The islands of Palawan, the biggest province in terms of land mass in the Philippines’ Region IV, is famous the world over for its natural splendor and its growing tourist base. In 1990, the island province was officially recognized as a Biosphere Reserve by the United National Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), due to the rich biodiversity of its terrestrial, marine, and coastal ecosystems. The island is also known for the thriving and vibrant cultures of its indigenous peoples.
What else makes Palawan an exciting place to discover? Among other distinctions, it’s been cited as one of the World’s Best Islands by Travel + Leisure magazine, clinching the top spot in 2013, 2016, and 2017—even winning over popular tourist destinations like Greece’s Santorini, Maui in Hawaii, Indonesia’s Bali, and the Philippines’ own Boracay Island.
But if you’d like more proof why Palawan is the place to be, it’s our pleasure to list the following reasons. Hopefully, these will be enough to get you psyched for your next big vacation!
It’s the Philippines’ foremost eco-paradise
Palawan is known as “the Philippines’ last frontier for conservation.” Researchers from the Centre for Sustainability and Palawan’s own Council for Sustainable Development studied its lush greenery and noted that the island still hosts half of its original primary forests—some of which are the oldest and most diverse in all of Asia. Palawan is also teeming with animal life, and some of the rare pleasures you’ll experience in the island are watching dolphins swim, or watching fireflies glow in the night.
It’s a water wonderland
Both Palawan’s seawater and freshwater reserves are sights to behold. Freshwater sources alone include lakes, waterfalls, natural springs, rivers, and streams. Some of the best things to do in Palawan involve swimming in crystalline oceans, exploring coves and reefs, or just dipping your feet into fresh, cold water in sites like Kayangan Lake in Coron. Make sure to choose the right tour provider so you can make the most of your stay in the province.
It’s a host to hundreds of natural wonders
Right after stepping off the boat, you’ll sink your feet into virgin, unspoiled white-sand beaches. Then, your chosen tour could take you anywhere from the hot springs of Maquinit to the foot of Mount Tapyas, where it will take you around 700 steps to reach the summit. Down south of the island lies Puerto Princesa’s famed Subterranean River National Park, simply known among the locals as “the underground river.” The UNESCO World Heritage Site hosts beautifully shaped, naturally formed limestone formations alongside the world’s longest navigable underground river.
There’s a variety of both comfortable and world-class accommodations
The island province currently opens its doors to travelers from all walks of life, be they thrifty travelers, new couples out for an extra-special honeymoon experience, or newcomers who want to discover the best of the Philippines but don’t know where to start. If you’re headed to Palawan, check out the different types of accommodation offered by each municipality, as guest houses, quaint bed-and-breakfasts, resorts, and premium multiple-star hotels are all available for occupancy.
All sorts of exciting activities await
Likewise, a host of activities exists for every type of traveler. The most popular activity in Palawan is island hopping, which in turn is a jumping-off point for activities like swimming, snorkeling, beachside picnics with freshly grilled seafood, and walking across beautiful natural sandbars. Divers from all over the world also look forward to swimming through pristine lagoon waters and spotting rare marine life in the coral reefs. For water sport enthusiasts, there’s the option to paddle-surf or to go boating in Isla Pandan, a gem of an island in Honda Bay. Lastly, ordinary beach bums bringing their families can build sand castles or play a game or two of beach volleyball.
You’ll meet the best people there
What is it that makes the Philippines a world-class destination? It is, of course, the renowned hospitality, friendliness, and fellowship of its people. One of the biggest reasons why you’ll enjoy being in Palawan is the time you’ll spend with new friends, professional tour guides who’re eager to show you the treasures within the island, and the locals who will treat you just like family. What else would make for an exceptional travel experience?
Bon voyage, and safe travels! It’s time to pack your bags and head right over to the island of Palawan!