Cuyo Island

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Cuyo Island is the major island of the Cuyo Island group that is part of an archipelago off the coast of Palawan Island in the Mimaropa region of the Philippines. This archipelago in the Sulu Sea is subdivided into the Quniluban group to the north and the Cuyo Island group to the south. Consisting of around 45 small islands, the Cuyo Island group is known for the beautiful coral reefs, clear water, beaches with powdery sand, and a number of historic attractions. Along with Bisucay, Caponayan, Lubid, Agutaya, and Manamoc, Cuyo is one of the few inhabited islands in the group. There are two towns on Cuyo Island: Magsaysay and Cuyo. The principal town, Cuyo, is located on the western side of the island.

Contents

Location

The Cuyo Islands are located in the Sulu Sea, east of Palawan and southwest of Panay. The main island, Cuyo, lies 174.5 nautical miles from Puerto Princesa City, the provincial capital of Palawan.

Physical features

The island of Cuyo is approximately 50 square kilometers in land area. Its terrain is rocky and hilly. Its 3 main hills are Aguado, Kayamanis, and Bonbon.

Inhabitants

The people who inhabit Cuyo, Busuanga, and Agutaya are known as Cuyonen or Cuyunon. They are believed to be Malay in origin. Most of them rely on agriculture or fishing for their livelihood and practice Christianity with a blend of animistic practices. Their dialect, known as Cuyunon, is spoken not only in the Cuyo Islands but on the coast of Palawan.

Attractions

With its rich coral reefs, Cuyo is a good place for snorkeling. It is known for its attractive beaches with soft white or gold sand and clear waters in varied shades of blue and green. Bangka0s are available for island hopping. One of popular islands to visit is Pandan Island, an uninhabited volcanic rock island with a narrow beach with golden sand. Seland Island has a lovely beach and, along with Bisucay Island, it is a good place for snorkeling.

The Aguado hill, a 10-minute tricycle ride from Cuyo town, is a good place to climb to see a panoramic view of the entire island. For historic attractions, visitors should explore Cuyo town, an old fishing village with a fort dating back to the Spanish era. The fort was built in 1677 to protect the people from the Muslim pirates plying the Sulu Sea. Within the high stone walls can be found a church, a convent, and a chapel as well.

Protected Marine Area The sea along Coco Verde Beach has been designated a Protected Marine area and is ideal for snorkeling. The reef is easily accessible lying about 100m offshore. Maximum depth is 5m/15ft depending on tidal conditions.

Windsurfing at the Quijano Beach in Cuyo Island: The Philippines is considered by many people to be perhaps the best place for windsurfing in the whole of Asia – and Cuyo island the ultimate choice for those dedicated windsurfers who come to the Philippines since many years. Most of the windsurfers stay in small hotels or private homes in Cuyo town with a bay for windsurfing – although somehow with off shore wind keeping kiters away. But for those few who like to combine the excitement of surfing with the tranquillity of a beautiful beach with untouched nature – the ultimate choice is the Quijano Windsurfing Retreat located in Magsaysay at the Quijano beach. The wind blows on shore slightly from the left, permitting long rides inside the bay or going over the reef into the waves. Those who consider themselves mediocre windsurfers find ideal conditions to practice the water start in chest deep crystal clear water in a pristine landscape with green hills and several island in view.

Quijano Windsurfing Retreat: The Quijano Windsurfing Retreat is located in an unspoiled nature at a sand beach lined with palm trees with beautiful cottages built at the foot of a small hill covered with trees. The concept of the Quijano Windsurfing Retreat is to provide just a couple of cottages for few visiting windsurfers. It is a place that invites you for beautiful hikes through a pristine landscape. However, you must bring your own boards and sails as there is no windsurf rental facilities in Cuyo Island. Nevertheless the Quijano Windsurfing Retreat provide storage facilities to surfers who visit Quijano beach just for the day and return in the evening to Cuyo, which is a beautiful twenty minutes ride with a motor bike through a lush green landscape with lots of smiling people.

Windsurf Seasons: The weather in the Philippines has two principal seasons named after the particular winds known as Amihan and Habagat. For the windsurfers it is the Amihan season which brings them year after year back to Cuyo island. The Amihan season lasts from late October to March and is characterized by moderate temperature, rarely any rainfall, and almost daily a wind from the Northeast. This is in contrast to the hot Habagat season with frequent rainfall that lasts about from April to September. During this time the wind blows very moderate from the west with few chances to go windsurfing. In Cuyo town the wind blows during the winter season offshore and but still provides good spots for beginners. Only a handful of other windsurfers will be sharing this slalom blaster's heaven with you. Windsurfers on the island come from a great diversity of countries – you could be sailing with a Filipino, Korean, Swiss, Australian and Brit, all in the same day. If you look for the best among few come to Cuyo.

Fish Sanctuary: There is a protected fish sanctuary No Fishing Zone located at the Quijano beach in Magsaysay in front of the Quijano Windsurfing Retreat. Excellent snorkeling conditions when no kitesurfers are present.

Heritage Trees Along the shore of Coco Verde Beach are numerous protected hardwood trees known locally as dangkalan. Two are estimated to be 200+ years old. The wood from these trees is highly prized for boat building and though pinkish in color is very similar to apple in it's grain structure and hardness. Being extremely resistant to harsh coastal conditions, they make an ideal canopy for absorbing the hot midday sun and for capturing the delightfully captivating sea breezes.

Getting there

Contact Air Juan for up-to-date flight schedule information to Cuyo three time per week. Bookings can be made thru : florabel18cycom@gmail.com or nackslandcuyo@gmail.com Phone (63) 0918 639 9843

By boat to Cuyo [Updated 23 May 2012]

Boat service several times a week from Puerto Princesa and Iloilo to Cuyo Island [Inquiries about timetable/schedule should be made in advance]. Kindly check day, times of departure and arrival

Puerto Princesa to Cuyo Island

Montenegro Shipping Lines Dep. Monday 19.00 arriving Tuesday 09.00

Milagrosa Shipping Lines Dep. Thursday 15.00 arriving Friday morning / Dep. Sunday 15.00 arriving Monday morning

Cuyo Island to Puerto Princesa

Montenegro Shipping LinesDep. Saturday 21.00 arriving Sunday 10.00

Milagrosa Shipping Lines Dep. Thuesday 15.00 arriving Wednesday morning / Dep. Friday 15.00 arriving Saturday morning

Iloilo to Cuyo Island

Montenegro Shipping Lines Dep. Saturday 08.00 arriving Saturday evening

Milagrosa Shipping Lines Dep. Monday 19.00 arriving Tuesday morning / Dep. Thursday 19.00 arriving Friday morning

Cuyo Island to Iloilo

Montenegro Shipping Lines Dep. Tuesday 12.00 arriving Tuesday 22.00

Milagrosa Shipping Lines Dep. Friday 17.00 arriving Saturday morning / Dep. Monday 17.00 arriving Tuesday morning

There are also weekly boat services from Manila to Cuyo Island

Manila – Coron (Palawan) – Cuyo (M/V D’Asean Journey (Port Area Gate 1 near Delfan Port)

Manila – Coron Sunday 16.00 arriving Monday AM

Coron – Cuyo Monday 17.00 arriving Tuesday AM

Cuyo – Coron (Palawan) – Manila (M/V D’Asean Journey (Port Area Gate 1 near Delfan Port)

Cuyo – Coron Wednesday 23.00 pm arriving Thursday AM

Coron – Manila Thursday PM arriving Friday PM


Accomodations

Coco Verde Beach Resort [1] Located on the island's southshore and noted for it's delightful setting on a private, remote stretch of white sandy beach on which numerous protected hardwood trees grow among the many gracefully swaying coconut palms. Island hopping, swimming and snorkeling are the primary local pastimes. The covered, open-air restaurant offers a full breakfast menu plus a healthy fusion of pot-luck dishes at moderate prices. 24-hour advance reservation for non-guests applies. A well-equipped bar with full-time power from mains not available on the eastern shore is backed-up by generator. Transportation options include motorcycle rental and a jitney 4x4 mini-truck for pier or airport pick-ups and island tour. Bangka boats depart from the beach for excursions to nearby uninhabited islands accompanied by fully qualified crew. Inquire ahead. Snorkeling gear is available for a small fee however bringing your own is recommended. Year-round nipa and bamboo garden cottages w/shared facilities STANDARD(5):P450 / FAMILY(1): P750. Contact Rashel: (63) 0930 097 6397 or Alan: (63) 0948 711 2042

Feroland Hotel Tenga Tenga near the public market: 8 rooms with tv, hot and cold shower, air-conditioning. Contact 0921 790 4848

PSU Baywatch Branch Campus on Capusan Public Beach. 1 air-con room and 4 fan rooms. Contact 0918 477 0102

Apohlic Pension Cabibsing. 3 fan rooms & communal kitchen. Contact 0918 501 2315

Discovery Bay Resort Tabunan. 6 air-con/fan rooms & 4 nipa huts. Contact 0905 271 1089 or 0947 800 9121

Quijano Windsurfing Retreat in Magsaysay at the Quijano beach, Cuyo Island: three great cottages, windsurfing storage& facilities[2]

Villa Gange Catadman. 6 air-con rooms, 4 fan rooms and communal kitchen. Often fully booked during Nov-Mar windsurfing season. Contact 0916 502 9397

Nikkis Pension Near the pier and public market. 6 rooms with tv and air-con, 4 fan rooms, cold shower & fast-food restaurant. Also often full.

References

Citation

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