The Philippines is an archipelago composed of 7, 107 islands, with three major islands: Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. Palawan, found in the Visayas region, is the fifth largest island of the country. Being surrounded by sea, the most convenient way of getting to Palawan is by air. Traveling by sea may also prove to be a good option depending on your budget and preferences.
Traveling by Air
There are no international flights available in Palawan. If you’re coming outside of the Philippines, a domestic flight coming from Manila (from the Manila International Airport and the Ninoy Aquino International Airport), is your ticket to the island. If you’re coming from other islands of the Philippines such as Iloilo and Cebu, direct flights to Palawan are available. Palawan’s domestic airport is located in Puerto Princesa, Palawan’s capital city.
Domestic flights from Manila to Puerto Princesa take about forty-five minutes to a little over an hour. Cebu Pacific, Air Philippines and Philippine Airlines all carry passengers from Manila to Puerto Princesa on a daily basis. Small carriers like Sea Air, Zest Airways and Asian Spirit also charter flights from Manila to other islands of Palawan like Busuanga, Cuyo, Culion, Taytay and Coron; and this might be more sensible, especially in the case of Coron Island, because it is nearer Manila than Puerto Princesa. Another airline company that charters guests to its sister company’s resort located in El Nido is the Island Transvoyager, Inc. (ITI). The ITI has its own hangar at Ninoy Aquino International Airport and has flights going to Palawan daily.
Traveling By Sea
Puerto Princesa is about 20 hours from Manila. If you love sailing and are not fazed by the amount of time you spend on sea aboard a ship, then traveling over the waters might work for you. Going by sea is particularly popular among local students going on a tour as sea fare is considerably lower than an air fare. Even when you choose to go on a high-class multi-deck ferry, the travel cost is still way below what airline companies are charging. This is good because you can then use the difference for other vacation expenses. The downside is that you’ll be wasting a lot of time, time that you should be spending vacationing in a beautiful island. Still, some are able to make good use of the time and come out the wiser for spending less on their vacation. Large boats and ferries with routes going to Palawan include WG&A Super Ferry, Sulpicio Lines and Negros Navigation, and they leave from the pier in Manila.
Getting Around in Palawan
The most inexpensive choices in getting around Palawan would have to be tricycles and jeepneys. A jeepney is a local vehicle with two long seats (that each seat 8-10 people) extending on both sides, and the fare costs less than a dollar per person. Rental cars are also available on the mainland. Getting around from one island to another is often done by a small motorboat that you can hire for a day.
Getting to Palawan and its many islands is pretty straightforward in the Philippines. In addition, Palawan is among the islands in the Philippines with the most number of airports, and more are being constructed everyday. Palawan has truly opened its doors to the international community and it is one day hoped that its airports will cater to international flights as well, making traveling to Palawan a breeze for everybody.