When traveling, oftentimes there are so many things to see but too little time to see it all. This is especially true in Palawan in the Philippines as there are so many beautiful sanctuaries, islands and waterfalls to choose from. But whatever you do, make sure to keep the four places below on your list or else you will truly be missing out on a top gem of Palawan.
Although the Estrella Falls have been gaining more and more attention over the years, the trick to visiting this well-known area is to bring an in-the-know guide. With the help of this guru, you will be able to discover many of the 44 drops that comprise Estrella falls. But most of all you’ll get to truly enjoy the beauty of the crystal clear waters away from the hustle and bustle of the typical tourist spot near the bottom.
After your hike, though, if you’d like to stay for lunch, at the base of Estrella Falls there are public restrooms and barbecues. So make sure to bring your veggie burger or hot dog so that you can munch on a snack while enjoying the stunning flora and fauna.
Done visiting the monkeys? Now it’s time to pop over and see the cockatoos – the cockatoos of Rasa Island. With dwindling cockatoo populations year after year, in 2006, the government stepped in and Rasa Island became a protected Wildlife Sanctuary. A good thing, too, as it’s estimated that around 75 percent of the cockatoo population around the world resides in this sanctuary.
Birdwatchers will delight to see these beautiful birds in their natural habitats and novices will enjoy the sheer amount of cockatoos – and other birds – in the area. And if you need more proof that this is a once in a lifetime experience, Narra has been dubbed the Philippine Cockatoo Capital of the World in addition to receiving high praises in various birdwatching publications.
The Philippine cockatoo by Cedricguppy - Loury Cédric [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], from Wikimedia Commons. Unaltered.
You can’t visit the Philippines without taking a hike in Cleopatra’s Needle. Known as the most biodiverse mountain in all of Palawan, there are many animals that call this area home – animals that are only found in the Philippines. If visitors truly look around during their hike, they can expect to see many endemic species including the Palawan forest turtles, the Palawan monitor lizard and the Palawan bearcat to name a few.
When you visit, you will also meet the indigenous people of the Batak tribe as they inhabit the forests surrounding Cleopatra’s Needle. These peaceful indigenous people live in harmony with nature and continue the hunter-gatherer traditions of their ancestors. Anything else that they need they get through trade or by selling honey, resin and rattan to passersby and tradespeople.
Although a very hot tourist destination, the Puerto Princesa underground river cannot be skipped. Aside from encountering gorgeous limestone and stalagmites, visitors will also enjoy many beautiful small waterfalls.
But perhaps the most magical part about this river is that a large amount is undiscovered. Deeper areas in the cave are nearly impossible to adventure through due to oxygen deprivation. But don’t worry, there’s still plenty to see like large bats, a variety of marine life and various river channels that flow into dark crevices and lead paths towards to the unknown.
Into the mouth of the unknown at the entrance of the underground river. By Mike Gonzalez via Creative Commons. Unaltered.
The last frontier in the Philippines has plenty to offer but remember, when visiting forests, oceans and caves, be careful and mindful. Don’t touch any animals and be alert and aware so that you don’t inadvertently disturb them.. Watch your step in the dark caves and remember to leave each place as you’ve found it. The best way to ensure that everyone has fun and stays safe is to book a knowledgeable in-the-know tour guide to lead you on your dream adventure.