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Published: December 31st 2008
Not quite being able to face the full 36 hour journey back to Palawan which the previous time had been across VERY rough seas we decided to break the journey in the little-known Cuyo islands halfway in between Palawan and Panay in the Sulu Sea. I had got of the boat for an hour the previous time to discover friendly locals, few restaurants, no cars and a relaxed sun-drenched atmosphere that, despite a lack of tourist attractions other than a seventeenth-century Spanish fort, tempted us back for a stay of a few days. What we discovered this time was quite different; the harsh, near maddening winds known as the Amihan had blown up shortly after our last visit and would apparently be ravaging the isles for the next six months. It gave the whole place a quite different atmosphere that was somehow less inviting than before. Still, we discovered a nice beach at the end of the island furthest from the port and spent a couple of days there.
Another interesting discovery during our stay was the fact that a group of Badjao, or sea gypsies, currently had their boat anchored somewhere near town and were plaguing the local population, hanging around the market and asking for money. These people, originally from the furthest islands of the troubled Sulu Archipelago in the Southern Philippines, spend almost their entire lives on boats traveling from place to place. I was tempted to go to their boat and try to get to know them but this desire rapidly disappeared when one of them tried to pick my pocket in te market.
We continued on to Palawan on the Milagrosa having had a nice rest but without having learned or experienced a great deal. We had the feeling, however, that with a bit more time on our hands it would have been possible to jump on some of the irregular passenger boats to other islands in the group and visit local villages, but our schedule did not permit.
Click here for my website offering advice on independent travel on Palawan
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