If Cape Bojeador Lighthouse guides ships on the northwestern corner of Luzon, then Cape Engaño Lighthouse (Wikipedia) is its metaphorical sibling, guiding ships on Luzon’s northeastern frontier. This Spanish-era lighthouse, built in 1888 and first used in 1892, sits atop a hill on the northernmost point of Palaui Island in Santa Ana, Cagayan.
The lighthouse and cape on which it stands was named “Engaño” supposedly because the Spaniards found the location picturesque. And from the lighthouse’s location, you get a splendid view of the ocean, Palaui Island, and the Dos Hermanas islands to the north. The 14.3-meter-high lighthouse, with its light set at 96.3 meters above sea level, guided ships as they sailed through the Babuyan Channel. It was actively maintained until the early 1980s and is now under the administration of the Philippine Coast Guard, which has installed a solar-powered light to minimize maintenance costs.
Sadly, while the lighthouse is still functional, the structure itself is in a great state of decay with the original lightroom gone and the surrounding buildings no longer habitable. Hope is not lost, however, as the provincial government of Cagayan is keen on developing Santa Ana as an ecotourism zone and with an eye in the future to restoring the lighthouse to its former glory.
If you are interested to visit this landmark, it is reachable by a boat ride from mainland Santa Ana. You can either opt to cross over to Palaui Island’s eastern coast and then take a few hours trek through the island, or you can take a longer boat ride to the northern side and then take a short walk up to the lighthouse. A travel account by my friend Ervin would be a good read if you want to learn more about visiting Cape Engaño.