My country is an archipelago of 7,107 islands brimming with wondrous natural treasures and beauties – both in nature and in the people. Among many other things, white sand beaches, beautiful jagged mountains and amazing scuba diving locations can be found there. Unfortunately, some islands are overdeveloped and others overrun by tourist and entrepreneurs, but many remained unspoiled.
One island that is considered a last frontier in the Philippines is Palawan. It is a hidden piece of paradise that was recently named 2014’s “Top Island in the World” by Conde Nast Traveler’s Reader’s Choice Awards. A recent article by Huffington Post Travel accompanied by stunning photos also dubbed Palawan The Most Beautiful Island in the World. We had to make this our new island to check out on our recent trip to the Philippines.
Accolades like these make me proud and motivated us to experience the island – if not all of it then at least a slice of paradise. To get there we left my mom’s house and drove the three hours from Moalboal to Cebu City, where we caught the hour and fifteen minute flight to Puerto Princesa, the capital of Palawan island.
But we weren’t there yet! From the Puerto Princesa airport we had to endure another two-hour van ride that hauled us over the narrow, twisty and hilly road to the Daluyon Beach and Mountain Resort in Sabang. At least the concrete road was in good condition!
The drive there was long but very scenic. Our driver pointed out several places to check out if we had time, including Honda Bay for island hopping and snorkeling, and Ugong Rock for rock climbing. We stopped for a few minutes at a large karst mountain range, where if you are imaginative you can make out the “elephant cave” hovering over the small nipa huts.
Can you see it in this closeup?
This unspoiled rock formation is immense, and within the range are numerous caves and narrow passageways carved out of the limestone. A trail here can be followed by folks who sign up for the Ugong Rock Adventure. We intended to take it, but many of the excursions here were far from our resort and involved long drives – which we just weren’t up for at the time 😦
For those not familiar with “karst”, I should explain. Karst refers to water-soluble rock, including limestone, that can be dissolved by acidic water to form many different topographies, including interesting caves, outcroppings or even entire mountain ranges. In combination with other types of rock, the resulting formations and features can take on amazing complexity and beauty.
Our driver took a picture as we posed for a few minutes to soak in the sweeping, serene, pastoral panorama.
After a long travel day we finally arrived at our fabulous room with a beach view, where we holed up for the next 5 nights. If you plan to come to this part of the island, we cannot recommend this resort enough. Although there are other places to eat that we enjoyed a lot, these rooms facing the beach are by far the best on Sabang Beach. That said, this is a very big island and there are many other areas that we did not see during our stay.
Our mornings and evenings were spent walking up and down this white sand beach surrounded by the St. Paul karst mountain range. Unfortunately, due to high waves this time of the year, the warning flags were up and we were forbidden to swim in the ocean. The lifeguard told us the waves are this high during the months of October to December. The best time to enjoy calm waters is in the summer, but be prepared for huge crowds and very hot weather!
And so our exploration of the beautiful island had begun. Within hiking (they call it “trekking” here) distance of our resort was an underground river in the heart of the karts mountain ranges a UNESCO World Heritage Site which put us in awe. But more on that and our other Palawan adventures when we come back after the holidays….
Beautiful island indeed. I’m so glad you guys had a wonderful visit. Let the birding on Mustang Island continue 🙂
What a gorgeous island! I would say you two had a little second honeymoon:) Steve sure looks relaxed with that amazing view. Looking forward to seeing more of the island.
Merry Christmas to you and Steve!
What a beautiful island, looks like a great place to relax. See you at the Christmas Eve party.
Looks like a wonderful vacation within a vacation!
I can hardly wait…I have enjoyed your posts about your home country so much! It’s no surprise to see why Palawan Island is the most beautiful island in the world!
Merry Christmas to you and Steve.
ML, thanks for taking us to the most beautiful island in the world! That resort looks like the perfect place to relax and soak in the beauty. I’m looking forward to your adventures on Palawan. Until then, we wish you and Steve a Merry Christmas and all of the blessings of the holiday season! Laurel & Eric
What a beautiful place! Merry Christmas to you and Steve. May 2015 be full of good things for you both!
Beautiful header photo.
One word for where you are….Gorgeous! Merry Christmas to you both.
What a very beautiful place, Mona! The beach really looks like paradise. Have a wonderful festive season, and I look forward to more of your adventures next year. 🙂 xx
Your pictures of this gorgeous place are wonderful. I can sure see why it is called the Most beautiful Island in the world. Sure hope its fame doesn’t ruin it. That picture of Steve with his feet up looks perfect. Not sure I’ve ever seen a better place to relax. It must have been very hard to leave and come back. I am so enjoying your posts from your homeland.
Beautiful photos! Keep posting them. Have a wonderful Christmas!
Merry Christmas Marcy, and keep in touch! ~Steve
This does look like a very special place to visit. You have taken us on so many beautiful places this year MonaLiza. I am grateful to be along on this exciting ride. Merry Christmas to you and Steve!
Wish we were there! Although St Augustine in Florida ain’t half bad either. Hope Christmas was Merry and New Years will be too.
A fabulous view… a fabulous island… and a fabulous couple! Happy New Year!
I can’t wait to hear the “rest of the story”… beautiful photos of a fabulous, unspoiled area of the world. One that I have never had a “window” to view it from. Thanks and hope your holidays are wonderful. Don’t forget the suntan lotion you guys!!
Now that it is known around the world,i bet the influx of tourist will be heading that way. It was a beautiful island.
My thoughts exactly… Recognition and news about the island may not be good for it’s continued serenity and beauty.
Weee! It’s like you already took us there with you. Love the sceneries. Nice previews, esp. without the crowd. I love the gruelling transportation to tourist destinations being part of the experience. 😉
Steve enjoyed our long long trip as we were on country roads with beautiful sceneries.
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