El Nido Marine Reserve
Miniloc Island, El Nido
Occupying an area of 98,000 hectares, this popular nature spot boasts of diverse ecosystems such as rainforest mangroves white sand beaches, coral reefs and limestone cliffs. Blessed with extraordinary natural scenery, El Nido is the sanctuary of various forms of wildlife. Countless varieties of fish are also found here. Manta rays are a common sight; when in season, divers may spot the sea cow, known locally as dugong, one of the world’s rarest marine mammals.
Accommodation facilities are available at El Nido Resorts in Miniloc and Lagen Island. El Nido is noted for its hidden lagoons, palm forests, orchids and offshore cruise points. Apart from the high-end accommodations, there are a number of budget accommodations in the town proper.
Sta. Lourdes Tagbanua, Puerto Princesa City
The bay consists of several islets with shallow reefs bordering its beaches which have become favorite sites for swimming, snorkeling and diving. These islets are the Cannon (Cowrie) Island, Bat Island, Lu-li Island (derived from the word lulubog-lilitaw, meaning floating and sinking) is visible only during low tide. Meara Marina, which is known for its fine white sand and clear water teems with starfish and many varieties of marine life. Snake Island, Pandan Island and Seňorita Island are some of the smaller islands in the area.
BATAK CULTURAL VILLAGE
The Batak, which means “mountain people” in cuyonon are a group of indigenous Filipino people that resides in the northeast portion of Palawan. They have a very small population, and are feared to become extinct after a few years. They live in the rugged interiors of north-eastern Palawan. Living close to nature, they are a peaceful and shy people. These people believe in nature spirits, with whom they communicate through a babaylan or medium.
IWAHIG FIREFLY WATCHING
One of the community based sustainable tourism project by the City Government of Puerto Princesa with the support from the ABS-CBN Foundation under the Bayani Juan program. It is being managed by the Iwahig Community Tourism Association, Inc.
The project is located at the Iwahig river in the vicinity of the Iwahig Prison and Penal Farm. It is 20 kilometers away from the city proper of Puerto Princesa.
BACUNGAN RIVER CRUISE
The Bacungan River in Baranggay Bacungan, home to hundreds of hectares of verdant mangrove forest, villages wives and their family members prepare and serve lunch to tourists on board, while the village youths took turns giving a short lecture with visuals about mangrove eco-systems.
The Bacungan River Tour is being operated by local people. Under private sector ABS-CBN Foundation’s Bayanijuan project, local folks are finding new ways of earning a living the eco friendly way. The Foundation has helped organize communities and provide funds for equipment to get locals started.
IWAHIG PRISON AND PENAL FARM
A village which is in complete contrast of a Penal establishment. There are about two thousand detainees and in the center of all their work is the central village square. The Iwahig Prison and Penal Farm has no walls and almost no barriers. The only precaution that this establishment makes in terms of security is a head count 3times a day, when the prisoners are mandated to gather in the village square. No prisoners attempt to escape for a variety of reasons: the detainees are provided with vocational activities of their choice, transportation arrangements are almost impossible and if a detainee chooses to escape through the mountains,they would face a certain death and the detainees are allowed to live with their families during the time that they are serving their sentence.
RURUNGAN SA TUBOD WEAVING CENTER
A non-profit organization is based in Puerto Princesa City. The Rurungan sa Tubod creates an alternative livelihood for women in the more poverty stricken rural areas of Palawan by teaching pina weaving technology. It also provides the physical and financial infrastructure for these women to engage in this sustainable art form. This endeavour continues to lead to innovations based on the unique looms and weaving methods used.
A community based program which manufactures handloom woven products utilizing Palawan’s indigenous fibers like field grasses, buri etc. The products produce by the project are bags, placemats, table runners, window blinds and curtains, ref covers and coaster wall hangers. The products produced by the project are of top quality and are being exported all over the world.
MAOYON RIVER CRUISE
One of the community based sustainable tourism projectr of the City Government of Puerto Princesa is the Maoyon River Cruise. The project is being managed by the community of Maoyon. The river is noted for its clean environment and the refreshing sight of well preserved vegetation and mangroves. The tour starts by serving guests with tablea or local chocolate. Lunch is served with local dishes while on board the boat and entertainment provided by the local religious pastor-cum-tour guide-cum-singer. The river cruise is approximately 2 hours.
ISLANDS IN BACUIT BAY, EL NIDO
El Nido’s marine ecosystem is one of the most diverse in the Philippines. Its ecosystem contains 250 million year-old limestone cliffs, 888 species of fish, 447 species of coral, 114 species of bird, 5 species of marine turtle and 2,645 hectares of mangrove forest. El Nido is also the nesting area of three species of endangered sea turtles and the feeding grounds of marine mammals such as whales, dolphins, and the elusive dugong or sea cow.
CALAUIT NATIONAL PARK
Calauit Island is a 4,000 has. protected area with active environmental and resources management separated by a narrow mangrove channel from nearby Busuanga Island. It includes an 18 kilometres coastline and alon the coasting line is about 9 km of reef, although much of it are limestone rock and sand, rubble communities dominated by sea grass, sea weeds and micro invertebrates. About 70-80% of the coastal area of the island is surrounded by coral reefs of moderate cover and sea grass beds, and latter serving as feeding grounds for dugongs and turtles.
In the 1979 Presidential Decree 1578 the island was declared Calauit Island Game Preserve and Wildlife Sanctuary for the endemic and exotic animals. The latter consisted of a total of 104 composed of Giraffes, Zebras, Impalas, Waterbucks, Grant Gazelles, Elands, Topi, and Bushbacks imported from Kenya and arrived at Calauit Island on March 1977.
TUBBATAHA REEFS NATIONAL MARINE PARK AND WORLD HERITAGE SITE.
The name Tubbataha comes from two Samal words and means a long reef exposed at low tide. It is the largest coral reef and the first National Marine Park in the Philippines. It is the first Natural World Heritage Site in the Country.
The Tubbataha Reefs consists of two coral atolls located right in the center of Sulu Sea, about 150 kilometers southeast of Puerto Princesa City in Palawan. The pairs of atolls are separated by a channel eight (8) kilometers wide and stretches over an area of 10,000 hectares.
PUERTO PRINCESA SUBTERRANEAN RIVER NATIONAL PARK (ST. PAUL SUBTERRANEAN RIVER) AND WORLD HERITAGE SITE
One Of the New 7 Wonder’s of Nature
The St. Paul Subterranean River has a very long history. It got its name from Mt. St. Paul which is the dome shaped peaked that you can see from the boat while going here from Sabang. It was named by Commander Bates of the English Navy in 1850 while exploring of the coast of Palawan. He likened it to the St. Paul cathedral in Rome (SIC, actually in London). But our native brothers, the members of the Batak tribe, were really the first ones to discover the cave. Their fear of spirits and animals living inside caves prevented them from going inside the depths of the Natuturingan Cave which is their local name for the cave.
Discovered by Dr. Robert Fox (Former head ofthe Anthropology Division of the National Museum of the Philippines) and Mr. Manuel Ma. Santiago (also of the National Museum) on April 28, 1962, the Tabon Caves’ initial exploration yielded twenty-nine (38) caves of archeological value. It is interesting to note though that Lipuun Point is honey-combed with more than 295 caves and cavelets. Formerly an island, Lipuun Point is now connected to the mainland of Palawan by an extensive mangrove development. It is about 138 hectares in area and is formed by a number of rounded limestone domes separated by deep chasms. The sides of these domes vary from steep slopes to sheer cliffs, the largest and highest dome being approximately 690 feet above the sea level. The entire point is covered with luxuriant vegetation and some of the mouths of the caves cannot be easily seen from the surrounding sea. The age of the Lipuun limestone has been determined by oil geologists as Mid-Miocene (about 25 million years ago).