Are you not familiar with Palawan? Search it in google map and here’s what it looks like:
Palawan is composed of the long and narrow Palawan mainland, plus a number of other smaller islands surrounding the main island. The Calamianes Group of Islands to the Northeast consists of Busuanga Island, Coron Island and Culion Island. Durangan Island almost touches the westernmost part of Palawan Island, while Balabac Island is located off the southern tip, separated from Borneo by the Balabac Strait. In addition, Palawan covers the Cuyo Islands in the Sulu Sea. The disputed Spratly Islands, located a few hundred kilometres to the west, are considered part of Palawan by the Philippines, and is locally called the “Kalayaan Group of Islands”.
And in my point of view, what makes Palawan unique are the following:
- Palawan is the Philippines’ Last frontier
- the Palawan island is made up of continental, not oceanic, rock
- NO earthquake
Philippines’ last frontier
Many people who have been to Palawan testified for its unique environment rich in flora and fauna. In its forests and grasslands, the air was filled with different songs of more than a hundred kinds of birds. Butterflies flutter around the mountains and grass fields of Palawan which attracted thousands of hosts plants found there. Sea turtles nest on white sand beaches, though at present they are facing extinction.
I did not mentioned all these because I am a Palaweno but a person who have heard testimonies of what other people foreign from this land have experienced once in their lifetime. I have lived for years both in Palawan and Manila. My first 21 years of existence was spent there in the former.
As a matter of fact, Palawan, the only Philippine island cited, is rated by National Geographic Traveler magazine in 2007 as the best island destination in East and Southeast Asia region, and the 13th best island in the world having “incredibly beautiful natural seascapes and landscapes. One of the most biodiverse (terrestrial and marine) islands in the Philippines… The island has had a Biosphere Reserve status since early 1990s, showing local interest for conservation and sustainable development” (source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palawan).
What more? The province was also categorized as “doing well” in the 4th Destination Scorecard survey conducted by the National Geographic Center for Sustainable Destinations, and Conde Nast Traveler magazine voted its beaches, coves and islets as the tourist destination with the best beaches in Asia. Also, a renowned underwater explorer has described the province as having one of the most beautiful seascapes in the world. And in the future, who would think that the islands of northern Palawan become a future destination for Asia’s growing economic and environmental conferencing? I already witnessed the beauty of the northern Palawan, El Nido, in particular.
In 2012, the purple crab was discovered there along with four other species.
Palawan island is made up of continental, not oceanic, rock
Would you believe that Palawan is stable largely because the island was once part of continental Asia which separated around 100 million years ago and drifted toward the Philippines? That’s according to some experts. Further, the rock of the island is continental and different from other parts of the country, which is made of oceanic rock. Sounds safer? Read this Wiki description of islands for reference.
In details, the crust of the island is thicker at 30 kilometers, compared to the 12 km of the oceanic rock, having derived from the Pacific seabed. The crust of the island is thicker and older and, therefore, not as prone to earthquakes.
The richness of spectacular landscapes and seascapes that has made it the favorite of many travelers, it would seem that the paradise island of Palawan also offers the safest haven for those fearful of a Haiti-like tremor occurring in the country. Compared to other parts of the Philippines, Palawan is “relatively stable” geologically, according to experts at the University of the Philippines National Institute of Geological Sciences (UP-NIGS).
According to them, there are hardly any earthquakes in Palawan and certainly none strong enough to cause major damage. The whole island is probably the most stable area of land in the country. I can attest to that since up until now, I did not experienced a single ground movement there as a result of a seismic activity. Additionally, there were hardly any active faults under the island compared to the rest of the country. Plus point for Palawan, huh.
Attractions in Palawan
The Puerto Princesa Underground River
The whole underground river has been designated as the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park and is one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites worthy of preservation because this underground river flows directly to the sea and so its cavern entrance is subject to tidal influences that brings about a unique sort of marine diversity to the river.
Read my adventure in this wonderful natural park which is one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature.
In the town of Coron, Coron Reefs could be found which attract nature lovers featuring the Seven lakes surrounded by craggy limestone cliffs. Busuanga Island, on the other hand, is the jump-off point for numerous dive operators. The principal dive sites are 12 World War II Japanese shipwrecks sunk on September 24, 1944 by US Navy action. They depth of the dive site from the surface is approximately 40 meters. This offers exciting wreck exploration for enthusiasts, from novice divers and snorkelers and recreational divers to experienced divers. The aquatic views from the sunken Japanese warships off Coron Island are listed in Forbes Traveler Magazine’s top 10 best scuba sites in the world.
Visit the picture-perfect town of Coron on the island of Busuanga at the northern tip of Palawan, known for its majestic limestone islands, crystal-clear blue waters, and pristine white beaches. Watch this:
Between Palawan and Panay, in the northern part of Palawan, Pamalican Island is situated. It is a small island of the Cuyo Islands in the Sulu Sea. The island is set in the middle of a 7 square-kilometer coral reef. It has a length of 2.5 kilometers, and measures only 500 meters at its widest point. The island is serviced by a Dornier 228-202K plane flying from Manila, which is used to ferry customers and to bring supplies to the resort. Each bungalow comes with a personal buggy for free circulation throughout the island. The atmosphere around the island is extremely tranquil and secluded.
Want to have fun? Diving activities are available, allowing for nice coral viewing and encounters with large turtles and rays. Several windsurf boards and sails are provided at the “Windsurf hut” on the north shore. During the northern monsoon season (usually during November to May) when the wind blows onshore, easy windsurfing on a flat surface of the shallow protected lagoon is especially favorable.
Did you know that the resort has been nominated as one of the best island resorts in the world? Nice, no?
As others put it, “Set on its own private island in the Philippines’ Sulu Sea, Amanpulo gives a perfect setting for sentiment, encompassed by white sand beaches and crystal-clear aquamarine waters teeming with marine life”, Pamalican Island is quite a remarkable place to go. Watch this video to take a closer look:
Tubbataha Reef Marine Park is the protected area of the Philippines located in the amidst of Sulu Sea. It is a marine and bird sanctuary which consists of two huge atolls, the North Atoll and South Atoll and a smaller Jessie Beazley Reef covering a total area of 97,030 hectares. It is a unique example of an atoll reef with a very high density of marine species; the North Islet serving as a nesting site for birds and marine turtles. The site is an excellent example of a pristine coral reef with a spectacular 100 m perpendicular wall, extensive lagoons and two coral islands. The reef is located 150 kilometres southeast of Puerto Princesa City, the capital of Palawan province.
A lot has been said about the Tubbataha Reef and its role in the global maritime ecosystem. But how important really is it and why should we continue to protect it? Watch this:
Have you heard Dos Palmas resort? Well, the place where this known resort is called Honda Bay, a bay on the eastern shore of the island of Palawan near Puerto Princesa City. The bay is used for both subsistence and commercial fishing and recreational activities. Boats can be rented there for the day and used for travel to nearby islands. Honda Bay is ideal for snorkeling.
Want to ride an outrigger boat to Starfish Island, Pandan Island and Snake Island? Experience it at Honda Bay. You may find starfish which is a common site at Starfish Island.
El Nido Marine Reserve Park
A visit to El Nido can never be complete without experiencing island hopping. So, we woke up early to prepare our things and ourselves for this first time island hopping in this part of Palawan. Catch my travel stories in El Nido.
Inside El Nido’s Small Lagoon.
Did you know that on the January 2008 issue of international magazine Travel + Leisure, published by the American Express Co. (which partnered with Conservation International) listed El Nido’s sister hotel resorts El Nido Lagen Island and El Nido Miniloc Island in Miniloc and Lagen Islands as “conservation-minded places on a mission to protect the local environment? The resorts are active in both reef and island conservation which are both worthy of your visit. Read my El Nido travel stories here.