Culion Cathedral in Palawan - Philippines
A visit to the Culion Cathedral found in the eastern side of Culion Island is a must for the historically inclined traveler. In 1740, the Augustinian Recollects built the Cathedral as soon as the Spaniards established the town of Culion. The Culion Cathedral was built adjacent to one of the walls of Parola Fort which was constructed as a line of defense against the early Muslims. Ruins of the fort remain beside the cathedral which is being maintained now by the Jesuits.
The Culion Cathedral is a sight one cannot miss because it is situated high above the town. Besides, no one is bound to miss anything within the town's total land area of 42,692 hectares. A pair of strong legs will get a traveler to the cathedral and to the Agila Hill behind it. Local and international tourists make it to the island via the nearby island of Coron. A 90-minute chartered boat ride from Coron Island will be an enriching view of the clean waters and the vast pearl farms being maintained by Japanese businessmen. Visitors from Manila can take one of the regular San Nicholas Shipping Lines ferryboats. The seven and a half hour trips are scheduled either once or twice a week, it would be best to check with the shipping lines first. A sea vessel to the seaweed capital of Palawan always makes it to and from the island each week because it has to bring in cement and consumer goods and ship out seaweeds, fish, and other products.
Fifty steps or more up hill will bring a visitor to the more than 300 year old Culion Cathedral. The church still has the stoned facade, the red roofing, and the statue of Mary, the mother of Jesus. Even after being expanded in 1933, the religious structure has maintained the name Culion Cathedral of the Immaculate Concepcion. Close to 300 worshipers can be seated in the renovated cathedral. The church interior has a very spacious aisle leading towards an altar with a painting of the last supper. Two church bells are hanging on an open but sturdy platform just outside the church. Moreover, cannons left by the Spaniards can still be seen near the church.
From the cathedral grounds, one can have a good view of the gigantic replica of the Philippine Health Service seal which the lepers built from rocks and boulders in 1926. The Culion Cathedral is somehow the gateway to the Culion Pulang Lupa View Deck on Agila Hill. The municipal government provides a van for visitors who want to make it to the view deck, thus, making transportation costs around the island free. Food would be very much affordable when one goes for the seafood delicacies of the island.