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Palawan is one of 7,107 islands in the Philippines, located on the western side of Philippines, between the China Sea and the Sulu Sea. It is one of the most underdeveloped parts of Philippines, often overlooked by travelers, many of whom prefer to spend their time on the beaches of the world famous Boracay.

When I visited the Philippines last year, I was eager to get off the beaten path and to explore a part of this country know as “the last frontier”.

Palawan is the least populated region in the Philippines and while it has always been a popular destination for the locals, until recently it has been rather unknown among foreign travelers. You won’t find large hotel chains or fancy international restaurants in Palawan. And you certainly won’t find tourist groups coming through this region. But despite that, or perhaps precisely because of that, Palawan is a true paradise on earth and it has all the ingredients for an incredible getaway!  And here is why…

1. Palawan Has the Most Incredible Sunsets

And you don’t even have to fight hundreds of tourists for that perfect spot on the beach or at the top of a hill to watch the sunset.

Sunset in El Nido, Palawan

Sunset in El Nido, Palawan

Sunset in Coron, Palawan

Sunset in Coron, Palawan

2. Palawan Has Crystal Clear Waters

You could literally see all the way to the bottom of the ocean, no matter how deep or shallow the water was. It was glistening under the hot Philippines sun.

Crystal clear waters in Palawan

Crystal clear waters in Palawan

Crystal clear waters in Palawan

Crystal clear waters in Palawan

3. Palawan’s El Nido Offers Unique Views of the Karst Rock Formations

El Nido, located in the Northern part of Palawan Island, is famous for its karst limestone rock formations that can only be found in a few other places around the world ( Ha Long Bay, Krabi, and Guilin). These karst rocks create a wow-worthy backdrop for El Nido’s famous beaches and are often the main reasons why travelers undertake a 7-hour van/bus ride up from Puerto Princesa to El Nido.

Karst limestone cliffs in El Nido, Palawan

Karst limestone cliffs in El Nido, Palawan

Karst limestone cliffs in El Nido, Palawan

Close up of the karst limestone cliffs in El Nido, Palawan

Karst limestone cliffs in El Nido, Palawan

Close up of the karst limestone cliffs in El Nido, Palawan

4. Palawan is a Palm Tree Heaven

Every beach and every road are lined with beautiful palm trees, creating not only perfect shade but a beautiful backdrop for every single photo. Just watch out for those falling coconuts…

Looking up at the palm trees in Palawan

Looking up at the palm trees in Palawan

Palm trees in Palawan

Palm trees in Palawan

5. In Palawan, Everyone Can Have Their Own Secluded Beach

There are thousands of small islands off the shores of Palawan Island. You can hire a boat to take you out to the islands and to spend the day relaxing on your own private beach in the middle of an ocean.

This type of boat can be hired to take you to smaller islands in Palawan

This type of boat can be hired to take you to smaller islands in Palawan

A perfect beach for a perfect day in Palawan

A perfect beach for a perfect day in Palawan. No other tourists in sight.

6. Palawan is Home to Some of the Happiest and Kindest People on Earth

From the owners of your B&B, to the cooks at the beachside restaurant, to the little kids that spend their days playing on the beaches, these are some of the happiest and nicest people you will meet in your life. Perhaps it’s because the travelers that come to Palawan are respectful of their land, their ocean, and their country, or perhaps it’s because they genuinely want you to fall in love with their beautiful home!

Is this isn't happiness, then what is?

Is this isn’t happiness, then what is?

These kids welcomed us into their community

These kids welcomed us into their community with open arms

If you are considering a trip to the Philippines and are thinking of spending some time in Boracay, here’s my advice:

Skip it!  Get off the beaten path and explore the untouched beauty of Palawan. If you don’t, others will. It won’t stay this way forever!

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Until recently Palawan in the Philippines has been rather unknown among foreign travelers. Here are 6 reasons why I think it is a paradise on earth.

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