Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Palawan: the last frontier

So you've toured Manila and strolled along the shores of Boracay. What's next?, you wonder. When do I get to see the real, unspoiled paradise of the Philippines?

When does the real adventure start?

Palawan's otherworldly paradise


Palawan province
, a long stretch of land located in the Southern Tagalog region, has always been known for having some of the country's best luxury beach resorts and diving spots. For backpack traveling enthusiasts, it's a haven of secret island beaches, various land travel adventures, wildlife sanctuaries and mesmerizing geographical wonders.

click each of the maps to zoom in

Tubbataha Reefs
Renowned as one of the world's 7 wonders, the Tubbataha Reefs National Marine Park is one of the most well-managed offshore marine protected areas in the country, according to WWF Philippines, one of the organizations working towards the protection of this beautiful underwater sanctuary. It is also considered a UNESCO World Heritage site.

the colorful and diverse marine life in Tubbataha Reefs by scubaschnauzer

Its diverse aquatic marine life and huge coral reefs have made this spot a must-see for diving professionals and enthusiasts around the world.


Busuanga
It was only recently that airlines started flying directly to Busuanga, the largest island in the Calamian Group. Its mountains and fields of lush green, roads on their way to becoming fully-paved, cattle ranches and groups of divers and backpackers who come to visit are positive signals of a steady and sustainable development.

A glimpse of the still underdeveloped charm of Busuanga

From the airport, Busuanga becomes a jump-off point to different parts of the Calamian Group. Some tourists head straight to their private sojourn in a luxury island resort, some head to Culion Island and Coron, and some head to smaller, privatized islands that only local boatmen know about. Most scuba diving enthusiasts head to Coron, where dive resorts cater to their diving needs as well as arrange diving tours.


El Nido
This group of limestone islands beholds a lot of mysteries as to its history because of the fossils and burial sites found in the caves, which date back as far as 2680 BC. El Nido has a total of 45 islands and islets; a perfect opportunity for visitors to explore and take on various kinds of adventures, discover new things and marvel at its scenic landscapes.

El Nido Lagen pool by Cy Villegas

Visitors can choose to go scuba diving, snorkeling, go island hopping, trekking, sightseeing and of course, lounge around on ElNido's pristine white sand beaches.


Puerto Princesa
Nowadays, it is rare that you see pristine white beaches just a short distance from a city. But in the environmentally-conscious province, Puerto Princesa City is definitely an exception. Tiny islands with powdery-white sand dot Honda Bay, a popular destination among those who visit the city. The crystal clear and turquoise water allows you to see the very diverse species of tropical fish swimming around your own feet.

entrance to the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River by Reizel David

The Underground River, which is set in the middle of a tropical rainforest, is surrounded by high mountain peaks. The area’s abundant wildlife will surely add to your sense of adventure.

Governance & Ecotourism
A lot of Palawan's beauty and sustainable development can be traced back to its provincial and local governments, who have made environmental protectionism a high priority. Because of their efforts in maintaining the beauty of the island, National Geographic Traveler has recognized Palawan for being the best island destination in Southeast Asia in 2007. Conde Nast Traveler magazine also voted Palawan's beaches and islets for being the best in Asia.

Getting There
Local airlines fly direct to Busuanga, Puerto Princesa and El Nido daily. Or better yet, have us at Mango Tours arrange a tour package to Palawan for you (inclusive of round trip airfare) at the location and resort of your choice! Call our 24/7 US toll free number 1-866-2-MANILA today!

Our Recommended Accommodations

Related links:
"Palawan govt issues 25-year mining halt" on ABS-CBN News
"Palawan government thrusts for nature preservation"

Tubbataha Reefs Official Site

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