Palawan is the province of the Philippines with the largest land area of all the Philippines provinces and with probably the most pristine natural environment away from its settlements.
The island of Palawan stretches from close to Mindoro in the northeast almost to Borneo in the southwest. It lies between the South China Sea in the northwest and Sulu Sea in the southeast. Metropolitan Filipinos tend to regard Palawan as their final, unspoilt frontier, but even here venal politicians conspire to degrade conservation lands and there are plans for virgin forest to be logged out so lucrative oil palms can be planted. Get here while the beaches are still relatively deserted and unspoiled; resorts are still relatively few and far between in most of Palawan. Don't miss a trip to the Tubbataha Reef National Marine Park, one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Palawan Island is much the largest part of the province both in land area and in population, but a number of other islands are also included in this province:
- the Calamian Islands , northeast of Palawan Island
- the Cuyo Islands, to the east in the Sulu Sea
- Cagayancillo, south of the Cuyos
- Kalayaan, to the west in the contested Spratly Islands group
On Palawan Island:
- Puerto Princesa - provincial capital
- Quezon - where "Tabon man" lived a long time ago. Some refer to Tabon Cave as the cradle of Philippine civilization.
- El Nido - limestone cliffs, lagoons, beautiful beaches
- Port Barton - a truly laid-back coastal getaway with a great beach
- Sabang - town with the long Saint Paul underground river in the National Park
- San Jose
- Brooke's Point Mostly fishing and farming, but some beautiful scenery
In the Calamian Islands:
- Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park
- Aborlan - a rural university town
- San Vicente - town on the northwest edge of Palawan comprising several barangays and islands. It has one of the longest beaches in the world, the cream-coloured "long beach" which is 14km long and at some places up to 80m wide. With the near completion of an airport in the city, some are saying the beach could rival Boracay.
- Calauit - game preserve and wildlife sanctuary
- Narra - The Rice Granary of Palawan.
- Palawan Butterfly Garden - located at South of Puerto Princesa
Like most of the Philippines, many people understand the official national language of Filipino (based on Tagalog). However, the majority of inhabitants have a Visayan language such as Cebuano or an indigenous local language as their mother tongue.
Again, like most of the Philippines, you will never be far from English speakers.
A group of expatriate 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/PAL express, Air Asia, Cebu Pacific. have flights to and from Manila Cebu Pacific also have Fights to Cebu city, Iloilo, Davao city. while MASWings part of Malaysia Airlines connects Palawan internationally with Kota Kinabalu.
El Nido Airport(IATA: ENI) has charter flights provided by Island Transvoyager Inc. (ITI).
A new airport has been "near completion" in San Vicente since 2012, but don't hold your breath since, like many projects in the Philippines, opening dates are often wildly optimistic. Even when it does open, the surrounding settlement provides very little to attract visitors to bounce over the rutted goat tracks - with the exception of the 14km long strip of white sand that made resort developers salivate.
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.
- Tabon Caves in Quezon. The Caves were the discovery site of the skull cap remains of the Tabon Man estimated to be 22,000 years old. Explore its 138 hectares of rugged cliffs and deep slopes and breathtaking sea view.
- Kalui in 369 Rizal Avenue, Puerto Princesa is a popular Filipino restaurant that serves varieties of seafoods