Culion, Palawan: A Quick Guide

Explore the wonders of Culion, Palawan with our concise guide before your trip. This article is filled with useful tips and suggestions to enhance your journey, ensuring you have a memorable experience.

Culion, Palawan: A Journey Through Time and Nature

Culion Island is a unique and stunning destination in the Philippines known for its beautiful landscapes and seascapes. The island is rich in history, particularly as a former leper colony. The island has been kept pristine, with only a handful of hotels and resorts, perfect for those looking for a serene and peaceful retreat.
Culion features picturesque beaches, crystal-clear waters, and coral reefs teeming with marine life. The island is home to diverse flora and fauna, thick forest and stunning mountain range.
The island also has notable historical landmarks, such as the Culion Sanitarium and General Hospital, which was once Asia’s largest leper colony. Visitors can also explore the Culion Museum and Archives to learn about the island’s fascinating past.
Overall, Culion Island is an ideal destination for nature lovers and history buffs, featuring breathtaking landscapes and seascapes with a rich cultural and historical significance.

Historic Hideaway: Culion's Unique Story

Culion has a rich and fascinating history that adds to its allure. In the early 19th century, the island served as a leper colony during the American colonial era. At that time, leprosy was a highly stigmatized disease, and Culion became a refuge for those afflicted. Today, it stands as a testament to the resilience and triumph of its residents.
To learn more about Culion’s history, a visit to the Culion Museum and Archives is a must. The museum houses a collection of artifacts, photographs, and personal stories that provide a glimpse into the lives of the lepers and the challenges they faced. It’s a humbling experience that showcases the strength of the human spirit and the power of community.

Spanish Colonial Period

Spaniards built defensive forts and watch towers in strategic locations in Taytay, Cuyo, Agutaya, and Linapacan, including one in Libis, Culion. In 1858, Calamianes Archipelago was divided into two provinces – “Castilla” and “Asturias,” with Castilla retaining Taytay as the capital. The capital was later changed to Cuyo in 1873. 

An account by French anthropologist Alfred Marche in the 1880s describes Culion as the principal village in Calamianes, supported by the presence of a Justice of the Peace. Remnants of a fort in San Pedro, Burabod, attest to the rich history of Culion, built by the Augustinian Recollects around the same time as other forts in the region, including the Immaculate Conception Church.

Culture, Traditions, and Values

Culion found in Palawan boasts a distinct local culture and heritage that has been molded by its historical background, bountiful natural surroundings, and fusion of diverse influences throughout the ages. The community’s local culture and traditions offer a one-of-a-kind experience, showcasing the town’s rich historical and cultural background.

Historical Resilience

Culion’s history as a former leper colony under the American colonial rule has had a significant impact on its culture. The residents of Culion have shown remarkable resilience and strength in overcoming the challenges of the past.

Warm Hospitality

Like many Filipino communities, Culion is known for its warm and welcoming hospitality. Visitors are often greeted with kindness and openness, making them feel at home.

Festivals and Celebrations

Culion celebrates various festivals and cultural events throughout the year. These may include local fiestas, cultural performances, and religious processions that showcase the island’s traditions and heritage.


The culinary offerings in Culion are a reflection of the bountiful supply of fresh seafood in the surrounding vicinity. Tourists have the opportunity to indulge in delectable dishes made using locally sourced fish and other seafood.


Religion plays a significant role in the lives of many Culion residents. The majority of the population is Roman Catholic, and religious traditions and rituals are observed with devotion.

Environmental Awareness

Culion, Palawan takes pride in its breathtaking natural beauty and prioritizes protecting it. The island places significant emphasis on environmental conservation and sustainability, with local initiatives to protect marine life and preserve the natural surroundings.
Marine life conservation efforts may include creating artificial reefs and coral transplantation projects to restore damaged marine ecosystems.
The island’s natural beauty is preserved through forest conservation and ecotourism projects focusing on responsible and sustainable forms of tourism. Culion’s commitment to sustainable development has earned it a reputation as an eco-tourism destination.
Visitors can appreciate the beauty of the island while supporting its environmental conservation initiatives. With continued efforts towards sustainability, Culion can continue to thrive and inspire others to prioritize environmental protection.


The primary language spoken in Culion is Tagalog, the national language of the Philippines. However, English and other local languages and dialects are also understood and used in daily communication.

Respect for Heritage

Culion, Palawan is an island that upholds its historical heritage with pride, and its residents constantly strive towards preserving and sharing the unique history and cultural identity of their beloved home.
This dedication to the island’s rich and diverse past is not only seen through its many well-preserved historical sites and landmarks but is also manifested in the community’s efforts to keep its local traditions alive.
From its delicious local cuisine to its colorful festivals and vibrant arts and crafts scene, Culion, Palawan is a true testament to the beauty and richness of Philippine culture. The island’s residents continuously work hand in hand to ensure that future generations will be able to appreciate and value their community’s long and fascinating history.
A Tagbanua Couple Singing. Photo by Al Linsangan.

Culion, Palawan's Geography

Culion is an island located in the northern region of Palawan province, Philippines. It has an area of only 389 square kilometers and is surrounded Sulu Sea from the south and West Philippine Sea in the west.
The island is mostly hilly and mountainous, with the highest point reaching up to 560 meters. The coastline of Culion is rugged with a few sandy beaches, making it a great spot for snorkeling and diving. The island is home to several rivers and creeks that flow into the sea, providing a source of food for the surrounding marine life.
Its vegetation is mainly composed of dense tropical forests and mangroves. The island is known for its rich biodiversity, hosting several endemic species of plants and animals. The main town of Culion is situated on its northeastern coast, and the island’s economy centers on fishing and agriculture.

Culions's Weather

Culion, Palawan typically experiences a tropical climate with two distinct seasons: wet and dry.
There is a gentle breeze blowing from the sea, making the weather conditions quite pleasant. Some days may be cloudier than others, but the sun typically shines bright and the sky is a gorgeous shade of blue.
The wet season, locally known as Habagat, runs from June to November, while the dry season , locally known as Amihan, lasts from December to May.
The average temperature in Culion ranges from 27°C to 32°C throughout the year with high humidity levels. The months of April and May are the hottest and driest period with temperatures often reaching as high as 35°C.
During the wet season, thunderstorms and heavy rainfall are common, and typhoons can also occur between August and October.
As with other sea-based destinations, the dry season is the ideal time for tourists to visit, as the weather and the sea tides are more comfortable for outdoor activities.
Overall, Culion enjoys warm and sunny weather most of the year, but travelers should take note of the prevailing weather conditions before visiting the island to ensure that they pack appropriately and enjoy a safe and memorable visit.

Accurate Weather Forecast by PAGASA

To learn about the current weather in Culion, Palawan or any part of the Philippines, visit the PAGASA website. PAGASA is the Philippines’ weather forecasting agency.

Delicious Food and Delicacies

Culion, Palawan, boasts a diverse selection of delectable cuisines that are predominantly infused with fresh seafood and traditional Filipino dishes. Numerous acclaimed food varieties are available in local eateries and restaurants in Culion, promising an unforgettable culinary experience to all visitors. A list of the most celebrated dishes in Culion is mentioned below for reference purposes.
  • Kinilaw: Filipino-style ceviche, also known as kinilaw, is a popular seafood dish in the Philippines. It is made with raw fish or seafood marinated in vinegar, citrus juice, and spices, served with onions, chili peppers, and other garnishes.
  • Lato Salad: Lato is a type of seaweed that is often served as a salad in the Philippines. It’s usually dressed with vinegar, onions, and tomatoes, providing a refreshing and slightly briny taste.
  • Adobo: Adobo is a beloved Filipino dish made with chicken, pork, or a combination of both, marinated and simmered in a savory sauce of soy sauce, vinegar, garlic, bay leaves, and black peppercorns. It’s a flavorful and tender stew.
  • Nilagang Baka: is a Filipino beef soup with beef, veggies, and broth. It’s made with beef bones for flavor and has onions, potatoes, and cabbage. It’s best served hot and is perfect for cold days. It’s a popular dish in the Philippines and is served at events or as a daily meal.
  • Sinigang: Sinigang is a sour soup typically made with tamarind as the base flavor. It can include various ingredients like shrimp, pork, or fish, along with vegetables. The sourness of the soup is balanced with savory ingredients.
  • Pancit: Pancit refers to various Filipino noodle dishes. In Culion, you might find Pancit Malabon, a thick rice noodle dish with a seafood and shrimp sauce, or Pancit Canton, stir-fried egg noodles with vegetables and meat.
  • Grilled Seafood: Given Culion’s coastal location, grilled seafood is a must-try. You can savor freshly caught fish, squid, shrimp, and lobster grilled to perfection, often served with a side of soy-vinegar dipping sauce.
  • Tuna Belly: Tuna is abundant in the waters around Culion. Grilled tuna belly is a popular dish, known for its meaty and flavorful taste. It’s often served with rice and vegetables.
  • Halo-Halo: For dessert, don’t miss Halo-Halo, a colorful and refreshing Filipino dessert. It consists of crushed ice topped with a mix of sweet ingredients like sweet beans, jellies, fruits, and leche flan, all drizzled with evaporated milk.
Pork Adobo

Tour Packages, Itinerary and Budget

Culion Tour Packages

Culion, Palawan offers a plethora of tour packages that cater to different interests and preferences of tourists. For nature lovers and adventure seekers, there are island-hopping tours that will take you to picturesque beaches, coral gardens, and dive sites rich in marine biodiversity.
For history buffs, there are tours that showcase Culion’s past as a leper colony, with visits to landmarks such as the Culion Museum and Archives and the San Jose Church and Convent.
For those who seek relaxation and wellness, there are packages that offer spa treatments, yoga sessions, and healthy food options.

And also, Culion also offers tours that highlight the local cuisine, traditions, and culture, with visits to markets, farms, and communities.

Overall, Culion’s diverse tour packages enable tourists to experience the island’s natural beauty, cultural heritage, and lifestyle in different ways.


An itinerary in Culion, Palawan may include a visit to Culion Museum (Leprosy Museum) to learn about the island’s history; a visit to Fort Culion and other Spanish-era structures; and an a day of island-hopping and exploration with picnic lunch.
Please keep in mind that tourism conditions in Culion, Palawan can change rapidly so it is important to check the latest information from other reliable sources and tour operators.

Budget - How Much Do I Need?

When planning a trip to Culion, it’s important to consider the cost of accommodations, meals, island hopping tours, transportation, and other miscellaneous expenses.
Accommodation and Food
Accommodation options range from basic guesthouses to mid-range hotels, with nightly rates between PHP 1,000-4,000.
Dining at local eateries can be affordable, with meals costing approximately PHP 150-300 per person.
Tours and Transportation
Island hopping tours come with varying inclusions and duration, and pricing ranges from PHP 1,500-3,000 per person.
Transportation costs are based on how you reach Culion, with boat transfers from Coron costing around PHP 500-1,000 per person each way.
Entrance fees, souvenirs, and other miscellaneous expenses can add up to approximately PHP 500-1,000 per person.
By keeping these expenses in mind, you can create a budget for your Culion trip that accommodates your preferences and needs.

Exclusive Speedboat Island-Hopping and Snorkeling Tour Packages

Exclusive Coron Island-Hopping Tour

Starts at P3,875.00 per person

Exclusive Coron Island-Hopping Tour

Starts at P4,560.00 per person

Exclusive Coron Island-Hopping Tour

Starts at P27,800.00 per person

Accommodations: Luxury to Budget-Friendly Options

Culion, Palawan is known for its historical significance as a former leper colony, and offers a wide range of accommodations for visitors. For luxury options, there is the Two Seasons Coron Island Resort and Spa which features overwater bungalows and a private beach. 

Other luxury hotels and resorts like the Sunlight Ecotourism and Island Resort are far from the main town of Culion but could be reached by any traditional boat. If you are booked in other luxury resorts in Culion, a speed boat can reach your destinations much faster.
On the other hand, for budget-friendly options there is Safari Lodge Guesthouse and Restaurant, Tabing Dagat Lodging House and Restaurants, and Hotel Maya, which provide basic amenities but are still comfortable for guests.
Backpacker-friendly options also include Island Lodge and Coron Ecolodge which offer low-priced accommodations with the essential needs of a traveler.
There are also several homestays and Airbnb options available for tourists who want to experience a more authentic vibe, allowing them to live among the locals and learn more about the culture and history of Culion.
Regardless of your choice, you’ll find that the hospitality in Culion is warm and inviting, making your stay a memorable one.

Culions's Recommended Destinations

Culion is home to several stunning destinations that will leave you spellbound. One such place is Malcapuya Island. With its crystal-clear turquoise waters and powdery white sand, this paradise island is perfect for beach lovers. Spend your day snorkeling, swimming, or simply basking in the sun. Don’t forget to indulge in a beachside picnic and enjoy the breathtaking views.
Another must-visit destination is the Concepcion Falls. Tucked away in the heart of the island, this hidden gem offers a refreshing escape from the heat. Follow the trail through the lush jungle, and you’ll be rewarded with the sight of a cascading waterfall surrounded by verdant greenery. Take a dip in the cool waters and let the natural beauty of the falls rejuvenate your soul.
Culion is also teeming with vibrant underwater marine life and ecosystem which is a haven for snorkelers and divers. It’s an experience that will leave you in awe of nature’s wonders.
To get into these destinations, we recommend that you book with a reputable tour operator to assign you a knowledgeable guide.
Beautiful Rock Formation in Malcapuya Island
Island Hopping with a Speed Boat

Recommended Fun Activities in Culion

In addition to the top destinations mentioned earlier, there are several other activities that you can enjoy in Culion. For water enthusiasts, snorkeling and diving are a must. Explore the vibrant coral reefs and get up close and personal with colorful marine life. Kayaking and paddleboarding are also popular activities, allowing you to discover hidden coves and mangrove forests.
Walking around the town and visiting The Culion Musuem and Archive is a must to learn about its past as a leper colony during the American colonial period and the transformation of its community. Close from the museum is Culion’s 17th century old church named Immaculate Concepcion Church. Visit Fort Culion which was built during the Spanish colonial era. It officers a glimpse into the island’s historical significance and provides scenic views of the surrounding area.
If you’re a hiking enthusiast, Culion offers several trails that will take you through its lush jungles and lead you to breathtaking viewpoints. For a more leisurely experience, you can take a leisurely stroll along Culion’s beaches and soak in the beauty of your surroundings.
Remember that the availability of some activities may vary depending on the season and local regulations. It’s a good idea to check with local tour operators and accommodations for the most up-to-date information and to plan your activities accordingly during your visit to Culion, Palawan.
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