Cape Bolinao Lighthouse – Bolinao, Pangasinan

Cape Bolinao Lighthouse in Patar is one of the most significant landmarks in Bolinao, Pangasinan, Philippines. This towering edifice is proudly standing for over ten decades atop the Punta Piedra Point, the highest spot in Patar Bolinao.

Cape Bolinao lighthouse is the second tallest of five lighthouses in the Philippines. The lighthouse is one of the must-see attractions in the town.

Location Map


The Cape Bolinao Lighthouse is a historic lighthouse in Bolinao, Pangasinan, Philippines. It was built in 1905 by a trio of American, British, and Filipino engineers. Situated at an elevation of 107 meters (351 ft) above sea level, it is the second-highest lighthouse in the Philippines, next to the Cape Bojeador Lighthouse. The land elevation, according the Bureau of Geodetic Surveys, is 250 feet, while the lighthouse tower itself stands 30.78 meters (101.0 ft) high. It has a large revolving lens. A system of gears turned by pendulum weights held by a steel cable, much like a clock, causes the light apparatus to rotate. Visibility from the lighthouse reaches up to 20 miles mid sea towards a lighthouse at Poro Point.  It has been guiding the vessels and ships that cruise through the international passage down the West Philippine Sea.

The Illumination Room of The Lighthouse

The original lighting apparatus of the Cape Bolinao Lighthouse was created in England, and the lantern along with the chimneys and 3 wicks came from France. As replacing the spare parts was quite difficult, the Filipino machinists succeeded in manufacturing the accurate replicas for the same. The working mechanism of the illuminating apparatus was, more or less, similar to a clock with a pendulum. The visibility is 20 miles at mid-sea towards the lighthouse in Poro Point in La Union.

Visibility of the Lighthouse

The visibility is about 20 miles at mid-sea towards the lighthouse in Poro Point in La Union.

Fuel for operations

For the first 80 years of its operation, the lighthouse apparatus ran on kerosene, but in the 1980’s. When the Pangasinan I Electric Cooperative extended its lines to Patar, the lanterns were powered by electricity. It was renovated in the year 1999 with the help of the extension of the loan package provided by the Japanese government to the PCG (Philippine Coast Guard). The renovation was not just limited to painting and repairing, but other new additions were also made, such as installing solar panels and beacon lights.

Maintenance and preservation

Today, the municipal government has been taking care of this lighthouse. About one decade back Mayor Alfonso Celeste got into a MOA (memorandum of agreement) with the Philippine Coast Guard to take over the maintenance of the Cape Bolinao lighthouse for ensuring its preservation. According to the memorandum of agreement, the Philippine Coast Guard remains the sole owner of the property.

The Cape Bolinao Lighthouse Declared as cultural heritage

Currently, tourists are not allowed to enter and climb the 140-stepped spiral staircase tower and illumination room. The lighthouse is not working anymore. In early November 2004, the beacon lights started to dim until it finally shut off on Nov. 8. No more the beacon lights glow, no more the ships are guided, but the lighthouse is still standing to proudly tell its history. This lighthouse was already declared as a cultural heritage site, and become a one of the most-visited tourist spots in Bolinao.

The municipality of Bolinao takes active part in preserving the Cape Bolinao Lighthouse as a tourist attraction in the area. Cape Bolinao lighthouse has become a relic but still remains one of the tourists destinations when visiting Patar Beach.