Jintotolo Lighthouse

IALA Heritage Lighthouse of the Year 2023 Nominee

Location: PHILIPPINES – Region V. Jintotolo Island. Balud. Masbate.

Lighthouse Operator: Philippine Coast Guard

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Source: (photos as submitted to accompany nomination form by Philippine Coast Guard 2023)

Lighthouse Description and History

(Text extracted from nomination form submitted by Philippine Coast Guard 2023)

The Jintotolo Lighthouse in Masbate, Philippines, holds an essential narrative that intertwines history, maritime heritage, and the guiding light that has stood as a symbol of hope for generations.

Nestled on a rugged coastline overlooking the vast expanse of the Pacific Ocean, the Jintotolo Lighthouse emerges as a silent sentinel, a guardian of sailors and a witness to the passage of time. Its story begins in the late 19th century when the need for maritime safety became paramount in the Philippines due to the increasing maritime traffic and the treacherous waters that surrounded the archipelago.

Constructed in the late 1800s during the Spanish colonial period, the Jintotolo Lighthouse was envisioned as a crucial beacon to guide ships through the challenging waters of the Masbate Passage. The lighthouse was strategically positioned atop a picturesque hill, offering an unobstructed view of the sea. Its architecture reflects the colonial influences of the era, showcasing a blend of Spanish design elements combined with functional features that met the demands of maritime navigation.

Throughout its existence, the Jintotolo Lighthouse has witnessed numerous historical events, from the Spanish-American War to the Philippine-American War and beyond. Its beam of light has provided solace to sailors braving storms and rough seas, offering them a glimmer of hope and a sense of direction. The lighthouse keepers, who have dedicated their lives to the maintenance of the light, have become part of the lighthouse’s narrative, upholding a tradition of service that spans generations.

Despite enduring the test of time, the Jintotolo Lighthouse has faced challenges, including natural disasters and the march of progress. Yet, its significance remains undiminished. Local communities hold the lighthouse close to their hearts, recognizing its importance not only as a navigational aid but also as a symbol of their cultural identity and resilience.

In recent years, efforts have been made to preserve and promote the Jintotolo Lighthouse as a historical and cultural landmark. Restoration projects have breathed new life into its weathered walls, and the lighthouse has become a destination for travelers seeking to connect with the Philippines’ rich maritime heritage.

As the Jintotolo Lighthouse stands tall against the backdrop of the endless ocean, its light continues to pierce the darkness, illuminating a narrative that speaks of courage, history, and the enduring spirit of those who have relied upon its guidance. It remains a testament to the shared human endeavor to conquer challenges and navigate uncharted waters, both literally and metaphorically.

Reason For Nomination

(Text extracted from nomination form submitted by Philippine Coast Guard 2023)

Intrinsic Heritage Interest of the Lighthouse

The Faro de Isla Jintotolo built in 1895 and activated in the early 1900s, Jintotolo Island Lighthouse is one of the 24 original first-order lighthouses erected by the Spanish Government in the archipelago. It aims to guide ships traversing Sibuyan Sea, Visayan Sea and Jintotolo Channel.


Structure from which light is projected at night, or which serves as a marker by day, to guide ships sailing in coastal waters. Lighthouses are constructed at important points on a coastline, at entrances to harbours and estuaries, on rocky ledges or reefs, on islands, and even in the water.

Aids To Navigation Purpose

– Warn the mariners of an obstruction

– Allow him to establish his position

– Guide him through a dangerous area

Lighthouse Jintotolo Purpose

– To provide landfall light

– To provide lights guiding ships traversing Sibuyan Sea, Visayan Sea and Jintotolo Channel

– To provide cross bearing capability along primary and secondary route

Public Access and Education

This the home of the century old lighthouse built during the Spanish times which serve as guiding light to sea-farers. The island can be reached via 30 minute boat ride from Bongcanaway port. It has white sand beaches for family picnics and outings. The blue, cool water is deal for snorkelling and scuba diving.

Jintotolo Lighthouse, set in the open water that separates Luzon and Visayas, Jintotolo is a small island composed of two barangays of the Municipality of Balud, Masbate. It is surrounded with rich turquoise water where the inhabitants rely on their livelihood. But aside from its bountiful water and white sand coastline, its most prominent feature is the century-old lighthouse on top of a hill, the highest point of the island.

Photos and Diagrams