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Palawan

Travel Guide Asia Philippines Palawan

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Introduction

Coron, Palawan

Coron, Palawan

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Palawan is located to the west of the main bulk of Philippine islands. Distinctive in being a long and narrow strip of an Island, there are also a number of other smaller islands surrounding it. Fabled for being one of the more untouched islands in the Philippines, it's popular with backpackers, honeymooners, divers and those that like to go off the beaten path. Not to mention the odd movie star.

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Geography

Located to the west of the Western Visayas, Palawan is about 450 kilometres in length but only about 50 kilometres in width. It sports one of the most versatile landscapes in the Philippines. Rich white sand beaches dot the coastline, alone with pristine blue waters and coral reefs. Volcanic rock is everywhere along with a eco habitat unique to Asia.

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Cities

  • The capital Puerto Princesa is located in the centre of the island and is the second biggest city in the Philippines. It is host to the world's longest navigable underground river.
  • Brooke's Point is the last major city to the South.
  • Port Barton a remote beach side paradise.
  • El Nido a small town to the north fabled for diving and tiny islands. It is home to world class island resorts.
  • Coron is a municipality in the Calamian group of islands north of the main island of Palawan and is known as a diving destination.
  • Quezon is a municipality south of Puerto Princesa where the Tabon Cave is located where the fossilized remains of the Tabon Men was found.

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Sights and Activities

  • Iwahig Penal Colony in Puerto Princesa where the prisoners roam free.
  • Palawan Crocodile Farm and Conservation Center in Puerto Princesa.
  • Butterfly Conservation Garden in Puerto Princesa.
  • Puerto Princesa Subterranean River - Which is two and a half hours from Puerto Princesa in Sabang and expensive to get to via tour. Far cheaper to go to Sabang and stay over night - more info in Sabang section.
  • Sabang - Home of the world longest underground river, a monkey trail, sea waterfall and jungle treks, not to mention long white beaches.
  • Port Barton - A small remote beach perfect and nearly untouched.
  • El Nido - A tropical paradise town to the north of Palawan, diving, climbing and blue waters await.
  • Coron - Sail out to this island chain to visit the Dugong's (mermaids) and a short hop back to Manila.
  • Brooke's Point - For a taste of town life on an island head here, not too exciting, but it is local.
  • There are countless diving and snorkeling resorts all around Palawan, and all with very different prices.

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Events and Festivals

Around the start of March there is an annual festival, though being the Philippines there are many more throughout the year.

Warning:
During festivals make sure to book your bus tickets way in advance, take names and numbers of the person you buy from and the owner of the company. There's a fair amount of overbooking taking place. Check back a few days a before you are due to leave.

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Weather

The sun is a near year round treat on Palawan. But like the rest of the Philippines this is a tropical climate and monsoon season means rain. Keep a eye on the weather if you are planning to take a ferry to or from Palawan. Likewise when taking a banka from Sabang, Port Barton to El Nido or any other boat trip. The sea can get very rough in bad weather. Temperatures are mostly around 30 °C during the day and around or above 20 °C at night.

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Getting There

By Plane

There are multiple daily flights from Manila and Cebu to Puerto Princesa with Cebu Pacific Air and Airphil Express have most connections. Other airlines that fly into the Palawan islands are Philippine Airlines, Sky Pasada, and Zest Airways which may also connect to Coron.

The main airport is in Puerto Princesa with another smaller one in El Nido. Another airport serves the Coron island through the Busuanga Airport.

By Car

A car can be brought on a ferry, but it's not worth it and quite expensive. Better to rent a car locally.

By Boat

There are multiple ferry's linking Palawan to the rest of the Philippines via Puerto Princesa. Best to check in the region you are departing from for times etc., as they change frequently.

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Getting Around

By Plane

It is possible to fly from Puerto Princesa to El Nido however it's expensive! There are also flights between Puerto Princesa and Coron.

By Train

There are no trains on the Island.

By Car

You may rent or charter a car. The roads are not all paved though, however none are too off road.

By Bus

There are plenty of bus and minivan services linking the cities of Palawan. You may reserve seats on minivans that are air conditioned, but its still prudent to show up early. Likewise with local buses which are half the price, take one third longer and have no air conditioning.

By Boat

There are motorized boat (banka) services linking Puerto Princesa to Sabang, Port Barton and El Nido. However prices vary, and going in a group is much cheap than being solo. There is also a weekly service leaving El Nido for Coron, though it's not regular.

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Eat

Food is very fresh all over Palawan due it's remote island status. Fresh seafood is easily available everywhere. In many of the resorts western food is available. Vietnamese food is popular in Puerto Princesa. Popular fast food restaurants like Jollibee and Chow King are in Puerto Princesa but not outside of the capital.

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Drink

San Miguel Beer is once again King in this part of the Philippines.

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Sleep

PropertyAddressTypePopularity
El Nido Four Seasons ResortEl NidoGuesthouse76
Summer Homes Beach Resort and CottagesPurok Pag-asa Brgy. Port BartonGuesthouse96
Lally & Abet Beach CottagesEl NidoApartment-
Monkey FamilyQuezon St. Port BartonHostel-

Accommodation in Palawan is generally of a high standard. Many resorts start at €30 and go upwards, the high class resorts can sometimes be in the US$100's. There are however, a few cottages and small guesthouse in each city where you can stay for as low as 250 pesos.
Note that accommodation during Easter is often booked out in advance.

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Quick Facts

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Coordinates
  • Latitude: 9.446231
  • Longitude: 118.392942

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