Discover Palawan: a paradise on earth in southwestern Philippines.
Palawan is a well-known tourist and migrant destination in the Philippines. It is called the country's "Last Frontier" because it is here where the greatest pool of natural resources can be found. A very diverse wildlife, some of them newly discovered and some waiting to be discovered, can be found on both the forests and the coastal and marine zones. It is also the favorite destination of migrants, both local and international, finding the place a "paradise on earth" because of its white sand beaches and beautiful landscapes. Some tourists eventually found their place in Palawan, married locals and became part of the increasing number of citizens enjoying the bounties of nature.
Underground River. A flagship feature of Palawan is the underground river, a river flowing within a limestone formation that can be accessed by boat paddled by an entertaining boatman. Beautiful formation of stalactites and stalagmites can be seen amidst total darkness lighted by battery powered lamps.
More than 600 tourists a day visit the site to enjoy its many features. Before entering the cave, the park offers a mangrove tour just a few hundred meters away from the rendezvous point in Barangay Sabang. The mangrove stand is one of the pristine mangrove areas where tall stands of Rhizophora and Bruguiera spp. can be found. The operation of the park demonstrates how a protected area, through ecotourism can earn millions.
Beautiful Landscapes and Seascapes. Palawan has white sand beaches all over it. Beautiful and formations brings tourists back to the olden times. Port Barton in the northwestern part of Palawan is famous for its serenity. It is touted as the Philippines' next Boracay, a famous destination for tourists in the western part of the Philippines.
Very High Level of Biodiversity and Endemicity. Many researchers visit Palawan because a lot of wildlife, both from the terrestrial and the coastal and marine areas, can be found. SCUBA divers, both neophytes and veterans, enjoy discovering new things in its rich marine zones. A famous SCUBA diving spot is the Tubbataha Reef, a UNESCO World Heritage site. It is home to one of the most beautiful coral reefs in the world.
A sea turtle in Tubbataha Reef (Source)
Many of these species, aside from being endemic or native only to the locality, are facing probable extinction. Six mammals are already considered endangered because of the continuous flow of people in the province because of its rich natural and mineral resources.
Recently, a large pitcher plant was discovered by botanists in central Palawan in 2009 aside from another pitcher plant which had not been seen in the wild for 100 years. They also discovered a new species of sundew.
Source: BBC Earth News
New species of pitcher plant and sundew.
Greatest Number of Non-government Organizations in the Philippines. Nowhere in the Philippines can be found the greatest number of non-government organizations but in Palawan. Because of their presence, the integrity of Palawan as the last hub of wild flora and fauna is somehow maintained despite the increasing pressures due to economic development. Their influence has brought greater awareness among the local inhabitants. Some even took the initiative to conserve the natural resources by themselves. Two cases were described here in Factoidz: a family that protected a reef, and an association of boat operators that protected a reef upon seeing the economic value of resource protection.
Several Indigenous People. It is in Palawan where the earliest known record of the first Filipino, known as the Tabon man, can be found. The Tabon man's bones are estimated at 22,000 to 24,000 years old. Until this time, some of the natives still live in the caves and are called the Tau't Bato (literally means "man and stone"). Other natives include the Tagbanua, Pal'awan, the Bataks, and the Molbogs.
Productive Fishery. Palawan supplies about 60 percent of the fish needs of Manila, the Philippines' capital. Many marine life traders got rich because of a very high fishery production from the many bays, reefs and islands all over Palawan. Different kinds of reef fishes and pelagic fishes can be fished from its waters to supply local and international demands for fish. Live fish trade, although ridden with controversy, is a lucrative business thriving in Palawan.
Just a few kilometers from the shore are sightings of the whale sharks (local butanding) and dolphins which took the fancy of tourists visiting the place. Sport fishing, kayaking and just island hopping is a famous hobby for the well-to-do in the city. The very rich marine life translates to delicious meals in restaurants located within and outside the city limits.
Fish drying area in an island in Puerto Princesa.
Rich Mineral and Oil Resources. A few years back, many large corporations started to mine the rich mineral reserves of the province. Also, many oil deposits can be found surrounding the whole island of Palawan. These extractive preoccupations brought out many issues particularly on their long-term environmental impacts. An old, unrehabilitated mine site appears to cause environmental damage in Balabac, one of the remote places in Palawan.
These features make Palawan a famous destination for local and international tourists as well as businessmen. Only time will tell how decision makers in this province will allocate or manage its rich endowment of natural resources to make the most of it.