Located at the western tip of the Philippines, Palawan is a slim stretch of land with splendid beaches and amazing scuba diving destinations.
Voted by National Geographic Traveler magazine as the best island destination in East and Southeast Asia region in 2007, Palawan has an off-the-beaten-track feeling to it.
How to get to Palawan
The main gateway to Palawan is the Puerto Princesa International Airport located in the capital of the province. You may travel within the Philippines from Cebu and Manila to Palawan with local companies such as Philippines Airlines, Zest Airways, Cebu Pacific and Air Asia. Flights from Manila to Palawan are only 1-hour long.
You may also fly from Manila to Coron (Busuanga Airport) on a direct flight with Philippines Airlines, Cebu Pacific and Airphil Express.
The last option is to fly to El Nido Airport. Three daily direct flights from Manila to El Nido are operated by ITIair.
It takes a full 24 hours to get to Palawan by boat. If you enjoy sailing the pristine waters of the Philippines or if you have time, you may choose from a number of ferry companies such as SuperFerry and Negros Navigations.
Palawan Dive sites
Home to enumerable dive sites, Palawan is an exquisite scuba diving destinations in the Philippines. You may dive in Coron and Busuanga, explore the Tubbataha reef National Park or take the plunge in El Nido.
The Calamian archipelago is home to the Busuanga island and Coron. Both are popular diving spots in the Philippines. Renowned for their countless Japanese WWII shipwreck, they suit nearly all skill and experience levels, with some wrecks resting in shallow waters accessible to amateur divers for an introductory dive.
Tubbataha Reef National Park is a marine protected area boasting with amazing marine diversity : 600 fish species, 360 coral species, 11 species of sharks and 13 species of dolphins and whales. Composed of two coral atolls, it is considered a Mecca for scuba divers around the world.
With over 30 dive sites surrounding El Nido, you will find something for everyone. From beginners to experts, diving in El Nido offers a variety of underwater landscapes. Its rich waters abound with tuna, nudibranches, turtles, yellow-tail barracudas, yellow-fin snappers and more !
Palawan Diving schools
The warm waters of Palawan average 23-30°C/73-86°F. Underwater visibility is usually excellent, depending on season and locality, and ranges from 5-45 metres/16-148 feet.
Dive schools in Palawan are concentrated around the diving areas. Affiliated with PADI, SSI and SDI most generally, they offer all types of scuba diving courses from beginner to professional training.
With some many shipwrecks, there is no better place than Coron and Busuanga to start an Advanced course which includes wreck diving, or for a wreck diving specialty course.
The waters of the Philippines are home to a large number of macro life, such as the colorful nudibranches. Diving in Palawan is a great opportunity to learn more about underwater digital photography or videography.
Accommodation in Palawan
As a relaxing and quiet holiday destination in the Philippines, Palawan offer secluded white-sand beaches against the idyllic background. You will find a wide range of accommodation in Palawan, from youth hostels for weary backpackers to luxury resorts.
Price varies according to where you stay and the season. A dorm bed may go for as little as USD6. Although beware that most hostels would have limited use of electricity (just in case you were planning on Skyping all night) and lights go out by 10pm.
Luxury hotels usually compensated for power cuts with their own generator. Booking your accommodation in luxury resorts, you will enjoy the comfort of the western lifestyle, with perfect service and friendly staff.
Cost of living in Palawan
Cost of travel in the Philippines is relatively cheap. This holds true for Palawan which is a cost-friendly vacation destination in the Philippines.
A street food meal will cost you less than 70PHP, while a proper meal at a nice restaurant would cost up to 300PHP. A bottle of beer is usually sold for about 50PHP while a mango shake can cost between 50-100PHP. Fancy bars may charge up to 5$ for a drink.
If you’d like to rent a motorbike for the day, you will be charged about 700PHP. Expect about the same to rent a double-seat kayak for the day.
Others activities in Palawan
From scuba-diving to island-hopping, the island of Palawan offer various activities to suit all tastes.
One of the major attractions in Palawan, apart from wreck diving, is the visit of the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park. Voted as one of the Seven New Wonders of Nature, this underwater river can be visited on a banca, the Filipino traditional boat.