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Top 10 Things I Love About Palawan

It has been hailed as the Philippines' Last Frontier. Some say the name Palawan comes from the PA-LAO-YU, or “land of beautiful safe harbour".

Palawan is made up of 1,768 islands. It is in fact the 2nd largest province of the Philippines. It has almost 2,000 kilometers of coastline. Sprawled beneath the seas are nearly 11,000 square kilometers of coral reefs. The entire province was proclaimed a Fish and Wildlife Sanctuary in 1967.

I'm not stating these facts just to showcase my amazing ability to google. What this all means is that Palawan IS the paradise that we've all been seeking. A paradise that's rich in biodiversity. A paradise with thousands of remote islands that are just waiting to be discovered. 2km of coastline for frolicking, snorkelling, sunbathing, kayaking, camping. The possibilities are endless.

Let me show you the top 10 things I absolutely love about Palawan.

Let me give you a glimpse of what this paradise holds.

1. Puerto Princesa Underground River

UNESCO World Heritage Site. Finalist to the search for the New 7 Wonders of the World. It holds 8.2 km of underground river that flows directly into the sea. The reason why this river is so precious is because it shouldn't have existed...yet it does.

2. Sabang, Palawan

A trip to the Underground River wouldn't be complete without first stopping here.  You're treated to not just a gastronomic feast but a feast for the eyes. You have the view of the beach (and the Underground Park in the distance) while chowing down your lunch buffet of fresh seafood, grilled porkchop, coconut soup and fresh, young coconut juice.

You might even get the chance to hitch a ride on a carabao-driven 'kalesa'!

3. Day and Night in El Nido

Wouldn't it be lovely to wake up to this every morning?

Or end each of your days with this view?

4. El Nido's 45 islands and islets

Of which, we only visited about 10. More reason to come back to this paradise!


5. Island Water Therapy


6. Haven of the Philippine Wildlife

Palawan is the home of Palawan Monkeys, Palawan Parrots, Palawan Bear cats, Palawan Peacock, Mongoose, Scaly AntEater, Porcupine, and mouse deer. This is the reason why the province gained this title.

7. Snorkeling in El Nido

These factors make El Nido perfect for snorkelling (and diving):
  • Average temparatures of 22°C to a high of 33°C
  • Slight to moderate currents. Most of the time, the sea is as a calm as the surface of a mirror
  • Water visibility ranges from 3 meters to 10 meters from December to February, 10 meters to 30 meters from March to May, and 10 meters to 15 meters from June to November.
  • El Nido's marine ecosystem is the most diverse in the Philippines
  • Palawan has 11,000 square kilometers of coral reefs. 11 freaking thousand.
8. The Palawan Landscape

The Palawan landscape is liberally splattered with an 8km coastline, rolling hills, white marble cliffs, amazing karsts, great mountain ranges and winding rivers. The Bacuit archipelago can be compared to that of Ha Long Bay in Vietnam.

9. El Nido's Remoteness

El Nido is as removed from Manila as you can get. It takes 5-6 hours from Puerto Princesa to reach the town of El Nido. It's at the northernmost tip of Palawan. No ATM's. Electricity only runs from 12nn-4pm and 6pm-6am. No traffic, pollution or fastfood restaurant chains. Ahh just perfect!

10. The Palaweños

All the people we've met over the course of 5 days have been extremely wonderful and nice. From our tour guide, Mang Nelson, and van drivers, Kuya Marvin and Fred, to the staff of Hadefe cottage and even the random ones we met on the road. Everyone was outrageously nice.

It was another pleasant surprise to find that tourists aren't as harassed compared to other destinations, say Boracay. It was rare that we'd meet touts selling souvenirs, food or water. We were never asked if we wanted a massage while walking on the beach. No one was selling ice cream while we were in the middle of the sea (unlike in Boracay). It was a welcome relief.

The Palaweños also value their paradise. Nothing is being taken for granted. Severe fines are imposed for littering around the province. The Palaweños could have earned a lot of money mining the white marble karsts in Sabang, yet they didn't because they know that doing so would destroy the treasure below, the Underground River. The boatmen don't anchor anywhere because they know the importance of coral reefs.

By junP

Of all the treasures that it has, I think it's the people of Palawan that are the most precious.

By Salim

If you're a Filipino, it would be a real shame if you have no plans of visiting our wonderful treasure. A real shame.

What are you waiting for?

Photos by Carl Custodio.

Lois and Chichi are friends, cosmically aligned, unique in their own separate ways and united by the same passion for travel. Both of them, at some point in their lives, have had to jump in feet first, take risks and see where their itchy soles take them.

Read more about their travels at
Sole Sisters