Explore the rugged landscape of the westernmost island province of the Philippines to experience fresh seafood, pristine beaches and subterranean geological wonders.
Stretching west towards Malaysia in the Sulu Sea, Palawan is the largest of the Philippines’ island provinces. Despite its extensive size, Palawan province is one of the least populated areas in the country and is renowned for its untouched natural wilderness. Endless stretches of perfect beaches give way to mangroves, towering cliffs and mountains. The province is home to the Tubbataha Reef National Marine Park and Puerto Princesa Subterranean River, both recognised by UNESCO as significant sites, a testament to the region’s majestic beauty.
Palawan province is known as the Philippines’ last ecological frontier and the area is ideal for travellers with a sense of adventure. The waters of Palawan’s many islands are teeming with big game fish and tropical species. Palawan is considered one of the world’s best diving and fishing locations, and these pastimes have become major industries on the main island of the province. Dive courses and charters can be found in all major towns, including the capital city, Puerto Princesa.
The tiny village of Sabang, 80 kilometres (50 miles) north of the capital, marks the entrance to the spectacular Puerto Princesa Underground River. Take a guided boat tour and marvel at the dramatic stalactite and stalagmite formations, and explore some of the world’s largest cave chambers. In the town of Quezon, visit the Tabon Caves, regarded as the cradle of Philippine civilisation. Fossilised human remains, jewellery and earthenware dating back almost 50,000 years have been discovered at this site.
When it’s time to come up for air, try some of the island’s culinary specialties such as barbecued seafood and plump tropical fruits. Larger resorts often feature a fine-dining restaurant, while street food and simple delicacies can be found everywhere.
Palawan is well connected by international and domestic flights from major destinations in Southeast Asia, as well as inter-island ferry services within the Philippines. Once on the island, hail a jeepney or boat, or rent your own vehicle to begin your Palawan adventure.