Palawan Travel Guide

Itinerary, Things to do, How to get there and more

Palawan, the Philippines’ best island is the largest province of the country in terms of total area of jurisdiction. Founded in 1818, this picturesque group of islands belongs to the MIMAROPA region falling under Luzon, with Puerto Princesa as its capital city. Situated between the West Philippine Sea and Sulu Sea, Palawan is the melting pot of more than 80 different cultural groups and races, with 52 languages and spoken throughout the province. Palawan is the only oil-producing province in the Philippines; additionally, it also relies on agriculture, logging, fishing and tourism for its economic growth. Voted as “one of the most beautiful island in the world” by Conde Nast Traveler, Palawan is simply stunning in all its entirety. Towering limestone cliffs, clear sparkling aquamarine waters, breathtaking lagoons, white sandy beaches, abundant flora and fauna – all these combined together in one unspoiled dream-like place for travelers who want to experience a piece of heaven in this side of the planet.

Where to go in Palawan

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Plaza Felix Building, National Highway Barangay San Pedro Puerto Princesa City (capital), Palawan, MIMAROPA, 5300, Philippines

Babuyan River

Puerto Princesa City (capital), Palawan, MIMAROPA, 5300, Philippines

How to Get Here

Puerto Princesa
Puerto Princesa Airport is the main entry point to Palawan, serving international and local flights from the airports of Manila, Cebu and Caticlan. Airline companies flying to PP Airport are:
· Philippine Airlines
· AirAsia
· Cebu Pacific
· Zest Air
· AirSwift

Ticket price between Manila and PP Airport starts at Php 4, 900.00. Flying time to and from Manila is 1 hour and 15 minutes. Philippine Airlines’, the country’s flag carrier, flies to Puerto Princesa 19 times a week.
El Nido Airport
Located in Villa Libertad, El NIdo Airport is also known as Lio Airport. The airline company AirSwift flies daily from PP Airport to El Nido Airport, and has flights to and from Manila and Cebu.
Taytay Airport
Celia Lim Rodriguez Airport or also known as Taytay-Sandoval Airport is an airport located in Barangay Sandoval. South East Asian Airlines or SEAIR flies to CLR Airport.
Francisco B. Reyes Airport
Formerly known as Busuanga Airport, it is an airport in Palawan that serves the area of Coron. PAL, Cebu Pacific and SkyJet Airlines are the airlines that serve the Busuanga Airport; airfare ticket starts at Php 3,500.00.
By land
From Puerto Princesa Airport, take a bus transfer going to EL NIdo on RORO or Cherry Bus which run from Puerto Princesa to El Nido daily; travel time is 6-7 hours with a fare of Php 380.00 (Cherry Bus) and Php 367.00 (RoRo). There are also private shuttle vans, which charge at Php 600.00 per person.
By sea
Getting to Palawan by sea vessel is also available through shipping companies such as:
· Negros Navigation – travels to and from Manila and also to and from Coron.
· Atienza Shipping Lines – a passenger/cargo vessel with a route Manila bound to El Nido.
· 2Go – the ship departs from Manila plying the route of Manila – Coron - Puerto Princesa.

Travel time is 18-22 hours with fares that varies from Php 1,200.00 to Php 2,500.00 per person.

Popular Food

Palawan’s delectable grilled chicken dish, chicken inato is one of the province’s must try dishes. The chicken is marinated with different spices and herbs and grilled to perfection.

(c) @atienzamei /

An exotic dish one should try when in Palawan is the crocodile sisig. A variation of the famous pork sisig, this time using the meat of crocodile said to taste like chicken meat and with no fishy taste or smell. Eating this exotic dish is one of the highlights when visiting Crocodile Farm.

(c) @auratheaglamo /

Every buffet in Palawan has this mouthwatering danggit lamayo. It is a lightly salted de-boned danggit or rabbitfish, marinated in vinegar, garlic and pepper and goes best with fried rice.

(c) @vinzchristoffer /

Another exotic dish to try in the Philippine’s Last Frontier is the succulent ‘tamilok” or woodworm. Traditionally served with vinegar and chilli, tamilok is in fact a mollusk collected from mangrove trees. It may not look inviting to eat, but its taste is similar to oysters’.

(c) @cupkaye /

A famous pasalubong from Palawan is the sweet, delicious delicacy from Bakers Hill in Puerto Princesa and the locals and tourists’ favourite, Palawan hopia. It comes in different flavours like monggo, ube and pork. There are other baked goodies as well for those who are not a fan of hopia.

(c) @gryzhielle /

Best Time to Go

The best time to visit this tropical paradise is during the months of October to May when the temperature is just right for days of frolicking under the sun and where its gorgeous beaches and world-class tourist attractions reveal its dazzling colors. July to November are rainy months and September usually sees heavy rainfalls; but you can score the best travel deals during this off season. It is also good to note that there are dry days during the rainy months.

The month of May is when Palawan’s colorful festival, the Baragatan Festival, takes place. The word “baragatan’ means ‘meeting’ or gathering’, a Cuyunon word (Palawan’s main language). There are trade shows, float parade, street dancing, to name a few, where one can join and have fun with the locals as well as with other visitors.

Just like the rest of the Philippines, light clothing is best to wear when exploring every nook and cranny of this lush, tropical destination. Shorts, light colored-shirts and flip-flops are all good. It is also advisable to bring enough cash because there are not many ATM machines outside Puerto Princesa. It is also good to bring mosquito repellent lotion to keep away those annoying insects while enjoying your vacation.

What to Do

Go island hopping
Spend a whole day of island hopping in Honda Bay or El Nido and see gorgeous and hidden beaches and lagoons. Feel free to swim, snorkel or just lie on the beach. And don’t forget to make friends along the way!
Dive at Tubbataha Reefs
Considered as the mecca of diving, the world renown Tubbataha Reefs is the country’s first marine park and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Located in the middle of Sulu Sea, it is the nesting site for diverse marine turtles and birds, and also home to some of the world’s most beautiful coral reefs.
Shop for pearls
Pearls of all shapes, colors and sizes are almost found on this island, thus pearl shopping is a fun and unique way of taking time off from the beaches. Ask a local for help to tell you where to get these exquisite treasures that you can get as a present to yourself or as a ‘pasalubong’.
Have a date with fireflies
A scenic and quiet evening down the Iwahig River is a magical and whimsical activity fit for any ages – the Iwahig Firefly Watching. See these glowing insects while paddling down the river, displaying their twinkling light under the night sky. It’s a magical show even adults will find exciting! See the trees come alive as if being decorated with Christmas lights. Aside from the enchanting fireflies, get ready to be captivated as well by the planktons living underwater that give off that serene glow when the river water is move.

Estimated Costs

Depending on your point of origin and the airline company where you booked your flight, flying to Palawan is just easy with 4 major airports serving its visitors. The same goes when you chose to travel via sea.

Transportation in not a problem in the island as there are quite a number of jeepneys, vans for hire and tricycles that can take you everywhere from the capital city to any town or specific location. Tricycles in Palawan as relatively bigger compared to any other tricycles found in the country, thus earning the moniker ‘motorcycle taxis’.
There are cheap lodging houses and inns scattered all over Palawan for the budget conscious or backpackers. Accommodation rate starts at Php 350.00, mid-range stay is Php 800.00 a night and for those who want to splurge, be ready to spend as high as Php 20,000 plus per night.
Regular meal Php 150.00 – Php 200
Mid price Php 380.00 – Php 450.00
Island hopping tour rates
Starts at Php 1.200.00 per person
Tricycle fare
Php 10.00 (for less than 8km.)
Jeepney Fare
Php 8.00 (minimum)
Average price per day
Php 2,000.00 – Php 2,500.00