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.
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.
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.
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.
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. Bancas 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.
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 located at the Quijano beach in Magsaysay in front of the Quijano Windsurfing Retreat. Excellent snorkelling conditions.
There is a small airstrip in Magsaysay of Cuyo island. In late 2008 Sea Air has suspended all flights to Cuyo. The length of the runway of the Cuyo airport has since been expanded and further constructions are planed. At present it is not known at what date commercial flight to Cuyo will again be resumed
Access to Cuyo Island (November 2009):
Planes from Manila Airport (Terminal Two) to Puerto Princesa or Iloilo
Boat service several times a week from Puerto Princesa and Iloilo to Cuyo Island
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
Currently there are only few accomodations available on Cuyo island (November 2009)
Nikki's Pension in Cuyo town: 6 rooms with tv, aircon, cold shower, 4 rooms with fan, restaurant
Feroland Hotel in Cuyo tow: 8 rooms with tv, hot and cold shower, airconditioning, restaurant
Currently there is only one Beach Resorts on Cuyo Island
Quijano Windsurfing Retreat in Magsaysay at the Quijano beach, Cuyo Island: three great cottages, windsurfing storage& facilities
Beach Resort under construction:
The resort project by the Australian Ross Pelgrave in Magsaysay beach is since 9 years under construction
- "A Brief History of Cuyo, Palawan.” In Cuyo Press (Accessed 6 August 2009)
- “Cuyo Islands.” In Palawan.net (Accessed 6 August 2009)
- "Terminal Management Office of Cuyo: Fact Sheet.” PPA.com (Accessed 6 August 2009)