Transport in Palawan
Palawan is a long but narrow island in the Philippines and to get to it you could fly from Manila to Puerto Princesa airport or to El Nido airport. These two airports have daily flights from several places in the Philippines as well as Borneo and even Korea. The airports are not very large because Palawan is not a full blown tourist destination but it is slowly but surely becoming more of a place to visit than before.
Once you arrive in the island you will want to travel around and some of the things you should know about Palawan and transport are described in this article.
Palawan used to have roads that were in not very good repair but in recent years the roads have been resurfaced and lots of them are in good shape. The heavy rains during the rainy season erode the roads and they need to be repaired quite frequently. One of the ways to get around in this part of the Philippines is by minivan particularly if you want to go from El Nido to Puerto Princesa or viceversa. In general the southern part of Palawan has better roads than the north. Other options are “jeepneys” which are souped up U.S. army style jeeps. These became popular after WWII when the U.S Army left the Philippines and their jeeps which Filipinos discovered were ideal for their rough terrain. Today jeepneys are based on the old model but are larger and can fit more people in them and they go along set routes dropping people off and picking up other customers and this is the reason they take so long but if you have time and want to have a picturesque experience, then hop onto a jeepney and ride around and see things from the point of view of a regular citizen. If you don´t want to share your ride with strangers, then for a higher price you could rent a private minivan and driver and go wherever you want. This is a good option if you are part of a group because sharing the expense might make it worthwhile.
Palawan is an island in an archipelago and this means that transportation by seacraft is very important. You can travel by boat along the coast and this is for the most part a pleasant and fun way to go to places, it is a little more expensive than buses or jeepneys and there are bangkas (traditional boats) that go from Sabang, El Nido, Coron and Port Barton during the high season and also depending on the weather conditions. It is possible to charter a boat if you want to go to other destinations.
People who want to go on touristic routes and not worry about schedules and where to get on and off might enjoy a bus trip to see the local sights by using the services of a bus tour company called Daytripper which has offices in Puerto Princesa and goes from there to El Nido and back. This is a comfortable way to travel.
If you are staying in one of the places that is a little further away from El Nido or Puerto Princesa, then you might consider renting a 4x4 vehicle because the roads are not very good and this is especially true in the rainy season.
Other ways to travel in town are by trike or if you want to go to places that are further away but still within the island and its surrounding islands, you could catch a flight on any of the 20 seater small aircraft that fly from Busuanga and Coron. The airline that operates these flights is called Zest Airlines.