Palawan is one of those little paradises yet to be discovered, and although it has some quite touristy areas, it has nothing to do with major cities or other more renowned islands. Palawan is the ideal place to spend a quiet – yet full of activities – holiday.
WHEN TO GO
The best time to visit Palawan is during the dry season, which runs from November to June. In case you wish to avoid the boom of tourists and take advantage of the best offers, dare to go in October. In this month, in fact, the rainy season comes to an end, so you can enjoy the best prices and escape from the overcrowding of tourists.
Puerto Princesa is Palawan’s capital and offers hundreds of things to visit. And, although it is not our favourite place in the Philippines, we cannot avoid mentioning it. Be brave enough to rent a motorbike and go to the beach of Nagbaton, one of the least crowded in the area, a detail to be grateful for, being in such a big city.
Near Puerto Princesa, you will find the Underground River, which is one of the main tourist attractions and, rightly so, in 2012 was declared one of the new 7 natural wonders of the world. Careful! To visit it, you must require and obtain a visit permit in advance.
Quezon City is not the biggest tourist destination, and the few people that come, they do it mainly to visit the Tabon caves, where the first human remains of this area are located. Should you decide to opt for a trip around the area, spend at least one day, not to miss the spectacular sunset from the port.
El Nido is probably one of the most touristy places in the area, and despite also being much more crowded, it is where you can find more guided tours or where you can rent a kayak or a tuk-tuk. Port Barton is still a small village, but due to its proximity to El Nido, it is developing very quickly, so take don’t lose the opportunity to visit it before it becomes a well-known destination filled up with tourists.
Palawan is the Philippines’ largest province and its capital is Puerto Princesa. Before the Spanish colonization, the islands had been occupied by Chinese merchants and Malaysian inhabitants. In the seventeenth century, the Spaniards began to send missionaries and, during the following century, a lot of churches were built. Later on, the islands were colonized by the Americans.
Due to this cultural diversity, the Philippines has 7 official languages, although the most spoken is Tagalog. Because of the Malay influence, the main religion is Islam, although groups of Mormons and Adventists are also present.
The Sisig is a very traditional dish from the Philippines prepared with pig ears and a great variety of spices. It is super easy to cook and very tasty because pig’s fat is a very good one.
The lumpia is a kind of Filipino style spring roll. They are usually stuffed with vegetables, shrimp and prawns, and the best thing is that according to the area you are visiting, you will find a different way to prepare them.
As a dessert, do not miss ube ice cream. Ube is a purple yam, and it is precisely its colour that gives this amazing bright purple hue to the ice cream. The sweetness will depend on added sugar, my advice is to look for places where they have it homemade, in order to taste it in all its natural goodness.