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Cuyo Island – A Rare Stopover In A Paradise Island



The Cuyo Archipelago (also known as Cuyo Islands) is composed of 45 small islands located at the northeast of the Palawan, or south of Mindoro. At the center of the archipelago is the Cuyo Island which is the largest in the group. It is also a volcanic island with a land area of 22 square miles (or 27 square km). Cuyo Island is popular for sports like windsurfing and kiteboarding.


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St. Augustine Parish Church in Cuyo Island


The Cuyo Archipelago is rich in history as seen in their St. Augustine Parish Church which is reflective of the Spanish Colonial times. There is also the 17th century Cuyo Fort, also of great historic significance. Back in 1622, Spanish missionaries arrived in Cuyo Archipelago and they were welcomed without hostilities or resistance by the natives. Around 500 natives of Cuyo Islands were converted to Roman Catholic faith on this first religious mission.




Kiteboarders looking to escape the crowds and prices at Boracay might consider Cuyo Island which is smack in the middle of a high wind zone. This high wind zone is ideal for kiteboarding. However, bring your own equipment as they do not offer for rent anything more than paddle boards.  If you are not a kiteboarder, the six hours ferry stopover will give you plenty of time to enjoy lounging at the beach, grabbing a good lunch, or even renting a motorbike and explore the island as I did. I went to the Anino Retreat at Victoria Beach on the opposite side of the island.


Be sure to check out St. Augustine Parish Church in Rizal Street. Hire a tricycle or rent a motorbike to explore more of the island. You can rent from Nikki’s Pension or from a number of places along Rizal Street.



Anino Retreat at Victoria Beach


Other good destinations are Mt. Aguado, Mt. Bombon, Quejano Beach, Coreng Beach or the Anino Retreat (photo above) at Victoria Beach on the opposite side of the island which is another good kiteboarding spot.


You’ll have to plan a longer stay to explore some of the 45 other islands that make up the Cuyo Archipelago. One resort here, Amanpulo on Pamalican Island is one of the world’s best private resorts in most travel surveys like the Dream Travel blog and Conde Nast Traveller where Amanpulo is rank 16 in “Reader’s Travel Awards 2013 as The World’s Best Top Overseas Holiday Hotels, Asia & India”.




How To Get There
Coming from NAIA (Terminal Two) in Manila, you may go to Cuyo Island by first taking a plane ride to either:


1. Puerto Princesa, Palawan

2. Iloilo.


From this point, take a ferry ride or a small plane to reach Cuyo Island.


By Ferry Ride

If you took a flight from Manila to Puerto Princesa, the boat ride from Puerto Princesa to Cuyo Island will take 15-20 hours. If your flight route was Manila to Iloilo, the boat ride from Iloilo to Cuyo Island will take 12-15 hours.


Milagrosa Ticket Details


The boat ride that I took was via Milagrosa Shipping. My route was from Dumaguete heading to El Nido, Palawan. It was a two-day ferry ride which had a stopover in between to Cuyo Island.


This 2-day ferry trip is not for the pampered. I chose it because it was:


a) only PHP1000 ($23),

b) most of the travelling took place at night while sleeping and

c) a chance to stop by Cuyo Island, which is seldom visited.




When you buy your ticket, be sure to get the “Deluxe” type and ask to see a layout of the deck. Choose a bunk near the edge for more fresh air or choose one near the centre for less wave action. If you cannot get “Deluxe” go for the air-conditioned tourist cabins.


If in a bind get “Economy” and plan to upgrade once on board, but this is risky because “Economy” has no open deck which makes for a claustrophobic trip. It pays to buy the ticket as early as possible.


Another aspect of riding the ferry is connecting with fellow travelers. Some places by their very design tend to encourage impromptu interactions; this boat is one of those places. You can also use the time to knock off a novel. One word of warning, if you are prone to getting sea-sick, then this trip is not for you.



Sunset view during the ferry ride

Collage_Cuyo Island_b

Lunch at Anino Retreat

By Plane

At NAIA airport terminals 2, 3 and 4, there are daily flights from Manila to Puerto Princesa, Palawan.

From Puerto Princesa, you may take a plane ride by Air Juan to reach Cuyo Island. Flights here are available on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays.


Air Juan flights between Puerto Princesa and Cuyo Details:

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


For inquiries:

Air Juan Bookings and Enquiries



By Travel Agency:

Florabel Chu Palay of CyCom

Phone: +63 939 902 2348

Email: :


Website by Anino Retreat:


Where to stay:

Anino Retreat

Quijano Beach, Cuyo Island, Lucbuan, Magsaysay, 5318 Palawan,

Contact person: Victoria Peralta

Phone: +63 929-603-3275 or +63 939-917-9402




Sailing Around:

Milagrosa Shipping Lines

Address: Lapuz Norte, Lapuz, Iloilo City



Montenegro Shipping Lines

Address: Montenegro Corporate Center, Along Diversion Road, Bolbok, Batangas City 4200

Reservation via Travel and Tours:

Address: Passenger Terminal III, Port Area

Sta. Clara, Batangas City

Phone: (043) 723-6980   |   0917-6980   |   0922-889-7069





Author: Craig Mandsager, CEO of Wild Web Widget 


Photo source:

Map –

All other photos – courtesy of the author


This article was originally published at






Amanpulo Beach Resort –


Kitesurfing in the Philippines –

History –



  1. Cuyo Island can be reached by air since 2014

    By air from Manila to Cuyo Island: There are daily flights from Manila airport terminals 2, 3 and 4, to Puerto Princesa in Palawan and on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday flights by Air Juan from Puerto Princesa to Cuyo Island in small planes

    Air Juan flights between Puerto Princesa and Cuyo
    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

    For Air Juan bookings: Florabel Palay at CYCOM +63 939 902 2348 /

  2. Rosanna P. Trampe says:

    Thank you for dropping by my hometown! I was born and raised in Cuyo & really proud of it. But there’s more to it than meets the eye. Should you wish to know more – culturally & historically – ask & I will answer your questions the best way I can.

    • Marcy Villegas says:

      Hello, Rosanna. Thank you for such a wonderful comment. We’re glad that you like our article about the beautiful Cuyo Island. Thank you also for offering more information. We’ll keep in touch. Have a good day. =)

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