Culion Island

Culion IslandCulion is an island situated at the northernmost part of Palawan some 200 nautical miles southwest of Manila. It belongs to the Calamianes Group of Islands. Culion has a total land area of 415 square kilometers which includes the 41 surrounding islands and measures 1,191.39 square kilometers including its territorial water. It is bounded on the north by Busuanga Island, on the east by the Coron Reef, on the south by Linapacan Island, and on the west by the South China Sea.

The Culion sea is teeming with a total of 201 fish species including commercially important fish like Lapu-lapu (Groupers), Kanuping (Sweetlip Emperor), Maya-Maya (Snapper), Tanguige (Spanish Mackerel), Dalagang Bukid (Blue and Gold Fusiliers) and Bisugo (Breams). Squid, cuttlefish, shrimps, crabs, shellfish and sea cucumber or trepang are plentiful.

Three ecosystems sustain the rich marine life of Culion: mangroves, seagrass, and corals. 17 mangrove species cover the coastline of Culion. 9 seagrass species and 47 coral genera representing 60% of the total genera found in the Philippines are found in Culion.

The island of Culion with its similar named municipality was known in history as the largest leper colony in worldwide. In 1622 the first missionaries arrived at the island to spread Christianity. Fort Culion was built in 1740 for protection against the reoccuring moro raids. The Island of Culion was declared a leper colony in 1904 by the ruling US american Governor Wright due to the increasing number of lepronse. On its 25th anniversary more than 16,000 leprose lived an isolated life on Culion. With the arrival of medicines in 1947, the number of deseased was lowered dramatically until finally in 1992 the municipality of Culion was founded and the island itself became free for new settlements. The first municipal council in the history of this young settlement was elected in 1995. Today, lepra is easily cured with cheap antibioitics and is no longer present in Culion and may be extincted worldwide in the near future.

When making a one day boat trip to Culion, make sure to visit the old spanish fort with its Catholic church and the Lepra-Museum close to Culion Sanitarium

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