Category Archives: Tourism

Summer 2018: Why this El Nido property doesn’t use straws, cups

The white sand beach of the Lio Beach tourism estate in El Nido

EL NIDO — Ayala Land’s Lio Beach tourism estate in El Nido, Palawan kicked off summer in grand fashion.

A one-day beach festival was held, with several activities headlining the celebration like a food and local products market, big board games on the beach, and interactive wildlife storytelling, among others. The festival ended with a free concert featuring local Palawan artists and UDD, formerly known as Up Dharma Down.

The celebration can be compared to beach festivals and concerts in Boracay, but Lio Beach is far from the current state of the troubled island paradise.

Boracay can actually learn a thing or two from Lio Beach about responsible and sustainable tourism.

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Boost in Puerto Princesa tourism seen as Boracay faces closure

‘The CAAP confirmed to us that starting April 25, we will be having another 10 redirected flights from Kalibo every week,’ says Michie Meneses of the City Tourism Office

NATURAL BEAUTY. The Puerto Princesa Underground River is among the 7 New Wonders of the World. Photo from PPUR Management Office

PUERTO PRINCESA, Philippines – The city government is anticipating a boost in tourist arrivals in Puerto Princesa City with the impending closure of Boracay starting April 26.

Michie Meneses, City Tourism Office (CTO) promotion and marketing division chief, said they are expecting the city’s current average of 85,000 monthly visitors to double in numbers starting last week of this month.

“The CAAP (Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines) confirmed to us that starting April 25, we will be having another 10 redirected flights from Kalibo every week,” she said.

The tourism industry in Puerto Princesa City sees Boracay’s impending closure as an opportunity to showcase the city’s community-based sustainable tourism (CBST) sites, along with its flagship tourist destinations Puerto Princesa Underground River and Honda Bay.

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The search for the next Boracay: San Vicente, Palawan

San Vicente, a first-class municipality located on the northwestern side of the main island of the province of Palawan, is home to the longest white sand beach in the Philippines, roughly three times the length of Boracay’s famed White Beach.

San Vicente’s 14.7-kilometer beachfront, popularly called Long Beach, is being converted into an emerging tourist destination. It has two rocky cliffs interrupting the coastline and dividing the area into three distinct coves.

Long Beach spans the coastline of four barangays — Poblacion, New Agutaya, San Isidro and Alimanguan — and has still few commercial developments. Meanwhile, the area of Port Barton, a small fishing village located in one of the sheltered bays of San Vicente, offers more options for tourists in terms of accommodations, dining options and accessibility.

The famed 14.7-kilometer Long Beach in San Vicente, Palawan. Kara Santos, ABS-CBN News

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Lio has it all for millennials: Beach, boutique hotels & an artisan village

With its young, fun, stylish party vibe, the town of Lio in Palawan is like Boracay if Bora had followed all the laws of conservancy and protected the environment instead of succumbing to rampant commercialism.

As it stands, Lio is a model of what a resort village should and could be: a mixed-used development built around a long stretch of blue-water beach with B&Bs, low-rise boutique hotels that are no taller than the coconut trees, a strip of restaurants and shops, and an artisan village that showcases Palawan’s arts and crafts.

On our way home from Apulit, we visited this artist’s village first. Kalye Artisano is the pet project of Bea Zobel Jr., who brought local artists together to form this collective of six stores that feature products from all over the Philippines.

“We have Art on the Move, a gallery with El Nido-based artists,” notes Rambie Lim, Kalye Artisano’s development maven. “Jojo Asiano works with indigenous artists all over Palawan.”

Kalye Artisano is the pet project of Bea Zobel Jr. and her daughter Paloma.

She says Palawan artists specialize in basketry, as well as handcrafting natural materials into bags, fans, home decor and bamboo drinking straws.

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Groups ink deal with government for El Nido’s ‘sustainability’

PROMISING to work together toward the sustainability of El Nido, Palawan, groups recently signed an agreement with government agencies to protect and strengthen the natural resources of the booming tourist destination.

“It is refreshing to see this level of commitment for the protection of our environment coming from our stakeholders,” Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Roy A. Cimatu was quoted in a statement as saying.

Cimatu issued his statement after ordering a crackdown in tourism areas, particularly beach resorts, to prevent another “Boracay.”

The world-renowned Boracay, an island paradise in Malay, Aklan, is besieged by environmental problems.

President Duterte is set to decide whether to shut down Boracay for six months as recommended by Task Force Boracay led by Cimatu.

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El Nido’s tourist boom in the eyes of locals

MANILA, Philippines, March 26, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — In 2017, readers of luxury and lifestyle travel magazine Conde Nast Traveler ranked Palawan’s El Nido as the world’s fourth most beautiful island beach. While El Nido is home to nearly 50 white sand beaches set around majestic limestone formations, it used to be a fifth-class municipality without a hospital and sufficient power and water systems.

Most of the locals used to make a living through birds’ nest gathering, fishing, and cashew farming, which were not enough for them to make ends meet. In 1992, the opening of Ten Knots Development Corporation (TKDC) created opportunities to build on the skills and provide livelihood for El Nido’s communities. Now that El Nido is a first-class municipality and a booming tourist destination, most residents are part of the tourism supply chain that TKDC helped put in place.

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Summer 2018: Asia’s biggest inflatable playground is in Palawan

Kamia Bay Resort drone shot.(Photo Courtesy of Aloha Palawan)

PUERTO PRINCESA — Looking for something new to do in Puerto Princesa, Palawan?

If you’ve already visited the famed Underground River, gone island-hopping around Honda Bay, and done a city tour of heritage sights, you might want to head over to Kamia Bay Resort to get a thrill at the newest and biggest inflatable playground in Asia.

Just 30 to 45 minutes away from the city center, Kamia Bay Resort in Binusalian Bay at Barangay Luzviminda offers an exciting new attraction for friends and family.

Be one of the first to enjoy the giant fun and enjoyment in the largest aqua-adventure inflatable playground as well as premier water sports like kayaking and jetski tours in one of the world’s best islands. The area covers 3,800 square meters of play area near the waterfront that is available exclusively for day tours.

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Nature-rich getaway at Princesa Garden Island

AN upscale, 4-hectare resort that cares for the environment, Princesa Garden Island Resort and Spa, which is approximately five minutes away from the Puerto Princesa Airport in the heart of Puerto Princesa City, Palawan, isn’t just close to nature but it practically blends into the picturesque scenery.

Being part of nature makes it much easier to care for its surroundings. The 1,640-square-meter chlorine-free pool, for instance, uses nothing but natural sea-salt water. The resort also has its own water-treatment and desalinization facility, ensuring only the cleanest water is used. And solar panels provide ample heating.

Blending with nature makes it a cinch for guests to escape completely from the outside world. Sure, the resort has a host of Water Villas and Pool Access rooms that are larger than your average hotel room, complete with modern conveniences like Wi-fi and the like. Yet, guests can still get away from the hustle and bustle by engaging in the various relaxing and invigorating activities that cater to every member of the family.

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Passage to Palawan

A motorised bangka in Palawan’s coral-filled Miniloc Island lagoon.

A wall of cloud the same shade as The Philippines’ beloved purple yams looms in front of our motorised bangka, or double outrigger canoe. It is, quite literally, a dark and stormy night.

The tipping point of the eminent deluge is nigh but sunshine is incongruously enveloping our boat, so I wave away the heavy-duty yellow ponchos being dispatched to passengers. For what’s a bit of water when you’re motoring towards paradise?

Lagen Island, a 45-minute bangka ride from tiny Lio airport, is tucked within Bacuit Bay in northern Palawan, an island that droops like a long strip of coconut nearly all the way to Borneo. There’s nothing between Palawan and Vietnam except a whole lot of South China Sea and the low-lying Spratly Islands, snagged in an ongoing territorial dispute.

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350-year-old Spanish fort in Palawan to undergo restoration

Also known as Fuerza de Sta Isabel, the historic Taytay fort was originally built as a wooden palisade in 1667 under the Augustinian Recollect Fathers and named in honor of Spain’s Queen Isabel II.

HISTORICAL LANDMARK. Fort Santa Isabel in Taytay town in northern Palawan. Photo courtesy of Joie Matillano/LGU Taytay

PUERTO PRINCESA, Philippines – Fort Santa Isabel, a historical landmark in Taytay town in northern Palawan, will undergo restoration starting next month in a bid to preserve and promote the province’s rich heritage.

Town tourism officer Joie Matillano said the restoration of the over 350-year old fort is one of the priority projects of the municipal government to reinvigorate the Taytay’s tourism industry.

“Through this effort, we will be able to maintain the town’s heritage and cultural pride,” he told Rappler in a phone interview on Thursday, February 8.

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Feature: Planning for your summer get-away? Palawan is the ultimate place to go

Kayangan Lake found in Coron, Palawan (Photo by Victoria Mendoza/PIA-MIMAROPA)

Looking for your summer getaway this year? Maybe 2018 is the best time to take a dive in Palawan.

Vacationers who read the New York-based Travel+Leisure Magazine raved about Palawan’s natural gems midway through 2017.

Gathering a score of 93.15 at Travel+Leisure World Best Survey last year, writer Rebecca Ashcer -Walsh reported readers have been describing Palawan as ‘”rustic, romantic, affordable, and relaxing” and “It’s the single, most beautiful place on earth.”

Nobody says it better than third party commentaries.

“For the second year in a row, the Philippine paradise Palawan wins first place as the best island in the world, thanks to its hidden lagoons, teeming ocean life, and rustic-luxe resorts,” said Ascher-Walsh in her article on Travel+ Leisure mag.

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PAL to service Xiamen-Palawan route

The Department of Tourism was expecting more Chinese tourists in Palawan with the launching of the first direct charter flight from Xiamen to Puerto Princesa City staring next month.

The Xiamen-Puerto Princesa route would be launched on Feb. 10 in partnership with Philippine Airlines (PAL).

Regular flights would start on Feb. 14 and 18. PAL would deploy Airbus A320 jets for the charter flights. —Jerome Aning

The two Two Seasons in Coron, Palawan

PALAWAN. Chitchat and saltwater therapy until sunset was the most memorable experience at the Two Seasons Resort in the far off Bulalacao Island in Coron.

WHEN our host said we were staying at the Two Seasons resorts in Palawan, a night by bay in Coron town and next three nights in the island resort in Bulalacao Island, we were all excited. Our first time in Coron and it was going to be a fancy trip to kick off the year for all of us.

The only thing I’m familiar with the resort is the Boracay property. No, I haven’t had the chance to stay in the beach resort but it’s a regular sunset hangout whenever I make it to the island. What draws my island clique to the place is the Four Seasons Pizza. Yes, a pizza and I will get another bite of it in Coron this time.

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Rebranding our paradise: Puerto Princesa

ppcPINK. Red and white make up its characteristics: passion and energy, peace and purity. The mixture gives a color commonly associated with romance. Albeit also associated with femininity, it has a deeper meaning: love, caring and understanding humanity.

Pink also makes one an intuitive person. Pink also connotes conforming to social norms is less of a concern to someone.

Pink is also Puerto Princesa, Palawan.

The pink color of the exuberantly beautiful Palawan balayong tree flower, commonly referred to as the Palawan Cherry Blossom, is now the symbol of Puerto Princesa. The balayong tree will bloom all year round, accentuating another city symbol that has graced its seal for many years, the regal Pheasant Peacock, locally known as tandikan. Continue reading

Sabah’s tourism set for boost with Kudat-Palawan ferry service

Sabah Tourism Board chairman Joniston Bangkuai is optimistic the route will thrive because it is supported by the existing trade between the island and Kudat.

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah’s tourism industry is set for a big boost with the launching of the roll-on roll-off ferry service between Kudat and Palawan in the Philippines next month, says Joniston Bangkuai.
The Sabah Tourism Board chairman told FMT that Palawan Island is well-known for its thriving tourism industry and the connectivity will especially be welcomed in northern Sabah.
“However, tourists landing in Kudat might also include the rest of Sabah in their travel itinerary,” he said.
Currently, he said, Kudat is already a tourist destination in its own right with ample accommodation, and tourist and transportation services. Continue reading

Palawan waters among world’s bluest

MANILA, Philippines — Palawan was named among 13 places to see the bluest water in the world by international travel magazine Travel+Leisure.

“The sparsely-populated archipelago is made up of jungle-filled islands surrounded by stunning teal waters teeming with fish and coral reefs and an incredible array of lagoons, coves and secret beaches,” Travel+Leisure said.

Travel+Leisure cited El Nido and Linapacan as places people should visit when they are in Palawan. Continue reading

PHL Tourism: Looking At Brighter Side

Are you a tourism ambassador or heckler? Come join the growing number of citizens pushing the Philippine tourism bandwagon to the world. We are all in it together and when we really want something done, something happens—change.

The latest change we heard this week was a breath of fresh air. After almost six years of being named one of the “worst airports” in the world, the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia) has finally lost its unpalatable tag.

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Boracay, Cebu, Palawan top list of best islands outside US

Image result for Boracay, Cebu, Palawan top list of best islands outside USBoracay, Cebu and Palawan have topped a travel magazine’s 2017 list of 30 best islands in the world outside of the United States.

Conde Nast Traveler (CNT), a luxury and lifestyle travel magazine based in New York, released the list on  Tuesday, following a survey conducted among more than 300,000 readers.

The three Philippine islands ranked higher than other world-famous islands such as Mykonos, Greece; Bali, Indonesia; Bermuda; St. Barts; Ibiza, Spain;  Capri, Italy; and Bora Bora, French Polynesia. Continue reading

“Best Island in the World” adds a spectacular race to the GSS!

Crystal clear water in amazing shades of blue, secret beaches with powder white sand, hidden lagoons surrounded by lush limestone cliffs and snorkeling sites teeming with tropical fish and other marine life, these are just some of the reasons why Palawan has been named the “Best Island in the World” by Travel + Leisure and Condé Nast for two years in a row. The Swimjunkie Challenge El Nido offers you the choice of a 4km or 8km swim in the turquoise waters of El Nido assisted by the Philippine Coast Guard and over 150 volunteers to ensure that you have an incredible and safe race experience.  Continue reading

Boracay, Cebu, Palawan top world’s best islands list in 2017

Image result for Boracay, Cebu, Palawan top world’s best islands list in 2017Boracay once again topped the list of the best islands in the world by the readers of an international travel magazine, and directly behind it are the Cebu and Visayan Islands and Palawan, also popular tourist spots.

The results of the Condé Nast Traveler’s Readers’ Choice Awards survey for the year revealed the small island off Panay Island, known for its white-sand beach and “thriving nightlife scene,” won the fancy of most of the more than 300,000 readers who sent in their votes. Continue reading

Russian envoy wants to promote Coron as tourist destination

Image result for Russian envoy wants to promote Coron as tourist destinationPUERTO PRINCESA CITY, Palawan — Russian Ambassador to the Philippines Igor Khovaev wants to promote the town among his compatriots as a tourism destination.

Khovaev, who arrived Tuesday in the municipality for a three-day cultural and language training-seminar about his country, was accompanied by consuls Denis Karenin and Carmi Garcia, and Department of Tourism (DOT) representatives Gloria Punzalan and Zenaida Potapurchenco, said Coron administrator Jonathan Dabuit. Continue reading

Beach party lovers brave stormy weather for first Oktoberfest in El Nido

EL NIDO – A stormy night didn’t stop the party by the beach at the Lio Tourism Estate in this Palawan town Saturday, as locals and foreigners alike braved the rain for beer and good vibes in the first Oktoberfest celebration here.

The El Nido beer fest took a departure from the usual loud Manila Oktoberfest parties as it sought to give the over 300 guests that night the perfect beach-side vibe.

The 2017 Oktoberfest here featured acoustic performances from Sud Ballecer, frontman of rock/jazz fusion band SUD; and El Nido’s local artist Lyka. Flair bartending duo Liquid Concepts also lit up the night with their performances.  Continue reading

Why Coron is the next big thing in Philippine travel

Coron Island Cove viewed from a ridge, often seen in postcards and travel magazines. LOUISE SANTIANO

“Visit Coron, Palawan—
where nature’s the best!
Mga luto na matitikman
pasado sa inyong digest;
mga isla na mapupuntahan
susulit sa inyong budget;
mga views na naggagandahan
sakto sa inyong gadgets…”

You probably must have heard that song rendered in a folksy beat on a popular travel show on TV.

The singer-composer himself, Jonel Vergara, guided us on a tour of Coron recently, and for two days let us experience every activity and scenery enumerated in the song—from watching the sunset on the peak of Mt. Tapyas to eating cashew nuts on the roadside. Continue reading

Cable car in Palawan’s Underground River? No, thanks – management

NATURAL WONDER. The Puerto Princesa Underground River. Photo by Mara Cepeda/Rappler

PUERTO PRINCESA, Philippines – A cable car facility within the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park? It’s unlikely.

Park Superintendent Elizabeth Maclang said the management is not keen on the proposed facility and other similar attractions for tourists visiting the Puerto Princesa Underground River (PPUR), as suggested by the city government’s planning consultant, Palafox Associates.

Maclang said while they will consider the reasons raised by Palafox for the project, it will be “subject to approval” of the Protected Area Management Board (PAMB). Continue reading

Solon urges Duterte to renew BIMP-EAGA travel tax waiver

Image result for Solon urges Duterte to renew BIMP-EAGA travel tax waiverA lawmaker is to revive an old policy that waives travel taxes for anyone passing through Mindanao and Palawan ports to arrive at destinations within a Southeast Asian subregional economic bloc.

Davao del Sur Representative Mercedes Cagas filed House Resolution 1270 on September 4, urging President Rodrigo Duterte to renew the travel tax exemption policy that covers passengers arriving from the said ports to any destination in the Brunei Darussalam-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East ASEAN Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA). Continue reading