Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Faro de Rio de Pasig

Faro de Rio de Pasig, or Pasig River Lighthouse, is the oldest light station built in the Philippines, at the mouth of Pasig River, during the Spanish era. It was first lighted in 1642 during the term of Governador-General Sebastian Hurtado de Corcuera to guide the galleons of the Manila-Acapulco Galleon Trade that were entering the Rio de Pasig or Pasig River.

The 1846 Stone Lighthouse at the mouth of Pasig River
The date of this photo is 1902. Photo was taken by United States Military Personnel. University of Michigan. Special Collections Library

It was only on 1846 that the tower was improved into a 15m grey stone lighthouse when the Manila-Acapulco Galleon trade was at the period of decline and Manila was opened into a broader, more extensive international trade.

The old stone tower of 1846 no longer exist. Like most of the lighthouses in the Philippines, upon the arrival of radar technology as a means of maritime navigation, the Faro de Rio de Pasig was neglected and left into ruins. By 1977, the Philippine Coast Guard, who's now occupying the compound surrounding the old lighthouse, started to renovate the ruined structure.

Still the 1846 lighthouse with the old salambao fishing boats
A new stone lighthouse, which for me has no match with the magnificence of the former structure, was completed in 1992. It is said that the current lighthouse is built on the same foundation of the original 1842 stone tower. Pasig River Lighthouse is still functional and well maintained by the Philippine Coast Guard.

the new lighthouse built by the PCG in 1992
I journeyed into the site of the Pasig River Lighthouse located inside the Philippine Coast Guard Compound at the end of Muelle dela Industria, Binondo, Manila on the 26th of December 2011. I walked through a street found at the north end of Delpan Bridge, came across a neighborhood of slums and shanty houses before I managed to enter the PCG Compound. I just told the guards my real purpose (curiosity and love for Philippine heritage), handed my ID and received my visitor's pass. They allowed me to roam around the Farola and take some snapshots of it.

my first glimpse of the new Farola de Rio de Pasig
I asked the guard if he could unlock the tower's gate so I could climb the top, but he told me that I will need a permit from the PCG office. 
an old canon is found about 3 meters away from the lighthouse
PCG provided the important infos regarding the Pasig River Lighthouse

*thanks to John Tewell for allowing me to use his copies of old lighthouse photos.


Farola Series


  1. When I resigned from work... me and my friend told each other to go around the philippines and have pictures of different lighthouses.... unang lighthouse palang.... naggiveup na yung friend ko...hahahaha.... medyo natakot nung nalaman yung location.... di ba nakakatakot yung location when you went there?

  2. haha, actually natakot din ako habang dumadaan sa squaters area.. pero go langng go, ngiti lang at no show of fear.

  3. Ivan. I am interested to know all about the Farolas (Lighthouses in the Philippine Archipelago). Looking forward with your blogpost.:-).

  4. Wow! hindi ko alam na may lighthouse pala dito sa Metro Manila. Sundan ko itong series mo na ito. :)

  5. hindi ba scary pumunta dyan? baka hindi nako makalabas kung magisa lang ako . Hindi ko talaga alam na may pasig river light house . Galing galing naman ni Ivan ....

  6. sir Bon, Josiah - salamat. excited na rin ako maglakbay dun sa ibang lighthouse na nasa remote areas..

    @chino, haha, medyo lang. pero kaya naman :)

  7. this are my targets.. to get still photos of the magnificent lighthouses in the country..

    if you're going to Malabrigos in Batangas, invite me in.. hehe..

  8. @cesar, sure.. I have plans of visiting the 2 lighthouses in Batangas (malabrigo and Santiago)anytime soon.. feel free to email me if you want to join one of my trips.

  9. Nice one Ivan. This is one of my dreams too, to visit all Spanish Lighthouses in the country. Last year, I remember writing PCG for the permission to visit Rio del pasig, but I didn't get any reply, tapos sa guard lang pala magpapaalam, haha! Great Job! This year I am targeting Lobo, Cabra, the lighhouses in Masbate and the farthest in Merville! Sama ka!

  10. very nice pics and very informative...dito sa albay, marami na rin pumunta dito na turista. hope you visited our place. :)

  11. @kuya angel, lol natawa namn ako dyan.. pupunta din ako sa lobo at malabrigo within the first quarter of the year.. tpos sa Cabra din sa summer naman.. tara lets kuya angel :)

    @Spiky, wow sure, syempre gusto ko bumisita dyan sa Albay lalu pa't home province yan ng aking nanay.

  12. i heard of this light house from a fellow blogger, tutubi, a couple of years. they should have given more care to this one as it is an important landmark. too bad you have to through shanties and squatters to get there.

  13. Ivan, I'm glad to inform you that our group will have a dayhike at Mount Tagapo (Talim Island, Laguna de Bay) on the 15th of this month. Post your contact details on my blog so I can update you.

  14. Ganda ng concept mong to. :) And yeah, the new lighthouse is hideous. Hehe. Will definitely follow this story. :)

  15. Like what I have read above... travel and learn. .. ang ganda ng blog na to.. i like the whole concept and the pics... keep it up.. happy new year. ;)

  16. What a way to start a series. Yung pinaka-oldest agad. Impressive!

    At first, nagataka ako kung saan mo nahalungkat yung mga old photos of the lighthouse. E ayun pala sa baba. Haha. Pero pano mo nahanap si Mr. Pilot? Di ako tsismoso, curious lang. HAHAHA.

    Good luck sa light house adventure mo! :) Sundan ko 'to.

  17. @batang lakwatsero...sige, sama mo rin nanay mo, im sure miss na rin nya ang Albay. then kung may chance, kita tayo. :)

  18. @gladys, yeah. nakakatakot nga at first.

    @Ced, salamat sir. hehe

    @CNA, salamat sayo, happy new year din

    @jubert, haha.. you must see his Flickr album.. punong-puno ng old photos with details..

    @spiky, nako.. ako black sheep ng pamilya.. ako lang ang may hilig sa paglalakbay..

  19. @batang lakwatsero
    hahaha... malamang mapapagod lang mga kapamilya mo.

    ganda nng mga pics mo talaga. i gave up my travel blog kc nawala yung mga pics. was really crushed.


  20. pangarap ko'ng bumisita sa mga parola sana magawa ko hehehe. inadd pala ita sa blogroll at reader ko :)

  21. wow Ivan! ikaw na talaga..

    natawa nmn ako kay kuya angel..haha! na-snob ng PCG, tapos ikaw, sa guard lang..haha!

    great post Ivan subaybayan ko tong lighthouse series mo, sama ako sa adventure mo, would love to join you sa Batangas leg mo!:)

  22. ganda naman ng post mo.i wish we still had some of those original structures.ganda ng mga old photos

    1. salamat sir. yeah, sana nga tlga napreserve yung original structure.

  23. There's something romantic about lighthouses and reading your post about them makes me feel excited to visit one soon. Keep posting wonderful entries and capturing beauty with your lense :)

  24. Main reason kung bakit ako nagtatravel is because of lighthouses. :) Nice post you have here! Nagkaroon ako ng idea kung saan ako pupunta next!

  25. When I travelled for the first time, I encountered a lighthouse. Now the reason why I travel is because I want to see all the lighthouses I can! :) Nice post you have here! :)

  26. hi ivan! i'm have a project on the pasig river lighthouse and i stumbled upon your blog. :) do you think you can help me pinpoint the exact loacation of it in google maps? :s

  27. Hi ivan. I was so inspired by your blogs about lighthouse that i myself got fascinated. Ive been ll over the philippines but never thought that lighthouses were really significant parts of our history. Now i have plans to move around again and visit those lighthouses ive missed. By the way, is it safe to walk alone along muelle dela industria going to Pasig River Lighthouse? Please advice. Im going there on Saturday. Thanks and regards to ypur travels!

  28. Hello Sir, isa lang ba ang existing lighthouse along Pasig River?



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