The Philippines’ last frontier, Palawan can tickle the imaginations and fancies of every living human specie who yearns for island paradise. Gifted with 1,768 islands and islets lying in the fringes of the South China Sea like one giant footbridge. This province, with all the extraordinary attributes found on its landscape and with all the zing and hues underneath the seas it embrace, is without a doubt, an eden cut from wishland.
Blessed with immense natural beauty and abundance, Palawan exhibits a landscape of exotic lagoons, furtive coves, exhilarating limestone cliffs all ascending from excellent sparkling aquamarine-hued, crystal clear water- a true wonderland for those who love the shores for respite and recreation.
The whole of Palawan is declared as a nature sanctuary, with myriad of endemic animals many of which are considered endangered. Down south are equally impressive attractions with utmost significance to humankind. Off the main island of Palawan is Tubbataha Reefs National Marine Park, a UNESCO declared World Heritage Site because of its immense marine life diversity.
Up north are the foremost destinations of Bacuit Archipelago and the Calamian Group of islands, wherein in between them are the shipwrecks of Busuanga, Kayangan Lake, Calauit Game Preserve & Wildlife Sanctuary in Coron, the ancient forts of Taytay, Dumaran, Culion, Cuyo and Agutaya, and a litany of islands scattered all over the placid turquoise sea.
Palawan is a realm of natural wonders. Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park is an 8.2 kilometer –long river that flows through the earth’s bowel and ends in an underground lagoon. A UNESCO declared World heritage Site. It can be explored using paddle boats amid awesome stalactite columns and limestone configurations. El Nido Marine Reserves is most famous for its picturesque limestone and black marble cliffs where swiftlets build their edible nests.
But there are more to this top tropical destination as its white sand beaches and colorful coral reefs have mesmerized sun and sea worshippers from all over the globe. If you wonder what to expect when visiting Palawan, its best in the province’s marketing cliché of “every island an adventure.” True enough, each and every island offers something worthwhile and unique, elevating the senses closer to the omniscient being who created this grandeur for man to appreciate and enjoy. If there’s a single word required to describe Palawan, perhaps even the most prolific wordsmith will have a hard time finding one, because this place is so gifted.
Visit Palawan. It’s a destination one should not miss in his lifetime.
Cities and Municipalities
Puerto Princesa - the island’s administrative capital
Quezon - It is where the Tabon man lived a long time ago. Some referred to Tabon Cave as the cradle of philippine civilization.
Coron – wreck diving
El Nido – limestone cliffs, lagoons, beautiful beaches
Port Barton – a truly laid-back coastal getaway with a great beach
Sabang – town with a long underground river in the National Park
The most common local language is Tagalog, but many speak English or Cebuano, and a group of ex-patriate Swiss operate a shortwave radio network using Swiss-German.
Puerto Princesa International Airport(IATA: PPS) is the main gateway to Palawan, major airlines serve international and domestic flights; Philippine Airlines, Air Philippines, Cebu Pacific and Zest Airways have flights to and from Manila and Cebu, PAL Express (Air Philippines) have flights to and from Busuanga, while SEAIR connects the whole of Palawan internationally with Kota Kinabalu.
El Nido Airport(IATA: ENI), charter flights are provided Island Transvoyager Inc. (ITI) while Seasonal flights are offered by SEAIR.
SEAIR is renowned for its unreliable service, often cancelling flights with less than two days notice via email only. Many travellers have reported being told that they would receive a refund “within 30 working days” but their money has never been returned. While ITI is a smaller airline, services are more reliable.
A new airport is near completion in San Vicente.
Cheapest option while getting around is the local jeepney, tricycles are also available. Getting from one island to another is possible; daily boat trips are available. Car and van rentals are also available.
Places of Interest
- It is a unique game reserve and wildlife sanctuary of exotic African animals and endangered endemic animals of Palawan.
- Established on August 31, 1976 by virtue of Presidential Decree No.1578, this was initiated in response to the appeal of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature to help save African wildlife when former President Ferdinand Marcos attended the 3rd world Conference in Kenya. By virtue of RA 7611 (SEP), administrative jurisdiction of DENR was given to the local government of Palawan, effective December 31, 1993. Management of the area is the responsibility of the PCSDO (Palawan Council of Sustainable Development Office). It is located in Calauit Island, Busuanga, Palawan.
Coron Reefs, Coron Bay, Busuanga
- Seven enchanting lakes surrounded by craggy limestone cliffs attract hundreds of nature lovers to Coron Reefs in Northern Palawan, near the town of Coron.
- Busuanga Island, whose main town is Coron, is the jump-off point for numerous dive operators. The principal dive sites are 12 WWII Japanese shipwrecks sunk on September 24, 1944 by US Navy action. They range in depth from the surface to 40M. This large variety offers exciting wreck exploration for enthusiasts, from novice divers and snorkelers and recreational divers to experienced TEC divers. Dive operators offer PADI dive courses ranging from Discover Scuba to Assistant Instructor, Technical and Enriched Air Diving, as well as other specialty courses. Dive operators offer day diving, snorkeling trips, and overnight dive safaris. Live-aboard and charter boats also offer diving in the area.
Puerto-Princesa Subterranean River National Park
This park features a spectacular limestone karst landscape with an underground river. One of the river’s distinguishing features is that it emerges directly into the sea, and its lower portion is subject to tidal influences. The area also represents a significant habitat for biodiversity conservation. The site contains a full ‘mountain-to-sea’ ecosystem and has some of the most important forests in Asia. -UNESCO
Tubbataha Reef Marine Park
The Tubbataha Reef Marine Park covers 332 km², including the North and South Reefs. It is a unique example of an atoll reef with a very high density of marine species; the North Islet serving as a nesting site for birds and marine turtles. The site is an excellent example of a pristine coral reef with a spectacular 100 m perpendicular wall, extensive lagoons and two coral islands. –UNESCO