Cape Bolinao Lighthouse
Cape Bolinao Lighthouse in Abac, Patar, is one of the famous lighthouses in the town of Bolinao, Pangasinan, the other being Port Bolinao Lighthouse in Guigui-wanen, Barangay Luciente I. It is the second tallest lighthouse in the Philippines after the Cape Bojeador Lighthouse, which is in Ilocos Norte. It has played an important role in preventing accidents at sea for over a hundred years in an international marine passage to Hongkong, Japan, USA and other countries.
Built on top of the rocky hill Punta Piedra Point, the lighthouse overlooks the South China Sea. Also visible from the lighthouse are archeological sites where artifacts from the 14th to the 15th centuries have been uncovered, the 1,269 hectare Cape Bolinao Dendro Thermal Ipil-Ipil Plantation, vast white beaches, and coral reefs.
Cape Bolinao Lighthouse is about 351 feet above sea level. The land elevation, according the Bureau of Geodetic Surveys, is 250 feet, while the lighthouse structure itself is 101 feet 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 midsea towards a lighthouse at Poro Point.
Cape Bolinao Lighthouse was constructed in 1905 by American, British, and Filipino engineers to guide ships and boats plying Cape Bolinao in order to prevent sea disasters.
Its original third order apparatus was made in England and the lantern with kicks came from France, making the replacement of spare parts difficult were it not for the ingenuity of Filipino mechanics, who were able to make accurate replicas of the original parts.
For the first 80 years of its operation, the lighthouse apparatus ran on kerosene. By the 1980s, the Pangasinan I Electric Cooperative (PANELCO) extended its powerlines to Barangay Patar. It is now a favorite tourist site, being set among impressive rock formations and offering a panoramic view. The lighthouse has been slated for conservation, with a 19 million peso budget from the Philippine government. The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), the sole owner of the lighthouse under the Adopt-A-Lighthouse Program, has united with the municipality of Bolinao in an agreement to improve and conserve the lighthouse. The PCG is responsible for the maintenance of the equipment while Bolinao is responsible for the preservation of the structure and the environs of the lighthouse.