Palawan is the most well preserved major island group in the Philippines. It is also the largest province in the Philippines in terms of land area. The rain forest, caves, coral reefs, mangroves, beaches and clear blue waters are its best assets. One has to go around the islands of Palawan to see how its people and the local government’s conservation efforts have born fruit.
With over 1,700 islands and islets and almost 2,000 kilometers of coastline, Palawan is known as having one of the most beautiful seascapes in the world. Sprawled beneath the seas are nearly 11,000 square kilometers of coral reefs. Palawan was proclaimed as a fish and wildlife sanctuary in 1967 and to this day, this group of islands is probably the most protected province in the whole Philippines.
The Calauit Wildlife Sanctuary in the northern Calamianes islands is home to exotic and endemic species of animals that roam freely in its verdant hills and plains. Palawan is the home of Palawan Monkeys, Palawan Parrots, Palawan Bear cats, Palawan Peacock, Mongoose, Scaly Ant Eater, Porcupine, and mouse deer.
A must see is the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park (also known as Sabang’s St. Paul Subterranean National Park). It is a wonder to behold; carved by nature for millions of years; the length of cave and river network is unknown up to this day. The cavern stretches away in an almost perfect rectangle with walls and ceiling decorated with natural carvings in many colors. Stalactite and stalagmites seem like they have been intentionally crafted to awe the visitors. Further inside, one reaches a grand chamber, decorated with multi faceted colored stones. One has to be there to see its grandeur.
El Nido – the place with crystal clear waters and many wonderful dive spots with first class resorts. El Nido Marine Reserve is noted for its very expensive and edible birds’ nests that is harvested on majestic limestone cliffs that end up on our dinner table as Bird’s Nest Soup.
Honda Bay – Just 30 minutes form Puerto Pincesa is Honda Bay. One can take a boat and beach hop the dozens of beaches on the islets that dot the bay. One can enjoy swimming, snorkeling, diving or just relaxing on the beach amidst the clear waters and fine sand. The panoramic view would surely leave a lingering impression on the visitor.
Tubbataha Reef National Marine Park – a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its beauty and richness of marine life. Tubbataha Reef is made of of 2 atolls (North & South reefs) located 92 nautical miles southeast of Puerto Princesa City covering 33,200 hectares. The North Islet serves as a sanctuary for birds and marine turtles. Tubbataha Reef has pristine waters, lagoons, a line of extinct underwater volcanoes, two corral islands with a magnificent 100-meter perpendicular wall.
Tubbataha Reef and Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park are nominated as one of the “New 7 Wonders of Nature”.
Palawan has been called the “island of the gods” and it is not without reason, the spectacular sea and landscapes of Palawan; especially at El Nido, gives the impression of seeing heaven’s beauty on earth. Acknowledged as the Philippines’ last frontier, Palawan is a must see for the traveler who appreciates the majesty and splendor of nature.