Long known as “The Last Frontier” and voted “Best Island in the World” by readers of Conde Nast Traveler magazine, Palawan has been seen as a paradise on earth by those in the know for many years. It is a destination that is becoming much more widely available through European tour operators, as a part of the Philippines meteoric rise in popularity and a desire to experience something of our natural heritage – the world as it used to be – in a place that remains largely unspoilt, in part through a range of sustainable tourism initiatives.
The main island of Palawan is a long, narrow island stretching almost from the centre of the Philippines archipelago to Malaysia, facing the South China Sea on the west side and the Sulu Sea on the east side. The 2,000 kilometer, rugged coastline is characterised by 1,780 islands and islets, rocky coves, steep limestone cliffs, amazing caves, clear blue seas and perfect white sand beaches. Inland, the island has a long, mountainous spine, carpeted by lush forests and inhabited by numerous species of animals and birds which are unique to the island. Beneath the sea, especially to the north of the island, lies stunning coral and a vast range of colourful fish, many of them unique to Palawan.
One of the best known sights on Palawan is the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River Park – one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the longest navigable underground river in the world – a 5 mile boat trip, direct from the sea, amongst stunning stalactites, stalagmites and…bats. The park contains a full mountain to sea eco-system and includes some of the most significant forested area on Palawan.
Just 15 minutes’ by boat from Puerto Princesa Subterranean River Sheridan Beach Resort and Spa is a deluxe resort located on Sabang Beach – a superb white sand beach, interrupted by rocks. Ideally suited to couples and families alike, Sheridan Beach Resort and Spa has the largest infinity pool in the Philippines with a very cool swim-up Pool Bar and also offers a wide range of other activities, from a mangrove paddleboat tour to ziplining and mountain biking. On a more sedate level, enjoy the nature trails through the rich forests behind the resort and pay a visit to Sheridan Organic Farm – an initiative in sustainable tourism in which Sheridan Beach Resort and Spa grows 80% of the food the resort’s guests consume in their own organic farm. Deluxe rooms and suites, all with balcony and many overlooking the pool, ensure a relaxing stay.
Travel to Puerto Princesa is easy with Philippines Airlines, Cebu Pacific and Air Asia all flying direct from Ninoy Aquino Airport.
If your clients prefer the privacy of a private island resort or are most interested in diving over WWII wrecks, the beautiful coral, snorkeling and more, Huma Island Resort and Spa is located off to the north west of the main island of Palawan but still within Palawan province and has its own Dive Center with qualified instructors as well as the many other features and facilities we have highlighted in earlier posts. You can get to Huma Island most readily on private seaplane transfers from Manila Bay.
Palawan can now claim the titles of “Last Frontier” and “Best Island in the World”. In our view, there is no conflict in that – what Palawan offers in its range, diversity, tranquility and much more is largely unspoilt and many initiatives in sustainable tourism are well in place to keep it that way. Being the “Last Frontier” in this respect is what makes Palawan such an appealing destination.