08 Apr2007

Culion Church

by Marketman


It seemed appropriate to write about the church on Culion Island today, Easter Sunday. As I mentioned in the previous post, the island was established as a place to isolate church2those afflicted with leprosy. On this island, hope and faith must have always been on the minds of the patients and their relatives who had come to be near them. It would be fitting that such a wonderful church would be built on a stunning promontory jutting out into the sea. Referred to as the Immaculate Concepcion Church in some internet searches, I didn’t confirm the name when I was in Culion and my notes draw a blank. Built of stones from the area, the large church is really rather impressive considering its remote location, the small population of the town and the fact that not many outsiders would likely see this church when it was first built, perhaps 70+ years ago. I have very little knowledge of architecture, but all I can say is that it was imposing, proud, comforting. The cavernous interiors were cool, calming and one’s eyes are drawn to an impressive ceiling that is painted nicely and well-maintained. There are stained glass windows, traditional confessionals and well-worn wooden pews.


The church is a beehive of activity and a town center of sorts. The day I was on the island there were practice sessions for the local high school’s graduation ceremony, a mass baptism, masses and I am sure that week saw its share of marriages, baptisms, etc. church3You must climb several steps leading up to the entrance to the church which has simple but beautiful bougainvilla bushes and large portals framing the interiors (and exteriors in the reverse) of the church. Inside, an imposing stone vessel holds the holy water and it was resting on beautiful painted tiles. While you could not ignore the massiveness and strength of the stone walls, the interiors actually felt light and airy. The church’s exposed position and success at warding off the elements, including dozens of powerful storms over the decades suggests this is one structure that was built to last. It is just a few meters from the Culion Sanitarium and one of the large local schools.


Out back behind the church is a lookout tower or outpost which is about roof level of the main structure of the church. It has an utterly stunning view of the surrounding islands and a couple of cannons placed here suggests it may have been used to ward of church7would be but unwelcome visitors. Why anyone would want to come bother the sick and dying on the island of Culion is beyond me but I suspect there weren’t many uninvited guests. Around one corner of the church are some of the bronze bells of the church, one of them, photographed here, came from a foundry in Baltimore, Maryland. I didn’t really get to spend too much time at the church but the few moments I had there left a few lasting impressions: awe at its beauty and strength, comfort in that all of the residents of Culion had a place to seek solace, and a certain of feeling that in a place considered to be the Island of No Return, this was likely the proud and beautiful departure lounge for their afterlife…




  1. rowena says:


    Happy Easter to all…Salamat for the write ups about Palawan…it brought me so much much memories of my childhood. These we’re the same islands we used to visit when I was a young child (using the interferry boats) going from Puerto Princesa, Quezon, Bugsuk Island, Rio Tuba, Brooke’s Point, Cuyo, Culion Island, etc…It was probably one of my happiest memories of growing up sa Pinas….pristine beaches, tons of seafood, fresh fruits and a family to share it with you. God is indeed so good….dahil talagang binigyan niya ng maraming blessings ang ating bayan…

    Apr 8, 2007 | 11:43 pm


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  3. Fabian Mangahas says:

    Thank you for the great post, MM. Happy Easter!

    Apr 9, 2007 | 4:47 am

  4. Larees says:

    Happy Easter MM! Great posts on Palawan. Makes me full proud to be connected to the area somehow.

    Apr 9, 2007 | 5:32 am

  5. Lou says:

    To date, your personal experience in Palawan is nothing but truly interesting. It gives most of us (if I may say so) that incentive to really find out for ourselves (me and my tribe)all those places(not tourtists infested, yet) you wrote about. I keep on following up your Palawan adventure and I must say that everyday is a new vicarious experience for me. You simply keep surpising us with each new discovery. And I’ll have this post as a future reference. Will wait for some helpful details to make that trip to Palawan when on my next visit to the Phils.
    Happy Easter Monday to the family.

    Apr 10, 2007 | 1:28 am

  6. Maria Clara says:

    Beautiful stonework, glasswork and fresco on the ceiling. Yes, it was indeed designed to withstand the formidable and mercurial monsoon with gusty winds. Magnificent location on the top of the hill overlooking the water and its inherent surroundings. I would imagine long term residents there find solace, solidarity and strength in the church to ease out whatever tribulations they have.

    Apr 10, 2007 | 5:39 am

  7. sonia p, ner says:

    from sahing to churches, beaches to markets, flowers to recipes —truly the range of what you write about is wide enough for everyone. thanks MM — you are informative as well as entertaining.

    Apr 10, 2007 | 11:02 am

  8. Marketman says:

    sonia, stay tuned for me, fish, fruit and more…

    Apr 10, 2007 | 11:42 am

  9. raul capistrano says:

    this is my first time to visit culion, its really fascinating, my visit is really a official business from the philippine govt. i was really amazed when i try to go up besides the light house, then you will amazed the beauty of god in the palawan, the people, the community are very peaceful,everyone one is very hospitable at Culion.

    Aug 10, 2007 | 4:17 pm

  10. rene principe says:

    To all visitors and residents of palawan, give it a try to visit bugsuk island (brgy sibaring). . . you will be amazed on the super-powdery white sand and lots of aguho along the seashore. . . it is just 2 hrs by banca to the municipality of balabac.

    Dec 10, 2008 | 11:01 pm


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