Palawan Island is part of the Philippines. You should pronounce its name with an accent on the second syllable. Along with the other islands belonging to the territory of this Asian country, Palawan forms a large state province with a similar name. The island extends 425 kilometres in length and 40 kilometres in width. The total area is 12,188.6 square kilometres. The capital of the island. Puerto Princesa is chosen as the capital of Palawan. The island is surrounded by two seas – the South China Sea and the Sulu Sea. Palawan province is divided into 23 municipalities.
The island is located in a mountainous area, combined with jungle and mangroves. Due to the mountain range in the center, Palawan has two parts. They are characterized by different climatic conditions. The island is influenced by the monsoon from the northwest. The rainy season is from May to December. Other times, heat and drought reigns. The average temperature ranges from 26 to 29 °C.
Palawan was visited by Chinese merchants in the past centuries. From the 12th century, the Malay began to arrive on the island. Once settled, they fished, farmed and hunted. They preferred to grow coconut palms and sugar cane in agriculture. Cattle breeding was developing. Pigs, goats and poultry were raised.
In the seventeenth century the territory became of interest to the Spaniards. They began to settle there en masse. This invasion was actively opposed by the Moro tribe. This forced the missionaries to build military garrisons and churches. In 1749 the transfer of the island of Palawan took place. Palawan to Spanish jurisdiction under the command of the Sultan of Borneo. Revolutionary events in Spain forced the new settlers to abandon the island in 1898, after which the U.S. declared a civilian-style government in the territory. The province survived unification, and the city of Puerto Princesa became its capital. In 1903, it decided to retain the name belonging to the main island territory (the province includes other, smaller islands). It became known as Palawan.
Today, the island is inhabited by 87 cultural and national groups. The 2010 Philippine census gave an idea of the number of people living in the province. It was about 995 thousand. There are 74 people per square meter. Most of the residents of the state are Austronesians. Some are also of Chinese or Spanish descent.
The cultural traditions of the island are influenced by Borneo along with China and the Middle East. Due to the migration of the Filipino population, there is an annual growth rate of 3.98% in the province in question. The cultural minority population is about 18%.
Administrative center: Puerto Princesa Founded: 1818 Area: 12,188.6 km 2 Population: 849,469 (2015) Official website: http://www.palawan.gov.ph/
Flight time: from Moscow – from 19 hours (2-3 connections) from Saint-Petersburg – from 22 hours 25 min (2-3 connections) from Kazan – from 24 hours 50 min (2-3 connections) from Ekaterinburg – from 23 hours 30 min (2-4 connections) from Novosibirsk – from 13 hours 25 min (2 connections)
Palawan is recognized as a paradise that attracts travelers from all over the world. Both divers and nature lovers can be found here. The Philippine island is the No. 1 tourist destination in Asia and No. 13 worldwide. Lonely Planet magazine described Palawan as a top tourist destination in 2014. The American travel magazine publisher also ranked the island high in popularity, pushing it back to 147 other world islands. Palawan is especially famous for the Puerto Princesa Underground River and the El Nido Archipelago. Conde Nast Traveler, in a reader survey, found that the island is present at the top of the top 10 places that appeal to travelers.
How to get there
Air Travel to Palawan
Palawan Island can be reached by air from either Manila or Boracay.
To Palawan from Manila
From the capital city prefer to go to Puerto Princesa City, this route is recognized as popular, which is logical – it is the capital of the island and most flights are made there. Although there are flights to El Nido from the Philippine capital’s airport.
The airlines such as AirAsia, Cebu Pacific Air and Philippine Airlines are popular with travelers. If you regularly monitor the official websites of these carriers, you can get a travel document with a significant discount. It is necessary to catch the sale of tickets timed to the promotional campaign of airlines. Its duration varies from one day to 30 days. The duration also depends on the size of the discount. The larger it is, the shorter the promotion. You should take care of buying tickets for low-cost airlines six months before your planned trip. If luck is on your side, you can fly for as little as $20 in one direction, which is comparable to the cost of a bus ride. Agree, an attractive price.
Sometimes there are spikes in price associated with the minimum number of seats left on a flight. If they don’t sell out, after a while the fare gets low again. A ticket to your destination will be cheap when purchased one-way only. The return ticket will already be more expensive. Many people are happy with this situation, because people move on from the point of arrival, and they simply do not need a return ticket, or rather they need a return ticket from somewhere else. If necessary, it is purchased from any city with which there is air service.
Airport harbors in the Philippines practice charging airport fees. On domestic flights they do not exceed 200 pesos per ticket holder. Almost all airlines now include an airport fee in the price of the travel document. For international departures from Manila or Cebu, passengers pay 550 pesos.
Iti Air flies directly to El Nido and its aircraft take off three times a day. Tickets can be purchased on the carrier’s official website. To do this you must enter your name and surname, passport data, and choose the time of departure. 10kg of luggage may be taken free of charge. Extra weight is charged at 100 pesos per 1 kg. It is best to arrive at the registration desk 2 hours before departure. Reservations can be made by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
To Palawan from Boracay
While in Boracay, take advantage of Air Juan. It operates direct flights from Caticlan and Puerto Princesa to various destinations within the country. Maritime travelers can take a ferry from Iloilo. Private seaplane flights are also available.
From Cebu to Palawan
There are also a couple of daily flights from Cebu to Puerto Princesa, and they take place in the morning. As a starting point from Cebu, some tourists choose the neighboring island. Panay and its city of Iloilo. Ticket prices are as high as $400 for round-trip fares.
By water to Palawan.
The 2Go Ferry Company ships from the Philippine capital. It is also called Super Ferry. Ferries depart weekly on Fridays with a stop within 1 hour on Coron Island. The final destination is Puerto Princesa. It takes up to 28 hours to cross. The return trip to Manila takes place on Sundays and arrives on Monday.
The ferry company Negros Navigation organizes a connection to Puerto Princesa on Thursdays. The return voyage leaves on Saturdays. Flights are weekly, lasting up to 23 hours.
Montenegro ferries depart from Iloilo. They run to Puerto Princesa, calling at the islands of opportunity. The trip takes 26 hours and costs 1,590 pesos. The exact schedule is not followed.
San Nicolas Shipping is responsible for the connection between Isla. Mindoro and the island of. Palawan. Flights take place on Tuesdays at 10 a.m. After 6 hours, the ferry docks in San Jose, Mindoro. The ship sails back on Saturday evening and arrives in Coron on Sunday.
The same company operates flights to Palawan from the Philippine capital. A ticket with meals included costs 800 pesos. Ferries leave on the 2nd, 4th and 6th day of the week, reaching their destination by the evening of the following day. The return trip takes place on the 1st, 3rd and 5th day of the week. The crossing takes 24 hours. Atienza Shipping Lines is the operator of the ferry line, covering locations such as Thai Thai, El Nido, Coron and Manila.
From Iloilo to Puerto Princesa, you will get there with Milagrosa Shipping. The ferry company operates twice a week with ships calling at Cuyo. The fare is 800 pesos and lasts just over a day. Ferries depart at 7 p.m. on Mondays and Thursdays. To the administrative center of Palawan Island. Palawan, you will arrive the next day by 9 p.m. In the opposite direction, the ships leave on Sundays and Wednesdays at 3 p.m., arriving the next day at 5 p.m.
The El Nido-Coron and San Jose-Coron boat sails about 7 hours. The reservation you make must be paid with a credit card or via bank transfer, using PayPal. In return, you receive an emailed ticket, which you show when you board at the pier. The travel document is electronic.
The boat leaves El Nido for Coron on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8:30 a.m. In the opposite direction it departs on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays at the same time. The fare includes lunch on board and bottled water. Boarding begins a half hour before departure.
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Climate and weather in Palawan
Weather in cities
Palawan, in terms of exposure to natural disasters, is considered safe. There is no volcanic or seismic activity on the island. Typhoons bypass Palawan, hitting the northern territories of the island. Coron and El Nido. Cyclones become more active in late summer. The island climate is seasonal. It can be arid from late autumn to mid-spring, and also very humid the rest of the time.
When planning a vacation on the island in the most comfortable period, focus on the time interval from late fall to early spring. The rains will not threaten your vacation. If you like hot weather, then go to Palawan in spring. The weather in Puerto Princesa differs from that of El Nido, where the climate is most favorable.
The administrative center of Palawan is often dominated by the sea wind. As a result, the air is fresh and cool. Precipitation falls mostly at night. Rain is rarely seen during the day. The northern part of the island abounds in precipitation. They fall in Port Barton and El Nido.
For diving, the latter is visited in the spring. A favorite tourist spot is the Tubbutaha Reefs Park. It is located at a distance of 100 km from Puerto Princesa. Visit the park is best from March to June. At this time, the sea is not tumultuous.
In the area around the island. Palawan Bay, which is ideal for snorkeling and diving. The bay is notable for the large number of small islands. They are surrounded by coral reefs. Lovers of lying in the sun will please the beaches with snow-white sand.
Reviews by Month
Photos of Palawan
We won’t dwell on the boring administrative division of Palawan – you can see it as a map in the picture to the right. Below we will briefly talk about the main cities and resorts of the island, which will be interesting for tourists and have a lot of attractions.
Puerto Princesa is one of the most beautiful cities of the Philippines. Located on the island of Palawan, it attracts a significant number of tourists every year. One of the main attractions of the city is the underground river of the same name. Among the attractions of the city should include the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, which has a history of nearly 200 years. Also Puerto Princesa is famous for its incredible parks – Mendoza Park, Princess Eulalia Park. The surroundings of the city are no less beautiful. On one side is an amazing bay, along which it is so pleasant to walk in the evening. On the other side is a fairly dense forest and Puerto Princesa National Park. It should be noted that a walk through the forest can be a great pleasure. Here you can meet a large number of picturesque waterfalls, as well as climb a low mountain, which offers a delightful view of the city and the bay.
El Nido is considered a true gem of Palawan Island. This town is considered one of the most picturesque places on Earth – there are 39 islands in the Bay of Bakuit, here you can find many unexplored coves, lagoons, where it seems that no man has set foot, here you can admire the pristine beauty of limestone cliffs, walk on completely deserted beaches, be in a tropical wilderness and touch the wildlife. El Nido is located in the northern tip of Palawan, and is separated from Puerto Princesa 260 kilometers. It is a small town, which has a width of only 300 meters. El Nido used to be just a tiny village, but today it is considered a national reserve of the Philippines. It was only opened to tourists in 1979, preserving its pristine beauty until a shipwreck occurred off its shores. Then divers noticed the beauty of local nature. As early as 1983, the very first diving platform was built here and El Nido received a flood of tourists. Today the resort is actively developing and growing.
Koron is a province of Palawan Island and occupies the island itself, the eastern part of the main island of Busuanga, as well as 50 small islands located in the county. The urban infrastructure of Coron is not particularly well developed, there are no ATMs, so tourists are advised to exchange money in the center in advance, so as not to be without money at the most inopportune moment. But you can find good restaurants and fairly budget cafes. Prices in the city are quite high, if compared with the capital of the island. Koron offers tourists magnificent beaches with white sand, clear sea water and amazing lakes with salt water surrounded by ancient rocks. Here you can see the real sunken ships, mysterious caves. Accommodation is possible both in hotels and bungalows on the islands. Koron is considered a national park of the Philippines because of its rich nature – exotic flora and fauna made Koron a popular place for tourists.
Napsan is a municipality that lies just over the mountain range of the western tip of Palawan . It is separated from the capital of Puerto Princesa by 53 kilometers. There are many interesting corners, full of secrets, as if specially created for tourists who are curious and want to dive into the adventure. You should be prepared for the fact that in the territory of Napsan not everywhere there is a telephone signal and, even more so, no Internet. Power is on only from 7 to 10 p.m., and the roads are the usual surface of gravel or cobblestones. The only new concrete road is just under construction and starts from the southern federal highway.
Port Barton is a small town located on the coast 145 kilometers from the capital of Palawan, Puerto Princesa. The vast majority of tourists who have been to Port Barton town and visited the small islands nearby agree that it is one of the most interesting and colorful places in the Philippines. This corner does not attract tourists with excellent service in hotels and restaurants, and on the contrary – inexpensive and affordable recreation, remoteness from big cities, the small population of the western tip of the island. It is this feature of rest in Port Barton makes it less popular resort than El Nido or Sabang – buses go here much less frequently. The town remains untouched in its pristine purity, the charm of a primitive life, which gives it its own special charm.
Sabang is a small town of village-type, located on the west coast of Palawan. Sabang is 75 kilometers from the capital of Palawan, Puerto Princesa. The village stands between the mountain range and the sea itself, the main street runs through the whole Sabang and leads directly to the pier, where the boats go to the local underground river. The village has no connection to the public electricity system, so all the residential buildings and hotels are equipped with their own generators, which run only 4 hours a day, starting at 6:00 pm. In addition, a plan to build a power plant to convert solar energy has been developed here for a few years now. The town has two comfortable beaches, both located to the right of the main pier, one behind the other. The first has bungalows and hotels, and the second is very sparsely populated. Here you can find bars, beach cafes, and other amenities for tourists. During sea waves, do not enter the water further than waist-length, as the surf can be quite strong.
San Vicente is a small village located on the coast of Palawan. From the capital of Puerto Princesa to the town of San Vicente – 177 kilometers, from the village of El Nido – 114 kilometers. San Vicente today is a very attractive place for modern tourists due to its pristine and unspoiled beauty. Here you can completely escape from the problems and hassles of modern life, plunged into the charm of the lonely beaches, wild bushes and endless sea. Today the village is already being paved with a road of concrete, which makes it more accessible to tourists. Expensive hotels, banks and even ATMs are simply not here. There are also no regular hospitals, and electricity is on only in the evening and until 12 at night. In San Vicente, it is possible to book a tour of the islands, as in Port Barton.
Palawan Island – the way to the heart of the Philippines
Palawan Island is one of the thousands of fabulous islands in the Philippine archipelago. Mesmerizing beauty, magnificent sunrises and sunsets, the clearest azure-colored water – you can see it all with your own eyes here. Throughout the Philippines is scattered about 7000 different islands, among which lurks the mysterious and paradisiacal Palawan. Views of the island are very reminiscent of its famous for its emerald Ko Chang Thai.
But to get there is not so easy. You can make it with a connection in Manila, the capital of the Philippines. And from there there is a flight to Puerto Princesa – the main city of Palawan.
Palawan Island on the map
- geographic coordinates 9.49955, 118.461604
- length about 430 km
- width from 8 to 40 km
The sights in Puerto Princesa can be counted on one hand, but that’s not the point. For example, visitors love to visit the military museum. Although there are not many pieces of equipment from the war, but it is interesting to look at. Or where to go without a temple, Puerto Princesa has one. It is an elongated sky-white Catholic church that was built back in colonial times. It is a kind of imprint of those distant historical events. So, that’s pretty much all the points of interest in the main city of the Philippines.
Much more remarkable is the underground river, the legends of which go back centuries. It is located on the opposite side of the island – in the village of Sabang. And to get there, you need to stand in a queue. It can drag on for a few hours or days.
Sabang, like any place in the Philippines, holds stunning views. Lovers of watching the raging elements can stop at the beach. Sitting on the white sand, you are sure to love the sight of the water crashing unrestrained against the rocky ledges. It’s mesmerizing. There are many deserted beaches along the coast. A realm of silence and tranquility, a paradise for those who want to enjoy the peace.
As soon as the line comes up, you can immediately swim to the underground river. It originates far in the mountains and enters the sea by flowing through the caves.
The boat carrying the tourists begins the journey through these caves. They have been washed out by this river for centuries. By the way, this is why the river is called the underground river. The walk lasts no more than an hour, so in a short time you should have time to enjoy the views. The crystal clear water is home to endangered species of fish and turtles, which, with keen eyesight, can be seen in the river.
Palawan island is not rich in sights and monuments, it is much more important nature: the endless azure shores, sand and stone white beaches. In short, serenity and only serenity. Despite the long and thorny road to the island, expectations will be met. If you dream to be alone with yourself in the lap of nature, then this place is ideal for a vacation.
If you have time, you can also visit the island of Mactan, where the legendary navigator Fernand Magellan was killed, and the monument was placed to his killer, Chief Lapu-Lapu. It is noteworthy that the locals equally revere both Magellan and Lapu-Lapu. The first for bringing prosperity, and the second for the courageous defense of their land from foreign invasion.
Palawan Island in the photo
Here you can swim or dive
Suspension bridge on Palawan Island. Not as long as the Capilano Bridge in Canada, but also interesting.