Farola Series: Faro de Cabo Engaño (Palaui Island Lighthouse)

Cape Engaño Lighthouse
Cape Engaño Lighthouse
Cape Engaño Lighthouse

The northeastern most tip of the main island of Luzon harbors a lonely yet beautiful sentinel of the sea – the lighthouse of Palaui Island, officially named Cape Engaño Lighthouse or Farol de Cabo Engaño by the Spaniards.

The lighthouse of Cape Engaño is situated on top of a hill, overlooking a beautiful cove, a rolling hill reminiscent of Batanes landscapes, the nearby islands of Dos Hermanas and the vast sea where Pacific Ocean and Babuyan Channel meet. It was built in 1888 and first used on December 30, 1892 to guide ships entering and leaving the coastal towns of Sta. Ana specially those vessels using Port Irene and San Vicente Port, and those traversing the Babuyan Channel and Philippine Sea.

Cape Engaño Lighthouse
The ruined keeper’s house

History tells that it is one of the four gateway lighthouses in the Philippines designated by the Spaniards and one of the 27 Major Lighthouses of the Philippines in Miguel A. Sánchez Terry’s book Faros Españoles de Ultramar, a listing of all lighthouses built by Spaniards in Cuba, Puerto Rico and the Philippines, published in Spain in 1992.

Cape Engaño Lighthouse
The old octagonal stone tower

Like all other Spanish colonial lighthouses in the country, the lighthouse of Cape Engaño has a keeper’s house which is now in ruins. Its old octagonal stone tower, standing at 47 feet or 14.5 meters, is still intact but the original lantern was already removed and replaced with a solar-powered light. Its focal plane (height of the lamp above sea level) is at 316 feet or 96.3 meters that flashes white light every five seconds and can be seen within 8 nautical miles radius.

The lighthouse is accessible by boat from the community in Palaui island or by trekking for at least two hours in the densely forested area of the island.

Cape Engaño Lighthouse
Perched on  top of a hill, surrounded by green vegetation

How to Get There

Barangay San Vicente in the town of Sta. Ana is the jump-off point to the island of Palaui. In San Vicente port, there are fishing boats that can be chartered for a short ride to the island. Cost is P600 back and forth, for a boat that can fit up to six people, travel time is half an hour at most. These fishing boats are not in the concrete pier (where the bigger boats to Calayan and Camiguin dock) but on the beach side. San Vicente is a short trike ride from Sta. Ana town proper (P15.00 per passenger).

Going to Sta. Ana from Manila, catch a direct Florida Liner bus that goes directly there. Daily trips of Florida Liner to Sta. Ana leave Sampaloc at 12PM and 3PM. Alternatively, one can either take a plane or a bus (P575.00 for Victory Liner as of June 2011) going to Tuguegarao and transfer to a van (P180.00 as of June 2011) or bus (P185.00 as of December 2010) going to Sta. Ana. Travel time is two hours.

Cape Engaño Lighthouse
A beautiful cove below the lighthouse’s hill


  1. Macsi

    I was googling the Philippines and saw Cape Engano then i found your blog, now I really want to go. Some place distant and away from the hustle and bustle of the city.

  2. Leoj

    Hi, we are planning to visit Palaui Nov 27-dec 31! Do u have contact person there with active contact number? thanks!

  3. Thanks for featuring our place! 🙂

  4. RAlph


    Good day, just wanted to ask kung kaya ikutin to ng 2 days?

    1. Yes, kaya naman 🙂

  5. nacucurious ako kung naka0ilang lighthouse ka na kuya angel. gusto ko mapuntahan yung nasa dulo ng palawan.. yung mataas na lighthouse sa Melville.

    1. Pareng Yam, meet Ivan. Mahilig din sya sa mga lighthouse and dream nya din mapuntahan lahat ng lighthouse sa Pinas. Sya yung sinasabi ko sa iyong baka makasama sa Lubang bukod kay Gael 🙂

      Ivan, meet Yam, lighthouse addict din yan 🙂

      Ivan, sama ka sa amin ni Yam. Pangarap namin ang Melville, dapat sana this year pero unahin na mnuna namin ang Lubang. Join us in Lubang. Tentatively on June 29-July 1 🙂

  6. Ganda nung cove photo, nganga aq sa kulay at linaw;), never been to north luzon sana this year matuloy, luv reading ur posts lakwatsero;)

  7. Farola Series: Umpisa Na! 🙂

    1. Hehe, actually early last year pa ito nagstart, now ko lang naipagpatuloy. Post mo na din iyong iyo. I am planning to fly to Roxas pala next month, to see the one in Estancia, then will catch a boat to Jintotolo and onward to Aroroy 🙂

      1. Hala, hindi nagyaya! 🙂

        Wishing you a fair weather bro

        1. Haha, sama ka if you are free. Solo flight pa lang ako. Either June, July or August pala. Medyo mahaba habang byahe nga lang 🙂

          1. Lubang is tentatively set on June 29-July 1 ha 🙂

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