Flickr: Jolyon / Creative Commons
I’m the kind of person that loves going on random sabbaticals. Sometimes, having to work five times a week and constantly dealing with the hustle and bustle of the city had me screaming for a perfect vacation. I’ve never been to Palawan but have heard tons of positive feedbacks about the wonders that inundate the captivating island. During the summer season, my Facebook newsfeed gets bombarded with my friends’ endless escapades all of them enjoying the white sand beaches and blue-green waters of Palawan. If there is one thing all of them share, (apart from their appealing background) are those huge smiles on their faces that clandestinely hollers, “This is life!”
Palawan is an island province in the Philippines that is located in the MIMAROPA region. It is considered as the largest province in the country in terms of total area of jurisdiction. Although its capital is Puerto Princesa City, it is governed independently from the province.
What’s in a name…
Flickr: Ross Pollack / Creative Commons
There is no concrete detail concerning the origin of the name Palawan. However, various sources provides for the possibilities of its roots. Others say that the name Palawan may have come from the Chinese word “Pa-Lao-Yu” which translates to “Land of Beautiful Harbors.” On the other hand, they linked it to the Indian word “Palawans” or “Territory”. But many assume its origin from the Spanish word “Paragua” because Palawan resembles a closed umbrella. Pretty neat huh?
Let’s Talk Money
Right after the Americans bought the Philippines from the Spaniards for 20 million dollars, they made changes in Paragua. They made major developments on the islands and called it Palawan. They advocated education, medical assistance, agriculture and tribal minorities’ rights.
Home of secluded and less commercial beaches
Flickr: Allan Ascaño / Creative Commons
I don’t know about you, but most often than not, when I head to the beach, I like me a peaceful and less crowded water experience. True enough, going water dipping is fun when spent with other individuals who are as ecstatic as you are with the water. But sometimes; you just want to have a soothing adventure on the coastline away from the crowd and it’s good to know that Palawan can provide just that. Nagtabon, Nacpan, and Marufinas are just few of its many less commercial beaches where one can enjoy the tranquility of the waters away from the blaring mob. Now, that sounds appealing.
Feast your eyes! Underwater Artistry
Flickr: serg_ulixes / Creative Commons
I have heard tons of travelers both local and foreign raving about the beauty that’s under the waters of Palawan. They’ve said that your Palawan experience would be mediocre if you haven’t gone deep diving in the waters. I’ve learned that the areas of Coron Island were known for several Japanese shipwrecks of World War II vintage and that the regions around these wrecks and rock formations have provided snorkeling opportunities for travelers. It is said that the underwater visibility extends up to 80 feet (24m) and wreck dive sites are found to be in depths as shallow as 10-30 feet and as deep as 120- 140 feet (37-43m) where most of the range are about 60-80 feet.
Wreck diving Sites in Coron Bay
The diving site in Coron Bay include the Irako wreck, Okikawa Maru wreck, Akitsishima wreck, Kogyo Maru wreck, Olympia Maru wreck, Kyokuzan Maru wreck, East Tangat gunboat wreck, Nashin Maru wreck, Lusong Gunboat wreck and Skeleton wreck. And to make things even more phenomenal, Forbes Traveler Magazine listed the aquatic views from these sunken Japanese ships off Coron Island in the 10-best scuba diving sites in the world. Ahh-mazing!
I was warned about the magic that awaits Gunter’s cave. Gunter’s cave is a reef site in Coron named after Günther Bernert, who was part of the first dive group to have seen the magnificent sights of the cave. It is also referred to as the “Cathedral Cave” because during a certain period of the day, the sun pitches a beam of light through a hole in the cave ceiling where it strikingly illuminates its insides. It is possible to surface in the cave, as the hole in the cave-ceiling allows fresh air to enter. Talking about magical!
Flickr: riacale / Creative Commons
My kind of holiday does not only circumnavigate around the idea of sand, beach and sun. When I’m out, I want to have diversity of adventures and that includes channeling my inner wildlife enthusiast. The thing about Palawan is that it does not only provide the best water experience but at the same time offers other island-hopping adventures (at least that’s what my traveler-friends babble about). In the municipality of Narra, Arena Island, we’ll find a turtle sanctuary where if we’ll lucky enough, we’ll get to see turtles hatching. On Rasa Island, a bird sanctuary, considered as a prime eco-tourism destination in the Island, where we’ll find the already critically endangered Philippine Cockatoo. These wildlife adventures surely provide us nature at its finest where the only dilemma we have, is which island to go first.
A Taste of Heritage- Batak Cultural Village
I’m the kind of traveler that enjoys unfolding a bit of history every time I visit a certain place. I’ve been told that going over the Batak Cultural Village in Puerto Princesa is like taking a peek at the island’s ancestry. It is said to be the home of Palawan’s oldest and smallest of three major indigenous people commonly known as the “Batak” which translates to “mountain people”. If you’re like me and take souvenir shopping as a profession, you may want to make a stopover at the gallery in their village where they showcase their creativity with their Batak handicrafts.
Philippine’s Cradle of Civilization
The Tabon Cave Complex in the municipality of Quezon is considered as one of the most significant archaeological site not only in the island but the entire Southeast Asia. Just the title dubbed to this destination makes me feel giddy inside knowing that the region is the country’s cradle of civilization. The more than 100-hectare complex is deemed to have more than 200 enchanting caves. 200! That’s a massive figure. Although the number of these caves is extensive, only 7 of these can be viewed. The Tabon cave itself was said to be the site where the remains of the oldest Homo sapiens in the Southeast Asia were found, dating some 47,000 years ago.
Sure enough, going on tour even to just one of these caves would definitely be an unforgettable experience for anybody as history unfolds itself before its very eyes. Wouldn’t it be great where you can finally see face to face historical images where you only get to see in the pages of your history books?
Where to take your taste buds for adventure
Having a happy tummy during my escapades is very crucial. Take note, very very crucial. I don’t want to be wandering over the stunning places and feasting over some breathtaking views where the only thing it feeds are my eyes. I’ve read through various articles that what makes Palawan a considerable place to head to for your next trip is its ability to please your belly with both exotic and classic seafood dishes. If you’re a daredevil like me, you can try the famous “tamilok” or shipworm or even kicking it up a notch with some crocodile meat served at the famous Kinabuchs Grill and Bar. But if you want to unwind and fuel your tummy with some mouthwatering creative seafood cuisine, you can always chill out at Ka Lui where they provide its customers with exquisite seafood displays. Aah, I can already hear the food angels singing.
These amazing secrets about Palawan grant some fascinating insights of this enchanting paradise that make it one of the best places in the world everyone should visit.
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