The Palawan Island


In MIMAROPA region, in an island province of Philippines, the Palawan Island resides. The beautiful Puerto Princesa City is Palwan’s capital and the largest province in the Philippine country covering 1.5 million hectares. Palawan is known for rainforests, mountains and has the world’s longest underground river. It has also been recognized as “HAVEN of the PHILIPPINE WILDLIFE”.


Palawan is located between Mindoro Island and North Borneo. The Palawan name came from the Chinese people during the 9th century calling it PA-LAO-YU which means land of beautiful safe harbor. Some also believe that Palawan name came from the Indian word PALAWANS meaning territory. However, the most popular belief of Palawan’s origin of its name is from the Spanish word PARA AGUA which means the main island’s shape look likes a closed umbrella.


1.    Palawan rainforests

2.    White sandy beaches

3.    Crystal clear water with colored fishes and corals – Seven lakes surrounded by rocky limestone cliffs attract hundreds of nature lovers to Coron Reefs in Northern Palawan, near the town of Coron. Busuanga Island, whose main town is Coron, 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 range in depth from the surface to 40 meters. This large range offers exciting wreck exploration for enthusiasts, from beginner divers and snorkelers and recreational divers to experienced TEC divers. Dive operators offer PADI dive courses ranging from Discover Scuba to Assistant Instructor, Technical and Enriched Air Diving, as well as other specialty courses. Dive operators offer day diving, snorkeling trips, and overnight dive safaris. Live-aboard and charter boats also offer diving in the area. 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.

4.    Palawan historical and archeological treasures

5.    Variety of tropical fauna and flora, Palawan orchid species and Palawan cherry blossoms

6.   Palawan monkeys, Palawan Parrots, Palawan bear cats, Palawan metallic-colored peacock pheasant, mongoose, scaly anteater, porcupine and mouse deer, endangered sea turtles.

7.    Calauit Game Preserve and Wildlife Sanctuary located at northern Calamianes islands – home to unusual and endemic species of animals that roam freely in its luxuriant hills and plains. A game reserve and wildlife sanctuary of exotic African animals and endangered endemic animals of Palawan. The reserve was established on August 31, 1976 by virtue of the Presidential Decree No.1578, this started in response to the appeal of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature to help save African wildlife when former President Ferdinand Marcos attended the 3rd World Conference in Kenya. By virtue of the Republic Act 7611 (SEP), administrative jurisdiction of DENR was given to the local government of Palawan, effective December 31, 1993. Management of the area is the responsibility of the Office of the Palawan Council of Sustainable Development (PCSD). It is located in Calauit Island in Busuanga.

8.    El Nido Marine Reserve located at the northern coastline – known for edible birds’ nests and limestone cliffs. 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.” Travel + Leisure’s 20 Favorite Green Hotels scored El Nido Resort’s protection of Palawan’s giant clam gardens and the re-introduction of endangered Philippine cockatoos: “8. El Nido Resorts, Philippines: Guest cottages on stilts are set above the crystalline ocean. The resorts are active in both reef and island conservation.

9.    Tubbataha reefs located in the middle of the Sulu Sea – a pair of coral coral reefs newly named as a World Heritage Site for its highly distinct collection of fishes and other marine life. The Tubbataha Reef Marine Park covers 332 km², including the North and South Reefs. 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.

10.    The St. Paul Subterranean National Park located along the west coast – has old-growth forests, cathedral caves, white sand beaches, and one of the longest underground rivers in the world.

11.    Ursula Island located at the South - a sanctuary for migratory and resident birds.

12.    Malampaya Sound Land and Seascape Protected Area – Located in the Municipality of Taytay, this important ecological and economic zone is a watershed and fishing ground, and the habitat of Bottle-nosed and Irrawaddy dolphins.

13.    UNESCO World Heritage Sites

14.    Puerto-Princesa Subterranean River National Park – This park features a large limestone karst landscape with an underground river. One of the river’s unique 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.

15.    Ursula Island - This game asylum and bird sanctuary is located near the Municipality of Brooke’s Point in southern Palawan. The islet is a migratory and wintering ground for shorebirds and seabirds.


There are 52 languages and dialects in the province, with Tagalog being spoken by 28 percent of the people. Other languages are Cuyonon (26.27 percent), Palawano (11.08 percent), and Ilonggo (9.6 percent). English is also widely spoken.


The east coast has 4 months of dry season with rain possibility during the other 8 months. In Palawan, November and December are the wettest months. The west coast has 6 months dry and 6 months wet season. The island of Palawan is mostly typhoon free, not including the northern part. The two most common winds are the softer northeast monsoon which blows from October to April and the stronger northwest monsoon which blows from June to September. Sea travel between the islands is best between April to June. Then the ocean is calm and flat as a mirror.

Palawan Highly-urbanized city

-    Puerto Princesa

Palawan Mainland Municipalities
-  Aborlan
- Bataraza
- Brooke’s Point
- Dumaran
- El Nido (Bacuit)
- Narra
- Quezon
- Rizal (Marcos)
- Roxas
-  San Vicente
- Sofronio Española
- Taytay

Palawan Island Municipalities
- Agutaya
- Araceli
- Balabac
- Busuanga
- Cagayancillo
- Coron
- Culion
- Cuyo
- Kalayaan
- Linapacan
- Magsaysay


2 Comments on "The Palawan Island"

  1. Go discover travel on Wed, 29th Jul 2009 12:02 am 

    Great article and lovely photos!

  2. Keithlyn on Sun, 13th Nov 2011 8:29 am 

    Pretty Tourist Spot!

Tell us what you're thinking...
and oh, if you want a pic to show with your comment, go get a gravatar!