Palawan Island is one of the most beautiful areas of the Philippines. Its emerald-green waters and giant limestone cliffs and picturesque fishing villages make it seem like a postcard come to life. Palawan is not your average tourist island. Its undone natural state makes it a site to be seen before it is overtaken by western resorts and multinational corporations. The Palawan of today is like nowhere else in the world.
El Nido is located inside Bacuit Bay. This major tourist destination is composed of 45 islands and limestone cliffs. With several resorts and numerous tours to choose from, El Nido is perfect for an island getaway. Make sure you take an Island Hopping tour in Bacuit Bay to see the lagoons, beaches, and incredible limestone islands.
Puerto Princessa is the capital of Palawan Island. Most visitors fly to Palawan from Manila. Puerto Princessa is home to the largest airport on the island. It attracts visitors interested in natural wonder and city attractions. Don’t forget to stop by the Subterranean River National Park to see one of the New 7 Wonders of the World.
Coron is best known for nightlife and luxury. Coron is also home to some incredible shipwreck diving and snorkeling.
With numerous hotels and guesthouses, Palawan offers something for every traveler. Stay in an above water bungalow in El Nido or grab some seafood for dinner in Puerto Princessa. Whatever you are looking for in your accommodations Palawan has just the place for you.
Microtel is a budget friendly hotel in Puerto Princessa that doesn’t skimp on customer service. The facilities are well maintained with a beautiful pool and ocean views. They provide an airport transfer service and are very accommodating of your schedule. Don’t forget to check out their restaurant, the seafood is especially delicious!
The location and view at El Nido Beach Hotel alone make it worth the price per night. This midrange hotel is right on the beach overlooking the gorgeous limestone cliffs that make El Nido so magical. Each room has a balcony or patio with an incredible view of the beach. The hotel offers morning breakfast that is great for early morning island hopping tours. The concierge at the front desk can help you with anything and everything you may need.
Overlooking is the perfect hotel for couples traveling on a budget. While it is less expensive than some of the luxury resorts, it doesn’t lack in quality or service. Breakfast is delivered to your beautiful villa each morning. Every room has a personal pool for relaxing and soaking during the heat of the day. Just a 5-minute tricycle ride to the town center and restaurants Overlooking offers an escape to nature feel without losing the comforts of being near town center.
Miniloc Island in El Nido, is the perfect resort for luxury travelers. The resort is tucked in a beautiful cove with a backdrop of sheer limestone cliffs. Reminiscent of a coastal village, Miniloc Island’s quaint charm is enhanced by its crystal clear waters and incredible aquatic life. Dine at the Clubhouse restaurant and have some day drinks at the beach bar. Recreational facilities include a massage cabana and a marine sports center. There is a boutique, game area, a Kids Activity Center, and a conference room that can accommodate up to 40 persons theatre-style. Complimentary wi-fi connection is available at the Clubhouse. At Miniloc Resort, they take the stress out of planning a vacation. Let them spoil you in the lap of luxury.
Badjao has a beautiful and authentic ambiance. The restaurant is built inside a Mangrove forest and has excellent views of the sea through its large picture windows. Come at lunchtime for a less crowded meal or dinnertime for a more romantic setting. Try the seafood platter for the best of the Philippines’ fare. This upscale restaurant is a bit more expensive than some of the others in the area, but it’s facilities are perfect for a special occasion or a date night.
Sea Slugs Beach Bar is a little more than a few plastic chairs on the beach, but what it lacks in western branding it makes up for in fantastic views and local cuisine. Grab a table on the beach and watch the waves crash on the beach while stray puppies play and take naps in the sand. At nighttime, listen to the live band and enjoy some cocktails. Make sure you try the crab legs! If seafood isn’t for you, they have a wide variety of western and pan-Asian items on the menu. If you have room for dessert, try the banana chocolate shake or the homemade crepes.
Art Café at El Nido Beach is a “do-it- all-business”, best known for their incredible food. They have great western and pan-Asian breakfast. They also serve a nice selection of Seafood Dishes, Italian Food, Indian Cuisine, Salads, Soups, and home made deserts. Try one of their Tropical Fruit shakes and tasty fruit based cocktails.
KaLui Restaurant is a gay owned seafood restaurant in Puerto Princessa. KaLui is perfect for a romantic date night and stays true to traditional Philippine customs. You will be asked to remove your shoes before entering the restaurant and the food stays true to local taste palates. Try the set menu for an evening of gluttonous luxury.
Island Hopping is the main reason people come to visit El Nido. Take Tour A to see lagoons and Tour C to see Islands and beaches. This tour will last from 9am to 5pm and includes Hidden Beach, Helicopter Island, Secret Beach, Matinloc Shrine and Star Beach. The tour will cost 1,400 pesos per person and includes snorkeling gear, life vest, lunch and a guide to assist you.
Coron is best known for its incredible diving and snorkeling. It is one of the most famous wreck diving destinations because of the 12 Japanese wrecks off the coast of Coron. The ships were sunk by American Navy bombings in Coron Bay during World War II in 1944. The dives are ideal for beginners and advanced divers with wrecks at depths of 2 to 43 meters. If diving isn’t your thing, you can snorkel to the Sangat Gun Boats bow. It’s near the surface, so don’t forget your underwater camera!
Subterranean River National Park
A visit to Palawan is not complete without a visit to the Subterranean River National Park. This UNESCO World Heritage Site was recently ranked as one of the New 7 Wonders of the Natural World. The park is actually one of the world’s largest underground rivers. Tour guides will take you down inside the cave in a boat to view the rock formations and crystal blue water under the earth.
Located in Puerto Princess, Tiki Bar has live music and reasonably priced drinks. They serve food and have an ambiance that is part dive bar part casual hangout. Tiki used to be an explicitly gay bar but now serves more of a mixed crowd. Head over on a Friday or Saturday night, try the onion rings and enjoy a night of dancing.
The Philippines is one of the most LGBT-friendly countries in the world. While the Philippines is a predominantly Catholic country, the majority of people are accepting of LGBT people. The Philippines is a safe travel option for travelers looking for a beach destination. Be forewarned, The Philippines is accepting in a rather tokenizing way and traveling in any country does not come without risks. For another perspective on the Philippines check out Lez Wander The World‘s take on their experiences being queer in The Philippines.