Things To Do In Palawan Island
Dubbed as the “Philippines Last Frontier" and situated along the Mimaropa Region, the island of Palawan and its list of attractions have much to do with its natural marvels and responsibility to preserve the environment. Palawan has earned the distinction of being the Philippines' cleanest and greenest city and has been universally recognized for their tireless efforts on ecological excellence. The island hopping adventure is one of its greatest draws aside from gaining the latest international recognition from the New 7 Wonders of the World for its most treasured tourist attraction; the Puerto Princesa Underground River.
When To Go:
Travelers who are planning to invest time in Palawan must be aware that there is a long rain/stormy season (June – November) amid which it is best to abstain from heading to the territory. The season of summer (March – May)is ideal but the main downside to heading to the waters amid the dry season is that it is additionally the most sweltering time of the year in the region and there is too much humidity that may inconvenience any guest who wants to explore the rest of the island. From the first weeks of December until early March is a superb time to organize an excursion to Palawan, on the grounds that the climate is not yet agonizingly hot yet the downpours are already minimal.
Also known as the Land of Promise, here are the top things to do in the enchanting islands of Palawan:
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Puerto Princesa Underground River
To appreciate the beauty of this subterranean attraction, a tour of the Puerto Princesa Underground River can be availed from a package tour company or you can embark on your own journey with friends to discover its best features. Here are some worthwhile tips to get the most out of your holiday in Palawan; if you stay in Puerto Princesa in a hotel, you must register at the Underground River office in the same place and secure a permit. You must show your passport and pay the registration fee (PHP 250); the purpose of this procedure is for your own safety. The journey begins from the San Jose terminal where you must ride a jeep / bus headed to Sabang for PHP 125 (one way fare). In Sabang, you can arrange for a boat ride for PHP 700 (no matter how many people are in it) to the Underground River. If you want to walk through the jungle or pass the Monkey Trail, it is best to ask from the tourism center first if the area is open for tourists.
The boat ride is a short trip that must be done because the river is passable only for a distance of about 2 km, and takes about 45 minutes between going in and coming back, but it is so charming and mysterious that leaves an impression that you will not forget easily. The tour starts early in the morning and lasts pretty much all day, the trip includes; a stop at the port, transport the boats to the beach that allows it to reach the underground river, or visit the river under the earth back to the port with lunch and stop in a village near the cave. There are also Zip line adventures (Sabang X Zip line) offered around the Limestone Rock (Ugong Rock), do not hesitate to try it if you are into extreme sports. The river is something incredible; you will be given orange life vests, flashlights, and helmet. Along the way you can take pictures, figure out the rock formations and their meaning, and make a brave journey into the pitch dark part of the cave surrounded by silence and unseen creatures that inhabit this territory. The guide is very nice and has a way of describing every part of the cave in a funny and entertaining way. When you’re in Palawan it is a must see.
Sabang X Zip line
Located within the vicinity of the Underground River is the chance to fly and zip line over the great sights of Palawan. After the river tour, you can head off to this part of the mountain on a tightrope, fully harnessed and flying on a fairly high speed (if you come as a couple, you can avail of the “tandem ride”).
At the Sabang X Zip line there is never a shortage of adrenaline and laughter after a good ride. The view from the mountain itself is very picturesque and you can make a lot of good photographs about Palawan. The feeling of excitement when you fly over the sunlit sea is exciting and not scary and a definite must try adventure for the brave and daring.
Ugong Rock Adventure
The Ugong Rock Adventure is part of an organized tour to complement a visit to the Underground River. Upon arrival, you will receive a warm welcome from the guides and a brief seminar explaining the options and basic rules of the tour.
It begins by climbing the limestone caves and quarries, all in complete safety with instructors and helpers in every corner of the path and with the final climb on the top of the mountains with the option of going down quickly (almost 45 seconds of flight) in numerous Zip line positions like; Superman in flight modes, tandem, seated, or lying down. The rides here are very exciting and funny aside from having the chance of passing over the immense rice fields where the view is truly breathtaking!
The Tubbataha Reef is really one of the best dive sites in the world because of its stunning cliffs, coral landscapes and tons of big fish. Pay attention while out there in the open sea, a big boat is comfortable when discovering its natural reef formations. It is not expensive and if you have time and money do the diving course for open water which is much cheaper than anywhere else You can have a fun dive along with the professionals, much like a Discovery Channel experience!
It is a great place for diving, a spacious and huge reef filled with a variety of marine wildlife like; stingrays, eels, sharks, and lots of small but colorful tropical fishes. Its rich ocean world is very impressive.
The Honda Bay is very picturesque, with clear water and dotted with beautiful islands. The tour includes a boat ride on several islands, snorkeling over coral reefs and lunch with fresh seafood. The masks, snorkeling gears, and other essentials for a good dive and snorkel is made available for rent by the tour operators.
The Honda Bay tour is definitely worth the time and money. You can visit at least three islands where there are lots of options for things to do and try in this part of Palawan. Do not miss out on the features of Pandan Island (it is one of the best!).
Kayangan Lake (Coron Island)
The Kayangan Lake provides a nice swim in the crater of an inactive volcano, it has access to the crater side and the waters are crystal clear. Without much crowds it gets too silent in this secluded paradise. Another must while you’re here in the Coron Island area is to do photography at the top of the walkway (a steep staircase) and reach the crater. If snorkeling, you can see the beautiful underwater sharp rocks.
It has remarkably interesting rock formations under the water column. The stone is cut with various patterns and you can see the small fishes. The most remarkable thing is the cave - during the descent it is directly on the opposite side of the lake (about 30 meters from the entry into the water). You can go inside but it is small (10 to 15 meters) and can accommodate only a few people. Be sure to go with a guide because it's really interesting.
This is a very deep lake of volcanic origin deeper than 70 meters. The Barracuda Lake is located on the island of Coron in the rocks. Here you can find the purest emerald water. This is an indispensable place to visit while in Palawan, it is very impressive. On the way to the lake you will see many magnificent landscapes. And once you reach it you will need to overcome a hill on top of which you can enjoy stunning and spectacular views of the bay.
The lake itself is one of the most beautiful places on the planet, with crystal clear and transparent waters. Almost everywhere you can see the bottom of the lake that is very clear. It has a very beautiful lagoon outside and the emerald water from the lagoon have to go on the rocks in the distance of about 20 meters (there is a footbridge with handrails). Visit this lake and you will find yourself in a completely unique world.
The Malcapuya Island is one of the most beautiful beaches in the Philippines. It has white sand, azure water, and awesome views from the lookout. No amenities can be availed here; there are no sun beds, no toilets, and no cafes because it wants to maintain the image of a beach that is simple and devoid of commercialism. You can snorkel, at least at the shore or see a small shark. It is one of the romantic islands you can visit while in Palawan.
Sunken Japanese Wrecks
The Sunken Japanese Wrecks are incredible and the visibility is quite good even at approximately 15m. You can see lots of coral, stone fish and clown fish. If you go with a licensed diver, you can swim and reach the cellars of the boat with a flashlight. Try it out and see the underwater life in the dark. It is a beautiful wreck where the top of the boat is already full of corals. You can spend about 30 minutes of navigation.
Once on the sector, a dozen dive sites will allow you to discover these shipwrecks lying at depths of -10 to -45 M. For those looking for something different colored backgrounds and the encounter with the "great white" shark, this is a discovery that must not be missed in Palawan Island. It is an absolute highlight but it is technically demanding. The information about the ships can be researched on the Internet.
To reach the Nacpan Beach consists of long and adventurous directions, but it pays off. It is an absolute dream beach. The shoreline is several kilometers long and completely clean, the water is clear! There are no rocks and jellyfish and compared to other places in Palawan, Nacpan Beach is also a real piece of paradise!
It has no coral reefs in the background, but it is still great to spend half the day and the other half in these huts to see the sunset in Nacpan. It is about 45 minutes by tricycle from the center of El Nido. This extensive and beautiful beach is worth the trip.
The Small Lagoon, as well as the nearby Big Lagoon is located on the island of Minilok. In the lagoon you must go through a small passage that can be penetrated by swimming or canoeing. The lagoons are stretched about 300 meters in a gorge that is filled with sea water.
The corals are almost there and at the far end of the lagoon there is a small cave. To float on the lagoon and in general in El Nido is a real pleasure. Explore it with a snorkel mask and be sure to cover the camera down to take great pictures under water. It is another great place in El Nido with an amazing combination of colors, beautiful nature and variety of marine life around the lagoon.
The Big Lagoon is simply delightful, with a breathtaking combination of colors. This place is worth a visit and leaves a lot of positive emotions. It is amazing what nature does for here is a small lake within an island with sheer rock walls that is accessible only by sea through a hole of a meter in diameter.
It is a must see together with the Small Lagoon. The entire island on which this lake is located is a beautiful, the pond is no different. In the entrance you can see the beauty of the lagoon surrounded by large rock formations. The location is excellent with calm waters that are ideal for kayaking.
The entry fee to the Siete Pecados is PHP 100 per person. The site is very nice and a good alternative if you don’t have enough budget for the touristy places in Palawan. The boat drops you in the middle of the "seven islands" where the shores are beautiful and there are many different varieties of fish.
A tip if you plan to visit this site: go there early in the morning so that you are the only ones on the site and remember to bring bread to feed the fish. There are coral formations and spectacular underwater life that you will never see in any other beaches in the Philippines, a visit here is highly recommended.
Once you have climbed the hill to Mt. Tapyas (no less than 700 steps), you get as a reward a beautiful view of Coron town and the surrounding islands. You must bring food and drinks with you because there are no shops for dining along the way.
Avoid the climb during summer, there are not enough shaded areas to hide and the sunlight is very sharp. Take advantage of the viewing platform at the top, take lots of pictures, and simply admire the view of the entire island and the ocean.
Palawan Special Battalion WW2 Memorial Museum
The Palawan Special Battalion WW2 Memorial Museum provides interesting history of World War 2 in the island. If you’re curious about how this island was attacked by the Japanese forces, then go and visit this museum. A tip: If you go by tricycle, specify to your driver that it is the right museum located next to the airport. Because there is another memorial in the city center but it is more focused on the cultural history of Palawan.
The museum has many weapons and period uniforms. It is small but exciting. The manager is very friendly. She will be happy to lend you a jacket and a helmet of the US military and will take your picture on the jeep, driving and posing behind the machine gun with guaranteed hilarious results! All for an unbeatable entrance price of PHP 65 (less than 1 Euro).
Snake Island (Vigan Island)
The tour of the Snake Island is easy to accomplish. You must climb up a short path that is not tiring and you will arrive on a vantage point from where you can see beautiful views of the sea and the island. You can also see the famous "snake" that connects the two parts of the land. It is a strip of white sand that is easily accessible on foot. The sandbar that connects the two lands and that gives the name to the island is not that great, but the sea is very blue and the view of three neighboring islands is a perfect backdrop for a stage of relaxation while exploring the Snake Island in Palawan.
Philippines is a country that is surrounded by waters all throughout and Palawan is the perfect spot to enjoy the innumerable beach excursions, cruise, lake/island hopping without the need to go too far. Almost all of the sites are just a few meters away from each other. You will not only discover great diving/snorkeling sites, you will also have the chance to interact and get to know the friendly Filipinos who always find humor in any situation despite being in a country that is visited by more than 30 typhoons a year. A visit to the exotic island of Palawan is a must if you’re in the Philippines.
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