Palawan Province – the largest province in the Philippines in terms of geographical size and jurisdictional control – is composed of the main island of Palawan as well as 1,780 additional smaller islands and island groups.
The most predominant and well known island cluster within this scenic region is the Calamines Island Group. Located directly northwest of the main island of Palawan, the Calamines Island Group – which includes Busuanga, Culion, Coron and Sangat Island, among others – marks the extreme northern boundary of this enormous 1,703,075 square hectare province.
Bordering the southern and western boundaries of this region include Balabac Island, the Cuyo Island Group and the politically disputed Spratly Islands which, located in the South China Sea between the Philippines and Vietnam, is home to over 650 reefs, islets, atolls, cays and tiny uninhabited islands.
What do people envision when someone mentions Palawan? Probably dreamy little islands studded by coconut palms and ringed by white sand beaches, crystalline, bathtub-warm waters and an ever-changing kaleidoscope of tropical marine life.
But that’s not all. Other hallmarks of this jewel-like province include shard-like limestone rock formations, land-locked geothermal lakes, and a thriving population of some of the most interesting wildlife and tropical bird varieties on the planet.
Palawan Island proper is a long, narrow landmass which, measuring 450 kilometers long by 50 kilometers wide, neatly bisects the South China and Sulu Seas. Island terrain ranges from coastal plains to craggy foothills to soaring mountain peaks.
Palawan’s nearly 2,000 kilometer circumference of irregular coastline is edged by 1,780 tiny islands and islets, rocky coves, and white sand beaches. Palawan Island also contains large, unbroken tracts of virgin forests and mountain ranges.
In 2007, Palawan was rated by National Geographic Traveler magazine as the number one island destination in Southeast Asia, and the 13th best island in the world due to it’s “incredibly beautiful natural seascapes and landscapes.”
This article also went on to note that Palawan is “One of the most biodiverse (terrestrial and marine) islands in the Philippines…” After being awarded “Biosphere Reserve Status” in the early 1990’s, Palawan continues to show “local interest in conservation and sustainable development”.
A Premier Destination
Over the past 10 years, Palawan Province in general and the Calamines Island Group in particular has earned an extraordinary and well deserved reputation for unparalleled beauty, wildlife conservation and ecological sustainability.
As an example, Condé Nast Traveler magazine voted the beaches, coves and islets of this province the “Very best in all of Asia”, and famed underwater explorer Jacques Cousteau singled out this provincial region as home to some of the most beautiful seascapes in the world.