Palawan is rich in attractions, with an abundance of locations that must be seen to be believed.
The spectacular El Nido Marine Reserve Park in northern Palawan is a sprawling 96,000 hectare development and has been voted among the world’s greenest resorts. Home to such diverse ecosystems as mangroves, rainforests, beaches, limestone cliffs and coral reefs, it is among the region’s premier destinations and offers a unique opportunity to see the world’s rarest marine animal, the sea cow known locally as dugong. El Nido’s cliffs are a source of swiftlet, or balinsasayaw, key ingredient of the rare nido, the edible birds’ nests that have given the town its name. The nests consist of strands of the birds’ saliva, gummy in consistency, which hardens when exposed to air. One kilogramme of nido, the main ingredient in the Chinese bird’s nest soup, has been known to fetch up to P150,000. To ensure the swiftlets reach adequate maturity, access to the nests is only allowed during government-specified periods, but in an area of such low population density as this, enforcement remains a challenge.
Calauit Game Reserve in Calauit Island in Busuanga, is a unique 3700 hectare game preserve and wildlife sanctuary. Aside from indigenous species such as the Calamian deer and Palawan fruit bat, the reserve features a number of exotic animals from Africa and is the first successful wildlife translocation experiment in Asia. The reserve was established in 1976 following a Presidential Decree by former President Ferdinand Marcos, in response to the appeal of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature to help save African wildlife.
The oldest known habitation site in Southeast Asia, the Tabon Caves are located at Lipuun Point, Quezon on Palawan island, approximately 155km south of Puerto Princesa. It is often referred to as the ‘cradle of Philippine civilisation’ given the anthropologically significant discovery of ancient Tabon man remains in 1962. The Tabon cave complex consists of 29 explored caves out of approximately 200, nestled in 138 hectares of rugged cliffs and deep slopes.