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Palawan: An Unspoiled Philippine Treasure
Palawan is an island province in the Philippines, formed of a staggering 1,780 islands, islets, coves and beaches. The main island is Palawan, after which the province is named, and is much larger than any of the others. The terrain of Palawan is vast and diverse, with many square kilometres of unspoilt rainforest. The population of Palawan is quite small, which partly accounts for its preservation. Out of the jungle clad foothills rise huge mountain ranges, made the more impressive by their size relative to the surface area of the island. The highest is Mount Matalingahan, which stands at an impressive 2,086 metres tall. The 2,000 kilometres of coastline that Palawan boasts feature many white, sandy beaches and the coastal waters are home to coral reefs that support an incredible array of marine life.
Palawan is one of Asia greatest places for aquatic sports, such as scuba diving and snorkelling. The large areas of jungle also make it a favourite with trekkers, especially those who enjoy a challenging experience. Coron Reefs are located on the island of Busuanga in Northern Palawan, and offer one of the ten best dive experiences in the world, as listed in Forbes Traveller’s magazine. Hidden in the seven lakes, surrounded by limestone cliffs, are the wrecks of twelve Japanese World War II vessels, sunk by the US Navy in 1944. Some of the vessels are practically on the surface, while others lay at a depth of 40 meteres, making the site perfect for beginners and experts alike.
Calauit Game Preserve and Wildlife Sanctuary is the place for nature lovers. It is home to endangered species of African wildlife, as well as threatened species native to Palawan itself. The El Nido Marine Reserve Park performs a similar role in protecting the Philippines’ endangered marine life.
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