Don’t look now, but Palawan has clinched another feather to its cap as it was recently hailed as one of the best islands both in the Asia Pacific and the world.
The island ranked 19th out of 100 with a score of 88.63 in the world category and fifth in Travel+Leisure Asia Pacific in World’s Best Awards Survey 2021.
Travel+Leisure said the properties that made the cut in 2021 “all found innovative ways to deliver exceptional hospitability to their guests” while the standouts in the best islands list “suggest a renewed appreciation” for places that offer unparalleled natural beauty and fewer crowds.
Of course, no less than Department of Tourism (DoT) Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat expressed elation on Palawan’s inclusion in the T+L list.
“The award accorded to Palawan speaks for the country’s tourism destinations, still being on top of the minds of travelers. The Philippines’ natural wonders, coupled with the world-renowned Filipino hospitality, make destinations like Palawan truly one of the best, not just in the region, but in the world,” said Puyat.
T+L has recommended the island for unrivaled diving together with Thailand’s Koh Samui.
It noted that “when they arrive, guests find mountains as well as white sand beaches washed by the Sulu and South China seas. Resorts range from eco-chic stays to the spectacular Amanpulo resort, accessible only by private plane.”
Aside from pristine beaches, Palawan is also known for its vast scenic destinations that can give thrills and shrills to those who are up for a memorable adventure.
One of these attractions is Puerto Princesa Underground River – which is regarded as the world’s second-longest subterranean river and draws thousands of tourists every year. It is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The drive going to the jump-off point in Sabang Wharf is a refreshing view of the rural landscape and once there, a brief trek will be made through a forested nature trail and wooden pathways until reaching the cave opening where paddle boats going inside the cave are docked.
Nature lovers will enjoy the experience of paddling through the cave system – boasting of stalactites and stalagmites of various shapes and sizes through a portion of the 8.2-kilometer subterranean river that runs under the protected cave.
Next up is the Kayangan Lake in Coron, which is a laid-back destination that has plenty to offer visitors who want to relax, unwind and get away from the daily grind.
A brief walk is needed after the ship docks at the entrance and one can appreciate the impressive formations of limestones and azure waters from the bay.
Tourists will have to walk a flight of stairs to a vantage point when they reach the cove so they can see the most iconic image of this attraction. It’s the area’s best-known place and where local and foreign tourists alike can take photos – which are the highlight of Coron’s ultimate tour.
In its turquoise waters, one can swim, dive, and attempt to get as close to the bottom. The water’s clarity encourages one to see as far as one can when you plunge underneath.
This powdery paradise was one of the secret getaways for some tourists until its beauty was discovered by many and became one of the most sought after beaches included in El Nido island-hopping tours.
Meantime, Nacpan Beach is a four-kilometer strip of cream-colored sand and coconut trees with crystal clear turquoise water. It is17 kilometers north of the El Nido town proper in Palawan.
Tourists can lie on the beach or settle in hammocks if they want to do some sunbathing. They can also opt to rest in Nacpan’s shady spots.
Aside from swimming, visitors can also do surfing, kayaking, and stand up paddleboard when trying Nacpan Beach tours. Mask, fins, and snorkel are available for those who want to explore the crystal clear water.
Nacpan is one-half of the famous twin beaches in the area—the other one is called Calitang Beach. Travelers can ride a tricycle, where two to three people can fit, to reach Nacpan Beach. Tricycle ride can last for an hour to 90 minutes.