During my recent trip to Palawan, we visited Culion Island, the former leprosarium of the American Commonwealth Government. It is found on the northernmost part of Palawan and is part of the Calamian Group of Islands together with the municipalities of Busuanga, Coron, and Linapacan.
One of the sites that caught my attention as our boat was drawing near the shore was the Purisima Concepcion de Nuestra Senora. It proudly stood perched atop a cliff and is set against the clear blue sky. Immaculate Conception Church as it is known today is one of the oldest buildings in the island. It was constructed in 1906 by a group of Augustinian priest. Now it is being run by the Fathers of the Society of Jesus.
It sits right across the Culion Sanitarium which once was a leprosy segregation camp.
Its watchtower and fort were constructed by the Augustinian Recollects as defense measure against the Moro Raiders which used to harass the whole island.
It has the most breathtaking view of the sea and of the shoreline of Culion.
Though we didn’t get to see much of the island, I noticed the presence of old traditional houses and buildings as well as the lack of modern facilities here. It gave me the impression that life here still remains as simple as it is. As our boat was pulling away from the shore, we were treated to the most beautiful sunset.
Clearly, its sheer natural beauty as well as its rich history are what gives Culion Island its old world charm.
Culion Island can be reached by an outrigger. It is an hour and a half travel by sea from the town of Coron.