Heritage Conservation Society

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Cape Bojeador Lighthouse

Posted by admin on July 27, 2006

Faro de Cabo Bojeador is set majestically on top of a hill overlooking the South China Sea. Located approximately 35 kilometres north of the City of Laoag, the lighthouse is the most accessible of all lighthouses in the north of the Island of Luzon. Situated 160 metres on top of a hill named Vigia de Nagparitan, the lighthouse of Cape Bojeador serves as a station point for ships veering towards the Pacific Coast heading towards the Babuyan Channel. Similarly, it as well assists ships heading towards the ports of Salomangue in Ilocos Sur which is 87 kilometres south from the lighthouse, and Curmimao, which is 60 kilometres away in Ilocos Norte. In addition, beyond to the port of Manila. Completed on the 30th of March, 1892, the design and construction of the Lighthouse of Cape Bojeador was initially undertaken by the Engineer Magin Pers y Pers but was subsequently reconfigured and finished by the Engineer Guillermo Brockman.

The station has an arrangement that is typical of lighthouses in the Philippines with light tower, living quarters (living pavilion), serviceable apartments, and enclosed courtyard. The buildings are all erected with bricks that were baked in a kiln located at the bottom of the hill. The tower which rests on the highest portion of the hill is 16.3 metres high. The whole complex is arranged in three different levels. The lowest level contains the courtyard and service buildings, the second level, which is approximately 3 metres above the courtyard contains the main pavilion. The tower, which constitutes the highest level, is situated in the rear, five metres higher than the pavilion below. Built of locally made brick, the octagonal shaper tower has an inner dimension of two metres and an exterior dimension of three and half metres. The lower one fourth of the tower is truncated whereas the remaining body of the shaft is straight. The top of the tower supports an overhanging balcony, which is surrounded and supported by decorative grill works. The attic where the cupola and lantern rests is cylindrical. What is notable about the Bojeador Lighthouse is that is still has intact the original cupola and lantern.

The cupola, made of bronze is surrounded with glass panes. The dome on the other hand supports a ball shaped flue, which exhausts smoke from the flame of the original gaslight. The lantern on the other hand is fitted with a first order Fresnel Lens that is partially intact. “During my very first visit to this lighthouse way back in the 70’s, the original lens and mechanism was still operational. Sadly due to the intense earthquake that shook the region in 1990, parts of the lens collapsed and the alignment of the mechanism was displaced.” Nevertheless, the Coast Guards has retained the original mechanism for historic purposes and only retrofitted the lighting mechanism for its daily operations. According to the head of the Lighthouse division of the Coast Guard Commander Danilo S. Corpuz as well as Ruben R. Labuguen PCG light keeper stationed at Cape Bojeador, the Coast Guards, as well as the Department of Transportation and Communication has no plans of retrofitting the lighthouse with a new cupola and lantern due to its pristine state of preservation and the fact that it is frequented by tourists and visitors alike. In addition, due to its spectacular landscape, the lighthouse is among the most photographed and filmed of all Philippine light stations, as attested in the numerous movies shot on its location.

The mechanism fitted into the lighthouse at Bojeador was of the basic specification for all first order lighthouses. It contained a winding mechanism composed of a counter weight which when wound would enable the lantern supporting the lenses to rotate. The housing of the counter weight is located in the centre of the spiral staircase which when wound would drop all the way to the bottom of the stairs. It takes approximately one hour for the weight to reach a full cycle, which would enable the lantern to rotate numerous times. The job of the lighthouse keeper was to religiously wind the mechanism to ensure the continuous rotation of the lens throughout the night. This practice was subsequently stopped when the tower suffered damages during the 1990 earthquake.

The pavilion located below the tower is in relatively good condition. Though proper restoration of some of its architectural detailing; such as capiz and louvered windowpanes, decorative iron grilles, plastering and gutter works need immediate attention. The pavilion contains five apartments: four quarters, each provided with a separated living area, bedroom, and one watch room overlooking the Cape. A connecting hallway adjoins all the rooms except the watch room, which is accessible only through the verandah overlooking the courtyard. The lowest level of the grouping is the courtyard. In the centre of which is a well and below it the cistern, used by the keepers for their water needs. Straddling the courtyard to the east and west are the kitchens and store areas. The main gate of the lighthouse is located in the southern and western flank of the courtyard. A flight of stairs in a “T” formation directs the visitor to the pavilion. The whole lighthouse complex is accessed from the main road by a zigzag side road, which was recently widened and cemented by the Department of Public Works and Highways. A steep flight of steps leads to the lighthouse from a cul-de-sac, which marks the end of the access road.

Compared to the Lighthouse at Cape Engaño in Palaui Island, the Lighthouse in Cape Bojeador is in an envious position among Philippine Spanish Lighthouses. Not only does it protect one of the more treacherous bends of the vast Philippine coastline, but it has as well earned the distinction of being the most visited light station in the country. The lighthouse of Cape Bojeador today is not only a mere light station with an obvious functional use, its pavilion has now been transformed into a mini-museum as well as lodging for people seeking basic accommodation, though except from shared cooking facilities and water from the cistern, no other amenities are provided. Its tower is quite accessible and with little enticement from its friendly light keeper, accesses to its lantern and, if the winds are not that strong, the precarious perch from its overhanging balcony is possible. As a tourist attraction in a politically powerful province, the lighthouse of Cape Bojeador has ensured its preservation and protection for years to come. (by Arch. Manuel L. Noche)

Photos by Ivan Anthony S. Henares.

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34 Responses to “Cape Bojeador Lighthouse”

  1. Anton said

    This is one of the best article I’ve seen about this burgos lighthouse. Thanks for sharing :)

    I quoted this article a number of times here. Thanks so much :)

    http://pagudpud.awe.ph/cape-bojeador-lighthouse/

  2. Yam said

    Basic accomodation? This article must be joking!
    Geez, this place is haunted!

    I heard voices while I was taking pictures. I had goose bumps all over!

    I really regret going to this place alone!

  3. JML said

    Cape Bojeador Lighthouse is one of our last remaining landmarks of Spanish era.

    We always stop and go up to visit the lighthouse whenever we travel further north. We met Mang Ruben, the caretaker in our first visit and been our tour guide.

    It is a very lonely job being a caretaker of this lighthouse because of its location.

    Mang Ruben is always excited whenever visitors come by to ease his boredom.

    We hope that visitors will appreciate the beauty of the lighthouse complex and refrain from getting anything as souvenir or vandalizing. Some of the original bricks along the stairs are detached and original tiles of the mini swimming pool are cracked and can easily be gotten by anyone.

  4. eya said

    ive visited Cape Bojeador Lighthouse for the first time in 2006 and surprisingly it was also the first time for my companions who were natives of ilocos to explore the historic place..it was one of the best experiences ive had in exploring my mothers native homeland and definitely ill keep coming back for as long as the lighthouse stands..

  5. jonric said

    I visited Cape Bojeador for 3 times already and guess I’ll surely go see it again in the future. The last time I stepped into this place was in the morning of feb. between 8 and 9 am. Wow! The surrounding vistas including the placid sea on the west were just amazing!It was the most naturally romantic place I have ever seen yet.

  6. allias said

    ahaha.. i was born in lanao,bangui,raise in cadarratan,bacarra ilocos, norte till 15. i’m 20 now and living here in vancouver, canada.. i like bojeador i like the calmness and the magnificent view.i love it.. my grandfather was raise at the village nearby cape bojeador in his teens.he is a spanish-portugese-pilipino mestiso.he lives in lanao,bangui now. he often tell me story about the lighthause when i was a kid..he told me that his familly use to own the whole mauntain where the light hause stand to the beach coast bellow they ownd the beach too back then.but one of his rebellios gambler uncle stole from their grand parents and sold the title of the land to someone whos in power in that town that time without his familly knowing it . his familly ownd the land goes way back in 19th century to early 20th and past down to sons, and heir..they owend the mauntain and his familly knows the people who used to look over the lighthause “parola” well when the spanish time they just built things where they want to, thats why they owned the land but cant say anything against the spanyards about building the lighthause.. well dont be afraid about the place. dont be offended whatll i say next because the light hause is realy “HUNTED” dont be afriad its not hunted hunted.. dont go wonder alone n the hallways.. dindt u check the rooms? i tink its open now these years.. but when i was a still lets say 8 to 13 years old some of the rooms are locked and people arnt alowd to go in those rooms… their are actualy small cellblock or secret underground thing for torturing or locking people. theyr some guards used to live theyr too.they buriied people their too thats what i heard from elders. this is serius real story but dont be afraid.. no one goes ther in the night, only the carekeeper wonder around alone.. i remember he was old but i dunno if theyv replace him now. he tell story about the cape bojeador sometimes.spirit wondering around, hearing voice, foot steps, sounds of door shuts. i think theyr not alowd to tell story about ghost wondering inside bojeador or hearing voice like yam says, in the hause nowadays because of the tourist.. besides all of that i love the view.. i havnt seen ilocos norte for 4 years thats why i took a vacation last feb till aprill.. i went to the cape bojeador once we natives ther jsut call it lighthause or old people ther preper “pagoda” which is means light hause too..ahaha.. i went ther just to see the view but i was amazed of the food stall r in the corner nowadays and some tourist.i just took a good look of the hause from the street i didnt evin dare to take a step on the first staircase to the gate..i still think that theyr still soul wondering hahhaa. back then if u wanna go there no one would be there just u and ur friends and sometimes the caretaker is not around it was a boring place, as a kid going inside the lobby place with my friends we only go inside the lobby by daring with each others together…the nice view where u stand and have a sight for the ocean is use to be covered with busshes.. its like u know typical hunted place before it used to be slopy,tree leaves would be all over the place but now its okay. they do some cleaning to the soroundings once a day now… its a long long story and theyr a lots of storries in that lighthause.. its a nice a lovely place.. its an old building built in 19th cent. thats y its creepy and u get goooosebummps.. ahahaha… dont be scared. ahaha…oh yeah my ancestors familly names are niebes,jamorabon,aguinaldo,niyeto… i dunno if i speld it corect.. just ignor what i sayd.. i just wanna tell some of the stories of that light hause.. ive know that place as a HUNTED place since kid.. and u see the ruined hause near the beach. some believe it uses to be hundtd too..ahahahaha

  7. yveski said

    It was very nice when we visited in 2008 unfortunately all our pics were corrupted

  8. [...] The lighthouse is an octagonally-shaped tower with the same mechanism found in other lighthouses of its time: a winding machine with a counter weight which enables the lenses of the lantern to rotate. The lantern is fitted with a first order Fresnel Lens that is partially intact. It takes about an hour before the lenses complete their full rotation. Due to an earthquake in 1990, parts of the lenses collapsed and the alignment of the mechanism was displaced. The Coast Guards have retained the original mechanism for historic purposes and only retrofitted the lighting mechanism for its daily operation. (source: Heritage Conservation Society) [...]

  9. [...] has been declared as a National Historical Landmark and a National Cultural Treasure. ( Read More: Heritage Conservation Society – Cape Bojeador Lighthouse ) [...]

  10. sands said

    can you give me a map or instruction on how i can get to this place Cape Bojeador Lighthouse
    Thanks

  11. I stopped by Cape Bojeador during my two-week tour of Northern Luzon. This place begs to be photographed. The view of the sea from the top is magnificent.

  12. Strafe Breaker said

    It’s not that I don’t believe in ghosts or anything, but please be advised that our own senses may sometimes betray us in making us believe that there are actually ghosts in a certain place. Try sitting outside your very own backyard in the middle of the night in total darkness and observe the many sounds that may be very alien to us but if you look closely you will knock yourself in the head to find out that it was just the wind or some stray cat. The place is old and probably had poor building material placed into it and being near the sea where winds are free flowing things can creep up on you especially if you keep thinking you might see ghosts. Who knows it might even be your own heart beat that actually spooked you. lol; Remember “It’s not because you can’t personally explain something, doesn’t mean it cannot be explained”.

  13. orlando said

    anyone who has the master plan of this cape bojeador lighthouse, pls..email me.we need the plans for the restoration, im from the philippine coastguard infrastruction development service.thanks

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