I capped my 2013 with a family trip to my parents’ hometowns in the province of Pangasinan, among the highlights of which was our visit to the town of Bolinao to see its famed beach and century-old lighthouse.
While I was looking forward to the beach time, of course, I got even more ecstatic when I learned that I’d have the chance to see the beautiful Cape Bolinao Lighthouse up close. If you still remember, I have this goal to see as many old and historic lighthouses in the Philippines as I can in my lifetime. So, when my family started planning a week-long trip in the province of Pangasinan after Christmas, I insisted that we go to Bolinao for the beach and the lighthouse.
Perched 351 feet above sea level on the rocky hill of Punta Piedra Point, the 101 feet high Cape Bolinao Lighthouse is among the stops of travelers visiting the town of Bolinao. It’s one of the sights that welcome visitors heading to the famous Patar Beach. Built in 1905 by American, British, and Filipino engineers, the lighthouse continues to guide boats and ships sailing along Cape Bolinao in Western Pangasinan to this day. Light emitted by the tower is visible for up to 20 miles into the sea, towards the lighthouse at Poro Point in San Fernando, La Union.
The lighthouse was equipped with a third-order Fresnel lens from England, while the lantern with kicks came from France. The lighthouse apparatus was powered by kerosene in the first 80 years of its operation, then by electricity/batteries until 2004, and now by solar panels donated by Japan.
Next to the towering lighthouse is the ruins of the administration building built in March 1968, its roof torn off by a typhoon in 2009. Why it remains in shambles is beyond me — I agree with some of my fellow travelers who think it would be a great idea to repair it and put there some souvenir shops or even a small cafe. The view of Cape Bolinao and the sprawling hectares of greenery is simply a perfect backdrop while enjoying some coffee and sandwiches!