Best Palawan Tourist Spots: Philippines on a Budget
I studied abroad in the Philippines and was pleasantly surprised that it was the most beautiful country I’d ever seen. Fancy that!
Not only is it beautiful, but it’s hugely underrated as a fantastic place to visit. While it’s growing in popularity, you’re likely going to be among only a few other tourists who have also discovered that the Philippines is the world’s best travel secret. That said, Palawan is one of the most popular places to visit the in Philippines, so don’t expect to be there by yourself.
The great thing about a travel secret is that it can easily stay under the radar as a money pit. Unless you go to the resorts, you’ll find that the Philippines isn’t expensive to visit.
Another financial factor to consider is that a lot of the people of the Philippines live in poverty. This isn’t a well off country. While this fact makes it easy to visit if you’re on a budget, you need to be emotionally and mentally prepared for the poverty you’ll see.
Don’t let the poverty dissuade you though. I had an amazing time int he Philippines. Not only is it a beautiful country, the people are incredibly warm, friendly, and hospitable.
So, while we’re here to talk about budget traveling, once you can cough up enough money to buy a plane ticket to the Philippines, it won’t be hard to keep your expenses to a minimum, no matter what you do there.
Key note: avoid the resorts. I mean, if that’s what you’re looking for, that’s fine. But, the Philippines has SO MUCH to offer that it would be a shame to travel so far just to spend all of your time at a resort that may as well be in Florida. Resorts also aren’t very budget friendly, so yeah, let’s just move on.
Palawan is a province located in the region of Mimaropa. Palawan is actually a collection of islands, named after its biggest island, Palawan Island.
To say that Palawan is beautiful is an understatement. Conde Naste claimed it to be the most beautiful island in the world with the best beaches in Asia.
Palawan: When to Visit
The timing of your trip to Palawan matters a lot if you care about being drenched every day or not.
To avoid the rain, plan your trip to Palawan between October through May. The wind system during this time is called Amihan (Northeast Monsoon). Amihan consists of wind from the East, little to no rain, and moderate temperatures.
On the other hand, the Habagat wind system (Southwest Monsoon) shows up from July to September. During these months, you’ll see winds coming from the West, humid weather, and rainfall.
Despite the amount of rainfall in the wet and dry seasons, the temperature satays fairly consistent. No matter when you visit Palawan, you’ll find temperatures in the 70s and 80s.
Palawan: Where to Visit
As you can see from the map above, you’ll get a great view of the ocean from almost anywhere you go in Palawan. Anything related to the beach and ocean is a must.
Palawan is also unique in that its flora and fauna are more so related to those of Borneo than the other species found throughout the Philippines. This means that you’ll see some amazing and unique nature.
Palawan: The Best Things to Do
As we already chatted about, Palawan has a lot of amazing beaches and unique plants and animals. You could be super budget-friendly and spend no money at all by walking around and enjoying everything has to offer. But, if you want specific experiences to add to your list, here are some great choices.
Tubbatha Reef--Attention All Divers!
The reason why this reef is so amazing is because a lot of people work to keep it that way. Tubbatha Reef is the only underwater ASEAN Heritage Park and is very carefully protected.
If you hope to visit, hook up with a legit diving company that follows all of the proper rules and procedures.
Small Lagoon and Big Lagoon
You can’t go to Palawan without hanging out in a Lagoon. Palawan is full of beautiful cliffs, caves, rocks coming out of the water, and secret passage ways.
You can hang out on the lagoon’s beaches, kayak under the cliffs and through the rocks, or swim in the crystal clear water. Whatever you do, you’ll have a great time.
These lagoons are popular, so don’t expect to have it all to yourself.
Any of the Beaches!
For obvious reasons, Palawan has a lot of beaches. And, they’re all stunning. Really, I tried to choose just one, but I couldn’t, so I compiled a list of them. Choose whichever one fits in best with your plans and you’re unlikely to be disappointed.
Any of the Islands!
Yes, the region of Palawan Island has other islands. Confusing, but beautiful.
Same story as the beaches, I just couldn’t pick! And, of course, all the islands have beaches, so there’s a bit of an overlap here.
If you live in a place where fireflies are common, you can probably skip this. But, if you’re like me and the word “firefly” brings up images of Ray from Disney’s Princess and the Frog, you might think this is really cool.
There are a number of inexpensive boat tours that will take you out at night from Puerto Princesa to see these beautiful bugs.
Palawan Butterfly Ecological Garden and Tribal Village
Of course, this is great if you’re interested in butterflies. But, not only do you get to see butterflies, many visitors say that the tribal village really pushes this experience over the top.
This is a real working village. When you visit, you get a glimpse into what life is like there.
Iwahig Prison and Penal Farm
Yes, a prison! But, not any ordinary prison. First off, it’s beautiful. When you aren’t learning about prison life, take a look at the amazing views.
Unlike prisons we’re used to, at Iwahig, prisoners are free to roam. In your visit there, you’ll get to chat with prisoners and see the projects they’re working on. Visitors say that it can be a bit uncomfortable, but what else would you expect when you visit a prison? Overall, it’s a neat experience.
Puerto Princesa City Baywalk Park
Take an afternoon to walk around Puerto Princesa. The City Baywalk Park is a great way to see some local culture, grab some great food, and just take some time to relax in Palawan.
Ready for an outdoor adventure? After a trip to Ugong Rock, you’ll have scurried through a cave and busted your calves climbing up to the main rock. Then, you can zip line back to where you started. If you love hiking, climbing, and doing something new outdoors, this is your place.