Geography in Palawan - Philippines
The north-eastern part of Palawan originally came from China. It is the visible part of a continent that
floated away through the South China sea. This continent also composes the northern part of Palawan
in the Reed Bank area of the southern portion of the South China Sea. Some of the oldest
geographical rock formations of the country are found in the north-eastern portion of Palawan.
Palawan’s south-western area features ophiliotic rocks or rocks coming from the oceans crust. This
type of rock had been thrust upward due to continental shifting. On the eastern part of Ulugan Bay,
where Dalrymple Point is located, is a clear evidence that the ophiolite has been pushed on to the
Different rock examples in the continental north-eastern part of Palawan include mudstones and
clastic rocks. These types of rocks can be seen on the road leading to the south-eastern coast of
Puerto Princesa all the way to Malampaya. These rocks formed the shelf on the south-eastern part of
China before drifting to the open sea.
Around the Malampaya area up to El Nido, visitors can find marine limestone. Based on the
composition of these sedimentary rocks, it is widely believed that they had formed a portion of a prism
on the south-eastern portion of mainland China when that part of the country was part of an Andean
plate margin. The limestone and cherts were cut off from a plate that drifted to China. Some of the
limestones in the area are also classified as olitostromal or they had been created in shallow water but
drifted to deeper water due to submarine shifting.
Coron Island, which is located in the northern part of Palawan is surrounded by big rock like island
formations. It is important to remember that the famous limestone formations in St. Paul and El Nido
are of different age and beginning. The limestones in St. Paul Park, which is located in the eastern
part of Uligan Bay are young. Based on their composition, they had originated from the Miocene age
(fifteen to thirty million years ago).
These limestone variations formed as reef formations on the continent crust that floated away from
China. Aside from that, these are the limestones that harbored most of the gas and oil deposit that is
being harvested offshore. The limestones in El Nido are two hundred fifty to three hundred years old.
They are the same age as the limestones that can be found in China and Vietnam.
The rocks that can be found in the central part of Palawan and the northern part of Palawan are
granite rocks that are thirteen to fifteen million years old based on monazite and zircon study. Basaltic
rocks in Taytay are a good indication of magma activity in the area. It is a part of what has been
widely recognized as South China sea magma activity that had severely affected different areas
around the sea.
Hydrothermal occurrence and mineralization in Puerto Princesa is another good indicator of magma
activity. But surprisingly, the province rarely experience tremors due to movement of magma
compared to the different parts of Philippines. So the next time that you are in Palawan, you are now
more familiar with the different rock formations that you can see in the province. Knowing the origins
of Palawan will allow you to appreciate the experience more and you are not simply a visitor who
knows nothing of the province
The world's largest pearl was discovered by a Filipino diver in a giant Tridacna (Mollusk) under the
Palawan Sea in 1934. Known as the "Pearl of Lao-Tzu", the gem weights 14 pounds and measures 9
1/2 inches long and 5 1/2 inches in diameter. As of May 1984, it was valued at US$42 million. It is
believed to be 600 years old.
World's Largest Pearl
Longest Underground river in the world
The longest underground river system in the world that is accessible to mankind is found in the
Philippines. It is located in Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park in the city of Puerto
Princesa, Palawan. The park is also known as Puerto Princesa Underground River., St. Paul
Underground River, and St. Paul’s Subterranean River National Park.
The underground river contains second floor, which leads to small waterfalls inside the cave. It also
has cave dome that measures 300 meters above the underground river. It also has different and
interesting rock formations, a deep water hole, many river channels, large bats, marine creatures,
and more. Deeper areas of the river are almost impossible to explore due to the lack of oxygen. The
river is estimated to be more than 24 km and has a 8.2-kilometer-long underground section of
Palawan History and Culture
Palawan became a part of the world map when Chinese traders and other migrants reached by
shores of the Philippines using the land bridges that could be found between Borneo and Palawan.
In fact there was a Chinese author who called these islands, Kla-ma-yan for Calamian, Palau-ye for
Palawan and Pki-nung for Busuanga. This area was said to be filled with ridges and cliffs. The caves
in these areas were also said to be laden with pottery and artifacts. Because of this, Palawan
became a center for trade between the Malays and Chinese.
During the 12th century, Malay migrants began settling in Palawan. Their chieftains began to rule
many of the settlements there. Because it was near Borneo, the south of Palawan became under the
power of Borneo for over two centuries after the Spanish arrived in the Philippines.
Prior to the colonization, the settlers in the Philippines lived off the land. The people would plant
their own food, such as palay, ginger, coconut and camote. They also planted sugar and bananas.
Apart from these, they also kept pigs, goats and chicken for food. Aside from farming and raising
livestock, they also went fishing and hunting to be able to feed their families. The language of that
time was a dialect that consisted of only 18 syllables.
PALAWAN is, indeed, increasingly being recognized nationwide and internationally as a prime
tourist destination. The Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park is currently a nominee to
the New 7 Wonders of Nature and is inscribed in the UNESCO World Heritage List, together with
the Tubbataha Reefs. El Nido, Palawan was featured in the Leg 12 of the Amazing Race Season 5
where the teams had to climb a 150-foot (46m) rock wall (Lagen wall) and find their next clue in
one of four giant clams. Ploning, a film shot in the island of Cuyo, Palawan, is the Official Entry of the
Philippines to the to the 81st Academy awards (OSCARS) for the Best Foreign Language Film
Category. But despite its increasing prestige, most people are still unaware that Palawan’s cultural
and historical resources are as rich and diverse as its natural resources.
Palawan is home to 87 different cultural groups and races. It is home to 3 national cultural
treasures . The Tagbanuas, one of the indigenous groups in Palawan, are one of the few remaining
ethnolinguistic groups in the Philippines that use a type of syllabic writing in the country prior to
the coming of the Spaniards, which has been declared in 1999 by UNESCO as “Memory of the
World”. The Manunggul Jar discovered in Quezon, Palawan is one of our solid proofs that we are
from the Austronesian group of people. Pots, jewelry, language, musical instruments in Palawan
speak of a rich multicultural society with a long history.
History of Palawan
History of Palawan
The earliest-known inhabitants of Palawan Island were migrants who arrived over a former land bridge that
connected the island to nearby Borneo. By the 1100s, a thriving agricultural civilization had been founded, with each
of the subdivided villages ruled by Malay chieftains.
These ethnic Malayans traded heavily with Chinese merchants, a fact attested to by recent archaeological
excavations revealing Chinese pottery and similar artifacts on Palawan. Presumably, the Malayan culture on Palawan
dealt heavily in agricultural goods such as bananas, coconuts, ginger and sugar cane, along with a variety of
livestock. These trading arrangements are given further credence by mention of this group of islands in ancient
The Calamianes Islands, in the northernmost region of modern-day Palawan, were the first to succumb to Spanish
colonial rule. Early waves of Jesuit missionaries encountered heavy resistance from the local indigenous culture.
However, by the 1700s, Spanish fortified churches served many colonial outposts both as a base from which to
preach locals and as a refuge of defense against sporadic raids by local tribes.
In 1749, a significant portion of local Palawan Island was given to the Spanish crown by the Sultanate of Borneo. At
this point, Spanish rule in the region was well established, and Palawan with its surrounding islands was subdivided
into three colonial provinces: Asturias, Castilla and Balabac Island.
The tides turned in the late 1800s, when the United States defeated Spain in the Spanish-American War and then
purchased the Philippines for a sum of US$20 million. The provinces were consolidated into what is now modern-day
Palawan, and a level of provisional self-governance was instituted in the Philippines.
Further strides toward independence were muddled in the wake of WWII and subsequent Japanese invasion. In a
notorious turn, a faltering outpost of Japanese soldiers massacred nearly 150 Allied prisoners of war here on
Today, Palawan has earned a reputation as a Filipino 'frontier state', with two UNESCO World Heritage sites and
miles of pristine coastline backed by largely untouched forests. The lack of logging here in Palawan has preserved
much of what has been lost on other islands in the archipelago, making this an ideal destination for outdoor
enthusiasts and nature lovers
History of Palawan
One thousand years ago, Chinese traders named the island Pa Lao Yu, or land of beautiful safe
harbor because of its many safe places to land their ships.
This is where the relics of earliest settlers were found and have been unearthed and dated 22,000
years ago while its human habitation evidently proved about 50,000 years old.
Some of the tribes known to inhabit the islands such as Batak, Palawan and Tagbanuas may be
descendants of the early settlers, who came via ice-age land bridges and of later migrants who came
on boats. They were followed in the 13th century by the Indonesians of Madjapahit Empire.
During the arrival of the Spanish, Palawan was ruled by Borneo from Jolo. The Spanish first took
over the northern part of the island and worked south from Cuyo and Taytay. The Spanish invaded
Palawan in 18th century forcing the Sultan of Borneo to give up its full autonomy. From Taytay, the
capital was moved to Puerto Princesa.
Nowadays, Palawan is an island of mixed tribes, who have been pushed to the interior, and of
Muslim, Visayan and Tagalog settlers along the borders.
Archeological findings indicate that the first Filipino once lived in the Tabon Caves complex,
Quezon, Palawan. A skullcap unearthed in 1962, carbon dated to be 22,000 years old bore
testimony to this, thus give credit to the caves as “Cradle of Philippine Civilization”.
Studies showed that there come three waves of migration from Asia to Palawan passing
through the land bridges of Balabac, in the following order: The Pygmies (Aetas/Nigritos); the
Indonesians to this group where the Tagbanuas belong: and the Malays.
Historical records also show that long before Spaniards discover the Philippines in 1521,
inhabitants of Palawan were already doing commerce with the ancient Chinese traders, particularly
in the coastal areas of Calamianes. This is evidence by the sizeable amount of Chinese porcelains,
jars and other relics found in Palawan today.
Palawan was then known as the Province of Calamianes, with Taytay as its capital poor and
inadequate transportation and communications however, made governance arduous thus in 1859
the Province was divided into two, CASTILLA and ASTURIAS, “Castillas” included Cuyo, Taytay,
Calamian, Busuanga and adjacent island with Taytay as the capital. “Asturias” comprised all
municipalities south of Taytay down to Balabac. Puerto Princesa was its capital.
Castilla and Asturias were to be short-lived however. In 1862 a royal decree again divided
Palawan into two Provinces. “Calamianes” and “Paragua”. To former was added Bacuit. And to
encourage migrants to settle in these Provinces, no taxes were levied for a period of ten years.
In 1873, the capital of PARAGUA was transferred from Taytay to Cuyo.
The Peace Treaty between the Spain and United States of America in 1898 gave way to
American Regime. In 1901, a Military Government was established with Major John Brown as
Lieutenant Governor of Paragua with Major J. Brown as the appointer Governor. In 1902, pursuant
to Act No.1363 of the Philippine Commission, the name PARAGUA was changed to PALAWAN and
the capital was transferred from Cuyo to Puerto Princesa.
American governance laid emphasis on Education, Agriculture, Medical Assistance and Right
of tribal Minorities were also considered.
Because of its democratic ways and enlightened policies, Americans succeeded in uniting the
At the outbreak of World War II, Japanese Imperial forces occupied Palawan on May 18, 1942.
They established garrisons in Coron, Puerto Princesa, Iwahig. Consequently guirella were formed in
three sectors led by Capt. Carlos Amores in Calamianes, by Dr. Higinio Mendoza Sr. (Governor Elect
1931-1937) in the mainland and Emilio Tumbaga in Brook’s Point.
Palawan was liberated in 1945.
The Name Palawan was believed to come from Chinese word “PA-LAO-YU” meaning “The Land
of Beautiful Safe Harbor” and a Spanish word “PARAGUA” that linkens the shape of the island as
Known Palawan ………. The Last Frontier
An archipelago situated in the western border of the Philippines approximately one (1) hr. air
travel and 24 hours boat travel Southern of Manila.
Palawan is located 30 nautical miles. South of Mindoro and 60 nautical miles North of Borneo
and is bounded on the East by the Sulu Sea.
Philippines is in the heart of Southeast Asia Further North is Japan, further down south in
Australia, and on east is Pacific Ocean.
Palawan is the biggest province of the Philippines in terms of land area (see comparison). It is
actually an archipelago in itself because it is composed of several groups of islands including Busuanga
and the Calamianes group in the north, Dumaran and Cuyo group in the northeast, and Balabac and
Bugsuk in the south. Located southwest of Mindoro Island specifically Occidental Mindoro and west of
Panay Island, it is bounded by the Sulu Sea on the east and south and the South China Sea on the
north and west. The province is often referred to as the last frontier of the Philippines because it is the
most exotic part of the country with its lush forests teeming with wildlife and its virgin beaches, coral
reefs, and spectacular limestone cliffs. The province is home to many rare and endangered species
such as the man-eating crocodiles, the "dugong" or sea cow, Philippine cockatoo, mouse deer and
Palawan Provincial Capitol
The main island of Palawan is mountainous at the center while the coastal areas are flat. The
northwestern part has two pronounced seasons: dry from November to April and wet during the rest
of the year. The southeastern side has no very pronounced seasons: relatively dry from November to
April and wet during the rest of the year.
People and Culture
Most of the people of Palawan are Tagalogs, Ilonggos, and Aklanons.
Famous people from Palawan
1. Ramon Mitra - Senator, House Speaker (1987 - 1992), Cabinet Secretary
Palawan (Tagalog pronunciation: [pɐ 'lawan]), officially the Province of Palawan (Filipino:
Lalawigan ng Palawan), is an island province of the Philippines that is located in the
MIMAROPAregion or Region 4. Its capital is Puerto Princesa City, and it is the largest province
in the country in terms of total area of jurisdiction. The islands of Palawan stretch from Mindoro
in the northeast to Borneo in the southwest. It lies between the South China Sea and the Sulu
Sea. The province is named after its largest island, Palawan Island (09°30′N 118°30′E9.500°N
118.500°E), measuring 450 kilometres (280 mi) long, and 50 kilometres (31 mi) wide.
Palawan is composed of the long and narrow Palawan Island, plus a number of other smaller
islands surrounding the main island. The Calamianes Group of Islands to the Northeast consists
of Busuanga Island, Coron Island and Culion Island. Durangan Island almost touches the
westernmost part of Palawan Island, while Balabac Island is located off the southern tip,
separated from Borneo by the Balabac Strait. In addition, Palawan covers the Cuyo Islands in the
Sulu Sea. The disputed Spratly Islands, located a few hundred kilometres to the west, are
considered part of Palawan by the Philippines, and is locally called the Kalayaan Group of
Palawan's almost 2,000 kilometres (1,200 mi) of irregular coastline are dotted with roughly
1,780 islands and islets, rocky coves, and sugar-white sandy beaches. It also harbors a vast
stretch of virgin forests that carpet its chain of mountain ranges. The mountain heights average
3,500 feet (1,100 m) in altitude, with the highest peak rising to 6,843 feet (2,086 m)
Mantalingahan. The vast mountain areas are the source of valuable timber. The terrain is a mix
of coastal plain, craggy foothills, valley deltas, and heavy forest interspersed with riverine
arteries that serve as irrigation.
The history of Palawan may be traced back 22,000 years ago, as confirmed by the discovery of
bone fragments of the Tabon Man in the municipality of Quezon. Although the origin of the cave
dwellers is not yet established, anthropologists believe they came from Borneo. Known as the
Cradle of Philippine Civilization, the Tabon Caves consist of a series of chambers where
scholars and anthropologists discovered the remains of the Tabon Man along with his tools and a
number of artifacts.
Food & Cuisine in Palawan
Palawan's restaurants are considered among the best in the Philippines. This is because they cater to international
tastes and food choices, serving both local and foreign cuisines in an ambience that is rustic, simple and, thus,
unique. Unlike many tourist destinations, Palawan's eateries and restaurants add to the charm of the island province
and promise a unique Palawan experience.
One of Palawan's big attractions is its wide variety of food. While the local cuisine is much sought after, Palawan has
plenty of restaurants that serve international cuisines.
Check out our Palawan Restaurant Guide below for information on the food and cuisine of Palawan, as well as
some recommended places to eat out at. So after you've worked up an appetite sightseeing or shopping in
Palawan, relax and experience the exotic food of Palawan. Check out our Philippines Restaurant Guide for more
information about the country's food and cuisine.
Filipino cuisine is strongly influenced by Chinese, Spanish and Malay cuisines. Rice constitutes the main dish, which
is served along with meat, seafood or fish cooked in a stew of vegetables. The local favourites in Palawan are
Mechado (beef or pork in tomato gravy), Lechón (roasted pig), Crispy Pata (deep-fried pig's foot) and Kaldereta (goat
meat in tomato stew).
Popular Filipino desserts include flan, turon (banana in spring roll wrappers fried in sugar), bibingka (rice cakes that
come in a variety of flavours and textures), ube (purple yam), and fruit salad. Probably the most famous dessert is
halo-halo, which directly translates to mix-mix; it's a refreshing ice-based dessert which combines sweet palm fruit,
shredded coconut, jackfruit, mung beans, purple yam, corn, coconut gelatine, and pounded dry rice.
These are all mixed together with evaporated milk and shaved ice, and in special varieties, with a scoop of ice cream.
Truly refreshing and delicious!
Next to the overwhelming beauty it has to offer, Palawan's biggest attraction is the mouth-watering seafood and
Filipino cuisine. From small, hole-in-the-wall restaurants to much larger ones, there is always delicious food
awaiting the hungry traveller. Many of the restaurants In Palawan serve both Filipino and international cuisine, so
although they look local in décor, you may be surprised to find a number of European or American dishes in their
Food lovers will be happy to know that Palawan is a haven of foreign cuisine. Restaurants that serve international
foods can be found in hoards in the capital city of Puerto Princesa. The commercial district, which was once home to
Vietnamese refugees, is also popular for its Vietnamese restaurants.
The ever-buzzing Rizal Avenue is full of local and foreign restaurants catering to all sorts of preferences. Surrounded
as it is by the sea, there are plenty of Palawan restaurants that serve rice with fresh seafood. Meanwhile, the
European settlers have opened restaurants that serve Swiss, German and English cuisines.
There are also several Vietnamese noodle houses, some full-fledged Vietnamese restaurants, one that specializes in
vegetarian food and a bakery popular for its bread.
European settlers have opened eateries and restaurants that serve German, Swiss and English dishes. Among
these, a local favourite is Bavaria Pizza, which serves great sausages and pizzas