Cuyo Island: A Trip To Remember

In Philippines, Travel Guides
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Palawan is known for its beautiful islands and wide range of marine diversity which is the reason why locals and foreigners love to go there and experience this wonderful place. From the crystal clear waters to its amazing landscapes, no wonder why tourists visit there all year round. El Nido and Puerto Princesa are the top most visited place. Island hopping, snorkeling and scuba diving are the main activities on these islands. But there’s an island in Palawan that is not really known to many people which is called Cuyo Island. I, myself didn’t have any idea about this island until a friend took me there.

Cuyo Island, Philippines

Unlike other islands in Palawan, Cuyo Island is not that popular to tourists and some locals, especially to those who live in the cities or in the northern part of the country. It has a clear and still water and a windy weather especially on the month of December to February which is good for kite and wind surfing. The main town is located on the beach with a small market and a school.  One of the main attraction of the island is the St. Augustine Parish Church, a fortress-church which is built to protect the cuyonon people from the moro attacks according to its history. There is a port which connects cuyo to its neighboring islands like Iloilo, by ferry and its just a few steps from the main beach, called Capusan Beach where you can find kite surfers playing with the wind. It has a long and white sandbar to sit and watch the sunset which is my favorite thing to do while I’m there. And there’s a lot more beaches around the island that you can check out. The island also has a small airport which serves flights twice a week from Puerto Princesa to Cuyo and vice versa.

It is a good place if you want to get away from the stressful environment of the city or if you want to enjoy a quiet and peaceful place with not so many tourists around. Plus the locals are really friendly.

Surfer on his kite playing with the wind on Capusan Beach ( photo credited to my friend Shanina )

A Trip To Remember

You can either get to the island by plane with Air Juan flights from Puerto Princesa  or take a ferry from Manila. As for me and my friends, we chose to take a plane from Manila to Iloilo. And took a ferry from there to the island which we recommend if you want to take a visit.

So after an hour flight from Manila to Iloilo city, we did our little explorations in the town. And we bought our tickets the day before our trip from the ticketing office of  Montenegro Shipping Lines  which you could find in the port of Iloilo.  When everything were set, we went back to our hotel and spent the night in the city, set ourselves ready for the trip on the next day.

Chilling while waiting for the ferry to take off.. ( Port of Iloilo )

Chilling while waiting for the ferry to take off..       ( Port of Iloilo )

On the day of the travel, we packed our stuff and head to the port where the ferry was loading passengers and getting ready for the cruise. After an hour of waiting, off we go. It was a pleasant day and the waves were not so big. I’m lucky that i did not get sea sick. It was a nine-hour cruise on the ferry, but we enjoyed it because of the beautiful views that we saw along the way.

We arrived at the Cuyo port at 9pm where one of our friends was already waiting for us. We stayed at PSU Hometel which is located within Palawan State University campus along Capusan Beach, PHP 200 a night for a fan bedroom. Because everyone was tired and hungry from a long cruised, we threw our stuff in the room and we went out to have some dinner. It was not a usual dinner like i expected that you had to go to a restaurant and ordered your food. We went to the market that is next to the hometel, and there, we met the lady whose going to make our dinner. She’s quite popular to most of the tourist in the area because of the tasty and cheap foods that she served. So, we had our dinner on the benches under the trees near the beach together with the locals and other tourists. After we had our dinner, we joined a group of kite surfers who invited us to have some drinks with them.

Kite surfers preparing for the tournament at Capusan Beach

Kite surfers preparing for the tournament at Capusan Beach

The next day was the Kite Surfing Tournament day. My friend’s brother was one of the competitors and won third place in their category. It was my first time to see such tournament and i didn’t have any idea about the sport. And it was awesome. I even tried to learn it but it was not easy. So, if you’re interested in this kind of sport and if you wanted to learn, there were kite surfing trainers in the island whom you could ask to teach you but its not for free, of course.  After the awarding, the day ended with a celebration.

Awarding after the competition..

Awarding after the competition..

On the next day, we rented motorbikes and strolled around the island for PHP 200 a day. We also did some ‘photo shooting’ on the beach and inside the school premises. Anyway, it was already the end of school year so the school was empty.

Picture taking on Capusan Beach

Picture taking on Capusan Beach

We continued our explorations on the island on the following day. We packed our cameras and other stuff, and we went on an island hopping for a day which was organized by our friend Shanina who lived in the island. It was not a smooth ride on the small boat but it was really worth it when we arrived to our destinations. We settled on Cocoro Island to have our lunch and we met some locals in there who cooked the rice for us because we forgot to bring some. After our lunch, we went for a swim even it was so hot under the sun.

Fun time.

Fun time.

Our next stop was Tagawayan Island, and we did a bit of a hike up on the hill. I got cuts and bruises but its really worth it when we arrived at the top and saw the beautiful view. And of course, we did a lot of picture takings before we left the island.

View from above the hill.

View from above the hill at Tagawayan Island.

The sun was setting already when we decided to go back. I got a very bad sun burn  but its all worth it. On the way back, we saw a couple of dolphins not far away from our boat. That was an unforgettable moment for me. When we arrived in our hotel, we washed ourselves, watched the sunset and had some dinner. It was nice to end that day with some glass of beer.

Sun setting on our way back to Cuyo Island.

Sun setting on our way back to Cuyo Island.

I stayed for few more days before I went back home to Manila. It was an awesome experience for me. And if you’re going to asked me if I wanted to go back ? Definitely, yes ! It was not an easy journey but everything was all worth it. I enjoyed every day that i spent in the island. I just hope that all those people in the island and the future visitors will contribute on preserving the beauty of it, and also help promote the amazing places in the Philippines. See you on the next trip. Cheers !

 

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