The Philippines’ Last Frontier
Sparkling blue waters, fine white sand, coral reefs, lush green foliage, underground rivers, and diverse wildlife: what more can a traveller want?
The Palawan Province is made up of 1,780 small islands. Located southwest of Metro Manila, Palawan is known as “the last frontier” of the Philippines and is among the most biologically diverse areas in Southeast Asia. Palawan is home to approximately 690,000 hectares of terrestrial forests, and 279 bird, 379 coral, and 69 reptile species. It is also famous for its underground river located in Puerto-Princesa Subterranean River National Park. Over eight kilometres long, it is the second longest underground river in the world.
Puerto-Princesa is Palawan’s biggest city and is located on the coastline of the main island. It is a 75-minute flight from Manila, the Philippines’ capital, to Puerto-Princesa. From there, visitors can travel by land or ferry to the rest of the province’s popular destinations.
In El Nido and Coron, two of Palawan’s most visited areas, tourists can choose from a variety of activities, such as hiking, snorkelling, and scuba diving. The Secret Lagoon, a small island surrounded by limestone cliffs, is a popular destination in El Nido. Helicopter Island and Tapiutan Island are both perfect spots for scuba diving and snorkelling. Visitors can also hike into the Palawan rainforest and stop to enjoy Bulalacao Waterfalls.
In Coron, tourists can travel around multiple islands and visit the beautiful Twin Lagoon or the white sand beaches of Banol Beach. According to Club Paradise Resort, Mount Tapyas—a peak marked by a giant white crucifix that towers 210 metres above sea level—is usually one of the first stops for travellers. Dive in Coron Bay to see Japanese shipwrecks from the Second World War resting 10 metres below the surface. These wrecks, covered in corals and sponges, attract tourists from around the world. The Calauit Safari Park is home to endangered animals such as Calamian deer, Palawan bearcats, and porcupines.
Camille Puche visited Palawan in April 2014. “The most beautiful scenery I saw was when we were passing by the mountains and it was a bright sunny day; that clear blue water was just breathtaking,” she says. The best time to travel to Palawan is between December and May. “If you visit during April or May, expect really hot weather,” says Puche.
Are you still thinking about where to go on your next trip? Palawan might be just the spot you are looking for.