Palawan is an island province of the Philippines located in the MIMAROPA region (Region 4). Its capital is Puerto Princesa City, and it is the largest province in the country in terms of total area of jurisdiction. The islands of Palawan stretch from Mindoro in the northeast to Borneo in the southwest. It lies between the South China Sea and the Sulu Sea. The province is named after its largest island, Palawan Island.
Palawan is composed of the long and narrow Palawan Island, plus a number of other smaller islands surrounding the main island. The Calamianes Group of Islands, to the northeast consists of Busuanga Island, Culion Island, and Coron Island. Durangan Island almost touches the westernmost part of Palawan Island, while Balabac Island is located off the southern tip, separated from Borneo by the Balabac Strait. In addition, Palawan covers the Cuyo Islands in the Sulu Sea. The disputed Spratly Islands, located a few hundred kilometers to the west is considered part of Palawan by the Philippines, and is locally called the Kalayaan Group of Islands.
Palawan's almost 2,000 kilometers (1,200 mi) of irregular coastline are dotted with roughly 1,780 islands and islets, rocky coves, and sugar-white sandy beaches. It also harbors a vast stretch of virgin foress that carpet its chain of mountain ranges. The mountain heights average 3,500 feet (1,100 m) in altitude, with the highest peak rising to 6,843 feet (2,086 m) at Mount Mantalingahan. The vast mountain areas are the source of valuable timber. The terrain is a mix of coastal plain, craggy foothills, valley deltas, and heavy forest interspersed with riverine arteries that serve as irrigation.
Palawan is really blessed to have a great potential when it comes to tourism, a promising island that will surely be loved by many people. This is one of the provinces that is mostly visited by both local and foreign visitors because of its alluring beauty and is a principal contributor to the blooming tourism in the Philippines. Palawan is rich in natural attractions. It has a lot of things for you to explore and discover.
Puerto de Sta. Isabel
- The historic fort was built in 1667, under the Augustinian Recollect Fathers and was used as a military station during that period. The fortress was constructed to protect the general area from marauders and sea pirates. Taytay was an important naval installation being the designated capital of the Calamianes island group in 1818. The fort’s small chapel and cannon are still intact.
- Built during the early Spanish period to protect the people from their enemies, it is considered as one of the most ancient and unique forts in the Philippines. Within its walls are the church, the convent and the Adoration chapel. Cuyo became the second capital of Palawan from 1873 to 1903. Finished in 1680, the fort is a historical naval structure that was built during the early part of the Spanish colonial period. Three forts were constructed to protect thier ancestors against the attacks of Moros which were very prevalent during the 15th – 18th century.
- It was built on the coast atop the small mountain and is made of sea rocks mixed with lime. Within this old fort is the old church, ground force and safety of the residents during pirate attacks.
Port Miller & Lighthouse Tower
Brooke’s Point, Palawan
- A historical landmark in Brooke’s Point, Point Miller is a concrete water tank built as a source of potable water for the natives and settlers of the municipality. The original Lighthouse Tower constructed by Sir James Brooke is still visible, but much of the area is now occupied by a new lighthouse tower.
- More than 100 years old, the lighthouse is still functional and serves as guide for international vessels passing through the Balabac Strait.
Agutaya Fort/Church of St. John the Baptist
- Completed in 1784, the church and fortress named after St. John the Baptist was built by the Agustinian Recollects as a defense against invasions. Named as Baluarte de San Juan Bautista, it was constructed with the help of the Agutaynons and the Encomendero Don Antonio de Rojas, who delienated and laid out the building’s plan. The church was fortified with cannons, arquebuses and mortar weapons. During World War II the church fortress became an evacuation and refuge center for the people of Agutaya.
- An old church constructed by the municipal officials of the short lived Republic of Lucbuan in 1898-1904.
Culion Fort (managed by the Jesuit Order)
- Fort was constructed in 1740 by Recollect Agustinians
- A century old Spanish church built by the Agustinians.
El Nido Marine Reserve
Miniloc Island, El Nido
- Occupying an area of 98,000 hectares, this popular nature spot boasts of diverse ecosystems such as rainforest mangroves, white sand beaches, coral reefs and limestone cliffs. Blessed with extraordinary natural scenery, El Nido is the sanctuary of various forms of wildlife. Countless varieties of fish are also found here. Manta rays are a common sight; when in season, divers may spot the sea cow, known locally as dugong, one of the world’s rarest marine mammals.
- Accommodation facilities are available at El Nido Resorts in Miniloc and Lagen Island. El Nido is noted for its hidden lagoons, palm forests, orchids and offshore cruise points. Apart from the high-end accommodations, there are a number of budget accommodations in the town proper.
- Marine sanctuary located in the Middle Central Sulu Sea, 98 nautical miles southeast of Puerto Princesa City. It is within the municipal territory of Cagayancillo, with travel by boat from Puerto Princesa City that takes approximately 12 hours.
- It was declared as one of the World Natural Heritage sites by United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) on December 1,1993. Under protective management by Department of National Defense (DND) and is co-managed by Palawan Council for Sustainable Development (PCSD) and Department of Environment & Natural Resources (DENR)
- Bird sanctuary of Cockatoo (Katala or Abucay). Also found are the 68 bird species such as Blue Headed Racket Tail (Kilit-kilit), the Black-Naped Oriole and the White Vintage Shama.
Ursula Island Game Refuge and Bird Sanctuary
- This island is a haven for different species of birds that converge here two hours before sunset, to rest after a day’s flight.
Lipuun Point, Quezon, Palawan
- Known as the Cradle of Philippine Civilization, Tabon Cave consists of a series of chambers where anthropologists discovered the remains of ancient man and his stone tools. Anthropological significance came to the fore with the discovery of the remains of the 22,000 year old Tabon Man in one of its interiors, along with other artifacts.
Calauit Game Preserve and Wildlife Sanctuary
- A game reserve and wildlife sanctuary of exotic African animals and endangered endemic animals of Palawan. The reserve was established on August 31, 1976 by virtue of the 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 the Republic Act 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 Office of the Palawan Council of Sustainable Development (PCSD). It is located in Calauit Island in Busuanga.
Coron Reefs, Coron Bay, Busuanga
- Seven 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 World War II Japanese shipwrecks sunk on September 24, 1944 by US Navy action. They range in depth from the surface to 40 meters. This large variety offers exciting wreck exploration for enthusiasts, from novice divers and snorkelers and recreational divers to experienced TEC divers. The aquatic views from the sunken Japanese warships off Coron Island are listed in Forbes Traveler Magazine's top 10 best scuba sites in the world.
- 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.
Malampaya Sound Land and Seascape Protected Area
- Located in the Municipality of Taytay, this important ecological and economic zone is a watershed and fishing ground, and the habitat of Bottle-nosed and Irrawaddy dolphins.
Calauit Game Preserve & Wildlife Sanctuary
- 3,700 hectares was designated as a unique game reserve and wildlife sanctuary of exotic African animals and the endangered endemic fauna of Palawan. This was established in August 31, 1976 by Presidential Decree No. 1578. Initiated by the national government to respond to the appeal of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature to help save African wildlife, after former President Ferdinand Marcos attended a conference in Kenya.
- By virtue of RA 7611 which is known as the Strategic Environment Plan (SEP) of Palawan, the administrative jurisdiction of DENR was devolved to the Provincial Government of Palawan, on December 31,1993. The Palawan Council of Sustainable Development is the institution created by this law to ensure the sustainable management of the ecosystem and bio diversity of the province.
Palawan Wildlife Rescue and Conservation Center
(formerly Crocodile Farm Institute)
- The center aims to preserve and undertake research studies on endangered species of crocodiles. One of the structures is a hospital for sick and disabled crocodiles. The facility also formulates the varied uses of raw materials derived from the crocodile species. It also maintains a Mini Zoo featuring some of Palawan’s endemic animals. A joint project of the Japanese and Philippine Government under supervision and management by Department of Environment and Natural Resources – Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau.
Here is the list of hotels that can be found around Palawan.
- A&A Plaza Hotel Palawan Puerto Princesa - National Highway cor. Wescom Road Palawan Puerto Princesa City
- Crystal Paradise Resort Spa & Winery Palawan - 1 Sea Road Antipuluan Narra Palawan
- Fleuris Hotel Palawan - Lacao Street Puerto Princesa Palawan
- Summer Homes Beach Resort & Cottages Palawan - Mabini Street Port Barton Palawan
- Asturias Hotel Palawan - South National Highway Tiniguiban Puerto Princesa, Palawan
- Dive Link Resort Coron Palawan - Uson Island Coron Palawan
- El Nido Resort Miniloc Island Palawan - Miniloc Island El Nido Palawan
- Hotel Centro Palawan - San Pedro national Highway Puerto Princesa Palawan
- The Legend Palawan Hotel - Malvar Street Puerto Princesa City Palawan
- Club Paradise Resort Palawan - Dimakya Island Busuanga Palawan Coron Palawan
- Dos Palmas Island Resort & Spa Palawan - 89 Lacao Street Puerto Princesa City Palawan
- El Rio Y Mar Resort Palawan - San Jose Coron Palawan
- Microtel Inns & Suites Palawan - San Manuel Puerto Princesa Palawan
Accessibility of Palawan
Palawan is accessible within an hour’s flight from Manila to Puerto Princesa City or through a 20-hour trip by sea voyage. A choice of flights by Philippine Airlines (PAL), Cebu Pacific, Sea Air, Zest Air and Air Philippines service the province of Palawan.
Chartered flights are also available to transport visitors to Puerto Princesa City, the heart of the province, where connecting trips to nearby tourist sites can be arranged.
Regular and charter flights to other points in Northern Palawan are available through Island Trans-Voyager, Pacific Air, Zest Air, and Sea Air as well as other destinations in Cuyo, Coron, Busuanga, or El Nido or Taytay. WG&A Shipping Company plies the Manila-Palawan route on weekends.