My first impression of Palawan was that it is beautiful. Not just beautiful in a pat-on-the-head, quotidian way, but tirelessly, superfluously stunning, even when the clouds roll in angrily and blinding lightning replaces the scorching sun. Palawan is aggressively teeming with beauty, and just when you think you have seen it all, you turn a corner in your banca and a new island paradise awaits. The island covers almost 2000 km of land, much of it uninhabited and most of it covered in jagged karst rocks and tufts of tall, emerald trees. Transportation on Palawan is nonexistant in a traditional sense; while there are jeepneys or boats or buses heading from one place to the next, onward travel often involves several transfers and a long, unpaved, muddy stretch of road. There are cargo ferries that depart Manila's sketchy North Harbour once or twice a week for Puerto or El Nido, but most tourists opt to fly from Manila or Cebu to Puerto Princessa and slowly (because everything runs on its own time here) trudge their way northward to Coron. The South part of the island is rarely touristed; transportation is even more irregular there and its proximity to Borneo (and Borneo's mosquitos) has resulted in a steady increase in malaria cases, both serving to deter most travelers.

So Where is Palawan? A long island reaching northward to Mindoro and southward toward Malaysian Borneo, Palawan is bordered by the South China Sea to the west and the Sulu Sea to the east.

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  • Jodi Ettenberg

    Born in Montreal, Canada, Jodi Ettenberg is a former new media and technology lawyer who quit her job after 5+ years of working…

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