By KC Santos
CUYO, PALAWAN – If you are the travel-cum-water sports addict who likes to stay in a place where there are less people and more of that “stillness”, make this remote island an option when you plan your next getaway.
Cuyo, the oldest town in province, is surrounded by Quiniluban Group of Islands (which includes Pamilacan Island where the world-famous Amanpulo Resort is located) to the north, the reefs of Tubbataha to the south, Panay Island to the east and mainland Palawan on its west.
Once you set foot in the town, expect cheerful Cuyunans to greet you with an enthusiastic “Hello!” while directing you to pension houses nearest from the port.
Travel bloggers say that you can get a surprisingly decent room for just P600 a night, which can go lower depending on your bargaining skills.
The island’s somehow underdeveloped state is precisely what draws visitors.
Those persistent and lucky enough to find the place have only good words to convey about its unexploited flora and fauna.
“Probably the best snorkeling I’ve had in the Philippines to date,” commends Australian Mike Wright, who was so amazed with the untouched corals he saw while snorkeling in the surrounding islands.
His account is a very good read and gives a glimpse on the local way of life in the island. Also, check out his photos of Cuyo Islands on Flickr.
The blog Lakwatsero points out that the best time to visit Cuyo is between November and May when the beaches are calm. Easy weather is ideal for kite-flying or island-hopping but if you’re into extreme water sports, the succeeding rainy season is the best time for windsurfing.
The blog Kitesurfatlas advises windsurfers and kitesurfing enthusiasts to look for Capusan beach in Cuyo town and the neighboring Quijano beach in Magsaysay, where the Quijano Windsurfing Retreat, a nice boutique hotel, can be found. These spots are highly recommended for water sports.
The month of August is also a good time to visit the island because of the festivities held in honor of Saint Agustin, the local patron saint. Expect to see street dancing and colorful parades.
Cuyo, said to be the part of Palawan that is hardest to reach, was also the setting for the local film Ploning. But no film or photograph is sufficient to capture the beauty of this place in its entirety. It’s best to go there and see for yourself.
How to get there:
There are daily flights from Manila to Puerto Princesa in Palawan or Iloilo City. From these locations, you can take a ferry to Cuyo Island. For ferry schedules and where to stay, check out this entry on Lakwatsero.com.
(Photos by Mike Wright taken from Flickr. Kitesurfing photo taken from Kitesurfatlas.com)
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