By Darrin James Lee
Photo gallery
A secluded island of tropical beaches not already westernized, over-developed and heavily populated is something of a dying breed. Palawan, Philippines is fighting back against this potential extinction.

Palawan is the third most popular tourist destination in the Philippines, behind Boracay, and Cebu. Most of the traffic flocks to the infamous El Nido municipality, and there are numerous other hidden gem choices like Port Barton and Sabang. The main differences from other beach destinations in the Philippines is the fact it’s a more isolated and larger island, less developed but still has an abundance of natural beauty.  Well known by Filipinos, it is still largely unknown to tourists. Let guide you in being one of the few to discover this diamond in the rough.

It’s a traveler’s dream filled with countless untainted, enclosed coves. There are boat trips available for island hopping, the underground river, and more for a minimal fee. The tour gets you a seven-man boat and the entire day’s expenses. Scuba, snorkel, kayaking, motorcycle rentals and more are available as well are rather inexpensive. The most notable day trips are the Puerto-Princesa Subterranean River National Park and the Tubbataha Reef Marine Park.  Located in Sabang, the full United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) recognized river spans 8.2 km and is thought to be the longest underground river in the world.  Basic permits for the 1st km are approximately 150 pesos/head, but it’s very worth the trip.  Unless you’re a spelunking veteran, you’re sure to have never seen anything like it. Tubbataha is located in the Sulu Sea, 98 nautical miles southeast of Puerto Princesa City. Over 1000 species inhabit in the reef; many are already considered as endangered. They are both nominated as one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature.

Banyan Tree Developments (a pioneer Phuket property developer) is also currently working on a 55 Ha master planned USD 250 million-dollar resort in Culion (northern Palawan), a sure sign of things to come. This is in addition to a Chinese developer recently completing a 100 room Resort and Conference Centre in Sabang, Palawan, and Hollywood film producer Michael Gleissner’s marina development in San Vincente. All of these developments will usher millions of new tourists to discover the natural beauty of Palawan, and trigger a property boom on the island.

For the time being, it’s an extra one-hour domestic flight from Manila before a three-hour van ride from Puerto Princessa Airport (PPS) if you’re headed to El Nido, Sabang or the like. The San Vicente International Airport due for 2012 (8km from Port Barton) will greatly ease arrival. This airport will likely usher an influx of tourism, high-end resort development and investors snatching up this island paradise. When the airport is finished, you can book your flight to it through will secure you the most efficient ETA and costly itinerary for your liking. This paradise is within a 3 hour flight from many Asian countries such as China, South Korea, Japan, Singapore, and Hong Kong. It will not stay undeveloped and cheap forever. encourages you to choose Palawan for your next vacation destination. The province can be frequented via its capital city airport:  Puerto Princessa Airport (PPS).  Book your flight today with (  When booking your hotel with, please refer to the top selections of hotels in the province for assistance with finding accommodations. This can be accessed by following the link to the hotel portion of the website (