Lighthouses of the Philippines: Central Visayas (Cebu Area)

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 in of the Central Visayas Region in the central part of the Philippines, including the major island of Cebu and the nearby islands of Siquiyor and Bohol. Central Visayas formerly included the southeastern half of the island of Negros, but a separate Negros Island Region was formed in May 2015. The shallow Visayan Sea lies to the north of the Central Visayas, the much deeper Sulu Sea to the southwest, and the Mindanao Sea to the south separates the Visayas and Mindanao.

In the list, lighthouses are grouped under the closest major island, although a great many of the lighthouses are actually located on small islands in the nearby shipping lanes.

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.
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.

Bagacay Point Light
Bagacay Point (Liloan) Light, Cebu, March 2009
Flickr Creative Commons photo by Jun Pinili

Cebu Province Lighthouses

Note: Cebu is a long but narrow island, 225 km (140 mi) from north to south but only 45 km (28 mi) wide at its widest point. With a population of more than 2.6 million, the Cebu is the most heavily developed island of the central Philippines.
West Cebu Coast (TaƱon Strait) Lighthouses
Ginatilan
Date unknown. Active; focal plane about 12 m (39 ft); light characteristic unknown. Approx. 10 mm (33 ft) round hourglass-shaped white tower. A closeup photo and a second photo are available, and Google has a satellite view. Located on the waterfront at Ginatilan on the southwest coast of Cebu. Site open, tower closed.
Looc Point
Date unknown. Active; focal plane about 12 m (39 ft); white flash every 7 s. 9.5 m (31 ft) round hourglass-shaped white tower. No photo available, and the tower is not seen in Google's satellite view. Located on a low headland about 5 km (3 mi) north of Ginatilan. Site status unknown. Admiralty F2359.85; NGA 14774.
Pescador Island
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 25 m (82 ft); white flash every 5 s. 10 m (33 ft) round hourglass-shaped white tower. Tine Meier has a view from the sea, but Google has only a fuzzy satellite view of the island. Located atop a small island about 10 km (6 mi) northwest of Badian on the southwest coast of Cebu. Site status unknown. ARLHS PHI-113; Admiralty F2366; NGA 14772.
* Dumanjug
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 10 m (33 ft), red flash every 5 s. 9.5 m (31 ft) round hourglass-shaped white tower. A closeup photo and a more distant view are available, and Google has an indistinct satellite view. Located at the base of the Tangil Wharf, about 3 km (2 mi) north of Dumanjug on the southwest coast of Cebu. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS PHI-107; Admiralty F2364; NGA 14768.
* Toledo
Date unknown. Active; focal plane unlisted, red flash every 5 s. Approx. 12 m (36 ft) hexagonal (possibly octagonal) concrete post with a small lantern reached by an external spiral stairway. Wilfredo Umabong has a photo, another good photo is available, and Google has a satellite view. Located in Toledo City, a town on the west coast of Cebu about 70 km (45 mi) west of Cebu City. Site open, tower status unknown; it may be possible to climb the external stairway. ARLHS PHI-122; Admiralty F2363; NGA 14760.
* [Balamban (2)]
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 13 m (43 ft); white flash every 5 s. 8.5 m (28 ft) concrete post with gallery, adjacent to a small equipment shed. A sunset photo is available, and Bing has an indistinct satellite view. Located at Balamban, about 20 km (13 mi) north of Toledo. The caption on the linked photo calls this the "new lighthouse." Site open, tower closed. Admiralty F2362; NGA 14752.

Visayan Sea Lighthouses
* Buntay Point (Madridejos)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 10 m (33 ft); white flash every 5 s. 10 m (33 ft) white concrete post light with gallery centered on a robust round concrete pier. Allan Jarina has a photo, another photo is available, and Google has a satellite view. Located on the beach at the northern tip of Bantayan Island, an island off the northwestern end of Cebu. Site open; a ladder allows visitors to climb atop the pier. Admiralty F2300; NGA 14664.
Tanguingui Island (2?)
Date unknown (1990s?). Active; focal plane 39 m (128 ft); two white flashes every 5 s. 34.5 m (113 ft) octagonal (?) cylindrical steel tower with lantern and gallery. Entire lighthouse is white. 1-story concrete keeper's house falling into ruins. A 2010 view from the sea is available, but Google has only a fuzzy satellite view of the island. This light is probably a twin to the 1994 Malapascua lighthouse seen at right. Located on an island in the middle of the Visayan Sea about 20 km (12.5 mi) north of Buntay Point, Bantayan, and about 100 km (60 mi) east of the northeastern point of Panay. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. ARLHS PHI-100; Admiralty F2296; NGA 14652.
Guintacan Island
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 65 m (213 ft); white flash every 10 s. 20 m (66 ft) white octagonal tower. No photo available, but Google has a satellite view. Located on the island about 20 km (13 mi) northwest of Daanbantayan at the northern end of Cebu. Site status unknown. ARLHS PHI-027; Admiralty F2297; NGA 14665.
Chocolate (Padji) Island
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 52 m (170 ft); white flash every 5 s. 10 m (33 ft) white concrete tower. The light is peeking through the trees atop the island in Ronnie Muring's view from the sea, but the light is not seen in Google's indistinct satellite view. Located on a small island about 2 km (1.25 mi) off the northern tip of Cebu and 6 km (3.5 mi) southwest of Malapascua Island (next entry). Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. ARLHS PHI-103; Admiralty F2410; NGA 14808.
** Malapascua Island (2)
1994 (station established 1913). Active; focal plane 34 m (112 ft); two white flashes every 10 s. Approx. 16 m (52 ft) octagonal cylindrical steel tower with lantern and gallery, painted white. Miko de Villa's photo is at right, there's a November 2007 closeup by Christie Manguiat, and Google has a satellite view. The original lighthouse was an 11 m (36 ft) wood skeletal tower, and NGA still lists 37 ft as the tower height. Located on an island about 25 km (15 mi) northeast of Bogo in northeastern Cebu. Site open, tower can be climbed if you locate a local guide who has a key. ARLHS PHI-089; Admiralty F2412; NGA 14812.
Malapascua Island Light
Malapascua Island Light, Cebu, April 2009
Flickr Creative Commons photo by Miko de Villa

Camotes Islands Lighthouse
Note: The four Camotes Islands are in the Camotes Sea, north of Bohol, between Cebu and Leyte.
* Pilar
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 13 m (43 ft); two white flashes every 10 s. 9.5 m (31 ft) round barbell-shaped tower. Entire lighthouse is white. A photo is available, and Google has a fuzzy satellite view. Located south of the town pier at Pilar, a town at the northeastern end of Ponson, the easternmost of the Camotes islands. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty F2442.2; NGA 14971.
* Poro Island
Date unknown. Active; focal plane about 13 m (43 ft); white flash every 7 s. 9.5 m (31 ft) round barbell-shaped tower. Entire lighthouse is white. No photo available, but Bing has a satellite view. Poro is the central island of the Camotes, and the largest. Located on the east end of the waterfront at Poro town, near the southwestern tip of the island. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty F2436.8; NGA 14969.
Pacijan
Date unknown. Active; focal plane about 12 m (39 ft); two white flashes every 10 s. Approx. 10 m (33 ft) round barbell-shaped tower. Entire lighthouse is white. No photo available, but Google has a satellite view. Located on the southwest coast of Pacijan, the westernmost of the Camotes. Site status unknown. Admiralty F2436.7; NGA 14958.2.
Tulang
Date unknown. Active; focal plane about 20 m (66 ft); three white flashes every 15 s. Approx. 10 m (33 ft) round barbell-shaped tower. Entire lighthouse is white. A view from the sea is available, and Google has a satellite view. Note: the Admiralty and NGA do not have the correct latitude for this light. Located on the northwestern tip of Tulang, an islet off the northwestern tip of Pacijan. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. Admiralty F2436.5; NGA 14958.

Northeast Cebu Coast (Camotes Sea) Lighthouses
Capitancillo Island (2)
1990s (?) (station established 1905). Active; focal plane 30 m (98 ft); three white flashes every 10 s. 25 m (83 ft) slender octagonal cylindrical steel tower with lantern, painted white. 1-story stone keeper's house in ruins. Two photos are available (1/4 the way down the page); they show two towers: an aerial view of the older, more traditional lighthouse and a recent view of the current lighthouse. Marcelino Rapayla has a photo, and Tonee Despojo has a photo, and Google has a satellite view. Located on a small island about 10 km (6 mi) southeast of Bogo in northeastern Cebu. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS PHI-079; Admiralty F2406; NGA 14800.
* Bagacay Point (Punta Bagacay, Liloan) (2) (?)
1874 (station established 1857). Inactive at least since 1908. Approx. 5 m (17 ft) round stone tower. Joey Regis has a 2009 photo, another photo is available, and Google has an indistinct satellite view. This is one of the oldest lighthouses in the Philippines, but it may be endangered; another Bing satellite view shows a subdivision under development in the area. Site open, and the ruined tower is also open.
* Bagacay Point (Liloan) (3)
1908 (station established 1857). Active; focal plane 44 m (146 ft); white flash every 5 s. 22 m (72 ft) octagonal concrete and stone tower with lantern and gallery. The tower is unpainted; lantern painted white. Jun Pinili's photo is at the top of this page, Melissa de la Cruz has a 2010 photo, and Google has a satellite view. This one of the earliest lighthouses to be built in the Philippines by the U.S. administration. By 2000 the lighthouse was reported to be in poor condition, but in March 2004 a group called Coastal Highpoint Ventures Inc. signed an agreement with the Coast Guard to restore and renovate the light station. The lighthouse looks to be in rather good condition in Panili's photo at the top of the page and in Benjo Rulona's October 2007 photo. The light marks the entrance to the Mactan Channel, which leads to the Cebu City. Located on the point near Liloan, about 18 km (11 mi) northeast of Cebu City. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS PHI-066; Admiralty F2402; NGA 14824.
Capitancillo Light
Capitancillo Island Light, Cebu, 2007
Panoramio photo copyright Armand Subingsubing; used by permission
* Cebu Capitol
Date unknown (1937?). Probably inactive since 2006. Light mounted atop the dome of the Cebu Provincial Capitol. Google has a satellite view. The building was built in 1937. The Admiralty dropped this light in 2006 because it had become obscured by tall waterfront buildings. Located at the northern end of Osmeña Boulevard about 3 km (2 mi) north of the waterfront in downtown Cebu City. Site and building open. ARLHS PHI-102; ex-Admiralty F2392; ex-NGA 14840.
* Lapu Lapu City (Muelle Osmeña)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 10 m (33 ft); red flash every 3 s. 8 m (26 ft) square light tower atop a 2-story pier building. Lighthouse painted white with red trim. A closeup photo is available, a 2011 photo is available, and Google has a satellite view. Located on the traditional ferry wharf at Lapu-Lapu, on Mactan Island opposite the Cebu City waterfront. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty F2398; NGA 14845.4.
Shell Island
Date unknown. Active; focal plane about 12 m (39 ft); two very quick white flashes every 4 s. 11 m (36 ft) round hourglass-shaped tower. Entire lighthouse is white. A photo is available, and Google has a satellite view. Located on a small island opposite the Cebu City waterfront. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. Admiralty F2393; NGA 14845.
* Kawit (Cauit) Island
Date unknown. Active; focal plane about 14 m (46 ft); white flash every 5 s. Approx. 12 m (39 ft) round barbell-shaped tower. Entire lighthouse is white. A photo is available, Edgar Ediza has an aerial view, and Google has a satellite view. Kawit was formerly a small island off the coast just south of Cebu City, but the South Reclamation Project has joined the island to the mainland to form a new port area. Located at what was once the eastern point of the island. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty F2390; NGA 14846.
Lauis Ledge
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 16 m (52 ft); white flash every 10 s. 8.5 m (28 ft) mast atop a square concrete "dwelling" supported by piles. Entire lighthouse is white. A photo is available, and Google has a satellite view. This light marks the southern entrance to Cebu City harbor. Located about 800 m (1/2 mi) off the southwestern tip of Mactan Island. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty F2388; NGA 14848.

Southeast Cebu Coast (Cebu Strait) Lighthouses
Argao
Date unknown. Active; focal plane unknown; two white flashes every 10 s. Approx. 10 m (33 ft) round barbell-shaped fiberglass tower. Entire lighthouse is white. No photo available, and the tower is not seen in Google's satellite view. Located on a sandy point in Argao, on the southeast coast of Cebu. Site status unknown. Admiralty F2374.5; NGA 14866.
Sumilon Island
Date unknown. Active; focal plane unknown; three white flashes every 15 s. Approx. 17 m (56 ft) round concrete tower with gallery, an exterior ladder and four large buttresses at the base. The lighthouse is unpainted. Brennan Mercado has a closeup photo, another photo is available (fourth photo on the page), and Google has a distant satellite view. This lighthouse has an unusual design; presumably it was built by the developers of the neighboring resort, but it is operated by the Coast Guard. Sumilon is a small island about 2.5 km (1.5 mi) off the southeastern tip of Cebu. Located on the south side of the island. Accessible only by boat. Site open; nothing prevents visitors from climbing the tower, although this is dangerous. Site manager: Bluewater Sumilon Island Resort. Admiralty F2344.5; NGA 14781.

Siquijor Province Lighthouse

Note: Siquijor is an island lying about 30 km (19 mi) southeast of Cebu and 40 km (25 mi) southwest of Bohol.
Minalulan Point (Siquijor)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 56 m (184 ft); white flash every 10 s. 20 m (66 ft) round tower. Entire lighthouse is white. Adam Clemons has a distant view from the sea, and Google has a satellite view. Located in Lazi Municipality on the southeastern tip of the island. Site status unknown. ARLHS PHI-111; Admiralty F2369; NGA 14793.
* [Lazi]
Date unknown. Active; focal plane unlisted; continuous red light. Light mounted on a square concrete pillar outside the 1-story harbormaster's office. A photo is available, and Google has a satellite view of the wharf. Located on the quay at Lazi, at the eastern end of Siquijor. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty F2370; NGA 14792.

Bohol Province Lighthouses

* Jagna
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 11 m (36 ft); red flash every 5 s. 9 m (30 ft) square concrete post with buttresses and a skeletal mast extension. A fuzzy photo is available, and Google has a distant satellite view. Located at the base of the pier at Jagna, a town near the southeastern corner of Bohol. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty F2384; NGA 14876.
* Baclayon
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 12 m (39 ft); red flash every 5 s. 10 m (33 ft) white concrete post light with four buttresses. An August 2013 photo shows the light painted a bright yellow. Marcelo Malones has a 2015 photo, Julia Sumangil has a good photo, and Vanie Villapando has a more distant view, and Google has a distant satellite view. The light is within sight of the historic Baclayon Church, built in 1595, the second oldest church of the Philippines. Located on the pier at Baclayon, on the south coast of Bohol. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty F2380; NGA 14868.
* Balicasag Island (1)
1909. Inactive. 5-story square "stepped" tower, each story smaller than the lower one. No lantern. A photo is at right, Binx Monsod has a 2009 photo, Jeroen Hellingman has also posted a photo, Romulus Rueda has a photo of both Balicasag lighthouses, and Google has a satellite view. This building is called an "old fort" on the 1920 light list. The island is a very well-known scuba diving resort, located off the southwest tip of the much larger Panglao Island off the southwest coast of Bohol. Located near the center of the island. Site open, tower status unknown. ARLHS PHI-120.
* Balicasag Island (2)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 37 m (121 ft); white flash every 7 s. 30 m (98 ft) octagonal cylindrical "Apo Reef" tower on an octagonal platform. Lighthouse painted white. A photo is at right, David Chiou has a photo, another fine photo is available, and Google has a satellite view. The light marks the southern entrance to the Bohol Strait, which separates Cebu and Bohol. Located close to the older tower. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS PHI-067; Admiralty F2374; NGA 14884.
Maribojoc
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 13 m (46 ft); white flash every 5 s. 10 m (33 ft) round barbell-shaped fiberglass tower. Entire lighthouse is white. A distant view from the sea is available, but the light is not seen in Google's satellite view of the port. Located a Maribojoc, a small port on the west of Bohol. Site status unknown. Admiralty F2376; NGA 14852.
Cabilhao Island (1)
Date unknown. Inactive. Approx. 9 m (30 ft) square concrete tower with an external stairway winding around the tower. 1-story concrete block keeper's house unroofed and in ruins.Wilfredo Umabong has a photo.Located on the northwest point of a small island in the Cebu Strait off the west coast of Bohol. Site status unknown.
Cabilhao Island (2)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 10 m (33 ft); white flash every 5 s. 9 m (30 ft) concrete tower. Wilfredo Umabong has a photo, and Google has a satellite view. Located in the historic light station. Site status unknown. Admiralty F2375; NGA 14880.
* Pangangan Island (Magtung Point)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane about 10 m (33 ft); white flash every 5 s. Approx. 9 m (30 ft) square concrete tower with an external stairway winding around the tower. A photo is available, but the light does not appear in Google's satellite view. Located on the northwest point of a resort island about 8 km (5 mi) northeast of the Cabilhao Island light. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty F2375.5; NGA 14879.6.

New and old Balicasag Island Lights, Bohol, October 2012
Flickr Creative Commons photo by bursky
* Tubigon
Date unknown. Active; focal plane about 11 m (36 ft); red flash every 5 s. Approx. 9 m (30 ft) square concrete tower with an external stairway winding around the tower. A small portion of Dennis Duval's photo of the port is at right, another photo is available, and Google has an indistinct satellite view. Located on the pier at Tubigon, a town on the northwest coast of Bohol. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty F2387; NGA 14860.
* Jetafe
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 11 m (36 ft); red flash every 5 s. Approx. 9 m (30 ft) square concrete tower with an external stairway winding around the tower. A closeup photo is available, John Lowe has a photo and a view from the sea, and Google has an indistinct satellite view. This light guides ferries arriving from Cebu City. Located on the pier at Jetafe, a town on the north coast of Bohol. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty F2386; NGA 14856.
* Talibon
Date unknown. Active; focal plane about 10 m (33 ft); white flash every 5 s. Approx. 9 m (30 ft) square concrete tower with an external stairway winding around the tower. Manfred Frank has a photo, another photo is available, but the light does not appear in Google's indistinct satellite view. Located at the base of the pier at Talibon, a town and ferry terminal on the north side of Bohol. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty F2385; NGA 14877.8.
* Ubay
Date unknown. Active (perhaps reactivated); focal plane unknown; green flash every 3 s. Approx. 8 m (26 ft) concrete post with an external stairway spiralling around the post. A closeup photo is available, and the light is barely visible in an aerial view of the port, but it is not seen in Google's indistinct satellite view of the port. Located on the pier at Ubay, a town on the northeastern tip of Bohol. Site open, and the tower can probably be climbed. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty F2384.4; NGA 14877.3.

Tubigon Light, Bohol, July 2012
Panoramio Creative Commons photo by Dennis Duval

Information available on lost lighthouses:

  • Port Cebu San Nicolas (1903-?), Cebu City. The light was shown from the bell tower; the church has been rebuilt and the bell tower was demolished.

Notable faux lighthouses:

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Adjoining pages: North: Eastern Philippines | South: Northern Mindanao | West: Negros and Western Visayas

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Posted July 24, 2005. Checked and revised October 3, 2015. Lighthouses: 36. Site copyright 2015 Russ Rowlett and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.