Lighthouses of the Philippines: Southern Mindanao

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).

This page lists lighthouses on the southern coasts of the large southern island of Mindanao and the small islands of the Sulu Archipelago stretching from Mindanao towards Borneo.

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.

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

ARLHS numbers are from the ARLHS World List of Lights. 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
This is the Directory's own list of the Spanish light stations, with notes on their current status.
Lighthouse Photos by axlego
A Panoramio.com portfolio of photos of southern Mindanao lighthouses.
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.

Cape San Agustin Light
Three lighthouses of Cape San Agustin
Davao Oriental Provincial Government photo

Davao Oriental Province Lighthouses
Baculin Point
Date unknown. Active; focal plane unknown; two white flashes every 10 s. Approx. 15 m (49 ft) white concrete or fiberglass tower. No photo available, but Google has a satellite view. Located on a remote promontory on the north side of the entrance to Baculin Bay. Site status unknown. Admiralty F2239.5; NGA 15147.
Pusan Point (2)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane unknown; white flash every 5 s. Approx. 15 m (49 ft) white concrete tower with gallery. James Topak's photo is at right, and Google has a satellite view of the station. The original light was on the concrete post seen at the left in Topak's photo. Located on a prominent cape at the south entrance to Caraga Bay, about 16 km (10 mi) southeast of Caraga. Accessible by road (local guidance recommended). Site open, tower closed. Admiralty F2239.3; NGA 15147.5.
Lawigan Point
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 10 m (33 ft); white flash every 5 s. 10 m (33 ft) white concrete tower with gallery. No photo available, but Google has a satellite view of the station. NGA misspells the name as "Lamigan" Point. Located on a cape at the northern entrance to Pujada Bay, about 25 km (15 mi) southeast of Mati City. Site status unknown. Admiralty F2239; NGA 15151.
Cape San Agustin (1)
Date unknown (1920s?). Inactive. Approx. 15 m (49 ft) unpainted concrete post light with a concrete stairway winding around the tower. The tower appears in the photo at the top of this page, Meldrin Avergonzado has a closeup photo, and Roy Geonzon has a photo of the three lighthouses, but the slender tower is inconspicuous in Google's satellite view. Cape San Agustin, the razor-sharp southeastern tip of Mindanao, also has an active Coast Guard station. Located on the point of the cape. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed.

Pusan Point Light, Caraga, April 2012
photo copyright James Topak; permission requested
Cape San Agustin (2)
Date unknown (1950s?). Inactive. 24.5 m (80 ft) round unpainted concrete tower with gallery. The tower appears in the photo at the top of this page, Archie Hilado has a photo, a view from the sea is available, and Google has an indistinct satellite view. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed.
Cape San Agustin (3)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 34 m (112 ft); white flash every 5 s. 30.5 m (100 ft) (?) white round concrete tower, flared at the top and bottom. The tower appears in the photo at the top of this page, Archie Hilado has a photo, a view from the sea is available, and Google has a satellite view. This is easily the tallest lighthouse of Mindanao. Located adjacent to the historic lighthouses. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS PHI-017; Admiralty F2236; NGA 15152.
Sigaboy Island
Date unknown. Active; focal plane at least 80 m (262 ft); white flash every 5 s. Approx. 15 m (49 ft) round barbell-shaped white tower. The top of the tower is seen at the summit of the island in Keith Roussel's photo, and Google has a satellite view. Sigaboy is a small, privately owned island just off Tibanban, a village on the east side of Davao Gulf about 50 km (30 mi) north northwest of Cap San Agustin. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. Admiralty F2235.7; NGA 15167.3.

Davao del Norte Province Lighthouses
Paet Point
Date unknown. Active; focal plane unknown; white flash every 5 s. Approx. 15 m (49 ft) round barbell-shaped white tower. No photo available, but Bing has a satellite view. Located on the south point of Samal Island, a large island southeast of Davao. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. Admiralty F2233; NGA 15160.1.
Talikud Island
Date unknown. Active; focal plane approx. 11 m (36 ft); white flash every 3 s. 10 m (33 ft) concrete post; a stairway spirals around the post. Gerard Linsangan has a photo, another photo is available, and Google has an indistinct satellite view. Located on the southwest coast of Talikud Island, about 25 km (15 mi) southeast of Davao, Mindanao's largest city. Site status unknown. ARLHS PHI-061; Admiralty F2232; NGA 15160.
Lanang Point (Sasa)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane approx. 20 m (66 ft); red flash every 5 s. Approx. 15 m (49 ft) concrete post; a stairway spirals around the post. Mike Baylon has a photo, and Bing has a satellite view. Located at the industrial Sasa port, on the north end of the Davao waterfront. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty F2234.5; NGA 15166.
* Davao
Date unknown (station established 1885). Active; focal plane 11 m (36 ft); green flash every 5 s. 10 m (33 ft) round white tower with a flared top. Mike Baylon's photo is at right, he also has a 2009 photo, and Google has a satellite view. Located on the waterfront of Davao, the largest city of Mindanao. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty F2234; NGA 15164.
Davao Light
Davao Light, Davao, October 2010
Flickr photo copyright Mike Baylon; used by permission

Davao del Sur Province Lighthouses
Port Malalag (Eagles Point) (2)
Date unknown (station established 1908). Active; focal plane 31 m (102 ft); red flash every 5 s. Approx. 15 m (49 ft) white round hourglass-shaped tower. Mike Baylon's photo is at right, another photo and an evening view are available, and Bing has a satellite view. Malalag Bay is an outstanding natural harbor on the west side of the Davao Gulf on the south coast of Mindanao. The original light was on a post on the beach. Located on a headland on the south shore of the bay. Site status unknown. Admiralty F2231.2; NGA 15176.
Colapsin Point (2)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 74 m (243 ft); white flash every 5 s. NGA provides no description for this light, but it appears likely to be a round fiberglass tower flared at the top. No photo available, but Google has a satellite view and Bing also has a satellite view. The light was formerly on a concrete post also seen in the satellite views. Located on a sharp promontory on the south side of the entrance to Malalag Bay. Site status unknown. Admiralty F2230; NGA 15168.
Tubalan Head
Date unknown. Active; focal plane about 16 m (52 ft); white flash every 10 s. Approx. 15 m (49 ft) round white barbell-shaped tower. No photo available, but Google has an indistinct satellite view. Located at the tip of a headland about 25 km (15 mi) southeast of Malalag. Site status unknown. Admiralty F2229; NGA 15181.
Tingulo Point
Date unknown. Active; focal plane about 16 m (52 ft); white flash every 10 s. Approx. 15 m (49 ft) round white barbell-shaped tower. No photo available, but Bing has a satellite view. Located on a rounded cape about 1.5 km (1 mi) southeast of Tingulo village. Site status unknown. Admiralty F2228.9; NGA 15181.3.
Baños (Buca) Point
Date unknown. Active; focal plane unknown; white flash every 10 s. Approx. 15 m (49 ft) round white barbell-shaped tower. No photo available, and the light is too new to appear in Google's satellite view or Bing's satellite view. Located on a prominent cape near José Abed Santos. Site status unknown. Admiralty F2226.7; NGA 15162.
Olaniban (Olanivan) Island
Date unknown. Active; focal plane about 12 m (39 ft); white flash every 8 s. Approx. 9 m (30 ft) round hourglass-shaped white tower. A photo is available, and Bing has a satellite view. Olaniban is a small island off the north end of Sarangani Island, about 25 km (15 mi) east of Tinaca Point, the southernmost point of Mindanao. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty F2228.5; NGA 15185.5.
Port Malalag Light
Port Malalag Light, Malalag, November 2010
Flickr photo copyright Mike Baylon; used by permission
Manamil Island (Balut Island)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane about 12 m (39 ft); two white flashes every 10 s. Approx. 9 m (30 ft) round hourglass-shaped white tower. A photo and a second photo (halfway down the page) are available, and Google has a satellite view. Located on a small island off the southwestern tip of Balut Island, the larger of the two Sarangani Islands. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty F2228.3; NGA 15185.
Tinaca Point
Date unknown (station established 1916). Active; focal plane 43 m (141 ft); white flash every 5 s. 11 m (36 ft) white concrete tower with a buttressed or pyramidal base. 1-story octagonal keeper's house. A closeup photo and a distant view are available, and Bing has a satellite view (Google's satellite view of the point does not reveal the light). This light marks the southernmost point of Mindanao. Site status unknown. Admiralty F2228; NGA 15184.

Sarangani Province Lighthouse
Tampuan Point
Date unknown. Active (privately maintained); focal plane unlisted; white flash every 5 s. Approx. 15 m (49 ft) square cylindrical skeletal tower, painted with red and white horizontal bands. Loren Manansala has a photo, and Google has a satellite view. The light is on the property of a popular diving resort. Located on a sharp promontory at the western entrance to Sarangani Bay. Site status unknown. Owner/site manager: Lemlunay Resort. Admiralty F2226.9.

Sultan Kudarat Province Lighthouse
Lebak Point
Date unknown. Active; focal plane unlisted; white flash every 5 s. 9.5 m (31 ft) white steel and fiberglass tower. No photo available, but Google has a satellite view. Located on a sharp promontory sheltering the harbor of Lepak, on the eastern shore of Moro Gulf. Site status unknown. Admiralty F2226.5; NGA 15186.

Maguindanao Province Lighthouses
Note: Maguindanao borders the northeastern side of the Moro Gulf. Along with the neighboring province of Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao is part of the newly established Muslim autonomous region called Bangsamoro (see below under Sulu Archipelago).
Bongo Island (Cotabato)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane unknown; white flash every 10 s. Approx. 12 m (39 ft) round white steel and fiberglass tower, flared at the top and bottom. A small photo is available, but the light may be too new to appear in Google's satellite view of the area. Located at the southern end of Bongo, an island in the northeastern part of Illana Bay about 20 km (13 mi) northwest of Cotabato. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. Admiralty F2226.1.
Polloc Harbor
Date unknown. Active; focal plane unknown; red flash every 5 s. Approx. 12 m (39 ft) round white steel and fiberglass tower, flared at the top and bottom. No photo available, but Google has a distant satellite view. Located high on a promontory sheltering Polloc Harbor, at the northeastern corner of Moro Gulf. Site status unknown. Admiralty F2225.5; NGA 15190.

Zamboanga del Sur Province Lighthouses
Dao-Dao (Dumagok Island)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane unknown; two white flashes every 5 s. Approx. 12 m (39 ft) round white steel and fiberglass tower, flared at the top and bottom. A small photo is available, and Google has a distant satellite view. Located on an island off the west side of Illana Bay about 2.5 km (1.5 mi) south of the Pagadian waterfront. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown, probably open. Admiralty F2224.7; NGA 15194.
San Pablo
Date unknown. Active; focal plane about 15 m (49 ft); white flash every 5 s. Approx. 12 m (39 ft) round white steel and fiberglass tower, flared at the top and bottom. Jereel Hope Bacon's closeup photo is at right, and a small photo is available, and Google has a street view and a satellite view. Located at the base of the pier in San Pablo, on the west side of Illana Bay about 30 km (19 mi) south of Pagadian. Site status unknown.Admiralty F2224.6.
Tabina (Tambatan Point)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane unknown; white flash every 10 s. Approx. 12 m (39 ft) round white steel and fiberglass tower, flared at the top and bottom. Prinz Batitoy has a photo, a small photo is available, and Google has a satellite view. Located on a sharp promontory about 8 km (5 mi) southeast of Tabina, at the southwestern entrance to Illana Bay. Site status unknown. Admiralty F2224.5.
Margosatubig (2?)
Date unknown (station established 1910). Active; focal plane unknown; two white flashes every 5 s. Approx. 12 m (39 ft) round white steel and fiberglass tower, flared at the top and bottom. A small photo is available, but the light has not been found in Bing's satellite view of the town. NGA describes a pierhead pole light at this port. Located at Margosatubig, a town on the east side of Dumanquillas Bay. Site status unknown, probably open. Admiralty F2224; NGA 15196.
San Pablo Light
San Pablo Light, San Pablo, April 2009
Panoramio photo copyright Jereel Hope Bacon; permission requested

Zamboanga Sibugay Province Lighthouses
Malangas
Date unknown. Active; focal plane unknown; two white flashes every 10 s. Approx. 8 m (26 ft) round white steel and fiberglass tower, flared at the top and bottom. A small photo is available, but the light may be too new to appear in Google's satellite view. Located in Malangas, a coal-shipping port on the west side of Dumanguillas Bay. Site status unknown, probably open. Admiralty F2224.2; NGA 15197.
Naga
Date unknown. Active; focal plane unknown; three white flashes every 15 s. Approx. 12 m (39 ft) round white steel and fiberglass tower, flared at the top and bottom. A small photo is available, but the light may be too new to appear in Google's satellite view. Located at Naga, a village at the head of Sibuguey Bay. Site status unknown, probably open. Admiralty F2222.5; NGA 15198.
Little Santa Cruz Island (2?)
Date unknown (station established 1906). Active; focal plane 16 m (52 ft); three white flashes every 15 s. 16 m (52 ft) round steel and fiberglass tower, flared at the top and bottom. NGA lists a "white framework structure," presumably the original lighthouse. A photo is available, and Bing has a satellite view. 1-story keeper's house. This is the landfall light for Zamboanga for ships arriving from the west. Located on a small island about 4 km (2.5 mi) off the extreme southwestern tip of Mindanao. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. ARLHS PHI-037; Admiralty F2218; NGA 15200.

Sulu Archipelago Lighthouses

Note: The Sulu Archipelago is a ragged chain of islands extending from the southwestern tip of Mindanao to the northeastern tip of Borneo. The largest islands are Basilan in the north, Jolo in the center of the chain, and Tawi-Tawi near the south end. The islands were historically governed as an independent sultanate. Although the islands were claimed by Spain as part of the Philippines, Spanish rule was sporadic and tenuous. In recent years, the islands were central to a Muslim separatist movement. A peace agreement in 2012 provided for the creation of an autonomous Muslim region called Bangsamoro, which would include the Sulu Archipelago and the provinces of Lanao del Sur and Maguindanao in south central Mindanao.
Basilan Province Lighthouses
Sibago Island
1915. Active; focal plane 215 m (705 ft); white flash every 10 s. 23 m (75 ft) "galvanized metal tower." No photo available, but a Google satellite view may show the tower. The 1920 light list refers to this as a "steel frame" tower. Located on a high island about 40 km (25 mi) southeast of Zamboanga, at the southwestern tip of Mindanao. Site status unknown. ARLHS PHI-057; Admiralty F2214; NGA 15216.
Malamaui (Malamawi) Island
1914. Inactive. 10 m (33 ft) white concrete post with an external stairway winding around the tower. Renato Apilado's photo, taken around 1990, shows that the light had been removed from the tower by that time. Mike Baylon's photo is at right, a 2008 photo and a small photo are available, and Bing has an indistinct satellite view. Malamaui is a small island off the northern tip of Basilan, about 25 km (15 mi) southwest of Zamboanga. The lighthouse marks the entrance to a narrow passage leading to Isabela, the principal town of Basilan. Located on the northeastern tip of Malamaui. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower probably can be climbed. Admiralty F2216; NGA 15220.
Malamawi Island Light
Malamawi Island Light, February 2012
Flickr photo copyright Mike Baylon; used by permission

Jolo Province Lighthouses
* Jolo Harbor (1)
1879. Inactive since the 1930s at least. Approx. 7.5 m (25 ft) octagonal cylindrical masonry tower, now incorporated into the center of a small mosque, the Masjid Shariful Hashim. A portion of a 2009 photo is at right, a 2011 aerial photo is available, and Google has a satellite view. This is one of the oldest lighthouses in the Philippines. Forand has a historic postcard view of this tower as it appeared shortly after 1900. More recent views (starting 1/3 the way down the page) show a ladder projecting from the top of the tower, and apparently the light was displayed for many years from the top of that ladder. The mosque was apparently built in 1999 and expanded in 2010-11. Located at the base of the main wharf at Jolo. Site open, tower closed.
#Jolo Harbor (2)
Date unknown (station established 1879). Inactive since 2009 and demolished soon after. Active; focal plane 18 m (59 ft); red flash every 5 s. 16.5 m (54 ft) square skeletal tower with gallery. A small photo showing the skeletal tower and the mosque is available, as well as a distant view taken in 2008, but the June 2009 photo of the mosque tower (previous entry) shows that the skeletal tower had been removed by that time. Dr. Anak Iluh's blog post on the Jolo lighthouses states that the Coast Guard built a new lighthouse in 2011, but no description or photos of that light have been found. Formerly located at the base of the main wharf at Jolo. Site open. ex-Admiralty F2196; ex-NGA 15232.
Busbus Point (Siasi)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 9 m (30 ft); white flash every 5 s. 9 m (30 ft) white concrete quadrupod tower. No photo available, but Google has a satellite view. Located on the reef on the east side of the entrance to the harbor of Siasi Island, about 80 km (50 mi) south of Jolo. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty F2192.5; NGA 15236.5.
North Ubian Island
Date unknown. Active (?); focal plane 11 m (36 ft); white flash every 5 s. 10 m (33 ft) round white concrete tower mounted on a square concrete pier. No photo available, but Google has a distant satellite view. The Coast Guard lists this lighthouse as deactivated. North Ubian Island is located about 65 km (40 mi) due west of Jolo. Located just off the northeastern tip of the island. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty F2200; NGA 15240.
Jolo Light
1879 Jolo Light, Jolo, June 2009
Flickr photo copyright Pinoy Photographer
used by permission
Pearl Bank
1917. Active (?); focal plane 19.5 m (62 ft); white flash every 5 s. 17 m (57 ft) "red round steel tower." No photo available; Google has a very distant satellite view of the location. The Coast Guard lists this lighthouse as deactivated, and the Admiralty reported the light to be "temporarily extinguished" in 2008. We need information on the status of this historic light station. Located on a low island on the bank, a well-known navigational hazard about 170 km (110 mi) southwest of Jolo in the Sulu Archipelago. Site status unknown. ARLHS PHI-040; Admiralty F2194; NGA 15244.

Tawi-Tawi Province Lighthouse
* Port Bongao
Date unknown. Active; focal plane about 12 m (39 ft); white flash every 5 s. 10 m (33 ft) round white concrete tower, flared at the top and bottom. Rudolfo Lu has a view from the sea, Kirby Zulqarnain has a 2010 view, and Google has a distant satellite view. Located at the end of the pier at Bongao, the capital of Tawi-Tawi Province and the southernmost town of the Philippines. Accessible by walking the pier. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty F2190; NGA 15248.
Saluag Island (1)
Date unknown. Inactive. 26 m (85 ft) square skeletal tower with lantern and central cylinder. A photo is at right, Voughx Pajiji has a closeup photo of both lighthouses, a small photo is available, and Google has a satellite view of the station. The lighthouse must be from the early years of the American administration. It was active in the 1970s and probably for many years after that. Located on an islet off the south end of Sibutu Island. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. ex-Admiralty F2186.
Saluag Island (2)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 29 m (95 ft); white flash every 5 s. Approx. 15 m (49 ft) round cylindrical steel or concrete tower, painted white. A photo is at right, Akbar Amilul has a very distant view from the sea, and a small photo is available. This is the southernmost lighthouse of the Philippines. Located adjacent to the historic lighthouse. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. ARLHS PHI-114; Admiralty F2189; NGA 15246.

Information available on lost lighthouses:


Salaug Island Lights, Tawi-Tawi
photo copyright Harly Limlingan Marcuap; permission requested

Notable faux lighthouses:

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Adjoining pages: North: Northern Mindanao | South: Sulawesi (Celebes) | Southwest: East Malaysia | West: Palawan

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Posted July 24, 2005. Checked and revised November 10, 2016. Lighthouses: 40. Site copyright 2016 Russ Rowlett and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.