Spanish Lighthouse on Cabra Island - Jan.2010


Cabra Island Lighthouse lantern room

The Cabra lighthouses are located about 75 km from Manila. The original lighthouse was built by the Spaniards in 1889, to mark the passage from the South China Sea, to the Verde passage through the center of the Philippines archipelago.

The lantern room pictured on the left is mounted on an approximately 20 m cylindrical tower originally painted white. The white light occulted about every 5 seconds.

Above the lantern is a dome made of metal and the interior and exterior of it is clad with copper. Above the dome is a ball vent through which air can pass. Finally there is a wind vane topped by a lightening rod

In the interior of the dome, beneath the top, can be seen a large concave dish surrounding the event tube. This concave dish caught any condensation that formed in the top of the lantern. Beneath the lens was a service room that contained clockwork mechanisms for rotating the optics.


To get to Cabra Island from Lubang Island, there is a public boat from Tagbac that leaves daily at 1p.m. and returns the next day.

Most people hire a boat - for four people this costs about P1500 for the round trip from Tagbac.

For information on ferries from Batangas to Lubang see my page:

Cabra Island Lighthouse Details
Tree roots at Cabra Island Lighthouse

The newer solar powered lighthouse was operational circa 2000 and is situated about 100m from the previous one - originally called "Faro de la Isla de Cabra".

The old lighthouse is in a poor state of repair, and there are warning notices not to enter the interior of what was the single story lighthouse keepers residence. Apparently the spiral staircase has partly collapsed.

2006 Cabra Island Lighthouse Stamp

"FARO DE PUNTA CABRA, Isla de Cabra, Lubang, Mindoro Occidental - Straddling the edge of this flat island, the lighthouse of Cabra, built in 1889 is situated in a surreal bucolic setting of peanuts and the sea, the impoverished island and another 30 minutes banca ride to the island of Cabra. Cabra lighthouse is one of the few lighthouses in the country that still contains its entire original fitting including its 19th century furniture."

From an article by philatelist Dr. Ngo TiongTak

"After the replacement, the lighthouse was abandoned and left open for thieves and vandals. The expensive first-order lens were vandalized with the large front Fresnel lenses all gone." (Note: This can be seen in the top left photo.)


For more information on Fresnel Lenses at the bottom of this page: FRESNEL

Cabra Lighthouse - left rear corner
Plaque on the 1899 Lighthouse, Cabra Island

"The original bronze marker were stolen by thieves and is now replaced by the locals with a white board with the original inscriptions. The roof of the keeper's house and utility rooms have since collapsed."

Reference: (26 Dec.2015)

Entrance to living quarters of the Cabra Island Lighthouse Keeper
Back view of Lighthouse Keepers quarters - Cabra Island
View from the new lighthouse side of the old installation - Cabra Island
1899 Cabra Island lighthouse kitchen area
1899 Cabra Island Lighthouse - Power House area
Entrance to the lighthouse keepers quarters.
Interior passageway in th lighthouse keepers quarters


Fresnel Lense description

"A Fresnel lens is a compact, lightweight redesign of a conventional lens - an invention attributed to French physicist Augustin-Jean Fresnel."

"Where a conventional lens may be thin in places and thick in others, the Fresnel lens has rectangular chunks of "zone" - rings - of the thick parts of the lens, removed to give a flatter (and so lighter) lens performing the same function. A small redesign of the curvature of each chunk may be necessary to compensate for the thinner material."

"... Lighthouse lenses are usually of Fresnel design, and made in many small prismatic sections - to save weight and make construction simpler."


"The original light (Cabra Island Lighthouse), visible for 25 nautical miles (29 mi; 46 km), was shown from a 67-foot (20 m) high square tower on the west angle of the station. It is visible around the entire horizon except where obscured by Lubang and Ambil Islands."


Inchkeith Lighthouse FresnelLens

The lens pictured on the left is a first order Fresnel Lens - the same type as at Cabra Lighthouse. This has a focal length of 920mm (36.22 inches) and a height of 2.59 meters (8.5 feet).

There is a Fresnel lens on 8 sides of the lamp, with prisms (curved chunks of glass) mounted above and below the lens to pull in light rays that deviate further from the central axis.

"The lens rotates and has a number of bullís-eye lens panels that create beams of concentrated light (an eight-panel lens produces eight beams). As the lens rotates, the beams successively pass the view of the mariner giving what appears as a flash of light followed by darkness."

"Beneath the flashing Fresnel lens are several unusual mechanisms used to rotate and control the lens. The lens will be found to be supported on wheels, ball bearings, or on mercury contained in a large metal tub."


Augustin Fresnel

       For an excellent description of a Fresnel Lantern installation see: (United States Lighthouse Society)

Lighthouse Lantern
Cabra Island First Order Lighthouse


General Reference: Lighthouses for Kids: History, Science, and Lore with 21 Activities By Katherine L. House