The wonders of Palawan: El Nido, Palawan Underground River, and Coron.

The wonders of Palawan: El Nido, Palawan Underground River, and Coron.

Palawan is a beautiful province in the Philippines located in the MIMAROPA region and it is the largest province in the country in terms of total area of jurisdiction. Its capital is Puerto Princesa City.

Palawan’s economy has been basically agricultural but tourism is booming. The three major crops are palay, corn and coconut and the province also has one of the richest fishing grounds in the country, exporting 45% of Manila’s supply of fishes. Natural gas reserves, at approximately 30,000 trillion cubic feet, make Palawan an oil-rich producing province.

The economic and agricultural business growth of province is at 20% per annum.

As one of the most biodiverse (terrestrial and marine) islands in the Philippines, what makes Palawan a beautiful island is it is biogeographically part of Sundaland, with a fauna and flora related to that found in Borneo. Many endemic species can be found in Palawan.

Notable tourist sites includes Boayan Island; Calauit Game Preserve and Wildlife Sanctuary; Coron Reefs, Coron Bay, Busuanga; Malampaya Sound Land and Seascape Protected Area; and award-winning, El Nido Marine Reserve Park.

The January 2008 issue of international magazine Travel + Leisure listed El Nido’s sister hotel resorts El Nido Lagen Island and El Nido Miniloc Island in Miniloc and Lagen Islands as “conservation-minded places on a mission to protect the local environment.” Travel + Leisures 20 Favorite Green Hotels scored El Nido Resort’s protection of Palawan’s giant clam gardens and the re-introduction of endangered Philippine cockatoos: The magazine also reported that “guest cottages on stilts are set above the crystalline ocean. The resorts are active in both reef and island conservation.”

Entry point to Palawan: Busuanga Airport (top) and Puerto Prinsesa Airport (below)

Entry point to Palawan: Busuanga Airport (top) and Puerto Prinsesa Airport (below)

The National Geographic Traveler magazine branded Palawan as the best island destination in East and Southeast Asia region in 2007, and the 13th best island in the world having “incredibly beautiful natural seascapes and landscapes.

The province was also categorized as “doing well” in the 4th Destination Scorecard survey conducted by the National Geographic Center for Sustainable Destinations, and Conde Nast Traveler magazine voted its beaches, coves and islets as the tourist destination with the best beaches in Asia.

Renowned underwater explorer Jacques Cousteau has described the province as having one of the most beautiful seascapes in the world and Caril Ridley, founder of Palawan Environmental and Marine Studies Center (PEMS) says the Islands of northern Palawan are destined to become a future destination for Asia’s growing economic and environmental conferencing.

Palawan is also home to some UNESCO World Heritage Sites: Puerto-Princesa Subterranean River National Park and Tubbataha Reef Marine Park

The Pag-asa island, which is very close to Palawan, is also claimed by China but the Philippine government established a municipality in the island known as Municipality of Kalayaan, Palawan. It is tightly protected by the Philippine forces. 40 out of 60 Filipino soldiers stationed in all Philippine-occupied features are assigned in the island.

The Pag-asa Island, a part of Spratly Group of Islands, is where the Municipality of Kalayaan, Palawan is located.

The Pag-asa Island, a part of Spratly Group of Islands, is where the Municipality of Kalayaan, Palawan is located.

Because of its proximity in the hotly-contested Spratly Group of Islands, Palawan has become a training ground for US and Philippine military.

The two countries, being close allies, bound under the Mutual Defense Treaty between the Republic of the Philippines and the United States of America, which was signed on August 30, 1951 in Washington, D.C.  The overall accord contained eight articles and dictated that both nations would support each other if either the Philippines or the United States were to be attacked by an external party.

China’s aggression in the Spratlys, the Philippine government is now building a mini seaport in Pag-asa Island to accomodate US military troops participating in the yearly RP-US joint military exercises or Balikatan.

The Philippine government claims the effort is strictly designed to support commercial business and tourism to the island. However local residents say the construction is the first step in creating a mini-naval base for U.S. and Philippine troops.

The country’s controlled areas in Spratlys are slowly but surely being transformed into new US mini-naval bases with complete amenities including rest and recreation facilities for Washington troops.

“The plan of the Manila government to build a seaport in one of its controlled islands in West Philippine Sea confirms our assessment that the US government is very much inclined to build a mini-naval base in Spratlys to host American troops who regularly come to the country for the yearly Balikatan exercises,” said the militant fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) in a press statement.

Pamalakaya also accused President Aquino and the Washington government of turning Palawan island province into a full-blown naval base for US troops who will be redeployed to the country once they leave their naval base in Okinawa, Japan.

“We have a new Okinawa on the rise,” Pamalakaya said.

The key personalities from Palawan includes Congressman Dennis Socrates, Puerto Prinsesa Mayor and Senatoriable, Edward Hagedorn; and Mr. Jose Pepito Alvarez

The key personalities from Palawan includes Congressman Dennis Socrates; Puerto Prinsesa Mayor and Senatoriable, Edward Hagedorn; and former Palawan logger, Mr. Jose Pepito Alvarez

Despite of these problems, the riches of Palawan go beyond all telling. More than the imagination can see. The wealth being generated by its natural resources would value to the tune of trillions.

Real Estate professional, Mr. Ramon CF Cuervo III, said that there are prime vast raw lands, just waiting to be developed yet its natural flora & fauna are well preserved.

“The environment protection of rich marine life & ecological balance of the sea, land, rivers & mountains makes Palawan an enchanted creation of God.  A Paradise in so many ways, Palawan is an un-polished Diamond – admittedly GOD’s natural gift to the Philippines,” he said.

Having these facts and data on hand, a real estate professional is faced with numerous profitable possibilities and opportunities such as ‘bite size’ Projects located at Puerto Princesa to the billion peso 5-6 star island resort hotels. These are ideally located at the Northern Corron- Buanga Corridor and are a strong tourist magnet.

“It is these magnets that need to be exposed more since these bring in much needed revenue to help out local projects and more,” Mr. Cuervo added. “So,  I advise to the young & strong adventurous real estate entrepreneur, developers or professionals to ‘conquer’ with care, prudence, guts and local know – how , the treasure islands of Northern Palawan. This is wealth & value at its best.”

With sources from: www.allvoices.com, www.allvoices.com, www.wikipedia.com

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