The following Palawan travel tips of the dos and donts may come in handy during your Palawan escapade and make it one of the best experiences of your life.
Indeed, Palawan has become more and more famous over the years. It paved its way from being the Philipines’ “Last Frontier” to becoming the “Best Island in the World” twice already. The island province found in the western region of Philippines has become an instant tourist destination because of its wonderful natural resources that are noticeably rich in both flora and fauna; plus the fact that it houses many of those species that are endangered and are endemic only to the Philippines and to Palawan.
All these have attracted tourists from all over the world and is still garnering more attention due to the other riches Palawan has to give and offer to future visitors.
Here are some tips on the things you should do when in Palawan during your stay to be able to easily adapt to the vicinity and be able to immediately get that “at home” feeling.
Filipinos are friendly people by nature; wherever you look, you will see someone smiling no matter what role he or she plays in the society he’s into. Reciprocating friendliness with friendliness will be a great help once you are in Palawan especially to traders, vendors and those that you may encounter along your walk around the busy streets of Puerto Princesa.
With the Filipinos hospitability which seems to be genetically imprinted into their system, it is definite that you will be treated nicely by those who you would treat well.
Have a good sense of humor
Filipinos are known for being jolly and their fondness for things that incites cheerfulness and happiness. They can also take anything in stride and by just making fun out of even the most trying circumstances.
You may take time to sit and laugh with them and see and appreciate genuine gestures of cheers. Filipinos have low risk of depression due to their degree of sense of humor.
Hospitability is a common trait among every Filipino family and every Filipino citizen. Tourists and travellers get to experience this first hand especially in guest houses or upon their arrival in the province of Palawan which quite surprises them due to the warm welcome that they get from the people in the area. Thanking the locals for their hospitability would be greatly appreciated by anyone in the province and you will surely get a smile as a response.
Have a Taste of History
Palawan is full of historical things to share to anyone who decides to visit the province. It has become home to Vietnamese refugees after the Vietnam War who have settled in Vietville that is found near the Honda Bay in Puerto Princesa.
Aside from that, also get the chance to learn the story of Palawan during the World War II where the bond of Americans and Filipinos were strongly shown and how historical some places in Palawan are.
Discover the secret of Plaza Cuartel and learn how great of a role it had played during the war. Also, take a moment to go back to the early days and get more knowledgeable regarding the origin of the people in Palawan and how things came to be in the city.
Try Nearer Beaches
Try dipping into the crystal waters that can be found just around the city of Puerto Princesa. You don’t have to go too far to get the chance to enjoy a white – sand, crystal clear water beach.
There are some beaches around the city of Puerto Princesa where you can enjoy swimming one of these is the Nagtabon beach that is 45 minutes away from the city proper. It has a mile – long stretch of powdery white sand that is tucked behind green hills that is rich with various species of both flora and fauna.
Its water is so clear that you will be able to see your toes even if you’re already in neck-deep parts of the water. It is located on the west coast and is not surrounded by mountains and other islands which makes it a perfect spot to watch the sunset and take pictures of it.
Participate in Events
Filipinos are fond of festivities, especially the people of Palawan. They have various festivities all year round, from town fiesta, to foundation days, and even to environmental conservation.
Events such as these are highlights of the visit in the province, if you’re lucky with your trip schedule, you may be able to see and enjoy the various activities that were prepared by the city and the provincial government in the City of Puerto Princesa and in the province of Palawan.
Take photos of the beautiful floats and costumes during the street parade and the street dance performances. Get involved during trade fairs and explore things that are being sold in the stalls and booths found in the Provincial Capitol grounds.
Try Native Delicacies
Native delicacies are somewhat part of Palawan’s culture and are being enjoyed even by the locals. These native delicacies can only be seen in the locality where it originated like Cuyo’s Buti-Buti and the natives’ Panyaram. There are also the crocodile meat and the tamilok. What more can wrap up a great Palawan visit than to try delicacies that are in Palawan? Take a break from all the strolling, the boat rides, the hiking, and the swimming and try exceptional dishes that are truly Palaweno in origin!
Buy travel insurance
It’s always wise to buy a travel insurance before traveling abroad. The insurance covers you for unforeseen circumstances (such as illness and adverse weather conditions) that might arise during your vacation in Palawan causing delays or forcing you to cancel or postpone your flights.
Along with the Do’s are the Don’ts. Here is a short list of don’ts that you may keep in mind when travelling to Palawan and its municipalities.
Don’t Lose Temper
During your stay in Palawan, you may encounter locals in some municipalities that you travel to who only speaks their dialect and are not good nor are able to understand English very well.
Don’t show irritation when interacting with them, instead, try and find someone who may help you when it comes to communicating with them and who can speak in English to help you in having a conversation.
Don’t Rush Things Out
Many tourists usually do not get enough time to explore the beauty of Palawan due to the limited time of stay in the area. It is highly suggested to spend more than a week when you plan to go to Palawan to be able to fully explore its beauty and the rich biodiversity that it offers.
Visitors tend to rush their visit to tourist destinations due to their time in the province, trying to budget it to be able to go to places that are highly suggested for tourists. But going is not enough when you’re in Palawan, one must experience and breathe in the beauty it possesses to be able to appreciate it fully.
Do Not Litter
Palawan, being the “Last Frontier” in the Philippines have become a province that is keen when it comes to cleanliness and orderliness. In Puerto Princesa which serves as the landing site of many tourists, littering is punishable by a fine that depends upon the number of offenses you already have; Php 200 for the first offense, Php 300 for the second offense, and Php 1,000 with two months imprisonment for the third offense. They also have laws banning smokers from smoking in public places in the city proper.
Tourists that are caught violating the ordinance will be fined Php 500 for their first offense, Php 3,000 for their second offense, and Php 5,000 for their third offense.
Do Not Schedule Tours on Public Holidays
It is not a good idea to schedule tours on Christian public holidays – Christmas, Easter and Good Friday in the Philippines are very significant holidays. While attractions may remain open to the visitors, tours may be cancelled due to the labor shortage.
The Philippines is the largest Christian country in Asia. As a result, much of the country shuts down over these holidays.
Don’t Refuse Food
Filipinos are very hospitable and part of their hospitable character is their fondness of offering food to guests whenever they get the chance to do so. Take time to taste the food that they offer to you especially if they took the time to cook it for you.
And do not forget to say thank you afterward.
Don’t Go for Comfort Food
Try to experience the most exotic of food in Palawan. Foods like Tamilok, Crocodile Sisig, and raw Tuna salad which may be found in the Crocodile Farm are just some of the fod that you should try when in Palawan. Tourists are extremely encouraged to try these exotic dishes that would surely complete their Palawan experience.
Aside from the Crocodile Farm, KaLui’s Restaurant, Kinabuchs’s, and Baker’s Hill also offer these exotic food which makes it not too hard to find. You should also try the Vietnamese noodle dish Chaolong either in the Vietnamese Village found in the northern part of the city or in the many “chaolongans found in the city proper such as Bona’s Chaolong.
Don’t Go To Native Villages or Communities without a Guide or Permission
It is not advisable for tourists to enter the dwelling places of tribal communities without the assistance or without being accompanied by a guide who is highly familiar with the natives to avoid being harmed or experience being unwelcomed by the members of the tribe.
Most of the tribes are open to tourists as long as they see someone they know who are with the tourists. Especially because some of these tribes have yet embraced the continuous technological advancements and innovations, you will have to ask permission to take pictures of them or with them to avoid offending them and to not give them the wrong idea.
These tribal communities kept their way of life despite the ongoing development of the province to protect their culture and their belief which became their family heirloom over the years. However, as long as you have a guide with you and you respect their beliefs and their culture, the members of these communities will do you no harm and will welcome you with open arms during your stay in the province or your visit in their community.
If you’re lucky enough, you may also get the chance to witness some f their rituals and take part in their celebrations. You may also see their tribal dances which are the highlights of these places.
Do Not Go Home Without Buying a Souvenir
Puerto Princesa has the most number of souvenir shops in Palawan and also has the most affordable souvenirs any tourist can buy. Items such as wood carvings and sculptures, pearls and ethnic accessories are sold here and are highly recommended for tourists.
The prices vary depending upon the quality and the sizes of the items that you will buy. There are also printed shirts and some delicacies that are properly packed to make sure it would smell while you are on a plane, during your ride on your way home.
Don’t walk around in bikinis
Just because it is hot, doesn’t mean it is socially acceptable to walk around the streets of El Nido or Puerto Princesa in a bikini or without a shirt. The Palaweno are modest people and tourists must have a sense of understanding of the culture of the place and behave accordingly.
Don’t Drink Tap Water
You should buy bottled purified water to drink – it’s inexpensive and available on virtually every street corner. Most hotels provide bottles of water for your consumption in the hotel.