The Last Frontier
Palawan is an exquisite destination in the southwest part of the Philippine archipelago. It is a long, narrow island pointing to Borneo. It is known as the "Last Frontier" and is now being promoted as an ecotourist destination, attracting a steady stream of visitors. It is, in fact, one of the most visited tourist spots in the Philippines.
There are daily flights to Puerto Princesa-Palawan's capital-from Manila, Cebu, and Iloilo. There are also boat trips and round trips that take you directly to El Nido and Busuanga.
Here, you will find diverse and rare species of flora and fauna. There is the scaly anteater, giant turtles, Palawan peacock pheasant, Palawan bear cat, mouse deer, and the Tabon bird. But Palawan's beautiful beaches, islands, reefs, resorts, forests, and underground rivers are what really lure visitors to it.
Beneath the waters of Palawan lies a stunning display of underwater life - an ideal destination for snorkelers and scuba divers. If you want to go diving, you will find one of the best diving spots in the world here-the Tubbataha Reef. Some of the spots in the northern islands are delightfully unspoiled.
In the capital town of Puerto Princesa, you can stroll along the waterfront, where picturesque houses are built over the water. Visit the Palawan Museum, which has a display of archaeological artifacts and fossil remains; and the Palawan State University, which has a smaller museum with displays of archaeological finds, artifacts, butterfly and shell collections. For those who wish to enjoy Palawan's resplendent natural sights, there is a 30-minute bus ride to Honda Bay where boatmen will readily cruise you along the shores of Palawan and further down to the islands of Cowrie, Pandan, Snake, and Bat Island. Full or half-day cruises, snorkeling, island explorations, and accommodations are available in these islands.
For those who are interested in longer treks, there is a 3-day 2-night safari that will take you camping out in coves during the evening and exploring the beaches and waterfalls by day. Go to St. Paul's Underground River-Palawan's best known attraction. The river exits from a cave into a beautiful pool near the beach in the Puerto Princesa Subterranean Park (formerly St. Paul's National Park).
There are also beautiful offshore islands and caves in the northern and southern parts of Palawan. The Tabon and Diwata Caves in Quezon; El Nido, Pangalusian, Busuanga, and Coron Islands are also worth visiting. There are boat tours and trips to Puerto Princesa, El Nido, and the Underground River, that can be arranged with the hotel.
Every December 8, the Feast of Immaculate Concepcion is celebrated in Puerto Princesa in honor of the city's patroness. This event is highlighted by a parade and a procession of colorfully adorned floats with images of the Virgin Mary.
The seduction of Palawan lies in its unique combination of grandeur and seclusion. And because it lies several kilometers away from most of the Philippine islands and is sparsely populated, it offers the traveller privacy to truly enjoy the delights of this paradise island.
By Air: Daily flights from Manila or Cebu to the capital city of Puerto Princesa are available on Philippine Airlines, Air Philippines, Cebu Pacific, Zest-Airways. Direct-chartered flights via Soriano Air, Pacific Air, Asian Spirit, and Sea Air can be arranged to desired destinations- Cuyo, Coron, Busuanga, or El Nido. Flight time is less than an hour.
Getting Around: Multicabs and tricycles with two-seater sidecars are the most accessible form of transportation. There are also buses and jeepneys. Rental cars/ van for hire are available in Puerto Princesa. Pumpboat ( motor banca) rides are used for travel to various islands.