive. 9 m (30 ft) cylindrical cast iron tower; lantern removed. This is one of the French tourelles purchased by the Spanish government, but it was not activated until the U.S. administration took control. The historic lighthouse is in very poor condition, and the keeper's house is in ruins. Thanks to Jun Avecilla for the photo at right. Located on a headland at the west side of the entrance to Subic Bay. Accessible only by boat. Site believed to be open, tower closed.
Sueste Point (Subic Bay) (2)
Date unknown (station established 1905). Active; focal plane 63 m (207 ft); white flash every 5 s. 9 m (30 ft) round hourglass-shaped white fiberglass tower. Jun Avecilla's photo is at right, and Google has a satellite view. Located on a headland at the west side of the entrance to Subic Bay. Accessible only by boat. Site believed to be open, tower closed. ARLHS PHI-059; PH-0039; Admiralty F2673; NGA 14364.
Sueste Point Lighthouses
Old and New Sueste Point Lights, Zambales, July 2007
photo copyright Jun Avecilla; used by permission
Capones
1890. Active; focal plane 75 m (245 ft); three white flashes every 15 s. 17 m (56 ft) square cylindrical brick tower, with lantern and gallery, attached to a 1-story brick keeper's house. Tower painted white with red trim. The original 1st order Fresnel lens and lantern have been replaced with a Japanese aluminum lantern and a modern solar-powered light. The keeper's houses and other buildings are in a ruined condition. Jazz Ramiro's photo is at right, Bing Ramos has a March 2008 photo, Teresa Dosado's 2010 photo shows visitors on the gallery, a visitor's report has many photos, Stockinger has a historic photo, and Google has a satellite view. The lighthouse traditionally marks the beginning of the northern approach to Subic and Manila Bays. In March 2004, the Philippines chapter of the Environmental Protection of Asia Foundation proposed that the island be set aside as a marine sanctuary and the light station restored by the Foundation as a showcase for its programs. It does not appear that anything has come of this proposal. The light tower has been restored and repainted, as seen in Ramiro's photo and a set of November 2005 photos, but nothing has been done to restore or rebuild the keeper's house. Located on an island off the coast of Zambales province about 15 km (9 mi) north of the entrance to Subic Bay. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS PHI-018; Admiralty F2680; NGA 14380.
Hermana Mayor Island (2)
Date unknown (station established 1914). Active; focal plane 48 m (157 ft); white flash every 5 s. 9 m (30 ft) round white concrete tower with gallery. Keeper's house in unknown condition. No photo available, but Google has a satellite view. This is a landfall light for the city of Santa Cruz, in northern Zambales. The original light was on a wood skeletal tower of the same height. Located on the highest point of the island, in Dasol Bay about 13 km (8 mi) due west of Santa Cruz. Site status unknown. ARLHS PHI-028; Admiralty F2684; NGA 14388.
Capones Light
Capones Light, Zambales, February 2007
photo copyright Jazz Ramiro; used by permission

Information available on lost lighthouses:

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Notable faux lighthouses:

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Adjoining pages: North: Northern and Eastern Luzon | Southeast: Bicol | Southwest: Mindoro and Romblon Area

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Created July 24, 2005. Checked and revised September 7, 2016. Lighthouses: 28. Site copyright 2016 Russ Rowlett and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.