Welcome to my guide on the best things to see and do in Palawan in the Philippines. This archipelago of 1,780 islands and islets can only be described as paradise. The islands, beaches and interior jungle here are some of the most spectacular anywhere in the world.
I was born and raised on the north shore of Oahu, Hawaii so I know a fair bit about enjoying island life. I grew up traveling a lot with my parents too.
At a young age I fell in love with visiting new places and making new friends along the way. As I grew older, I knew all I wanted to do was visit bizarre and exotic locations far away from home.
I’ve been fortunate to visit over 30 countries now including most of Southeast Asia. The Philippines was by far the most beautiful tropical location I’ve ever been to. The thing I loved most about the Philippines was the amazing island formations in Palawan – both in El Nido and Coron.
I do a lot of drone photography and videography and I couldn’t believe my eyes while flying the drone in Palawan. The people are also amazing! They’re super welcoming and always have the biggest smiles on their faces. That always adds a lot to your overall experience.
My Wonderful Trip to the Philippines
I recently flew into Manila and went to El Nido, Coron and Cebu. El Nido and Coron are both insanely beautiful but are also quite similar to each other. If you’re short on time I would just pick El Nido because there’s more to do in that area than in Coron.
However, I did think that the islands in Coron were more beautiful. We mainly did boat tours for the day both with groups or on private boat tours. The food on the boat tours is amazing and they take you to all the places you have to visit if you’re going to the Palawan region.
My Favourite Place in Palawan: The Blue Hole in Coron
My favorite place in Palawan had to be this huge blue hole near a twin lagoon we found with the drone in Coron. If you look close at the photo I took you can see our little boat in the middle of the blue hole in the ocean. The scene looks like something out of a Pixar film.
It was crazy because we couldn’t see the blue hole until I got the drone a couple hundred feet in the air. I was shocked by what I was seeing.
The blue hole had to be my favourite place even though there are so many other amazing places in Palawan like the untouched pristine white-sand beaches that are everywhere!
I have so many fond memories of Palawan. Another special moment was when we rented a private boat and visited about five different islands in Coron. On a private boat tour, you’re able to dodge all the other group tours that have a lot of people.
The boat captain takes you to the local market to pick up all the food you want for lunch time. While you are enjoying your time at different locations, the captain and his assistants cook up your food in a barbeque style from the back of the boat.
Then you get to enjoy this delicious meal on a secluded white sand beach.
The Most Beautiful Islands to Visit in Palawan
As mentioned above, Palawan is home to almost 2,000 islands and islets so it can be hard to choose which ones to visit. For me Pass Island was really amazing. It’s shaped like a heart and looks like something out of a fairy-tale.
The Blue lagoon and Banul Beach in Coron were also amazing places to visit on day tours. The former is actually two lagoons which are set against a backdrop of karst walls. Just picture a couple of dazzling blue lagoons where you can go swimming and exploring all day long.
Banul Beach, on the other hand, is just the epitome of paradise. Here you’ll find shining white-sand and incredibly bright blue water set in an environment that feels a million miles away from civilisation.
All of the islands in Palawan are different from each other. My recommendation is to speak with the lobby staff at your hotel or locals who will explain to you all the different features of each island. Then you can make the best decision as to which islands you want to visit.
Don’t miss your chance to do a private tour out to the islands. Make sure you go snorkelling as the reefs are absolutely amazing in Palawan. There’s so much to see in this underwater world.
If you’re scuba certified then it’s an amazing place to do scuba diving too. Wherever you choose to go in the Palawan region you’ll find crystal-clear, warm water.
Why the People of Palawan are Amazing
Filipinos are amazing people and there’s no exception to this in Palawan. They love to see tourists traveling in their country. They’re super friendly and helpful. Most of them speak English fluently which is a real bonus.
Everywhere you go you’ll be greeted with big smiles and warm-hearted people. Spend some time with the locals and don’t be afraid to ask them for advice on the best places to visit. They know where all the secret spots are – including the best places to eat!
What you Need to Know Before you Go
Don’t forget to bring cash to Palawan and the Philippines in general. The majority of places don’t accept credit cards. It can also be hard to find ATM’s in the towns.
Make sure you bring plenty of sunscreen as you’ll be in the sun day after day. If you love taking photos on your travels then a GoPro is a must! You’ll need a waterproof camera of some sort. Droning is amazing in the Philippines and you’ll get the most incredible footage and pictures here.
I recommend doing at least one private boat tour. Going to the local market with your boat captain and choosing food for lunch is an experience in itself. Lastly, spend time with local people. They love to meet and chat with foreigners.
If you’re looking to travel to Southeast Asia put Palawan on the top of your list! It’s one of the most beautiful places on earth.