The Cuyo Loop

The Cuyo Loop In October of 2006, I visited the remote islands of Cuyo and Culion in Palawan for a photography assignment and passed Negros and Iloilo in transit. This is my account of that journey.

This is the 1st of a series. For many years, I have set my eyes on the remote island of Cuyo, borne out of curiosity and fascination to this sprinkling of terra firma, located at the northern edge of the Sulu Sea basin between north Palawan in the east and Panay in the west. When the book project Philippine Church Facades by Pedro Galende, OSA, materialized, the fortress churches of Cuyo and Culion were included in the list to be photographed and so, I requested and got the assignment to travel to these places.

When I set to travel to this island, there were only two feasible trips that I can choose: either start from Puerto Princesa City in Palawan or Iloilo City for the twice weekly boat trip between these two provincial capitals. Either way, the two ships that ply the waters stop midway in Cuyo. As it was October, I wanted to witness the Masskara festivities in Negros Occidental’s capital, Bacolod City, and thus, opted for the latter. Seair’s Puerto Princesa – Cuyo flights were no longer running.

This post starts the series of what I will call The Cuyo Loop:

  • Starts from Manila
  • touched down in Iloilo on a Friday
  • spent the weekend in Bacolod for the Masskara
  • back in Iloilo, overnight
  • head to Cuyo for a few days
  • a side trip in Agutaya, another remote island
  • head to Coron for a pump boat trip to Culion, overnight
  • back in Coron for the flight back to Manila

Hope you will enjoy this series as much as I did.

Estan Cabigas is freelance photographer, blogger and writer based in Makati City, the Philippines. A true blue Cebuano, he makes stunning images and meaningful photo stories. His work has been published in local and international publications including National Geographic Magazine, Geo (Germany), Sunday Times Magazine (London) and other publications. He is also a peripatetic traveler and has traveled to all 81 Philippines provinces. I'm open for work, collaborations and inquiries, including hotel, restaurant and site features and reviews.


  1. bleue
    May 16, 2008 @ 1:09

    yay, estan, i’ll be going to coron/culion this june, i can’t wait! hehe!

  2. The Islander
    May 16, 2008 @ 15:18

    witnessing the masskara festival is one of my wishes this year. hope it will be realized. kung magkita ta tawaga lang ko ha. sitsita lang ko. haha

  3. lawstude
    May 17, 2008 @ 6:19

    I heard so much about Cuyo lately. I just can’t wait to see your pics of the place. Have a safe trip always.

  4. tutubi
    May 21, 2008 @ 10:51

    di ko na mahintay yung cuyo island post 😛

  5. estan
    May 21, 2008 @ 11:22

    tutubi, it will be three posts after 🙂

  6. estan
    May 21, 2008 @ 11:24

    bleue, june is just around the corner. goodluck sa trip mo.

    lawstude, maybe it was because of ploning?

    the islander, maayo kung maka adto ka. its a good event. i just hope, i will make it again and won’t loose the photos!

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  9. bleue
    June 22, 2008 @ 18:23

    hi estan, maaayong adlaw, im planning to go to cuyo, i believe is it safe to travel alone, any tip?

  10. estan
    June 24, 2008 @ 13:53

    bleue, its safe going to cuyo and i recommend that you do it when the weather’s good. i’ve prepared a series of posts for this one.

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