In late 1800’s, the Spaniards undertook a massive lighting of the major seafare of the country, they identified several strategic points in our seas and created a grand “Master Plan for the lighting of the Maritime Coasts of the Philippine Archipelago”. One that was identified was Malabrigo Point in the southmost tip of the Province of Batangas.
The well-preserved lighthouse in Malabrigo Point
Proudly sprawling on top of a cliff and overlooking Verde Island Passage and Mindoro Island, Faro de Punta Malabrigo or Malabrigo Point Lightouse is one of the few remaining Spanish era lighthouses in the Philippines that are actively used until today and in good state. Thanks to Olympian swimmer and Lieutenant Commander of the Philippine Coast Guard Auxiliary (PCGA) Akiko Thompson and a local citizen organization “Friends of Malabrigo”, who adopted and helped in the preservation of the old structure.
Designed by Spanish Engineer Guillermo Brockman, Faro de Punta de Malabrigo was built of masonry in 1891 and completed in 1896 under Jose Garcia who oversaw the construction of the lighthouse. The whole structure is said to be inspired by Victorian architecture with a cylindrical brick tower rising at 56 feet (17.1 meters) equipped with solar-powered halogen lamp that flashes three white light every 15 seconds. The focal plane (height of the lamp above sea level) is at 184 feet (56 meters). It also has a single-storey keeper’s house and a pavilion made of wood and bricks. It was built primarily to guide the ships traversing Tayabas Bay and the eastern end of Verde Island Passage.
Malabrigo Lighthouse is said to be inspired by Victorian architecture
The lighthouse stood the test of time. It has survived countless storms, earthquakes and even wars. It was heavily damaged during World War II when the American Forces machine-gunned the lighthouse thinking that it was used by the Japanese as a garrison. It was repaired by the Philippine Coast Guard and the Department of Public Works and Highways after the war but was left in neglect afterwards.
In 2004, the Coast Guard signed an agreement with a local group “Friends of Malabrigo” for the restoration, development and preservation of the lighthouse, the result is what we are seeing today – an imposing and well preserved Malabrigo Point Lighthouse that is still functioning as envisioned. It is a national heritage, declared as National Historical Landmark in November 27, 2006 by the National Historical Commission of the Philippines to commemorate it significance in maritime history of the Philippines.
A gate that resembles the one in Capones and Bojeador
Malabrigo Point Lighthouse is just along the road easily accessible from the main town of Lobo which is just approximately six kilometers away, there is no hard trek going there unlike other Spanish era lighthouses in the country. There is no regular public transportation going to Malabrigo Point but a tricycle can be rented to take you there for as low as P100 one-way. What awaits is the imposing beauty of the old yet beautiful lighthouse and the picturesque view that it offers.
The main door of Malabrigo Lighthouse
How to Get to Malabrigo Lighthouse
Take a Batangas City bus from Cubao, Pasay or Alabang and get off at Batangas City Integrated Terminal. From there, take a jeepney to SM City Batangas and get off at the Lobo Jeepney Terminal. Catch a ride there going to Lobo town proper and a trike from Lobo town proper to Malabrigo.