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Palawan is the largest island of the province of Palawan in the Philippines and the fifth largest island of the country. The north west coast of the island is along the South China Sea, while the south east coast forms part of the northern limit of the Sulu Sea.[4] Much of the island remains traditional and is considered by some as under-developed. Abundant wildlife, jungle mountains, and some white sandy beaches attract many tourists, as well as international companies looking for development opportunities.[5]

Palawan island map.PNG
Map with Palawan Island highlighted in red
Palawan is located in Philippines
Location within the Philippines
LocationSouth East Asia
Coordinates9°30′N 118°30′E / 9.5°N 118.5°E / 9.5; 118.5Coordinates: 9°30′N 118°30′E / 9.5°N 118.5°E / 9.5; 118.5
ArchipelagoPhilippine islands
Adjacent bodies of water
Area12,188.6 km2 (4,706.0 sq mi)[1]
Area rank64th
Length425 km (264.1 mi)[2]
Width40 km (25 mi)[2]
Coastline1,354.1 km (841.4 mi)[1]
Highest elevation2,085 m (6,841 ft)[1]
Highest pointMount Mantalingajan
Capital and largest cityPuerto Princesa (pop. 255,116)
Population886,308 (2015)[3]
Pop. density72.7 /km2 (188.3 /sq mi)

As of 2016, the main island of Palawan was rated the "Most Beautiful Island in the World" as voted by respective readers of rival travel publications Conde Nast Traveller and Travel + Leisure.[6][7] It is the second year running that Palawan has won the Conde Nast Traveller award, as well as the second time in four years that it has occupied Travel + Leisure's top spot (2013).[8][9] El Nido, located at the northern tip of the island, is also currently rated the "Most Beautiful Beach in the World" by Conde Nast Traveller readers.[10] In 2007, National Geographic Traveler magazine rated Palawan the best island destination in East and Southeast Asia region, having "incredibly beautiful natural seascapes and landscapes. One of the most biodiverse (terrestrial and marine) islands in the Philippines. The island has had a Biosphere Reserve status since early 1990s, showing local interest for conservation and sustainable development."[11]

1 city and 12 out of the 23 municipalities of the Province of Palawan are on this island. Iwahig Prison and Penal Farm, one of seven operating units of the Bureau of Corrections, is located on the island.



The entire length of the island forms a mountain range, with a peak altitude of 2,086 metres (6,844 ft) at Mount Mantalingajan. Other significant peaks include Mount Gantung (1,788 metres (5,866 ft)) in Batazara and Victoria Peak (1,726 metres (5,663 ft)) in Narra.[2]

Flora and faunaEdit

Palawan palm forest

Unlike most of the country, Palawan is biogeographically part of Sundaland, with a fauna and flora related to that found in Borneo.[12][13]

Two articulated phalanx bones of a tiger were found amidst an assemblage of other animal bones and stone tools in Ille Cave near the village of New Ibajay. The other animal fossils were ascribed to macaques, deer, bearded pigs, small mammals, lizards, snakes and turtles. From the stone tools, besides the evidence for cuts on the bones, and the use of fire, it would appear that early humans had accumulated the bones.[13] Additionally, the condition of the tiger subfossils, dated to approximately 12,000 to 9,000 years ago, differed from other fossils in the assemblage, dated to the Upper Paleolithic. The tiger subfossils showed longitudinal fracture of the cortical bone due to weathering, which suggests that they had post-mortem been exposed to light and air. Tiger parts were commonly used as amulets in South and Southeast Asia, so it may be that the tiger parts were imported from elsewhere, as is the case with tiger canine teeth, which were found in Ambangan sites dating to the 10th to 12th centuries in Butuan, Mindanao. On the other hand, the proximity of Borneo and Palawan also makes it likely that the tiger had colonized Palawan from Borneo before the Early Holocene.[14][15]


In April 2013, a fishing vessel loaded with illegally poached animals ran aground on a coral atoll off the coast of Palawan Island.[16]

In 2014, armed forces chief of staff General Emmanuel T. Bautista said that Oyster Bay may be developed into a naval base with United States Navy support.[17]


  • Hogan, C. Michael (2011). Saundry, P.; Cleveland, C. J. (eds.). Sulu Sea. Washington, D.C., USA: Encyclopedia of Earth.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c "Islands of Philippines". Island Directory. United Nations Environment Programme. Retrieved 28 February 2017.
  2. ^ a b c "Palawan: Physical Feature". Provincial Government of Palawan. Retrieved 1 March 2017.
  3. ^ Census of Population (2015). "Region IV-B (Mimaropa)". Total Population by Province, City, Municipality and Barangay. PSA. Retrieved 20 June 2016.
  4. ^ C.Michael Hogan. 2011. Sulu Sea
  5. ^ Keenan, Jillian. "The Grim Reality Behind the Philippines' Economic Growth". The Atlantic. Retrieved 2017-02-27.
  6. ^ "Palawan, the Philippines: The Most Beautiful Island in the World"., Conde Nast Traveller. 16 January 2016. Retrieved 16 September 2016
  7. ^ "The World's Best Islands".Travel + Leisure. 2016. Retrieved 16 September 2016
  8. ^ "Best Islands in the World: Readers Choice Awards 2015".Conde Nast Traveller. 10 October 2014. Retrieved 16 September 2016
  9. ^ "World's Best Islands 2013".Travel + Leisure. 2016. Retrieved 16 September 2016
  10. ^ "The 20 Most Beautiful Beaches in the World".
  11. ^ "Destinations Rated: Islands". The National Geographic.
  12. ^ What is Sundaland?, retrieved 11 June 2010
  13. ^ a b Piper, P. J.; Ochoa, J.; Lewis, H.; Paz, V.; Ronquillo, W. P. (2008). "The first evidence for the past presence of the tiger Panthera tigris (L.) on the island of Palawan, Philippines: extinction in an island population". Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology. 264: 123–127. doi:10.1016/j.palaeo.2008.04.003.
  14. ^ Van der Geer, A.; Lyras, G.; De Vos, J.; Dermitzakis, M. (2011). "15 (The Philippines); 26 (Carnivores)". Evolution of Island Mammals: Adaptation and Extinction of Placental Mammals on Islands. John Wiley & Sons. pp. 220–347.
  15. ^ Ochoa, J.; Piper, P. J. (2017). "Tiger". In Monks, G. (ed.). Climate Change and Human Responses: A Zooarchaeological Perspective. Springer. pp. 79–80. ISBN 9-4024-1106-2.
  16. ^ "Poachers' boat hits coral reef". 3 News NZ. April 17, 2013.
  17. ^ Mogato, Manuel (15 May 2014). "Philippines Offer US A Nearby Naval Base Amid Chinese Moves". Reuters. Retrieved 15 May 2014.

External linksEdit