Leprosy has been eradicated in Culion since the 1980s but the stigma still remains. It didn’t help that World Health Organization (WHO) only declared Culion leprosy-free in 2006. So why not embrace this history of healing of this infectious disease? The structures, the research, the tools and the story of the people who lived while it was a leper colony still remains. Culion town is a witness on how a community persevered and healed.
Culion is a fascinating destination for those who enjoy off-beat natural tourist attractions and rich heritage. This former leper colony in Calamianes island is usually explored by those who go for an extended stay in Coron. But it doesn’t have to be another option. Sunlight Ecotourism island Resort offers a luxury nature getaway in the region while still keeping close to the heritage now in the running as an internationally recognized documentary heritage for UNESCO.
This posts serves to document the birds I encountered in Culion, Palawan. Culion is part of the 200+ islands in the Calamianes group of islands. This includes the other three major islands Coron, Busuanga and Linapacan. Birding in this area shares similar sets of species and endemics. A nice companion to this post Birds of Culion, is the Birds of Coron and Busuanga which I did early part of the year.
A visit to the Calauit Safari Park is usually packaged with a Busuanga island hopping tour. Since they are basically in the same area, the tour is clumped together to maximize the time spent in Busuanga. With the safari tour completed by noon, our afternoon was spent on the islands of Malajon, Debotunay and North Cay islands. These islands in the west are also part of the Calamianes group of islands. Each island has unique characters of its own.
There are two sides in every story, and for an island like Culion, that held the stigma of the long-gone leprosy, there’s the view from the people who lived in the island and those who look upon it from the outside like me. I have this lingering fascination and curiosity with Culion Island that beheld me ever since I’ve heard about it. I wanted delve deeper and see for myself, hear for myself the stories of struggles, perseverance, hope and healing. I know there’s a lot more to Culion Island than what people perceive of it, so I made sure when I returned to Coron, I made a trip to this island used to be known as the “Island of the living dead” and “Island of no return”.
So many things have been said about Palawan on how wonderful a place it is. Being dubbed as a “Last Frontier” is a well deserved tag along it’s name. Even with those expectation ahead, one can never truly be prepared on what you will actually see. It’s fortunate that when we were there, we were blessed with good weather. On our first day, one of our major activity was to climb Mt Tapyas. It’s a good chance to preview what lies ahead on our day of exploring the islands.