Culion Museum and Archives | Palawan

Culion Island is historic for a number of few unique reasons. One of which was its designation by the Americans to become a "segregation island" in 1901, where patients afflicted with Leprosy are brought, isolated and treated.

Mica Rodriguez

On May 27, 1906, the first group of 370 patients suffering from Leprosy arrived on the island of Culion from Cebu aboard two Coast Guard cutters "Mindanao" and "Polillo".  That day made the island the country's unofficial leper colony. On September 12, 1907, "Act 1711 of the Philippine Commission was passed" paving the way for the island of Culion to be used for the compulsory segregation of leprosy patients by confining them in a compound encompassing 85 houses for their treatment.

A detailed timeline can be read thoroughly here:

Anne Montojo

The Culion Museum and Archives stores valuable information, documents, photographs and items representing all studies and medical work done related to the treatment of Leprosy in Culion. It also houses both published and unpublished findings of some of the best medical doctors at that time that has since contributed to the modern world's knowledge about the disease and its treatment.

Marky Ramone Go with Mujee Gonzales and Karla Ramos

Prior to visiting the museum I had very limited knowledge about Leprosy. I once heard about a similar Leprosy colony in Tala, Caloocan, but other than that, I know next to nothing. In the short time I was in the museum, just by looking at the photographs, slides, newspaper clippings and some documents on display, I was able to grasp its serious implications to people from the early days. I also learned about heroic efforts of a few Doctors who bore the passion of finding its cure and understanding the disease itself (the likes of Dr. Jose N. Rodriguez). It gave me newfound admiration for such people who have spent much of their lifetime trying to find a solution to those afflicted with this once mysterious condition.

Marky Ramone Go

The museum is very helpful especially for those who are looking for the whereabouts and information about past relatives who were afflicted with Leprosy. Every patient who has stepped foot on the island has their own record still stored in the archives room. There is also a room where autopsy slides of both leprosy and non-leprosy patients who were brought on the island are kept. Even those who have great-grandfathers who became involved in the medical research on the island of Culion can trace their heroic efforts through its archives. A fellow travel blogger Mica informed me that her great grandfather Dr. Rodriguez was part of the team who worked at Culion.

Nina Tan

The museum also displays items used during that time from old monographs, cameras, telephones and typewriters to old postcards and paper bills. There is also a section that exhibits old newspaper clippings, specifically a section that caught my attention about a certain Dr. H. Windsor Wade. He was an American doctor who isolated himself in the island of Culion along with the patients and eventually cured hundreds of people afflicted with leprosy. Along with his wife Dorothy Paul Wade, they went back and forth from Culion to New Orleans in the United States to gather contributions to fund the medical research. Doing so, they were able to cure many leprosy patients.

Kimi Lu

General Leonard Wood, the American appointed Governor General of the Philippines from 1921 to 1927 – himself a physician and a controversial figure because of his participation in leading the infamous "More Crater Massacre" of 1906 – became the President of the Philippine Anti-Leprosy Society and with his help he was able to sent out plea to the United States for additional funds needed to combat the disease. Today, a organization called the "Leonard Wood Memorial" is named in his honor.

Jack Kerouac

I would love to return to Culion soon just to spend more time in this museum and read more documents that will further my knowledge about the cases of Leprosy in the Philippines. I want to understand how the patients lived in this Leprosarium and to also pay homage to individuals who have toiled long hours to care for the patients most human beings would avoid being in the same room with.

Dennis Murillo

The old paper money bills and the postcards are a welcome bonus of the museum. The oldest postcard I saw was dated early 1940's. Old typewriters, chemistry lab and medical apparatus, camera and telephone are just some of the old artifacts found inside the museum.

Jomie Naynes

It was really an awakening and very informative visit to this museum, It reminded me of ghost-like environment where people walked around as if they're already dead. As one of the newspaper clipping headlines on display reads "Back from the Land of the Living Dead". Indeed, Culion as a Leprosarium almost resembled a land of the dead. Thanks to great men and women who worked hard and channeled their passion to caring for and curing leprosy patients, many of those perceived 'walking deads' of their time was able to fully recover and eventually set out a new life out of Culion.

Lee Rosales

In the old days, about a century ago people leave the island of Culion only when they are cured of leprosy, this time around, we left the island not because we're cured of something but with deep fascination and admiration at those who lived among the living dead.