Away from the crowds and organised tours, a tropical paradise exists: the Southern part of Palawan island is a place with undisturbed rainforest, remote desert islands, secluded beaches and incredible crystal clear blue water.
The southern part of Palawan offers a different kind of scenery from the northern El Nido and Coron. Mostly undeveloped, this part of the island is the new frontier for the intrepid travelers.
Home to several species of wildlife and rich in biodiversity, the southern part of Palawan is a tropical paradise known for its pristine islands and undisturbed rainforest.
The southern Palawan comprises the municipalities of Aborlan, Narra, Quezon, Sofronio Española, Brooke’s Point, Rizal, Bataraza and Balabac.
Possibly one of Palawan’s best-kept secrets, the Municipality of Balabac consist of some 36 islands, including the eponymous Balabac Island.
Balabac harbour vast marine, forest and mangrove ecosystems and are a significant global biodiversity hotspot. The islands are home to thousands of colourful fish, as well as turtles, dugongs and sawfishes.
Despite the great potential, Balabac is among the least-visited places in Palawan due to the lack of tourism infrastructure.
Stretching between the Sulu Sea and the South China Sea, the municipality of Aborlan is a rural area unknown to tourists. There aren’t any major hotels except for a couple of family-run beach resorts that are perfect for a laid-back vacation. It’s best to visit Aborlan during its Tarek festival which showcases the culture of Palawan’s indigenous groups such as Tagbanua tribe, Batak tribe, and Pagdiwata tribe.
Although the municipality of Quezon has not major tourist infrastructures. it’s an interesting site home to the Tabon Caves where the remains of the oldest human bones were discovered, as well as primitive tools and other artifacts. There are also secluded tropical islands that are definitely worth a visit.
Sofronio Española is Palawan’s newest municipality. Being unknow to tourist, Sofronio Española, is a perfect destination for adventure travel. Not about seeing places there but more on physical experience of being there. There are few pristine islands and a dozen of white sandbars to be explore as part of islands hopping experience.
The municipality of Brooke’s Point is named after Sir James Brooke, the first white Rajah of Sarawak (Borneo). It is believed that during one of his voyages, Brooke landed there and after he gained the trust of the indigenous people, he established a trade. Nowadays things are different, despite its strategic location close to Borneo, the lack of infrastructure hinders the municipality of Brooke’s Point from being a trading hub.
Brooke’s Point doesn’t have white and pristine beaches that draws local and foreign tourists, so the economy is primarily based on agriculture. The municipality is renowned for the production of rice, copra, corn and palm oil.
The municipality of Narra, Palawan is known for its untouched nature and incredible biodiversity.
Narra is one of the Palawan’s most loved eco-destinations thanks to its stunning natural landscapes, beautiful mountains and exotic species of flora. Narra also boasts some secluded and unspoiled beaches and pristine islands. Among the tourist attractions of Narra there are: Mount Victoria one of the most scenic mountains in Palawan, Rasa Island the habitat of the endangered Katala Cockatoo and Arena Island the nesting site for for Green & Hawksbill turtles.
Rizal is a vast agricultural municipally where rice, coconut and corn and fish are the major products. It’s worth to visit during the Tau’t Bato Festival. This event features street dancing, float parade, and many other fun activities. It also showcases the culture of the indigenous Tau’t Bato native people.
Bataraza is located on the southernmost tip of Palawan Island. It’s bounded in the east by the Sulu Sea, in the west by a great mountain range and in the south-west by the South China Sea.
Adventure travellers can find challenging hikes here in Bataraza.
Mount Mantalingahan is one of the most difficult climbs in the Philippines. The highlights of the hike include encounters with the Tau’t Bato tribe and the possibility to see several species of native plants and wildlife.
Rio Tuba is one of the populated barangays of Bataraza and known for its nickel mineral reserves.
What to see:
If you want to visit Southern Palawan, here are some of our favourite places, not to be missed during your stay:
- Onuk Island: Found in the Balabac archipelago, is a tiny piece of paradise with unbelievably crystal clear water.
- Rasa Island: the habitat of the endangered Katala which is also known as the Philippine Red–Vented Cockatoo. With more than 100 species of birds, Rasa Island is the ideal place for birdwatchers.
- Tabon Caves: dubbed as the Philippines’ Cradle of Civilization, are a group of caves located in Quezon. The Tabon Caves itself is where the oldest Homo sapiens sapiens fossil evidence in Southeast Asia has been found..
- Mount Victoria: one of the most scenic mountains in Palawan at 1,726meters-above-sea-level. It is home to a unique array of biodiversity including some rare species of pitcher plants.
- Comiaran Island: also known as “Pink Island of Balabac” is a virgin island characterized by the pink color of its sand. When the sun set down, the stretch of beach around the island become a nesting site for endangered marine turtle
When to go:
The best time to travel is during the dry season between January and early May.
It is best to avoid travel during the wet season, from June to September. The absence or lack of basic infrastructure such as good roads would make your trip unsafe and uninteresting.
From Puerto Princesa
There are public van/bus that offer a direct links between Puerto Princesa and the Southern municipality, however we suggest to hire a private van to have a safe and comfortable journey