One of the most popular islands or provinces in the Philippines is Palawan, and for good reason. It has been declared as one of the world’s natural sanctuaries. The whole island boasts of rainforests, majestic mountains, primitive caves and unspoiled beaches.
The waters of Palawan are best for swimming, snorkeling, diving and fishing. In fact, Palawan is a diver’s paradise. Coral reefs, surrounding the island, stretch for miles and miles. The whole island is surrounded by beautiful coral gardens and reefs that abound with colorful marine life. Palawan sightseeing can be a wonderful experience. The whole province boasts of amazing scenic sights.
Palawan sightseeing is diverse from scuba diving to sailing in to an underground river on a small banka. The island has many sites to offer to visitors. Aside from the natural environment, the island also offers several historic landmarks that date back to the Spanish era.
When visiting Palawan, the first place that you should definitely go to is Busanga Island. This is the place to visit if you are looking for the best diving spots. Many tour operators offer diving expeditions to Busanga Island. There are many dive shops or diving centers in Coron, but you can also find some in El Nido and Puerto Princesa. There are more than 24 WWII Japanese shipwrecks that can be found around Busanga Island. There are shipwrecks that can be enjoyed by beginners, but many shipwrecks require a fully-outfitted diving preparation.
Caluit Game Preserve and Wildlife Sanctuary
Another Palawan sightseeing site that deserves a visit is the Caluit Game Preserve and Wildlife Sanctuary. This is a great place to bring your entire family. You will find African animals like gazelles, giraffes, zebras and elands co-existing peacefully and successfully with Philippine animals like pheasants, mousedeers and bearcats. The drawback, however, to visiting this tourist site is that transportation can be a bit difficult. However, you can hire a taxi or you can seek for assistance from tour operators to reach the place.
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You should not leave Palawan without having seen the Melville Lighthouse. This particular facility has been in existence for more than a century and it has been illuminating the coastline of Balabac Island for the same length of time. After over 100 years, this lighthouse has become a local pride and icon. Another lighthouse that you should visit is the Port Miller which you can reach by jeepney from Puerto Princesa. This lighthouse was constructed by Sir James Brooke around the 19th century and it remains to this day.
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One of the most popular Palawan sightseeing destinations is Honda Bay. It is comprised of several islets and easy dive sites, so it is not surprising that this area of Palawan draws numerous crowds regularly. Each of the islands in Honda Bay has its own unique offering. You will certainly enjoy visiting these islands in succession. You can start with the Starfish Island, then Snake Island, then Señorita Island and finally Lu-li Island.
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El Nido Marine Reserve
One of the best marine habitats in Palawan is El Nido Marine Reserve. This is one of the best Palawan sightseeing spots. Manatees live in the waters of El Nido. These aquatic mammals are rarely seen, but reports of Manatee sightings in El Nido are common. This Palawan reserve has vivid coral gardens and numerous underwater species. The inland sections of the park boast of virgin rainforests, limestone and mangroves.
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Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park
Indeed, Palawan sightseeing offers tours to several national parks and marine reserves. You should definitely visit the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park. This offers a view of a fairly unique evolving ecosystem. You will see several rare species of plants and animals. You can tour the park’s river and see the rare geological formations. You can reach this park through a short trail from Sabang.
Palawan is truly blessed with abundant sights and sounds to fill your senses. It is the perfect place to go to if you are in dire need of fun and relaxation because there are just so many wonderful things to see.
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Puerto de Sta. Isabel
One of the historical and tourist spots in Palawan is Puerto de Sta. Isabel, which was constructed in the year 1667 with the help and tutelage of the Augustinian Recollect Fathers. It served as a fortress to block marauders from coming in. It was also known to be a military site in those years. Located in Poblacion, Taytay in Palawan, visitors to this place may reach this historical landmark after eight hours of land travel from Puerto Princesa City, and see its chapel within and the cannon used before in its early years, which are still strongly intact up to now.
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Another worthy must-see historical and tourist spots in Palawan is the Cuyo Fort, which also served as a safe place of protection from enemies during the Spanish era. This ancient fort can be found in Poblacion, Cuyo in Palawan, which takes about a half hour of air travel and about 24 hours travel by sea from Manila. Constructed in the early period of the Spanish era, and finished in the year 1680, this ancient naval structure houses a convent, church, and the only chapel of Perpetual Adoration in Palawan.
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The Cagayancillo Fort became a safe haven for many people in the early years in Cagayancillo, Palawan. It protected those residents from harm from the attacks of marauders and pirates. Aside from being a naval fortress of safety, it also had a church within its strong walls to provide spiritual guidance and protection.
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Plaza Cuartel was a former Japanese garrison site. It can be found just a few yards away from the cathedral of the Immaculate Concepcion in Palawan. Around a hundred and forty three American soldiers were said to have been burned within its tunnel in World War II.
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The Culion Cathedral in Culion, Palawan is managed by the Jesuits who reside in that area. Up to now it still serves as one of the must-see historical and tourist spots in Palawan. Many spiritually-devoted people flock to this place for prayers, offerings, and thanksgiving. Others go to this historical landmark to have a taste of its peaceful surroundings.
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Ursula Island Game Refuge and Bird Sanctuary
Situated near Brooke’s Point in the southern part of the province, the Ursula Island Game Refuge and Bird Sanctuary features seedlings and tree saplings that is commonly present in lowland forests. At the place, tourists can follow the trails that lead to wells. For the comfort of guests, the place has nipa huts where they can relax. This tourist spot plays home to numerous grey Imperial pigeons. Fishermen also visit the place to catch different species of fish that they sell to locals and tourists.
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Immaculate Conception Church
Every Holy Week, many devotees go to Palawan just to visit the famous Immaculate Conception Church at Rizal Avenue in Puerto Princesa City. The architecture of the place is similar with the ancient churches in the Philippines. The cathedral is historic because it is where the Immaculate Conception of Mary was proclaimed the city’s patroness in 1872. It was in 1961 when the church was constructed. Inside the cathedral, people can find different religious edifice.
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Palawan Butterfly Garden
One of the most popular tourist destinations in the province is the Palawan Butterfly Garden. It is found at Santa Monica in the City of Puerto Princesa. The place is very famous because it features butterfly species that are native to the province. In addition, it plays home to butterflies that are seen in the different parts of Southeast Asia.
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Palawan Wildlife Rescue and Conservation Center
Another interesting and famous site to see in Puerto Princesa City is the Palawan Wildlife Rescue and Conservation Center. The place is also called as the Crocodile Farming Institute. The place is just an hour away from the city proper. The center was established to conserve the Crocodylus mindorensis and Crocodylus porosus. Tourists will not have problems about their budget when they visit the place because the admission fee to the center is only Php 60.
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Iwahig Prison and Penal Farm
Iwahig Prison and Penal Farm is a very popular tourist spot in Puerto Princesa City. The prison is distinct because minimum security inmates reside in dormitories and are not locked up in cells. The place was established to rehabilitate prisoners who were sentenced with minimum imprisonment. The inmates at the place make handicrafts and keepsakes that are offered to tourists for affordable prices.
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Situated at the center of the Sulu Sea, the Tubbataha Reefs is one of the most famous dive-off points in the province. The site is home to approximately 592 fish species, 359 coral species, 11 shark species, 12 dolphin and whale species as well as at least 100 bird species. Aside from these, the site is also a nesting place for green sea turtles and hawksbill.
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Situated at the island of Coron, the Coron Reefs are surrounded by seven lakes with limestone cliffs. The reefs are also popular for featuring numerous dive sites like Japanese Imperial Army shipwrecks. The reefs are usually seen when divers reach the depth of 20 meters. Numerous species of marine animals are present at this place like batfish and lionfish. Slugs and corals are some of the attractions at the reefs.
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Located at the southwestern area of Palawan, Tabon Caves feature 29 explored caves, however, geologists believe that there are approximately 200 caves in the site. The tourist spot is very popular for the Lipuun Point Reservation. The reservation covers 138-hectare island. The main attractions at the site are the mangrove forests.
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The Nagtabon Beach of Palawan is best for swimming and merely wading in the waters. Palawan sandy beaches like the San Clemente, on the other hand, are superbly perfect to sink your toes into and get a nice tanned body. The pleasures of the waters usually beckon every person who visits these places that it wouldn’t be too surprising to see a number of people on the beach who couldn’t wait to get to the crystal waters and go for a swim.
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Port Miller & Lighthouse Tower
Port Miller & Lighthouse Tower is one of the historic tourist spots to visit at Brooke’s Point. The site features a cemented water tank built for the early residents at the municipality. The place can be reached by riding in jeepneys and buses from the City of Puerto Princesa. Sir James Brooke created the original lighthouse tower, which is still seen at the area.
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Batac Tribal Community
The Batac Tribal Community is found at the Cleopatra’s needle, one of the tallest mountains in the province. At the community, people can observe the culture and know the beliefs of the members of the indigenous group. The population of the group is less than 500. Tourists who visit the place also see the source of income of the members of the Batac Tribal Community, which include handicrafts making.
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One of the most interesting places to visit in Puerto Princesa City is the Tabon Museum. The museum is exactly situated at the town of Quezon. The place is easy to find because it is located along Rizal Avenue. Inside the museum, guests can see numerous artifacts and evidences taken from the historic Tabon Caves.
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Palawan State College Museum
Another interesting place to see in Palawan if you want to know the culture and heritage of people is the Palawan State College Museum. The site is not hard to find because it is situated just several minutes away from the city proper of Puerto Princesa. The museum features valuable artifacts that are related to the early people in the province. In addition, guests can see prehistoric diggings in the museum.
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Palawan Puerto Princesa National Museum
The Palawan Puerto Princesa National Museum is situated at the Old City Hall Building along Rizal Avenue in the City of Puerto Princesa. The place features several exhibits including the exhibit of archaeological collections, which include the materials used by ancestral man. Some of the archaeological evidences featured at the museum were collected from Tabon Caves. The operating hours of the museum is from nine in the morning until five in the afternoon.
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Vista Luz Picnic Grounds
There are many pleasurable things to do in Palawan, and going to the Vista Luz Picnic Grounds at Puerto Princesa City is one of them. Since food, relaxation, and nature is usually some of the things that most vacationers look for, this place is the perfect location to have all these things. There are lovely cottages and wonderful picnic huts to bring your family and friends for a hearty picnic. This is the place to eat to your heart’s delight and share your favorite prepared meals with your loved ones. If you have a group of around a hundred individuals with you, there is no need to worry because this place offers a large pavilion to cater to this need. Some of the comforts of home like an electric fan, private bath facility, and beds are offered for those who would like to stay for the night.
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To go on a marine sports or scuba diving adventure is another thing to do in Palawan that you would always want to remember. The perfect get-away locations for this type of sport include the clear waters of Honda Bay or Tubbattaha reef. The former, which is also oftentimes called as “The Last Frontier” by locals and visitors of the place, is a few distance away from the city of Puerto Princesa. The latter, on the other hand, can be found at the center portion of the Sulu Sea where many professional divers choose to go to. Most of the people who come to Palawan are there to see the shipwrecks during the World War II. Others prefer to explore the life within the blue waters of Palawan.
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Nasin-aw White Beach and Silica Beach
Also in Puerto Princesa City in Palawan is another awesome spot to go to. This is the Nasin-aw White Beach and Silica Beach that offers a pleasurable marine experience that you will never forget. You may swim, snorkel, or dive in its pristine waters. You may also set up a picnic spot since there are a number of picnic tables for this purpose. Reaching this place is easy; all you need is to hail a tricycle from the city, and arrive safely at the place after about a five-to-seven-minutes ride.
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Going on an Archeological Exploration is one the must-try things to do in Palawan. Nothing can probably compare to the feeling and experience that you would get when you traverse the caves of Palawan. While some may feel apprehensive at first, this feeling would probably disappear once they go on this wonderful adventure to unearth different ancient things. As many would probably agree, this is the best of those numerous things to do in Palawan.
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Canoeing / Boat Riding
If you’re a water sports buff, canoeing or boat riding in Palawan is one of the best things to experience. Many who had gone through this experience says that it is just spectacular. One sentence would probably echo in their minds: What could ever replace that ecstatic feeling of being one with the waters of St. Paul River? Truly, seeing the ripples of the clear waters and beholding the beautiful stalactites and stalagmites in its crystal splendor would be a memorable experience.
When you’re planning on what to do in Palawan when you get there, be sure to write down visiting the Wildlife Center. The wildlife center in Palawan is a conservation area and tranquil sanctuary to different animals. You can find this when you go to the Calauit Island in Palawan. While others merely mention “Wildlife Center” when referring to this place, its actual name is the Palawan Wildlife Rescue and Conservation Center. Prior to being called as such, this used to be known to locals and visitors before as the Crocodile Farming Institute. Within its structures lie a mini-zoo and an animal hospital. It is usually open from Mondays to Fridays around 9 in the morning up to 12 noon; and on Saturdays from 1 to 5 in the afternoon. From the city proper, you may be able to reach this place after thirty to forty minutes of land travel by jeepney or tricycle.
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Scuba Diving / Snorkeling
Palawan is home to a lot of beach resorts and islands to cater to the various recreational water adventures such as swimming, scuba diving, and snorkeling. You can simply go to Las Jamacas Beach Resort for these water sport activities. Or, you may try one of the islands in Palawan. To name a few, you may go to the Pamalican Island, the Treasure Island, the Calumbuyan Island, Dibutunay Island, Pagbinit Island, Black Island, and others where you would be happy to engage in these pleasurable water activities.
To go sightseeing is also a wonderful thing to do in Palawan because there are many scenic areas that you can visit. Some of the most frequented sites include El Nido, Honda Bay, and Coron.
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