There was a night in Sibaltan, El Nido where a group of performers from the Sibaltan Heritage Society (SHC) showcased a few Cuyonon folk dances. Cuyonons, are an ethno-linguistic group that originated from Cuyo Island. I watch at least five pairs of young boys and girls enthusiastically dance on the sand, under somewhat dim light of the night from Tapik Beach resort. The sound coming from a boom box was all treble with scratchy bass but the performance was all heart and passion as we could see the expressions from the young performers as they execute dance steps highly Spanish-influenced, often upbeat to jumpy with a lot of swirl movements from the girl. I could not understand the lyrics but I was told these dances are often about Cuyonon life – livelihood, courtship, marriage that are often depicted with witty naughtiness to slightly obscene which is a character of Cuyonon songs. Watching this humble spectacle made me imagine how the Cuyonons manage to cross the Sulu Seas, traversing at least 100 nautical miles to reach the shores of Paragua, what we know now as the land of Palawan. The newly built Pangko Maritime Museum in Sibaltan, sheds some light into the history of Cuyonon migration.
So you have done all the tours in El Nido Palawan from Tours A, B, C, D and E. The west side of El Nido, the Bacuit Bay in particular does have dramatic limestone karst islands and captivating beaches, but El Nido doesn’t end there. The other side, the El Nido east coast holds more islands to explore and stunning white sand beaches to bum around. Sibaltan is the jump off point for these island adventures. I have written about some of the islands of Linapacan, now discover the limestone island of Imorigue Island. From afar it looks daunting but the locals swear on how rich the marine life surrounding its waters are.
Discover East El Nido, the cultural side of this paradise region of Palawan. West El Nido with its dramatic karst islands and stunning beaches in Bacuit Bay may be the main draw for tourist but there’s fulfilment in discovering the quiet side of El Nido East with unspoilt beaches, island and incomparable marine life than the other side. The perfect home base in discovering the wonders of the east is Tapik Beach Park, a rustic, family-run, beachfront lodging in Sibaltan El Nido offering spartan native beach huts accommodation to more sophisticated beach cottages with elaborate designs.