Palawan – The Island Paradise

Few places in the Philippines, indeed in all of Southeast Asia, can compare with Palawan. Throughout the years it has remained consistently one of the top tourist spots in the continent.

Among the numerous attractions of the island, nothing is perhaps nire enthralling than its sheer bio diversity. Not only are there all kinds of creatures in the island, but over 200 of them are unique to it. The pheasant peacock, bearcat and ant eater are just among the species that can only be seen on the island. There are over 500 different types of butterflies in Palawan alone.

Moreover, the flora is just as extensive, with over 1,500 plants and flowers. Unlike in other parts of the country where deforestation is rampant, the forest cover in Palawan is still over 50%, in large part due to conservation efforts on the part of both the local government and its citizens.

There are an endless number of nature spots in Palawan worth checking out, several of which have been designated as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Among the most prominent is the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park. Its most outstanding feature is the river which runs in an underground cave. The river will then go up and converge with the open sea. This connection has made it a natural breeding ground for an entire ecosystem.

The Tubbataha Reef Marine Park is a reserve encompassing the south and north atoll reefs. The coral reef is full of unique and diverse marine life and at the same time the atoll is home to other types of animals including sea turtles.

While tourism plays a vital role in the economy of Palawan, it is not the only source of income of the province. With its well protected environment, it has become a great source of all kinds of fish. Nearly half of the fish supply in Metro Manila stems from Palwan. Another important source of income is logging. However, the continuous replanting in the province ensures that the forests remain strong.

Other vital industries in Palawan include the mining and production of such resources as sugar, coconut, corn and more. These products are shipped throughout the country, providing income for the province.

Equally as diverse are the people and the culture; there are several tribes and minorities that still flourish, including the Batak, Molbog and Palawano groups. Aside from these tribes, there is also a significant Muslim segment in the population and of course, several other peoples from all over the country have made the island province their home.

The mix of peoples in Palawan has resulted in a growing diversity in the religious practices as well. Although the bulk of the population are still Roman Catholics (as is most of the Philippines), there are a growing number of Protestants in the province, including Methodists, Seventh Day Adventists and Mormons. Other Christian sects like the Iglesia ni Cristo and El Shaddai can be found there.

In the southern part are located those who adhere to Islam, and there are also Buddhists in various locations, due mostly to the number of Vietnamese who have settled on the island.

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