Usually referred to as the final frontier of the Philippines, Palawan is a long umbrella-shaped island located in the westernmost region of the Philippines. It is formed by a group of islands to the north and south and with one large mainland. Travel Authentic Philippines offers a variety of Palawan Tours.

Palawan is complete with all the tropical charms every visitor is looking for. The provincial capital of Puerto Princesa is known for the UNESCO World Heritage Site the Subterranean River National Park. To the west and the south are virtually unknown beaches and islands that are sure to lure in the more adventurous travelers. To the north are limestone karst islands jutting out of crystal-clear turquoise waters fit as decor for a Bourne movie (and it was).

As Palawan becomes more and more of a popular tourist destination, infrastructure here is improving. Whereas before there were only muddy dirt roads to get to the far reaches of the island, there are now paved highways and regular bus trips. Many areas, however, remain isolated, which is part of the charm of this final frontier.

There are two airports in the province. Most arrive via Puerto Princesa International Airport in the provincial capital Puerto Princesa, located in the central part of the province. Palawan’s other airport is the Francisco B Reyes Airport in Busuanga. Located off the northern coast of Palawan mainland, this is where people fly to when visiting the popular tourist destination of Coron. Both airports receive commercial flights from Manila and Cebu. Chartered flights from Manila are also available for those who prefer to fly directly to El Nido.

Being in the western part of the Philippines, Palawan is usually spared from destructive typhoons. There are exceptions, however. The popular tourist destination of Coron in the northern part of the province is one of the places where super typhoon Haiyan made landfall in October 2013. The destination is recovering and is still very much welcoming to tourists. Join us on one of our Palawan Tours.

What to see
It must be noted that Palawan is a large group of islands. What visitors can see will depend on which part of the province they spend their vacation in. The capital Puerto Princesa is itself a popular tourist destination because of the convenience of getting here and the number of tourist attractions in and around the city.

The most popular attraction in Puerto Princesa is the Subterranean River National Park. Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1999, the river extends five miles through the insides of what sometimes feels like a hollowed-out mountain. The underground river features in most Palawan Tours.

Those traveling with children may want to visit the Palawan Wildlife Rescue and Conservation Center, more popularly known as the Crocodile Farm. This is a national research institute dedicated to crocodiles. There’s a mini-zoo here with crocodiles as well as some of Palawan’s wildlife.

Those in Coron will want to climb up to Mount Tapyas. The mountain rises 690 feet and the stairs reach all the way to the summit where a huge cross has been erected. It is best to come here to catch the multicolored sunset.

For visitors wanting isolation for their beach getaway, they may visit the off-the-beaten path destinations of Port Barton or San Vicente. While there are few facilities in this area, the unspoiled waters and near deserted long stretches of beaches will make visitors feel like they have a tropical paradise of their own.

Finally, those interested in archeology can head to the Tabon Caves, located in Quezon, southwest of Puerto Princesa. The remains of what is now referred to as the Tabon Man were found here. Remnants of the site date back to 22,000 BC. The Tabon Man was considered the oldest known inhabitant of the Philippine islands until the discovery of the Callao Man in the north. Parts of the site are open to the public.

What to do
Of all the most recommended activities for tourists in Palawan, island hopping ranks high for many. This activity is especially easy to arrange as local business cooperatives set standard prices and coverage for the services, which often include a delicious Filipino fiesta style lunch by the beach.

Island hopping in Puerto Princesa will almost certainly cover the islets of Honda Bay in the Sulu Sea. Tourists can go snorkeling and swimming in each of the islands they go to. The same goes for El Nido in Northern Palawan and Coron located further north. Island hopping is one of the best Palawan tours.

El Nido is especially noted for its snorkeling sites all of which have healthy coral population and marine wildlife. Not to be missed is the snorkeling sites and the beautiful views of Tapiutan and Shimizu Islands.

Coron is also noted for its snorkeling. However, it is the diving that stands out here, specifically wreck diving. This is because of the many Japanese vessels that sank here in World War II. The dive sites include Akitsushima wreck, Okikawa Maru wreck, the Kogyo Maru wreck, and many others.

Those with the resources for it can certainly head to the Tubbataha Reef located in the middle of the Sulu Sea. Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, this is one of the best destinations for diving in the Coral Triangle being a center of biodiversity for corals, fish, and other marine creatures.

Local culture
A huge majority of the population of Palawan north to south speaks Tagalog, or more correctly, its standardized variety—Filipino, as a first or second language. A considerable part of the population also speaks Cuyonon, a language related to the Visayan languages of Central Philippines. Those working in the tourism industry speak English.

The indigenous people of Palawan are the Tagbanua. They are said to be the descendants of the Tabon Man and are one of the first group of inhabitants of the Philippines. The Tagbanuas reside in small villages scattered all over Northern Palawan, many of which are in the isolated islands of the north.

The largest festival in this part of the Philippines is perhaps the Baragatan sa Palawan Festival. The multi-day celebrations, held in the third week of June, commemorate the founding of the government of Palawan. During the event, street parades and cultural presentations as well as food and trade fairs are held. Join us on one of our Palawan tours.

Situated in Bacuit Bay, El Nido, in the northernmost tip of mainland Palawan, is bordered by the Linapacan Strait in the north, the Sulu Sea in the east, and the South China Sea in the west. It is composed of 45 islands and islets, each has its own unique geological formations. The highest peak is at Cadlao Island, towering up to 640 metres (2,100 ft) above sea level. Island hopping is maybe the most popular of El Nido Tours.

Together with Sulu Archipelago, Sabah, and South China Sea, El Nido, being part of Palawan, is located in the tectonically active and seismically active Sunda Plate, a plate that is entirely separate from the Philippine Mobile Belt to which the rest of the Philippines belongs. The Permian to Paleogene rocks and limestone cliffs of El Nido are similar to those that can be found in Ha Long Bay in Vietnam, Guilin in China, as well as Krabi in Thailand, all of which are part of the Sunda Plate. The landscape is spectacular.

El Nido is usually ranked in Condé Nast Traveler’s list of “20 Most Beautiful Beaches in the World.” We offer a variety of El Nido tours.

Simizu Island
A small island surrounded by clear waters of El Nido, rock formations and a scene of towering mountains.

Bacuit Bay
Bacuit Bay is dotted with islands and islets, most of which are inhabited. Its clear blue waters are teeming with marine life. It is home to dugongs, turtles, manta rays, species of fishes, coral reefs, and the occasional whale sharks. There are over 30 dive sites ranging in depth from six to more than thirty meters. It is a paradise for divers.

Cadlao Island
Cadlao is the largest island in El Nido, occupying a land area of 10.06 square kilometers. Among all islands, it is the closest to town proper and has the highest peak that towers up to 640 meters above sea level. It is known for its white sand beaches, gradually sloping sea floor, hidden lagoons, and nature trails through its lush forest cover. One of these nature trails leads to the charming saltwater Makaamo Lagoon. Surrounded by mangroves, the lagoon is best enjoyed in silence at sunrise or sunset when the birds feed.

There are a number of beaches on Cadlao, including that at Bocal Point, Natnat, and Paradise Beach on the southern side of the island. Sabang Beach in the north-east offers good snorkeling opportunities, though some visitors may recognize it as one of the settings for the Scandinavian TV show Robinson Expedisjonen, the predecessor to Survivor.

Dilumacad Island
Dilumacad Island has a beautiful white sand beach stretching to some 300 meters that is ideal for picnic lunches during island-hopping trips. There is an underwater tunnel at its northern side and a fringing reef on its southern end. The island is also called Helicopter Island because its limestone cliffs resemble the shape of a helicopter when it is viewed from a considerable distance.

Pangulasian Island
Pangulasian has 750-metre (2,460 ft) wide stretch of powdery white beaches in El Nido, which is very ideal for sun bathing, sunset viewing, and other beach activities. The waters fronting the beach are clusters of coral reefs that make this area a good snorkeling and diving site. A trail located in the middle of the island is a good place for birdwatching, especially during early mornings and late afternoons. The trail ends at the peak of the island and provides and an excellent 360-degree view of the Bacuit Bay and nearby islands.

Vigan Island
Located near Pangulasian Island, Vigan is also referred to as “Snake Island,” because of the fine natural sandspit (s-shaped sandbar) that “snakes” off it shores. The sandspit is clearly visible only when the tide is low. On both sides of the sandspit are shallow swimming areas.

Cudugnon Point
Cudugnon Point is an important anthropological site, where jewelry and pottery dating back to the Song dynasty (960-1279 CE) were yielded. The anthropologists believe that the cave dwellers were from Borneo, and travelled across the ancient land bridge that connected Palawan from Borneo. The crevices of its cave roof are inhabited by barn swallows and insectivorous bats.

Matinloc Island

Matinloc Island
Matinloc Island, the longest slim island in El Nido, has a secret beach, which is a pocket of white sand beach at the corner of a sinkhole, that is inaccessible by boat and surrounded by steep rock walls. To reach it, divers must swim underwater through a narrow crevice in a rock wall. At noon, the sun streams in through the opening, allowing a play of light and shadow against its limestone walls. The beach floor drops abruptly. According to local legend, this beach inspired Alex Garland’s novel The Beach, which was written while the author was in El Nido.

Aside from the Secret Beach, the island is also famous for the Kulasa Beach, a 100-meter beach strip of fine white sand located at one of its coves. The sea floor surrounding the beach slopes gradually and the water deepens only after about 10 meters.

There are four dive sites around the island with the one at the south tip of Matinloc being the deepest at 39 meters.

Pinasil Island
Pinasil Island has a cathedral-like cavern accessible by dinghy and kayak. Its cool interior is lit at certain times of the day by sunlight coming through an opening at its peak. This one of important sites for the busyadors or the birds’ nest gatherers.

Aberawan River
Aside from its several islands and beaches, tourists can also enjoy a mangrove tour along the Aberawan River where they can watch egrets roost among the mangrove trees at the mouth of the river.

Ille Cave
12,000 years ago, El Nido was inhabited already by humans. Archaeologists found human and animal bones, potteries and even traces of 8,000-year-old cremation at Ille Cave. Ille is located at New Ibajay, a 45-minute drive from the town center, and is frequented by tourists

Población (Town proper)
Nestled around the towering marble and limestone cliffs and green hills, the town proper is a thriving tourist center where most cottages, bars, and souvenir shops can be found.

Balay Tubay
A 90-year-old house turned into a bar along Calle Real where paintings and handicrafts of local artists are put on display. Every night, live music is performed there then. Originally owned by Sabas C. Robles, the grandfather of Judge Sabas Robles Acosta, father of Andrei Ustares Acosta – the Palawanologist.

Nacpan Beach
A 4 kilometer stretch of powdery white sand and pristine azure waters which is 15 minutes away from downtown El Nido through a tricycle. The unperturbed solace of this paradise will make you lose track of time.

Join us on our El Nido Tours.

Coron is the popular name for a destination that comprises the Calamian Islands, Palawan province.

This island group consists of the following islands: Busuanga Island, Coron Island, Culion Island, Calauit Island, Malcapuya Island, Banana Island, Pass Island, Calumbuyan Island and several minor islets. Coron Town is not on Coron Island but on Busuanga Island, the largest island of the archipelago. It has the only airport of the Calamian Islands and there are now direct flights from Manila and Cebu City. There are daily ferries from Coron Town to El Nido on Palawan Island.

 

Coron Town is the jump off point for mostly island hopping and diving excursions. The town itself has a few attractions such as the Maquinit Hot Springs and the climb to the viewpoint of Mt. Tapyas. There are many lagoons, reefs, and deserted beaches in the area of the Calamian Islands. Lake Kayangan is one of Coron’s main attractions. The lake is accessible by a steep 10-minute climb. The crystal-clear waters of Lake Kayangan are nestled into the limestone mountain walls. Take your snorkel: underwater is like a fascinating moonscape. There’s a little wooden walkway and platform to stash your things if you go for a swim. The lake is on Coron Island.

 

Coron is known for its World War Two Japanese shipwrecks which have become popular scuba diving sites. About 10 shipwrecks can be found in the area, most of which were sunk on September 24, 1944 by US Carrier-based planes. Most ships were support ships, oil tankers or transport ships. The skeleton wreck can be seen snorkeling and there is an unnamed wreck just off the beach of Majalem aka Black Island. Other popular dive sites are Barracuda Lake, Cathedral Cave and Seven Picados Reef.

Photo Gallery