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The Philippines' Last Frontier-Palawan

For those who love beaches and tropical islands, the Philippines is among their top list of most sought after destination. The country, being made of islands itself is becoming a home to many natural wonders of the world. One of which is the island of Palawan, commonly known as the Philippines' Last Frontier.

A New York-based travel magazine once released its Top 25 Islands in the World list where Palawan topped with 94.83 points. Palawan previously held the title in 2013, 2016, and 2017. That being said, ask a traveller or a tourist as to where are they headed, Palawan is definitely on their list.

The Province of Palawan is made up of an archipelago in the region of Mimaropa. At a size of 14,649.73 km squared, it is the largest province in the Philippines when it comes to total area. Puerto Princesa is the capital of Palawan. The multiple islands of Palawan run between Mindoro island in the northeast and Borneo in the southwest. It also lies midway between the South China Sea and the Sulu Sea. The largest island in the system is Palawan island which measures 450 kilometers (280 miles) long and 50 kilometers (31 miles) wide.

Palawan is not only the largest island in its province but also the fifth largest in the entire country. It is full of stunning aesthetics as well as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, The Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park.

The views from Palawan are stunning, even from sea level. The mountains rise dramatically from white sand beaches lined with palm trees. In the water itself, visitors can enjoy unforgettable experiences. There are world-class scuba diving areas and even WWE shipwrecks for travelers to discover.

How to get here?

You can actually fly from Manila to 2 parts of Palawan; Puerto Princesa and Coron. However, the most common route is Manila to Puerto Princesa.


Route 1: Manila to Palawan via Puerto Princesa Route

Flying from Manila to Puerto Princesa is the most common route when people go to Palawan. AirAsia, Cebu Pacific and Philippine Airlines (PAL) all have direct flights from Manila to Puerto Princesa. Among these 3, AirAsia and Cebu Pacific usually offer the cheapest flight. Flights depart from Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) then lands at Puerto Princesa International Airport. The flight from Manila to Puerto Princesa, Palawan takes up to 1 hour and 15 minutes. From here, you can ride a tricycle going to your hotel. 

From Puerto Princesa Airport to El Nido

To travel from Puerto Princesa to El Nido, from my experience, you need to ride a van or bus and travel for at least 5-6 hours. Cherry Bus is the bus company that operates this route. However, if you have an extra cash and wants a smooth travel, which I would recommend, you can go with the option 2. Take a direct flight from Manila to Palawan via El Nido Route. There is also option 3 which is Manila to Palawan via Coron Route. Lastly, you can also reach Palawan by Ferry.

Places to Visit

1. El Nido

Palawan is the largest province in the country. That being said, each town offers different majestic sceneries. In Palawan, top of the list of course is  the town of  El Nido. El Nido is a coastal town in Palawan. El Nido comprises 45 islands and islets; limestone cliffs are also found here, which form a Karst backdrop similar to those found in Ha Long Bay, Krabi and Guilin. From my experience, the coral reefs and visits to the lagoons are memories I cannot forget. 

2. Coron

If you're in Puerto Princesa, Palawan, going to Coron is pretty easy. You can take a ferry going to the Uson Island Public Pier courtesy of 2Go Travel. The boat leaves for Coron every Saturday and Wednesday and for Puerto Princesa every Saturday and Wednesday. Total travel time takes about 16 hours. However, if you will be travelling directly from Manila, you can take a plane ride from NAIA to Busuanga Airport. From there, hop on a van, the ride is usually 1-3 hours long based on my experience.

Coron's town proper is smaller and quieter than El Nido. Here, you will find a lot of amazing activities in the neighboring inlets. The boar rides, snorking and island hopping are my favorites. I will surely revisit Coron in the future as it brings so much peace personally.

3.Puerto-Princesa Subterranean River National Park

This park features a spectacular limestone karst landscape with an underground river. One of the river's distinguishing features is that it emerges directly into the sea, and its lower portion is subject to tidal influences. The area also represents a significant habitat for biodiversity conservation. The site contains a full 'mountain-to-sea' ecosystem and has some of the most important forests in Asia.

4. Tubbataha Reef (Cagayancillo Islands)

5. Port Barton (San Vicente)

6. Onok Island (Balabac)


Over all, Palawan is a majestic province, composed by out of this world islands that you need to visit at least once in your lifetime.

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