The Philippines has the 5th longest coastline in the world. With 7,107 islands and thousands of narrow straits, lighthouses have long become the true guiding light of seafarers who would’ve otherwise crashed into reefs and cliffs if it were not for the towering structures.
Since the Spanish colonial era to today, lighthouses have been built on the beautiful hilltops facing the Pacific, the Philippine Sea, and on many of the country’s islands. Here are 10 of the most amazing lighthouses to see in the Philippines:
Capo Engano Lighthouse – Palaui Island, Cagayan
Built in 1892 and located on a hilltop on the island of Palaui, stands the Spanish lighthouse. Towering at 50 feet high, it features views of the mesmerizing Dos Hermanas Islands, of the Siwangag Cove, and that of the crashing waves of the Babuyan Channel.
The original structures below it are now mere ruins but make for the perfect historical site.
To reach Palaui Island, one can take a plane from Manila to Tuguegarao, take a van to the town of Sta. Ana, then rent a boat to the island.
Tayid Lighthouse – Mahatao, Batanes
Built in 2000 and found in the southeastern portion of Batan Island, the Tayid lighthouse features a quaint red roof and Lightroom, supported by a grayish base made of stone. A picture-perfect lighthouse perched on the hills of Mahatao, it’s a beautiful sight to behold and has become a popular tourist attraction.
To get to Mahatao, take a plane from Manila to the capital of Batanes, which is Basco.b
Guinahoan Island Lighthouse – Guinahoan Island, Caramoan
Caramoan’s unique solar-powered lighthouse stood on a grassy hill reminiscent of Batanes scenery. Facing the Philippine Sea, this all-white tower features 360-degree views, with a pristine and virtually untouched white sand beach right below it.
To get to Caramoan, take a plane from Manila to Virac. In Virac, take a van to the town of San Jose where a boat going to Caramoan’s Guijalo Port takes passengers as early as 6:00 AM.
Guisi Lighthouse – Nueva Valencia Guimaras
One of the oldest in the country, this Spanish-era lighthouse has become a grim rusty metal tower but hasn’t lost its charm. With vine-invaded dark gray walls, this hilltop lighthouse overlooking the beautiful coastline of Guimaras is still a sight to behold.
To get to Nueva Valencia, take a plane from Manila to Iloilo, then a ferry ride to Guimaras, and finally a jeepney ride to the lighthouse’s location.
Capo Bojeador Lighthouse – Burgos Ilocos Norte
This picturesque lighthouse constructed in 1892 was declared a National Historic Landmark in 2004, and a National Cultural Treasure in 2005. Nicely preserved, the tower and its surrounding structures are still intact and safe to explore.
Reach Burgos, Ilocos Norte by taking a plane from Manila to Laoag, where you can take a jeepney ride to the town of Burgos.
Sabtang Island Lighthouse – Sabtang, Batanes
Another picture-perfect lighthouse in Batanes with a red roof and stone structure, this hilltop tower is found only a few meters from the sea and offers a beautiful image to boats or ferries as they enter the strait between two islands.
To get to Sabtang, take a plane from Manila to Basco, then take a tricycle to Ivana Port, where you can get a boat ride to the island.
Basco Lighthouse – Naidi Hills, Basco Batanes
The lighthouse on Batanes’ capital was built in 2003 where the island’s first ever lighthouse was built. The towers offer the best views of the Batanes landscape. It is a 6-storey tower which features a viewing deck on its 5th floor. Surrounding the area are traditional Ivatan houses made of stone or rubble masonry.
Take a plane from Manila to Basco, Batanes.
Capul Lighthouse – Northern Samar
15 meters in height, the Capul lighthouse was built in 1896. It was originally built to guide ships that crossed the San Bernardino Strait. In good weather, the tower features views of the Bicol Peninsula, that of other Samar islands, and even that of the Bulusan Volcano in Sorsogon.
Take a plane from Manila to Catarman, then take a van or jeep to the town of Allen, then take a boat to the island of Capul.
Capones Lighthouse – Capones Island, Zambales
Built in 1890 – this tower served as a guide to vessels that were on their way to Subic Bay or Manila Bay. Its top level has been renovated and features a contemporary design while its base remains the original brick structure.
To get to Capones, take a bus from Manila to the town of San Antonio, where a boat can carry passengers to the island.
Palumbanes Island Lighthouse – Palumbanes Island, Catanduanes
Built on an isolated island that’s virtually unknown, the lighthouse is a circular-shaped structure located on the top of a hill and features incredible views of the islands of Calabagyo and Tignob.
To get to Palumbanes, take a plane from Manila to Virac, then head to the island of Caramoan, where you can get a boat to reach the island which is 13 km away.
Philippine lighthouses have much to offer than a mere beam of light on the waters to guide vessels. They’ve become a symbol of the island’s’ beauty, of history, and that of the changing times of modern life amidst breathtaking surroundings.