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Palawan Packages: Top 3 Must-See Spots In Palawan For 2015

When it comes to asking about Palawan Packages, the “must-see” places are always different depending on who you ask. It can be confusing and daunting to decide which opinion you would weigh more before planning or booking your trip. The sure shot remedy, of course, is to ask enough people who have been there before.

Why go through all the trouble?

Well, for one, Palawan was recently named the “Top Island in the World” by non-other than the prestigious Conde Nast Travel Magazine. It’s a dream paradise dubbed the Last Frontier of the Philippines.

In LetsPalawan, we decided to take the “ask someone who’s been there” strategy a notch higher, just a little bit. In fact, we painstakingly contacted (read: stalked) more than 500 fortunate souls who have been to Palawan before (yep five hundred fifty-four to be exact, that’s no typo!) via their blog, facebook/twitter accounts, including one where we embarrassingly used the dusty old phonebook – don’t judge!

We asked each one the question:

"What are the Top 3 places to visit in Palawan for 2015?"

This is a bit of a read, but like the journey getting to El Nido, it will be quirky and uniquely delightful.

Read on as I tickle your imagination…

Having been to all the major island attractions in Palawan, we’ve already formed some biases. But we put our biases aside as we recognized that the only way to find out – once and for all – was to ask that question to Palawan locals and Past travelers from around the world - - travelers from New York to Slovakia to Netherlands to Guatemala have graciously participated.

We’ve even gone as far as contacting some local and international superstar travel bloggers like our mate, Michael Hodson who’s blog is one of the top 100 travel blogs in the world (we feel like he’s on top 10, easy) and Kryz Uy (Filipina Fashion blogger slash traveler) to know if the ones that we’ve been reading about online would indeed reveal themselves. So the list isn’t too shabby. And guess what?

85 awesome, enthusiastic and generous locals, bloggers, and travellers got involved! THANK YOU!!!

This may probably be the biggest, most comprehensive  Q and A  ever conducted for this topic.

TEASER: Check out the videos we've included at the end of this post to understand why Palawan is the ultimate destination you’ll cherish for a lifetime!

By alphabetical order, here are the 83 “lucky souls” who participated:

Palawan Packages 2015: Top 3 Places to Visit In Palawan

(Responses listed in the order they were received in)

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Kim Reyes

Philippines

I haven't visited the whole of Palawan, but we've been to Coron. I'm sure most would say their favorite destinations there are the white sand beaches. To be different, I'd say my "can't miss" destination in Palawan will have to be Kayangan Lake. Reaching it is a challenge since you need to hike through a mosquito-infested, upward going trail (hehe), but the view is just spectacular when you reach it. Also, I just love the relaxing dip we got to take after the hike. If we weren't on schedule, I would have stayed there all day!

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Kay

Manila, Philippines

Rita Island, Ulugan Bay, Palawan

...because it is a wondrous proof that sometimes, naked and bare is excitement with so much flair.

The Hidden (secret) Lagoons of El Nido, Palawan

...because when I was there, a foreigner screamed at the top of his lungs, "Sweetheart, look at this, it's so beautiful! Amazing! (with some expletives)" at how awesome the natural beauty of the country is. It was a proud moment to be a Filipino.

Itoy's Coffee Haus, Downtown Puerto Princesa

...because it is reminiscent of Palawan's simple but vibrant locale.

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Calvin Sun

New York City

  • 1) Secret Lagoon
  • 2) Big Lagoon
  • 3) Anywhere that your boat goes.
  • ;)

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Tina Matanguihan

Metro Manila, Philippines

TinaMats

1. Iwahig Firefly River Cruise (Puerto Princesa) - A short river cruise in the dark to see the fireflies of Iwahig. Very informative and peaceful, and the view of the clear night sky and the stars compete with the fireflies for your attention.

2. Seven Commando Beach (El Nido) - This is your possibly the same as your everyday beach front in most of the islands in Palawan, but after swimming and frolicking in the lagoons, this beach is a great place to sit and relax and rest while you sip fresh coconut juice. :)

3. Lusong Shipwreck (Coron) - Possibly my most favorite thing in Coron. This wreck is perfect for non-divers who want to see an actual shipwreck. Best to come when the sun is still high, but plus creepy factor if you come near sunset. The shipwreck will suddenly pop out in front of your eyes after dropping into the water. =)

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Ericke Tan

Philippines

SurprisinglyKitsch

I've only been to Coron. My favorites were

Kayangan Lake - the hike to Kayangan Lake is really nice, and the view from the top is amazing. The lake itself is breathtaking.

The Twin Lagoon - it felt surreal to be swimming in the lagoon, like it was amazing and scary at the same time.

Malcapuya Island - I'm a sucker for white sand beaches and this is one of prettiest beaches I've ever been to.

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Nadine Gray

Australia

TravelWithPapino

Port Barton, El Nido and Honda Bay.

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ThisGirlAbroad

Canada

ThisGirlAbroad

1. Hands down climbing up Mount Taraw in El Nido. This was one of the most amazing, exhausting, and dangerous things I have ever done! Recommended for those who love a challenge (like, a really hard one!), have no fear of heights, and want to try something totally different in Palawan. Seeing the sunrise from the top of Mt. Taraw is breathtaking!

2. Island hopping tours in El Nido. My favourite was Tour A - you see some absolutely stunning islands and crisp blue waters. It almost feels like you're in another world! The best thing is that when you get off at each island, it's not crowded with other tourists.

3. Taking a tour through the Underground River in Puerto Princesa. This river is a UNESCO Heritage Site and was named one of the New 7 Natural Wonders of the World in 2012. The water leading into the cave is this green-blue and the surroundings appear to be from a movie. Definitely a cool and historical spot to check out!

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Arvie Aggabao

Manila, Phillipines

MyTravelAdventure

1. Breathtaking Scenery of Kayangan Lake, Coron Palawan and Honda Bay.

2. Sunset in Bacuit Bay, EL Nido Palawan

3. Snorkeling in Pambato Reef, Honda Bay , Puerto Princesa, Palawan

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Alexander Bonife

Manila, Philippines

LexGo

My number one in my list is Pangulasian Island Resort (El Nido). The wide, luxurious rooms, the beautiful beach and the superb service. This is my best Palawan experience so far.

Two is Miniloc Island Resort - genuine and heartfelt service, rustic feel and the swimming with the jackfish. Such an amazing experience.

And last, I need to mention Art Cafe in El Nido Town. Food here is good and it gives everyone a genuine, local feel of El Nido Town.

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Tippi Ocampo

Manila

MyTravelAdventure

I love Palawan, and while I've only visited three times (we're planning a fourth visit this April)

The top three unforgettable experiences I've had in Palawan so far are:

- Swimming a deserted Kayangan Lake early in the morning & snorkeling Skeleton Wreck and the very picturesque reef off Coron

- Kayaking in Big Lagoon and Small Lagoon in El Nido, and kayaking to a lesser known coves and hidden lagoons

- Visiting a mangrove filled with fireflies, under a sky full of stars, and the water glistening with phosphorescence

- Island hopping and seafood picnics on empty coves and deserted islands

I'm a big fan of your work in San Vicente and would definitely love to visit someday.

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Chyng Reyes

Taguig, Philippines

LexGo

="text-indent: 25px">Never miss

1. Coron

2. El Nido

3. Cadlao Resort in El Nido =)

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Anna Trogo

Japan

AnnaTrogo

I actually love Coron more than Puerto Princesa. I haven't been to El nido yet so I can't speak for that.

To answer your question,

"Coron is such an underrated tourist spot. More people should visit for its beauty, cleanliness, and friendly people. Nothing speaks of natural beauty than Kayangan Lake, with its cool and crystal clear water. Malcapuya Island and Banana Island both have great beaches (think Boracay minus the crowd) and snorkeling spots. Both of these places tell you what beach bumming is all about. Love love! I know this is supposed to be a top three list, but I really love snorkeling so I would recommend Siete Pecados and Barracuda Lake, too."

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Grace Bangoy

Philippines

Grasya

Top 3 places to visit in Palawan? At the top of my head:

Batak Tribe in Puerto Princesa - These tribes are vanishing. Better learn from their ways of living before it's too late.

El Nido - so you can see mini dotted islands and unique landscapes.

Taytay- Want a quiet retreat? This is the best place to be.

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Faye Marcos

Philippines

Fayeshka

Coron is still one of my favorite beach destinations, despite having well known coastal areas in the country. Perhaps it's because Coron is not limited to beach activities e.g. Snorkeling/diving/swimming. The clear waters of the lagoons are also a refreshing experience from the usual saltwater dips, and hiking can also be a fun yet cheap outdoor activity. The aquatic life in coron is also one of the best that the Philippines has to offer.

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Joanne Perez

Las Pinas City, Philippines

Paje20

As Palawan is such a beautiful place, it is quite difficult to choose just 3, my answer will be based on what was most memorable to me.

El Nido is my first choice. Though quite far from Puerto Princesa, it is worth the visit because of the islands you can tour, it is less crowded than the Honda Bay. There are bars nearby for a quick night cap, and the food is delicious. One can also do a morning hike if one prefers to a nearby mountain.

The Underground river is next on my list, it is only an hour or so from Puerto Princesa and the tour is only an hour long. While waiting for the actual tour to start, you get to see the monkeys and monitor lizards that are abundant in the area. On the tour itself, you will be amazed by the formations and the coolness of the tunnel.

Last would be the Honda Bay tour. The islands that we visited then was Pandan and Starfish, a few years before that, the reef was still opened (it is now closed indefinitely for restoration, i think). It was fun and therapeutic to feed the fishes and swim the clear waters of the island. You can also opt to buy and try the rock lobsters offered by the locals.

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Diane Writes

Philippines

DianeWantsToWrite

1. Kayangan Lake - No trip to Coron would ever be complete without seeing the Kayangan Lake. All the beautiful elements of nature perfectly connived in Kayangan Lake. The rock formations, the lake, and the trees that complemented everything. Best about Kayangan Lake is the fact that it remains unadulterated. Everything is perfectly preserved.

2. Banol Beach - After trekking the perfect view of the Kayangan Lake, the Banol Beach is the best destination after. The pristine beach, very fine and white sand and the perfectly crystal clear water define Banol Beach. The place is best for kayaking, lunch by the sea and other beach activities.

3. Decalachao River - A not so popular and underrated places in Coron Palawan is the Decalachao River or Mangrove River. It resembles the Loboc River but Decalachao is more quiet, serene, less commercialized and more closer to nature. The entire stretch of the river is surrounded by the beautiful mangroves.

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Bino Chua

Singapore

iWandered

1. Kayangan Lake – pristine and unbelievably scenic. Said to be one of the cleanest lakes in the Philippines

2. El Nido – not that accessible as compared to Palawan’s more conventional destinations but definitely worth the trip

3. Puerto Princesa Subterranean River

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Michael Hodson

Fayetteville, Arkansas

GoSeeWrite

Palawan has a majestic beauty to it that you can find throughout the entire Province. That being said, there are three places in Palawan that you simply cannot miss.

El Nido: This is a beautiful island with waterfalls, hot springs, secluded beaches, and a relaxing boat ride to take you there. What more could you ask for?

Tabon Caves: Home to some of the oldest archeological discoveries in the country, Tabon Caves are a must see with a lot of interesting history.

The Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park: This adventure could easily be the highlight of your trip. It is a river that runs through a huge cave for several miles before flowing into the West Philippine Sea. As you can imagine, it's stunning.

Find out why the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park could easily be the highlight of your Palawan trip according to Michael Hodson

Underground River - Puerto Princesa Palawan from viviandazon on Vimeo.

Video Here:

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Alexandra Kovacova

Snina, Slovensko

''For me, it would definitely be El Nido town and then of course island hopping tours. I did those named as tour A and C and I still cannot forget about our time on the 7 Commandos Island drinking fresh coconut water with my friends and swimming in the warm sea overlooking the pinky sunset. The boat trips are a very unique experiences, that's for sure.''

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Jonver David

Philippines

blog.jonverdavid.com

My top 3 destinations not to miss when in Palawan are the following:

The Big and Small Lagoon in El Nido - this might be the most majestic natural thing I've ever seen. It is enchanting and it can be scary, too (if you don't know how to swim)

Miniloc Island Resort - if I only have the money I'd go here always. But when we saw the island while hopping around, it was beautiful and I guess it'll be more beautiful if you can stay here.

Underground River - I haven't been here but would've love to see one of the seven wonders of the world right before my own eyes.

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Richard Grimaldo

Philippines

PinoyExplorer

Here's my take:

Coron Palawan - because of its lush vegetation landscape and crystal clear water that is truly refreshing to the eye of both local and foreign tourist.

Lake Kayangan, Coron - with amazing panorama landscape when you are at the top of the hill. Hiking through those man-made structure is really a thrilling experience especially for first timers.

Twin Lagoon, Coron - also a must see and should not be missed. Cold and crystal clear water truly a refreshing experience.

Skeleton Wreck, Coron - a must for first time snorkelers and divers. At 10-15 feet, you can see the ship wreck that became the artificial reef of various fishes.

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Lorraine Angelique Tiglao

Philippines

BetweentheRaineDrops

When one mentions Palawan, the first thing that comes to my mind is, of course, the Puerto Princesa Subterranean Underground River. But beyond this wonder of nature, I believe there are other must see places in Palawan.

1. The Islands of El Nido

Go island hopping and fall in love with the breathtaking natural scenery of this little municipality in Palawan. Swim in the pristine, crystal waters. Discover the diverse richness of the marine ecosystem. Just then, you'll surely say, El Nido is a paradise locked outside of heaven.

2. Pambato Reef Snorkeling Site

Dubbed as the "Mini Tubataha Reef", go snorkeling at Pambato Reef which showcases a wide range of live corals, giant clams and thousands of colorful fish. It is not just an ordinary snorkeling spot as it is also a school in the sea, a protected marine sanctuary.

3. Ugong Rock Adventures

Far from the usual pristine islands of Palawan, Ugong Rock Adventures offers a different kind of experience. Go spelunking through steep caves and passages. Try their zip line boasted to be the fastest one in the country.

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Katrina Libarnes

Philippines

Y101FM

Top 3 can't miss places to visit in Palawan for 2015:

1. Subterranean river

2.Tubattaha Reefs. coron reefs and El Nido Reserves (or at least one of them)

3. Ursula Bird Sanctuary

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Nina Fuentes

Philippines

JustWandering

My top 3 places are:

The twin beaches of Nacpan and Calintang of El Nido

It’s a long, dusty, and bumpy ride from the town, but the beautiful beaches are worth it.

Coron Island

Though mainly known for Kayangan Lake, do ask around town if you can visit the Tagbanwa tribe, who live in the island.

Marimegmeg Beach, El Nido

Long stretch of fine white beach, dotted with towering coconut trees. What else do you need in paradise?

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Kat Catapusan

Philippines

TheHungryKat

My top 3 can’t miss places in Palawan are the ff:

First is the breathtaking Puerto Princesa Underground RiverM - No words can describe its natural beauty.

Second is the Honda Bay Islands - Its such an adventure to go island-hopping around Honda Bay and discovering what each island has to offer.

Third is Dos Palmas Resort - It feels so good to be in this private secluded island where you can wander around, go kayaking, go snorkelling, be pampered at the Spa, and just relax!

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Xan Hermoso

Taguig, Philippines

BigBangsAndTidbits

I had a wonderful time in Palawan and I would be more than glad to share the high points of my visit. Although, It was already 3 years ago and I'm wondering if some of my Palawan's best spots are still the go-to places.

But anyway, my number one would be of course, the Puerto Princesa Underground River. It's simply majestic! It's one of our country's pride and joy, not to mention it bagged a spot in the new 7 wonders of nature in 2014. It's simply a can't-miss, especially for first time visitors.

Next would be Pambato Reef. It's a snorkeling spot where tourists can experience first-hand the rich marine life of Palawan's clear waters. Visitors need not worry if they've never snorkel before. The guides are super friendly and quick to offer assistance.

Lastly, I would suggest they experience the incredibly tasty and unique cuisine that Palawan has to offer. There are a lot of top-rated restos naturally, but I would suggest they challenge themselves and go around the city to look for lesser-known restaurants. They'd be surprised! If they don't have that much time to spare, I would suggest they visit Seahorse Resto Bar.

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Michael Maleriado

Philippines

AngeloTheExplorer

Here are my top pics.

1. KAYANGAN LAKE

This place probably is the most famous attraction in Coron among the other destinations around the Island. We stayed here the whole morning as we enjoyed the clear waters of Kayangan Lake. On my second visit, I did a free dive and I was able to reach the bottom. Our guide even took us to small caves found along the lake.

2. TWIN LAGOON

This is a very interesting lagoon for me. There is a narrow opening in the limestone cliff that will take you to the other lagoon. It is a deep lagoon but you can still see the bottom. Why interesting? Because the hot and cold water doesn't mix here. The moment you dive in suddenly you will see a a strange blurring phenomenon because of the layers of hot and cold water suddenly mixing as you enter the water. The quieter you are in the water - the clearer it stays!

TIP: Try to move as slow as possible and if you are with a group, try to keep distance to have a clear vision.

3. LUNCH AT BANOL AND DIMANGLET BEACH

Part of the tour is a lunch on either of Banol or Dimanglet Beach. I just loved this place a lot. This was the most memorable meal you could ever have in your entire life!

On our second visit,our guide took us to a different beach which was opened to public not long ago. He said this beach was also a nice place to eat lunch. Indeed, he was correct! We never thought that this place (Dimanglet)was going to be one of the best snorkeling I've done so far!

Banol Beach if you enjoy sand and Dimanglet Beach if you enjoy beautiful coral formation

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Pondering Paodaolei

Sta. Rosa City, Laguna

PonderingPaodaolei

Palawan has so many beautiful places but the top three places to visit in Palawan for me are:

1. Balabac in Southern Palawan

2. Nacpan-Calitang Twin Beaches

3. The islands of El Nido

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Arni de Rivera

Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Travel Gourmande

"Coron is definitely at the top of my list. An island hopping experience snorkeling over the Coral Reef Garden and Siete Pecados. Enjoy the clear waters of Kayangan Lake and a picinic lunch of grilled seafood on the white sands of Banol Beach. Swim through the crevice of Twin Lagoons and for diving enthusiasts, explore the WWII shipwrecks. A beach overdose at Malcapuya and Banana Island is great for a much needed escape. Watch the sunset at La Sirenetta. Climb the 700 plus steps of Mt. Tapyas that reveals a gorgeous view of Coron Islands and don't resist a relaxing dip in Maquinit Hot Springs. If you have a few days to spare, rent a motorbike and explore the Busuanga Island Loop.

El Nido is a paradise. Relaxing in a hammock at a beach cottage along Corong-Corong Beach. Indulge in the island hopping Tours A-D while enjoying a pint of fresh cold beer at El Nido Boutique & Art Cafe. Explore the island on a motorbike and cool down at Nacpan Beach after a seafood lunch. If you're feeling adventurous, head further to Verde Safari and camp out there, or challenge yourself to drive around the loop back to El Nido Town before sun down.

For the 3rd spot, well, every visit to Palawan is not complete without experiencing the Underground River in Sabang. But once you've been there and done that, my 3rd spot goes to Port Barton or San Vicente's 14 km Long Beach. The bus ride to get to San Vicente was already memorable. I think what lured us in is the mysterious and quiet vibe in this part of Palawan. At the time of our visit, we had the Long Beach to ourselves and the motorbike ride crossing remote roads and rice paddies was an incredible experience, away from everything (and everyone). Port Barton has its unique charm and we surprisingly enjoyed our stay there. Their island hopping tours allowed us to discover the beautiful white sand beaches and really top notch snorkel spots."

I just can't help getting excited whenever I talk about Palawan.

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Kebler Omanito

Philippines

SunnyToast

1. Matinloc island shrine

2. Big lagoon

3. Twin beaches of Nacpan and Calintang

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Lara Bruschinski

Amsterdam

TheAddictedTraveller

I'd say my top 3 favourite places in Palawan would be:

- the Underground River. Make sure you get to the small boat that will take you into the cave early, so you get to sit in front and are in charge of the big search light, which is really cool.

- Sabang beach, for a rustic but authentic small town beach vibe. Sabang has great views with palm trees and white sand beaches and everything, but it also feels truly Filipino with the small huts that house local families and great local restaurants.

- El Nido!! If you can, splurge on a few nights at Miniloc Island to experience that true Robinson Crusoe island vibe. Or base yourself in El Nido town and arrange day trips throughout the archipelago. Don't miss the Big and Small Lagoons, where you can snorkel your heart out, and ask your boatsmen to take you to cave island to enter the most magnificent cave you'll ever see. Take a kayak and make your way around the islands to find your own private beach. There are plenty!

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Jasper Ribbers

Amsterdam, Netherlands

TheTravelingDutchman

The top 3 places to visit in Palawan are:

1.) El Nido

2.) Puerto Princessa and

3.) The Underground River.

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Nick Dariece

Guatemala

GoatsOnTheRoad

Here are our choices for Top 3 places:

Port Barton - The beach here is fantastic, the surrounding islands are great places for snorkelling and sailing and the village is quite undeveloped and quiet.

El Nido - This is a popular place, but for good reason. Head out to one of the many islands and go camping! Explore the underwater world on scuba or by snorkelling. The limestone karsts here are magical, El Nido is a must-see.

Puerto Princesa Underwater Subterranean National Park - This underground river system is fantastic and was listed as one of the world's new 7 Wonders of Nature.

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Jennifer Sy

Quezon City

Zeal4Adventure

Understand this: it is not that easy to pick out just 3 in a region referred to as the Last Frontier. It’s landscape and seascape, brims with natural beauty, its wildlife, abundant and diverse. Rugged charm aside, Palawan is fast becoming a foodies' paradise.

So having said this, here are three places / activities that awed me thus far.

El Nido Town

This town sits on a sheltered bay flanked by limestone cliffs on one side and hills on the other. The appeal is in its tree-lined streets against a glorious backdrop of towering cliffs. Peppered with impressive restaurants, bars, and cafes, it makes staying in town a delight, which more than makes up for the lack of five-star lodgings. And while you’re in town, a tour around the different islands is a must.

Choose from the various tour packages (Tours A-E) the island has to offer.

Dolphin Watch off Puerto Bay and La Terrasse

Just outside the mouth of Puerto Bay, Long-snouted spinner dolphins and pilot whales (lots of them) are almost always seen breaching, spinning, and swimming in this waters. Make the effort to wake up early, the Banca ride to scout for these beautiful creatures is definitely worth every centavo.

Again, while you’re in town, you must have a meal at La Terrasse Restaurant Café along Rizal Avenue and just a few steps away from the airport. Top quality food reasonably priced. Everything I tried was noteworthy, so go ahead, try whatever your mood calls for. But you must, MUST, no matter what, sample or bring home with you, their Honey Nougat and Candied Orange Peel. You will not regret it.

Underground River

I never thought this would ever get on my A-list. Really. This UNESCO World Heritage site that got Palawan on the map was never a priority, for some reason. A pleasant surprise, this Puerto Princesa Underground River. The cave was grand and impressive with beautiful formations, the turquoise water was enchanting, and the witty guide provided intelligent information.

The best way to get to the Underground River is via a 3.56-kilometer path called the Jungle Trail. It’s roughly a 2-hour trek through a lush jungle with centuries old trees, passing through a mangrove, bridges and steep steps made from confiscated wood, built over limestone karsts. Beautiful trail. And best of all, this provides jobs to the Tagbanua Indigenous Community as they are now the guides and caretakers of the footpath. Highly recommended for the active.

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Footprints Travel / Tov

Toronto

FootprintsTravel

The 3 spots would be Subang, the Underground River and El Nido….

And for what it’s worth, here’s an excerpt from an email I had sent to some friends shortly after I returned home from Palawan…

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A “taste” of Palawan…

Returned last week from a lovely trip to the Philippines…. Well, honestly Manila was not the highlight, but my week in Palawan was great! Highlights there are the Underground River (one of the ‘new 7 natural wonders of the world’), and of course the beautiful area of El Nido at the north end of the island.

For a bit of a taste of life in Palawan, below is an excerpt from a message home during my travels about the Underground River and for those who know me, yet another adventure in my continuing fascination with the wild and wonderful world of strange foods…

“…The big attraction here at Sabang is the 'Underground River' and I did the trip there today which was pretty amazing. You enter the river through the mouth of a cave, travelling in small boats with six or eight people in them, along with a guide and a strong spotlight (attached to a car battery...). The river itself is 8 kms long, flowing through this beautiful cave system filled with fabulous rock formations, stalagmites and stalactites, and although we only travelled 1.5 kms it was pretty cool.... pitch black, at times narrow, and at other times within massive caves where the top of the cave must have been ten stories high... we had to wear plastic helmets while in the boat, possibly to protect ourselves from hitting our heads on some of the low outcroppings of rock, but even more useful to provide a little protection in the parts of the cave where there is a continual light, cold rain that falls... of course it is not really rain, but rather water that has penetrated through the forest and root systems of the trees on the mountain above... well, that's where about 90% of it comes from... the other 10% is actually falling guano... that's the polite way of saying that is literally raining bat shit... so particularly in those parts of the caves, when looking up in jaw-dropping awe at the fabulous formations above, it's a good idea to keep your mouth shut!

While on the gross theme, after the cave trip, and while having lunch back here at a small beach restaurant with a group of mostly older Philippina women - all quite funny and giggling most of the day - I took advantage of the opportunity to buy a bowl of 'tamilok' from an older woman trying to sell her small supply... sadly for her I was the only one that took her up on her offer... when all the women around the table saw me buying the bowl they started howling in laughter, yet as it turns out, not one of them had ever tried this delicacy, and even worse, not one of them would even have a taste as I offered the bowl around to each of them...

I had heard about tamilok from the lovely old guide who had taken me on a boat trip through the mangrove forest the day before, and he had said that not only did they taste good, but they were good for you (and an aphrodisiac!), and that local people had been collecting and eating them for a long time...

So what is tamilok? Well, they are actually these large, fat, slimy, white worms that live in the wood of the mangrove trees... apparently they poke themselves out a little in the morning, and the locals can then grab them and pull the whole worm out of the tree... I ate four or five of them, and most were about 6 to 8 inches long (very filling!!), and while I had been told that they tasted like oysters, I think that's a bit of a stretch... they are served with a little vinegar sauce with some sugar mixed in which helps a little bit, but really, they just taste like big, fat, slimy worms!!

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Amy Lee SH

Singapore

StraitsTimes

Three top spots for me:

1. Underground river: Ethereal, and left me wondering about other concealed wonders in the caves beyond.

2. Sabang X zipline: "Do one thing every day that scares you!" Eleanor Roosevelt used to say that, and it became my Palawan mantra.

3. Spelunking at Ugong Rock: A quick ascent of mere metres, but thrilling for a first-timer.

I'm sure the dive spots / islands will be in the Top 3 if I had visited!

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Kryz Uy

Philippines

Kryz Uy

Pangalusian Beach Resort

Sabang Zipline Puerto Princesa

Small and Big Lagoon, El Nido

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JB Macatulad

Philippines

WebSushiDesign

Here are my top 3 (in no particular order):

1. Long Beach, San Vicente - People are calling this 14-km stretch of powdery white sand beach the new Boracay. Virginal and undisturbed, there's just one resort there at the moment, the very recently opened Agutaya Resort.

2. Kayangan Lake, Coron - One of the most beautiful places that I've ever been to. Emerald green and still, like glass, Kayangan Lake is surrounded on all sides by limestone cliffs. Breathtakingly gorgeous.

3. El Nido Resort Miniloc, El Nido - An older resort but still one of the best. Feeding fish off that white jetty is still one of the most enjoyable things I've done in Palawan.

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Michelle Melo

Antipolo City, Philippines

DekaPhobe

Here are my answers:

1. Underground River - one of the seven natural wonders of the world, 'nuff said.

2. Itoy's Coffee Haus, Puerto Princesa - try the rice coffee!

3. Baker's Hill - aside from the hopia, the Thai Coffee is a must-try.

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Oman Serapio

Pasig

Lawstude

1. Coron - the twin lakes are just awesome

2. Port Barton - laidback and not to touristy

3. San Vicente - to enjoy the longest white beach in the Philippines.

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Lea Walker

Davao City

LeaWalkerBlog

My Top 3 Places to visit in Palawan for 2015 would be:

1. The 7th Wonder of Nature - The Underground River

2. Honda Bay

3. South Sea Pearl Market in Puerto Princesa

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Aileen Macalintal

Philippines

AisCracker

On top of my mind that'd be the islands of El Nido, and Cayangan Lake & Mt Tapyas in Coron.

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Jeff Zapanta

Philippines

JeffWasThere

There are a lot of things that fascinate me when I hear about Palawan. I was quite blown away the first time I visited this scenic island way back 2011. For sure, there are still more places to see but if I could list 3 places, it would be:

1. Ugong Rock - the more than 120 meters rock formation is quite a challenge spot to behold. Try ziplining and it'll take your breath away (literally, but in a good away :)) You can find this on your way to the Underground River from Puerto Princesa City.

2. Nacpan and Calitang Twin Beaches - 3 hours of rough ride is totally worth it as the pristine and turquoise waters of the beach unfold before your eyes. No commercial buildings around and less crowd. Beach bummers will love this. List this down when you plan your way to El Nido from Puerto Princesa.

3. Marimegmeg Beach - Just a few minutes from El Nido town, you can see an unspoiled beach lying across the road. It may take 15-20 minutes of your time walking but still, you'll have this beach all by yourself while seeing some popular islands of El Nido.

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HOTTE Kroner

Germany - Philippines

Binalabag-island-Robinsonade

The number one - 1 on Palawan is for me and a special highlight , or the pearl farms in northern Palawan, particularly the paradise islands around Tay Tay !

Number two - 2 on Palawan are for me the sunken Japanese Wrecks near Coron !

Number three - 3 private Palawan EL NIDOS fridays Club !

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Rojae B

Davao City, Philippines

Adventuroj

My top 3 can't miss places to visit in Palawan are:

1.) Nacpan Beach in El Nido

2.) El Nido Island Hopping tours - particularly Tour A (Small & Big Lagoon)

3.) Underground River in Sabang

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Mustachio Ventures

Philippines

Mustachio

Difficult to just pick just three. Palawan is beautiful.

Calauit Island

Snake Island

Onuk Island

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Wilko.ca

Calgary, Canada

At the beach, life is different. Time doesn’t move hour to hour but mood to moment. We live by the currents, plan by the tides and follow the sun. (unknown)

Here’s my top 3 of places to visit on to Palawan, another beautiful Philippine island.

Pandan Island Beach

I have always loved the beach. The smell of the salty water, the wind in my face, the gentle roar of the waves all combine to create a sense of peace and calm. Palawan offers all of those ingredients, and if you’re willing to venture out a bit with an island hopping tour you’ll find the beaches you’ve only dreamed of. For less than 200 dollars I chartered a private van, boat (with crew), tour guide (to deal with harbour formalities, hut and equipment rentals), snorkel guide, and more than enough food for the entire day. The idea was initially to go island hopping, but the first beach was so spectacular I decided to just relax, stay and spend the day right there, soaking in all the beauty (and amazing fresh seafood) the island had to offer.

Underground river

When traveling I’m not the tour bus type person. Generally speaking, whenever the conditions aren’t of any extreme or dangerous nature, I’d much rather explore on my own and take a side road here and there to soak in everything a destination has to offer. One time when organized tourism came in handy, I had to embark on a multi-hour shuttle van ride, and then transfer to a tiny boat to get to a particular destination on Palawan in the Philippines. At every embarkation and disembarkation point the group was swarmed with extremely pushy street vendors who had no sense of personal space or setting a reasonably fair price for their products.

The objective of that day however made up for it: to go and explore an underground river, one of the 7 wonders of nature. This fact does depend on which list you choose to use for the “7 wonders”, as there are a couple of variations of this list available. I’ll admit it was a very impressive experience. Just picture the surroundings – you’re in pitch black, thick humid air. Other than a battery operated lamp on front of the boat, which attracts the most interesting flying creatures, there’s no light whatsoever. Numerous poisonous snakes and spiders inhabit the caves, and trying to avoid those is key to a successful return out the complete darkness. I sure was happy hearing the reassuring chatter of the talkative tour guide from the back of the boat. He explained we were only allowed to go into the underground river for a certain distance, as beyond those boundaries special gear and certifications were required to deal with the poisonous spiders and snakes. I could only hope those creatures would abide by the same certification requirements and stick to their side of the river.

Exploring one of the seven world wonders was an experience not to be missed, and definitely worth being hassled a bit on the way there. It was also something not to be attempted on my own, and I’m happy I didn’t. A rule of thumb for me is to limit these types of excursions. There’s no need to have a jam-packed itinerary and have an activity pre-booked and scheduled for every single hour in the day.

El Nido beach

The third in my list of places not to miss is one place I did miss. It’s believed to be the best beach destination in the Philippines, and maybe even the world. From the towering marble cliffs and magical lagoons to its 100 white sandy beaches, El Nido is one of the top tourist destinations in Palawan. Because of its scenic landscapes and high bio-diversity, Palawan is known as “The Last Ecological Frontier of the Philippines”. I’m sad to have missed it, but sometimes it’s great to not see everything on your list, as it gives a great excuse to return to this beautiful island sometime in the near future. See you soon, Palawan!

This post contains excerpts from my travel book The Freedom Project, a #1 international bestseller available on Amazon and finer book retailers worldwide.

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Jon Laakso

Chuncheon, South Korea

JonoAndAmanda

#1 - The Subterranean Caves

#2 - El Nido

Snake Island

#3 - Enjoying the Lagoons

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Patay Gutom Team

Philippines

Adventuroj

1. Underground River

2. Tubbataha Reef

3. Honda Bay

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Megan Singleton

BloggerAtLarge

I only visited El Nido, so here are my Top 3 places not to miss:

Kayaking in the crystal clear waters of Miniloc Lagoon surrounded by towering limestone cliffs, then push through a crack just wide enough for a kayak and discover the breathtaking small lagoon. Paddle near the cliffs to see teeny wildlife scurrying around.

Roll though the teeny opening of Cudugnon Cave that opens up into a huge cavern with light filtering through from above. This was a hiding place for locals during WWII

Climb to the top of Vigan Island (Snake Island) for views over the beaches and water so warm you’ll want to take a little dip before returning to the boat.

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Kathleen Madula

Philippines – Sydney Australia

Adventuroj

Underground River in Puerto Princesa

Calauit Safari

Coron Island Loop

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Kate Timbol

Philippines

BloggerAtLarge

My top 3 can't miss places in Palawan:

1. Pandan Island - Honda Bay

2. Snake Island in El Nido

3. Nacpan/Calitang (I haven't been here but it looks so nice, and it's a shame I missed to visit this place!!!)

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Annika Voskuhl

Philippines

Adventuroj

1. Las Cabanas Beach

Situated just outside El Nido it’s a perfect destination for a day trip. That beach is not too developed and does not have that touristy vibe that you get at the overcrowded beach in El Nido. Here you get the tropical beach that you know from postcards and travel guides. The beach stretches along coconut trees, a few bars and hotels. Surrounded by beautiful islands it’s the perfect spot to watch sunsets. We went there by scooter, fell in love with the beach, and can’t wait to be back.

2. Iwahig River

The 45min van ride from Puerto Princesa is worth every minute. What awaits you at Iwahig River is simply breathtaking (it’s at night-time to boot). After sunset you can ride on a small 3-person banca on the dark river to watch the many fireflies that live on the trees along the shore. For us, the nature- and outdoor lovers that we are, the firefly watching tour was a unique experience that we can suggest to anybody travelling to Palawan.

3. El Nido Island Hopping Tour

An island hopping tour is a must thing to to when coming to Palawan and one of the biggest reasons why most tourists travel the long way up north to El Nido. We took the Tour A and couldn’t help but put the El Nido archipelago up there to our Top 3 most beautiful places we have ever visited around the globe.

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Melo Villareal

Philippines

Adventuroj

# 1 El Nido for its beautiful Bacuit Bay. El Nido's pocket beaches and the romantic sunsets never fails to amaze me.

# 2 Coron - Its quiet and simple town has its own charm. It has one of the best dive sites in the country.

# 3 Puerto Princesa - Is one of the most ideal retirement place for me. Its like a city in the middle of a forest.

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Jean Claudeth Armeza

Cebu City, Philippines

BloggerAtLarge

1) Helicopter Island, El Nido

There might be many other white sand beaches and beautiful islands in the country, but the serenity and that feeling of tranquility is incomparable when you're in this small, uninhabited island. Its like looking at a paradise in a postcard, except its real, unedited, and its just you relaxing, swimming, drinking your juice, and plainly absorbing this little place of heaven.

2) Tapuitan Island, El Nido

If you love snorkeling, this is the perfect place to be! Angelfish, surgeonfish, clown fish, moorish idols, and other varieties of colorful fish swam in corals of different kinds, sizes, colors, height, and depth. You could snorkel to your hearts content. :)

3) Mainit Hot Spring, Coron

Remember that feeling when you woke up in the morning, feeling too lazy to get up but you had to, you lazily prepared your coffee, slowly drank it, and then you realize, too late, that it was still too hot and it burned your tongue, and then suddenly you're fully awake? This is similar to the experience you'll have when you try Mainit Hot Spring. Except, you'll probably try immersing yourself again in the hot spring, little by little, until your body adjusted to the heat. The relaxing feeling might make you feel sleepy afterwards, unlike what you'll get with your usual cup of coffee.

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Sheena Cowell

Philippines

Adventuroj

My choices would be:

Port Barton - This makes a great stop on the way down to Peurto Princessa from El Nido, lots of cheap island hopping and a very relaxing atmosphere.

Long beach San Vicente - The longest emptiest beach I have ever been on, its a bit of trouble to get here, but if you can hop on a boat and plan a day trip it really is the perfect peaceful beach, get there before everyone else does!!

Coron - Although the town is not based on a beach this is a great springboard for amazing snorkeling, diving, shipwrecks and general adventuring around the beautiful island of Busuanga.

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Jonas Roque

Philippines

BloggerAtLarge

1. Nacpan-Calitang Twin Beach in El Nido

A long stretch of white beach shared by only few people when we got there. I didn't mind walking from the hill to the opposite end of the beach because I see beauty everywhere and I just want to leave my footprints there.

2. Iwahig Firefly Tour in Puerto Princesa

I want the travelers to experience this because it's for your eyes only destination. One can hardly document the fireflies that lighten the river at night. It's best to experience this personally.

3. Kayangan Lake in Coron

The lake waters is clear that you can see the limestone formation below. And it is deep. Snap that big rock formation too outside where the boats are parked,

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Alexis Mendoza

Philippines

Adventuroj

1) Puerto Princesa Baywalk

- Accessible via local tricycles, this place is definitely a must-visit place for a quick dinner. One can indulge in fresh seafood cooked just the way you want them for few hundred pesos - you can even haggle to get the best price for your meal. If you're adventurous, you can also grab some Crocodile meat sisig which perfectly goes well with some ice cold beer!

2) Puerto Princesa Underground River

- You haven't officially been to Palawan unless you visit the famous Puerto Princesa Underground River. Located a couple of hours away from the main city through zig-zaggy roads and cliffs and a 20 minutes or so motor boat ride, the Underground River tour is an experience like no other. Take a detour after your tour by riding the Sabang X Zipline, an 800 meter long and 100 meter high zipline that will take you from the top of a cliff across the sea and down to the Sabang Beach. It's a must try for thrill seekers!

3) Take a City Tour before you leave!

- On your last day in Palawan, ask your the friendly Tricycle drivers to take you on a tour around the city, customize it the way you want! Visit the Palawan Wildlife & Rescue Center and get up-close & personal with the crocs, you can even take a photo holding one! For your Pasalubong needs, take a trip to Bakers Hill for some edible goodies such as their famous pastries, while you're there, enjoy the scenery and take photos - it's really on top of a hill overlooking the sea! For your last stop, get back to the city proper and visit Mercado de San Miguel for more pasalubong shopping. Grab a bunch of little trinkets for friends in different shops and take a break on the cafes located just beside the stores. Now that's how you end your last day in Palawan!

WOW!

After going through the responses, you probably have an idea already what the results will be…

It's either you're excited to know what the best places in Palawan are or you're thrilled to find out which of your favourite Palawan Destinations made it to the list so without further adieu…

Here are the winners! (Drum Roll Please)

Top Places to Visit in Palawan for 2015

(according to locals, bloggers & travellers)

#1 The Hidden (Secret) Lagoons of Miniloc Island, El Nido, Palawan - 37 votes

Lagoon Palawan

#2 Underground River, Sabang, Puerto Princesa - 23 votes

 Underground-River-Palawan

#3 (Tied) Kayangan Lake and Coron (in general) - 15 votes

Kayangan Cove, Palawan

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