2013-01-10

Cuyo islands basic info package 2013, January

I made this trip in the beginning of January 2013, and I hope it will help a fellow travelers in search of information. Updated July 2015. 

Cuyo islands now in FB ~ Loveliest Cuyo Archipelago Palawan 

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We took the ferry from Coron, Busuanga island and the route is served by J.V. Serrano Shipping Lines that accepts cargo and passengers. The boat name is M/V "D" Sea Journey, or Asian Journey that goes with the name of Journey Ferry. There is a ticket office in Coron port. This iPad sucks in the sense that I can only add photos of the office in the end of the text and not in between... What happened was that it was a New Year week and most offices had strange opening hours. J went to port, I went diving and he was taken to the house of the office lady to hear they will be open again on next Monday. We bought the tickets on on Monday and I was surprised to be asked: "Mam, how young are you?" After telling them and spelling my name to the ladies behind the counter I was told the age of the other lady. Nice, now I know that the lady writing the tickets on the port of Coron town is 43, but I still do not know why they need the age of the passengers and not the birth date.

The schedule had changed due the bad weather. Instead of Monday at noon, the journey was delayed to Tuesday at 3pm. When we arrived to port in in time and in good faith, the ship had still not arrived. That happened around 3.30pm and we waited in the waiting room with a fan. Before we were allowed to waiting room, we paid 20PHP terminal fee per person and took our backpacks through the security. We were allow to board at 6pm. On the boat it was a lot of time to eat (free meal with the ticket) and read and wait. We finally left Coron at 23pm. There was a canteen onboard selling water bottles 25PHP, cup noodles and later in the evening cold beer 50PHP. We had taken the tourist class ticket 950PHP and our room had bunk beds also with a HEAVY air con. We decided to sleep outside in warmth since there was some benches and a bed out there. Arrival to Cuyo Wharf was at around 8am.

It was very hard to get ANY information about the islands. (Cuyo is a cluster of islands between main island of Palawan and Panay islands, and most of the fish in Manila area is coming from this area or from main Palawan) It seems that none of the so called travel bibles (Lonely Planet, Rough Guides) give you no idea about Cuyo, and now I start to think that maybe it is better so. Only few people find their way in here and personally I wish not to see this place crowded, polluted and exploited. Most of the foreign people in here are dedicated kite surfers who end up staying here longer than expected because of the chilled atmosphere and excellent wind conditions almost every day. Capusan beach is right next to Cuyo Wharf where boats dock, and the sand is soft and it is nice for swimming (no sea urchins) as well as kite surfing. During our stay we were the only Finnish people around, though there had been a group of 9 Finns departing a week before our arrival.

The life is simple and laid back. The meal costs vary from 20-75PHP per person, the accommodation starts roughly from 100PHP per night in a common room. Accommodation  list is in the end of this blog entry.

There is no ATM. There are several pharmacies, hospital (with emergency room open all times), post office, small shops, busy market place and a bigger supermarket called Charlie's on Juan Luna Street with Western Union money transfer and US $ exchange inside. The "nightlife" is in a very compact area on the beach front (Nikki's complex bar, including pool tables and another videoke bar next door) and other eateries are open from early morning to evening, you need to eat before 8 pm, unless you eat at Nikki's. You can buy beer and other spirits later in the evening near the local market. Coco Verde has occasional barbecue evenings at their premises. Most of the people speak good English and kids want to practice their skills.

The weather is very pleasant (wind chill factor) but can also cause some sun burns to white men since you simply forget to put on sun lotion, especially when it is overcast. There are mosquitoes, that can be an issue indoors, outdoors they are just carried away with the wind. There are also sand flies, as usual in a place where there is a sand beach, and the cure for them (from what I have learned during my travels) is to carry mosquito repellent that also has extra effectiveness against ticks. DEET of course and I feel bad to put it on, since it is a danger to the sea creatures in the end.

Most of the info about the islands before I arrived was from these sources (thanks to all of these writers) and it's worth checking out these following pages as well before you go. LoneRider was here in Jan -12, the rest of these following bloggers before, but a little seems to have changed. I am not going to bore you here with writing the same stories you can get from the internet anyways.

http://www.lakwatsero.com/destinations/cuyo/
http://www.ambot-ah.com/day-cuyo-island/
http://www.tools4fools.info/Philippines/CuyoREPORT.html
http://www.thelonerider.com/2012/jan/cuyo/cuyo.shtml
http://wikitravel.org/en/Cuyo_Islands

Then you can also check some kitesurfing sites, which can give you more info about the conditions in here about that matter, but I am not an expert on that topic. There is a kitesurfing rental store and lessons at the beachfront. Check cuyokitesurf.wordpress.com for more info.

The most accurate info about travel connections was actually on the Quijano Windsurfing Retreat pages and they keep updating their sites frequently compared to the schedules on the shipping lines. BUT, be sure to go and ask EVERY TIME, since the travels depend HEAVILY on the weather. The shipping lines serving the routes to Cuyo are Montenegro and Milagrosa to/from Iloilo/Puerto Princesa and Journey Ferry serves Manila-Coron-Cuyo and vice versa.

Accommodation

In Coron Tourism Office I was given a nice folded piece of paper with all accommodation in whole Palawan in year 2012, which is great, but there was some additions to that too in Cuyo. Amanpulo luxury resort island is not in this listing since I think the people reading this blog are more or less people with tighter budget. First night we spent at Feroland Hotel in fan room, which was nice, but the next day we moved to the beach front to Nikki's Pension House where most foreigners go. We felt it was at the moment better place, since it has free wifi and big common area where the people can spend time instead of staying in the room. They also have a restaurant and bar, and you can add your consumed refreshment on your room bill.

The tricycle drivers will know where the places are or you can call in advance since most of them does not have web pages, but I am not sure if the numbers given are accurate. Walk in is always the best option. Walking around the town revealed that there are some places to rent/buy if you want to stay longer. if you are interested what to do in Cuyo islands, see my post in here.

Tenga-Tenga (Cuyo city area, really near to the pier)
Balai Seafront Inn, 09126433703
Ellen's Boarding House, 09493699478
Feroland Hotel, 09217904848
Nikki's Pension House, 0920876008/ 09153865201
CCS Home Economics, 09394849397
Irene's Lodge, on Sandoval street (walked by one day)
Chowtime Lodge, on San Agustin Street (walked by one day)

Catadman (north of the city, north from the Old Fort)
Palayon's Guest House, 09285212337
Villa Gange, 09128602364/09165029397

Cabising (city area, a bit south, near wharf)
Charlie's Island Hub, 09173050191

Lagaoriao (southeast from the city, inland)
Patelek Farm, 09184623168/ 09178485105

Tabunan (a few km south from Cuyo city according to map)
Tabunan Beach Cottages, no number
Discovery Bay Resort, 09052711089

Ba'yad/ Pawa (south, 15min tricycle ride from the Cuyo City)
Coco Verde, 09487112042 (foreign owned secluded place, ALSO in Facebook!)

Magsaysay (opposite side of the island, 7 km from Cuyo town)
Quiano Windsurfing Retreat, 09296033275
La Casa Micah, 09999941182/ 09999941192/ 09196682350

On the printed list I got from Coron there were a few more, but no locations or other info than this;
PSU-PCAT Hometel and Baywatch Resort 09083684158
St. Augustine Parish Church Convent 09391509749
Sandoval Beach Resort


Since this damn iPad blogger version has no proper picture addition option, the picks are here in the end. Journey Ferry ticketing office in Coron, Coron port when leaving, Cuyo Wharf, Cuyo Capusan beach.










6 comments:

Miss Mureena said...

Fellow traveler, if you have a feeling that you got info from this page, please, leva me a comment. Also, you can contact me any time for further information!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this blog. It is very informative as I prepare my trip to Cuyo sometime aug/2013. Your blog has nice format and the way it was written...great.

aalexa51 said...

Very informative and helpful. Coco Verde Beach Resort should now be included as a place to eat and stay. We're on Facebook and look forward to the return of this blogger and any others that dare to venture away from the pier and town area. It does have the best beach in Cuyo!

Rico said...

Maybe it should be stated that visitor can reach Cuyo Island by plane:
There are daily flights from Manila airport terminals 2, 3 and 4, to Puerto Princesa in Palawan. Air Juan connects Puerto Princesa to Cuyo on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday
Puerto Princesa to Cuyo 10.00 am–11.00 am day 1 / 3 / 6
Cuyo to Puerto Princesa 11.30 am–12.30 am day 1 / 3 / 6
Air Juan Bookings: florabel18cycom@gmail.com

Accommodation: For kiters there is the Anino Retreat is a resort with three cottages and four double rooms at the most beautiful beach of Cuyo island. With onshore wind slightly from the left side, our 400 metres of private sand beach is the perfect spot for kite boarders, beginners and professionals, and 100% safe and secure. One of the best spot for kite boarding / kite surfing in the Philippines and still not over-crowded. Couples with children and small groups are welcome. Marine sanctuary nearby for great snorkelling. Inquiries Victoria Peralta +63 9296033275 +63 9399179402 http://www.anino-retreat-cuyo.com

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much Ms.Mureena ;)

- Loveliest Cuyo Archipelago -

-EIPSIRC -

Tom Clarke said...

Thanks for the info! Your post was really helpful in convincing us that we needed to make our way to Cuyo. We're visiting the Philippines over New Year as well (only for two weeks, unfortunately) and we'll spend about half our time in Cuyo at the Coco Verde Beach Resort. So thanks again and greetings from Barcelona!