Northeast Cay

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Northeast Cay / Parola island (Tagalog: Parola; Chinese: 北子島; pinyin: Beizi Dao; Vietnamese: Đảo Song Tử Đông) is the fifth largest Spratly island and the third largest among Philippine-occupied Spratly islands.

Its land area is 12.7 hectares. It is only 1.75 miles (2.82 km) north of Vietnamese-occupied Southwest Cay (Pugad Island) and it can be seen before the horizon. It is located 28 miles (45 km) northwest of Philippine-occupied Pag-asa (Thitu) Island close to Pugat island.[1] This island is administered by the Philippines as part of Kalayaan, Palawan. Parola is the Tagalog (adapted from Spanish language) word for a lighthouse. This island is also claimed by the People's Republic of China, Republic of China (Taiwan) and Vietnam.


Some of Parola's outcrops are visible on its western side. It has high salinity groundwater and vegetation limited to beach type of plants. The corals around the island were mostly destroyed by rampant use of dynamite fishing and cyanide method employed by fishing boats in the past. It is covered with grass and thick trees. Much of the fringing reef is above water at high tide. It supported a beacon in 1984. It also has guano deposits.


In 1933, the French Government decided to take official possession of the islands of Spratley include Northeast Cay and Southwest cay. Three ships, the Alerte, the Astrobale and the De Lanessan took part in the expedition. The following are relevant quotations from an account given by H. Cucherousset in L'Eveil economique de l'Indochine (No. 790 of May 28, 1933):

"Further north still, at the level of Nhatrang, is the atoll named "North Danger", the Alerte took possession of two sandy islands (cayes) where it found some Japanese fishing. The De Lanessan went there too and explored the little island. The latter is perceptibly higher than the others, the highest point reaching 5 metres. The phosphate beds are considerable and were much exploited by the Japanese."

After possession had been taken, the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs published the following notice in the French Journal Officiel dated July 26, 1933 (page 7837)

"Notice concerning the occupation of certain islands by French naval units.

The French government has caused the under mentioned isles and islets to be occupied by French naval units:

Group of two islands situated at latitude 111o29' north and longitude 114o21' east of Greenwich, with their dependent isles (36) (Possession taken April 10, 1933).

The above-mentioned isles and islets henceforward come under French sovereignty (this notice cancels the previous notice inserted in the Official Journal dated July 25, 1933, page 7784).

In 1939, Japan occupied these islands until the end of World War II.

In 1956, French transferred these islands to South Vietnam.

In 1959, South Vietnam Government renamed "Song Tử" (meaning twin because two islands very similar together) with "Tây" (meaning west) and "Đông" (meaning East) to identify them.They was annexed to Phuoc Tuy province, South Vietnam.

On May 24, 1963, the sovereignty steles were rebuilt on Song Tu Dong (North East Cay) and Song Tu Tay (South West Cay) by crew members of the three vessels Huong Giang, Chi Lang and Ky Hoa of the South Vietnam.

In 1968, Philippines troop occupied Northeast Cay (Parola Island, Song Tu Dong) and Southwest Cay (Pugad Island, Song Tu Tay). In 1975, Southwest Cay was captured by South Vietnam and was taken over by later unified Vietnam. The Philippines continued to occupying the Northeast Cay until now.

Parola Island can be considered as the second top priority of the Philippines for protection, after Pagasa Island, since it is very near Vietnamese-occupied Pugad Island. There are only one to two structures in this island that serve as shelters of the soldiers.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Campbell, Eric (20 May 2014). "Reef Madness". ABC News. Retrieved 23 May 2014. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 11°27′N 114°21′E / 11.450°N 114.350°E / 11.450; 114.350