Palawan is a beautiful tropical island in the South-Western extreme of the Philippine archipelago. Representing the biggest province in the Philippines, the island is home to around 800,000 people, and has 6 indigenous minority groups – the Batak, Molbog, Palawano, Tagbanwa, Taaw’t Bato and Kagayanen. Most of the inhabitants of Palawan speak Tagalog, although the island's historic dialect is Cuyunon, still spoken by 40% of the population, mostly the older generation
Palawan’s capital is Puerto Princesa, a fast developing eco-tourism destination, in sharp contrast with it's rural, undeveloped coastal and mountain hinterland. The main industries contributing to Palawan’s economy are agriculture, tourism, fishing and mining, particularly for iron ore. Blessed with extraordinary natural beauty, Palawan is becoming increasingly popular as a holiday destination. The Underground River at Sabang was named one of the New Seven Wonders of Nature in 2011, and the stunning scenery of El Nido in the far north of the island was featured at the climax of the 2012 film The Bourne Legacy.
Palawan is long and narrow, meaning that one is never far from the sea, which forms a huge part of life here. The island has a backbone of rugged, forested mountains giving habitat to a fascinating array of endemic creatures from the Bearcat to the mouse-deer (Chevrotain), the Palawan peacock to the Scaley anteater. Palawan’s vegetation is lush and tropical, and the weather for most of the year is generally warm with frequent rain. “Hot and dry” season spans from March-May, June-August are usually “hot and wet”, September-November tend to accommodate monsoon season, when typhoons are most common, and December-February is normally “cool and dry” season. It never gets very cold, admittedly, but December and January are often chilly for those who have adjusted to tropical climes. Despite having a rich endowment of natural resources, as many as 50% of the population may be classified as Impoverished according to the accepted criteria relating to income versus costs of education, healthcare and an adequate diet.