The Philippines: Exploration of Palawan

Beautiful Palawan Sunset
A beautiful Palawan sunset.

Island Hop in the Philippines:

If you want an exotic and adventurous vacation, let’s talk about Palawan

By Stephanie DiCarlo

Palawan an island province of the Philippines. In 2013, it was voted by “Travel + Leisure Magazine” as the world’s best island. It is home to many UNESCO World Heritage Sites, exotic and endangered animals, and brilliant history.

Described by Pioneer Expeditions, Palawan has “pristine primary rainforests, deserted tropical islands and underground rivers, unsurpassed coral reefs and abundant marine life.”

If you are craving something extraordinary for your vacation, look no further. According to the official website for the island, the name Palawan itself is believed to have derived from the Chinese word “pa-lao-yu,” which means “the land of beautiful safe harbor.”

Palawan is an island that has in the past been occupied by Spain, America, and Japan, and is a part of the Philippines that has made its culture entirely its own. It’s a unique place for any traveler to visit, and you can do so on the Palawan Island Hopping tour by Pioneer Expeditions.

The Last Frontier

This thirteen day tour explores the “Last Frontier” of the Philippines, another name for the group of islands that make up the Palawan province, which extend into the South China Sea. These islands are rich in nature; on this tour you will explore jungles, hidden beaches, mountainous terrain, tropical rainforest and waterfalls, and “canoe the longest underground river in the world.” In addition to so much outdoor exploration, there is also ample time for relaxing not only on beautiful beaches, but in a resort as well.

Scenic Palawan
Scenic Palawan, Philippines.

Be an Explorer

This tour is an adventure in island hopping. The tour begins in Busuanga, the largest island, and by the third day of your tour you will find yourself snorkeling among gorgeous coral reefs, and hiking to “hidden mountain lakes.” This tour is ideal for the outdoor explorer, because in order to get the full Palawan experience, sleeping overnight in the outdoors is a must, but it's on a beach.

One of the most interesting aspects of this Palawan tour is the various accommodations one stays in throughout the thirteen days among the islands. While most nights are spent in an overnight camp, there are days spent in hotels, cottages, and even a night in “traditional native accommodation made of bamboo and palm materials.”

This tour is truly living in the tropics and getting to experience the great outdoors in a unique way. Unless you live on a beach, this tour may just be the most time you’ve spent on in water in such a short amount of time. You will explore reefs, crystal clear waters, kayak the rivers and boat along the bay. Those interested in archeology and history will be excited to snorkel among World War II wrecks in the shallower water, and learn a bit beyond the nature of Palawan.

Traditional Accomodation in Palawan.
Traditional Accomodation in Palawan.

You Won’t Go Hungry

This tour is full of interesting and authentic Filipino cuisine. While you camp most nights, a lot of food is made right in front of you. You’ll have barbeques on the beach, and even get to fish for your own food during the day.

You will also eat at local island restaurants, and get to experience as much of the food of the Philippines as you wish, because as every traveler knows, a huge part of visiting new places is not simply seeing the sights, but eating the food and experiencing its flavor through all the senses.

Your Own Time

This tour allows a lot of time for exploration. Every day will give you a chance to explore the sea, land, nature and towns. While the tour is guided, a lot of time is devoted to your own exploration. On the island of El Nido, you will have an entire day of leisure. You can continue to explore, or take a day to rest from the action packed itinerary.

Snorkel in crystal clear waters
Snorkel in crystal clear waters

This tour with Pioneer Expeditions is truly an extraordinary experience. Sleeping beneath the Filipino stars on a secluded beach sounds something close to heaven, and when the sun is out, you get to see the full extent of nature’s beauty on the Palawan Islands. This island hopping experience is a unique and exciting experience, and this tour takes place far away from areas of mass tourism.

Pioneer Expeditions gives this tour a 3/5 rating for difficulty, and since it does contain a significant amount of physical activity and time spent outdoors, this tour is not for the faint of heart. The price for this tour starts at around $2,000, depending on the location you are traveling from and the amount of people you are traveling with.

This tour is a unique and adventurous experience, and a fantastic chance to explore a part of the Philippines that may be a bit under the radar, in a way that not many people get to see it.

For more information visit Pioneer Expeditions website.
Stephanie DiCarlo.

Stephanie DiCarlo is a graduate of the University of Massachusetts and has a Bachelor's degree in English and History, as well as a specialization in creative writing. She also writes for the young adult literature magazine Ultimate YA and she likes to travel and eat good food. You can follow her on Twitter at @ccioSteph


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