Palawan is most famous for being one of the most scenic places in the entire Philippines. Karst limestone formations and crystal clear waters are just some of the very best features that can be enjoyed on the island. It is comprised of a many number of other smaller islands, and one of the most visited are the Calamianes Group of Islands located on the northeast portion of the province.
What exactly are the Calamianes Group of Islands?
The Calamianes Islands are comprised of the following:
- Busuanga Island,
- Coron Island,
- Culion Island,
- Calauit Island,
- Malcapuya Island, and
- other small islands
Culion Island was a former leper colony during the American occupation of the Philippines. No one really knew the extend of leprosy back in the day, which is why those who suffered from the disease were moved to this rather remote part of the country. Now that the disease has a cure, the old hospital on the island now serves as the Culion Sanatorium and General Hospital.
Busuanga Island is the home of the largest town in the Calamian Islands, Coron. Coron is also where you can find lots of World War II shipwrecks. Plus, it’s a great destination for those who love diving.
Coron Island is the location of the cleanest inland body of water in the Philippines, Kayangan Lake. This is actually part of the larger town bearing the same name.
Calauit Island is a wildlife sanctuary that is known for hosting a number of endangered animals from Africa.
Malcapuya Island is a treasure trove of many unspoiled beaches, dive sites, lakes and islands.
Why Visit the Calamian Islands?
There’s practically no other reason than to enjoy the variety that it brings. On every island, you will be treated to something different. When you want to see animals, Calauit is your best option. When you want water-based activities, you couldn’t go wrong with Coron. If you want a bit of history, Culion is the island for you.
How to Get to the Calamian Islands?
The best way to travel to Palawan is by air. The main gateway to Palawan is the Puerto Princesa International Airport. Major airlines such as Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific have flights that serve the airport from either Manila or Cebu.
Other than the Puerto Princesa International Airport, one other alternate option for flying into Palawan is through Busuanga. The Francisco B. Reyes Airport is the entry point, and from there it is a 40 to 50 minute trip to the main town of Coron.
There is a Superferry boat trip that you can take to Puerto Princesa. What’s nice about this sea voyage is that it stops by Coron before it heads to Puerto Princesa.
How to Enjoy Your Visit
To truly experience the beauty of the Calamianes Group of Islands, days are not enough. Not even a week. However, not everyone can afford the luxury of being away from work for a long time, which is why you stick to desired locations.
Below are some of the best ways to really get to enjoy what these group of islands have to offer:
- Visit the Tubbataha National Marine Park. Keep in mind that this trip is only seasonal as its best to visit when the waves are calmer and the skies are clearer. The diving season is around mid-March to mid-June. And take note that ships meant for diving are booked way in advance.
- Enjoy the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River. This is much more accessible compared to the Tubbataha Reef. This is commonly known as the Undergound River, and is the longest of its kind in the world.
- Take a tour of Puerto Princesa. The town has a lot of things to offer. You can head over to Honda Bay, which is ideal for swimming and island hopping. You can also visit the Iwahig Penal Colony which is more of a farming community than a prison. The Palawan Wildlife Rescue and Conservation Center is another great visit to see some of the species endemic to Palawan. For some native butterflies, head over to the Butterfly Garden.
- Take a trip to Busuanga. Great beaches and awesome landscapes greet you in Busuanga. It’s a great destination for hiking and diving. If you’re a fan of seeing shipwrecks, there’s quite a few underneath Busuanga’s waters. For those who prefer a hike, Mt Tapyas is a great place. For some snorkeling activities, head over to Siete Pecados.
- Head over to Coron Island. Stunning lakes such as Kayangan and the equally beautiful Barracuda Lake are waiting for you.
- Get a feel for wildlife. Head over to Calauit Island to visit the Calauit Game Preserve and Wildlife Sanctuary.
Whether you like wading in the water or doing some leisurely outdoor stuff, the Calamianes Group of Islands has lot of options just for you.