Geographical Characteristics


Palawan is situated in the west of the Philippines chain of islands. It reclines between Mindoro Island and North Borneo. It is bounded on the east by the Sulu Sea and on the west of the Philippines chain of islands. It reclines between Mindoro Island and North Borneo. It is bounded on the east by the Sulu Sea and on the west by the South China Sea. The southern tip of the province is only 97 kms. away from Sabah.

The province is isolated from the rest of the country. However, it occupies a strategic location in terms of national security, tourism and trade. As part of the southern backdoor, it can serve as a convenient part of entry for goods and tourists from other Southeast Asian countries. In fact, its domestic airport was now converted into an international airport. Balabac, its southernmost island municipality, is only 60 miles from Sabah or North Borneo, Malaysia.

At present, the province is composed of twenty three (23) municipalities and one city. The smallest municipality is that of Kalayaan created by virtue of PD 1569 dated June 11, 1978. Puerto Princesa City is the capital of Palawan and serves as the chief seaport of the province.


The main island of Palawan is divided into east and west coasts by chain of tall mountains which centrally runs its entire length. Being mainly forest, it is a haven of different kinds of animal species. The mountain ranges average 1,968 meters high with its highest peak, Mt. Montalingahan in the south at 2,074 meters. Except for the wide plain in the north and pockets of big valleys and delta land along the shore down to the south, the west coast is practically devoid of coastal land and consists mainly of craggy foothills and mountains close to the sea. Rivers and streams abound throughout the province, but the most unusual which is now a major tourist attraction, is the seven-kilometer underground river flowing under limestone rocks and emptying into St. Paul Bay.

Land Area

Palawan, the largest province in the country today, has a total land area of 14,896.3 square kilometers (1,489,629 has) representing 4.96 percent of the total land area of Philippine territory. It is composed of 1,768 islands and islets, and is 650 kms. long with a total coastline of 1,959 kilometers. The biggest island is the mainland of Palawan which is 425 kilometers long, 40 kilometers at its widest at Brooke’s Point and 8.5 kilometers at its narrowest at Bahile, Puerto Princesa City.


Palawan has two types of climate. The first type which occurs in the northern and southern extremities and the entire western coast has two distinct seasons- six months dry and six months wet. The other type, which prevails in the east coast, has a short dry season of one to three months and no pronounced rainy period during the rest of the year. The southern part of the province is practically free from typhoons but the northern part has persistent gales and torrential rain during July and August. From April to June, however, the weather is calm on both eastern and western sides of Palawan. It is during these months that sea travel is most favorable.

Socio-Economic Profile and Outlook

Population Size and Density

As of May 2000, Palawan has a total population of 755,412. Its total number of families is 144,874 and the family yearly average of expenditures is P87,035.00. Its annual geometric growth rate is 4.38 percent. Much of the recent rise of the population size is attributable to Puerto Princesa City averaging a yearly growth rate of 5.67 percent. Despite Puerto Princesa’s sharp growth rate, the increase of the provincial population density for the province during the past twenty years was only modest, from 25 persons per square kilometer, to 44 persons per square kilometer, the most sparsely populated among the 73 provinces.

Major Source(s) of Livelihood/Income

Palawan’s economy is basically agricultural, with fishing and mining playing secondary roles. Agriculture, which is 82.11 % of Palaweños main source of income, consists mainly of raising two main products- rice and coconut. Other agricultural products grown are bananas, root crops as camote and cassava, corn, cashew, and vegetables. Poultry and livestock are still inadequate to supply the meat requirement of the populace.

The province contributes 66 % to the total fish production of the country. Fishing is a year-round activity with the biggest catch from January to October.

Known for its rich deposits of minerals, metallic and non-metallic, it has the biggest reserve of Mercury in the Far East. Further, it has 14 colors of marble of which its black marble is comparable to the Italian finest black marble. Palawan is also rich in nickel, copper, manganese, chromites and has a huge deposit of natural gas.

Palawan is also a haven of beautiful tourist spots being the Philippines’ last frontier. Foreigners from different places regularly visits the attractive places of Palawan, one of which is the amazing seven-kilometer underground river located at St. Paul Subterranean Park at Bgy. Cabayugan, Puerto Princesa City

The local cottage industry consists largely of shell craft, woodcraft, brassware and metallic craft, needlecraft, food preservation, mat weaving and basket making.

Manufacturing establishments found in the province are small industries like bakeries, lumber mills and shops that turn out hollow blocks, charcoal, rattan, shell craft, salt, vinegar, furniture, kasoy, wine, etc.

Its service establishments range from services on communication, recreation, legal, medical, tailoring and dress shops, beauty parlors, barbershops, repair shops, gasoline service stations, restaurants, and hotels.

Labor force comprises 61.05 % ages from 15 years and above. The remaining is employed either in service (23.47 %) or in industry (6.57%).

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