Cape Bolinao Lighthouse
Travel Time from Casa Almarenzo — 14 minutes/11.1 km drive
For 101 years now, the Cape Bolinao lighthouse stands proud atop Punta Piedra Point in Barangay Patar in Bolinao, Pangasinan, guiding ships and vessels cruising the international passage along the South China Sea. Nestled amid trees, the lighthouse was built in 1905 by Filipino, British and American engineers. It is one of the five major lighthouses in the country and the second tallest, next to the Cape Bojeador Lighthouse in Burgos, Ilocos Norte. It has become a prominent landmark that tourists frequent. The 30.78-meter (101-foot) tower provides a panoramic view of the blue sea and white beaches, offshore reefs and rock formations, as well as rolling verdant hills. Once in a while, a passing vessel dots the sea, an international route of vessels going to Hong Kong, Japan and the United States.
The 140-step winding stairway of the tower leads to the illumination room, 76.2 m above sea level. According to Pedro Honrada, the lighthouse’s head keeper, the lantern is visible 44 kilometers away, guiding seafarers (led toward this area by a lighthouse in Zambales) toward the lighthouse in Poro Point, La Union. The late Bolinao historian Catalino Catanaoan said the original light machine was manufactured in England, while the lantern, with three wicks and chimneys, was imported from France. “Filipino machinists were able to copy the original [when they repaired it]. The light machine is rotated by a system of gears like that of a big clock with a pendulum of weights, winded and suspended with steel cable,” he said.
Kerosene fuel - The lighthouse was fueled by kerosene during its first 80 years of operation. When the Pangasinan I Electric Cooperative extended its lines to Patar, the lanterns were powered by electricity. In 1999, the lighthouse was renovated through a loan package extended by the Japanese government to the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), which is in charge of the facility. Aside from repairing and repainting the tower, the assistance included setting up solar panels, a new apparatus and two beacon lights. The panels recharge the lights.