Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Palawan Holiday

Our recent trip to Palawan, an outlying island province in the Philipinnes, may havebeen my favorite domestic trip thus far. Palawan is well known for its diving and world class El Nido Resorts in the north, but central Palawan has a lot to offer as well.

 Palawan is the long, skinny island far to the left nearly touching Malaysia

We flew into Puerto Princesa and took a two hour van ride through the mountains to get to our resort near the Underground River, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a must see for any trip to Central Palawan.

Sabang's unspoiled beaches surrounded by mountains are reminiscent of Hawaii, but since the Philippines has not made it onto Western tourists' radar, these beaches are undeveloped and unspoiled.

Sabang Beach

You can take a day tour from Puerto Princessa to the Underground River, but I recommend staying in Sabang. The mountainous, somewhat maintained road from the city to the Underground River area is an exhausting drive. Your hotel can book your tour and make sure you have the necessary permits--do not drive yourself to Sabang without these permits, as you will have to return to Puerto Princessa to get a permit before being allowed to participate in any of the activities. 

The Underground River is incredible, although the boats they send you out in are small and ride awfully low. Once you get over worrying about falling in the water you can appreciate the wonders of the cave. The bats will not hurt you, but they fly low, so be prepared. 

Emerging from the cave

The Underground River Park also has monitor lizards and monkeys. You can hike from Sabang to the Park on the Monkey Trail--technically this requires another permit. 

From Sabang Beach you can hike along the coast on the rocks. The contrast of the colors of the rocks and the clear tropical water is beautiful, but the terrain is slippery and sharp.

For a lazy day, our resort offers Carabao cart rides. We didn't take a ride, but we did enjoy watching the baby carabao who wanders the grounds. He stays close to his tethered mama.

Wonderful snorkeling sites are approximately a 45 minute boat ride from Sabang Beach, and have different coral from the reefs close to Manila.

I recommend Daluyon Resort for its location and great food/food service, but not for its lack of hot water. The resort boasts of having solar water heaters and dismisses all hot water failures as a unavoidable part of being eco-friendly, but in doing so they are doing the environment a disservice. We installed a solar water heater in our house in Florida, and enjoyed hot showers every day.


  1. Beautiful photos! You are sooooo lucky to have such a great place to visit right in your backyard.

  2. I am always in awe when you post a new photo spread.
    You, too, Irene!