Location and Boundaries

Palawan is a long and narrow island lying southwest and west of the main group of Philippine islands. It is bounded by the South China Sea to the northwest and by the Sulu Sea to the south. To the south is the island of Borneo and further west is the socialist Republic of Vietnam. It forms a link 7◦ 47’ and 12◦22’ north latitude and 117◦00 and 119◦51’ east latitude. The border municipalities are nearer and more accessible to other provinces in the country than its capital, the city of Puerto Princesa.


Land Area and Land Forms

The whole archipelago of Palawan composed of 1,769 islands and islets with a total coastline of 1,959 kilometers has a land area of approximately 17,030 square kilometers. Its entire length from the municipalities of Busuanga to Balabac is 650 kilometers. The main island has a length of 425 kilometers and a width of 40 kilometers at its widest point around Brooke’s Point, and is narrowest at 8.5 kilometers in Bahile, Puerto Princesa City.

The whole archipelago of Palawan composed of 1,769 islands and islets with a total coastline of 1,959 kilometers has a land area of approximately 17,030 square kilometers. Its entire length from the municipalities of Busuanga to Balabac is 650 kilometers. The main island has a length of 425 kilometers and a width of 40 kilometers at its widest point around Brooke’s Point, and is narrowest at 8.5 kilometers in Bahile, Puerto Princesa City.

The municipality of San Vicente has the largest land area (146,294 hectares) occupying approximately 10 percent of the provincial total land area while the municipality of Kalayaan has the smallest with 2,500 hectares.

The whole province of Palawan is divided into broad landforms based on relief structures namely coastal, alluvial plains, terraces, plateau, hills, mountains, and miscellaneous landforms. Each landform is further partitioned into several subdivisions based on the parent material underlying them.

Palawan is subdivided into 3 congressional districts. Administratively, the province is subdivided into 23 municipalities, 1 independent city and 432 barangays. Eleven municipalities are located in the mainland, the other 12 are island municipalities, accessible by motorized bancas and launches plying between the municipalities and the city of Puerto Princesa. The provincial capital, Puerto Princesa City is the chief seaport and airport is the center of trade, commerce and education.

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Topography

The Province of Palawan exhibits a wide range of topography. It is mountainous and hilly throughout the entire length of the central axis of the main island particularly on the northwestern coast. Narrow strips of coastal plains are mostly found along the southeastern coast. The most level areas are found particularly between Malampaya Sound and Taytay, and on the southern tip of Palawan.

The average elevation of the mountain ranges is approximately 1,100 meters. Mt. Mantalingahan has the highest elevation of 2,086 meters followed by Mt. Cantung with 1,788 and Cleopatra’s Needle with 1,585 meters.

Palawan shoreline is characteristically fringed with coral reefs. The continental shelf, an extension from Borneo known as the Sunda Shelf, broadens from north to south leaving a narrow entry channel at Puerto Princesa. The northwestern coastline contains many coral reefs which make inshore navigation hazardous. The bays and harbors of the southeast coast are land-locked, hence well protected from storms and also from currents by shallow corals reefs lying further off shore.

Climate and Rainfall

Palawan’s northern and southern extremities; along with its northwestern coast, has a wet season for six months and dry season for the rest of the year (Type I Climate). The other areas in the province has a dry season which ranges from one to three months with no pronounced wet season for the rest of the year (Type III Climate).

The southwest monsoon brings more rains to the west coast than it does to the east. The northern and southern extremities and the western portion of the province including the island of Culion, Cuyo, Coron and Linapacan receive an annual rainfall of 2,920 millimeters while the eastern region from Puerto Princesa to Brooke’s Point has only 1,672 millimeters rainfall annually.

The southern part of Palawan is practically free from typhoons while the northern part experiences persistent gales torrential rains especially during the months of July and August. The weather is most favorable for coastal navigation from April to June on both the northeastern and southwestern sides. Palawan is relatively dry, especially from December through April. The temperature is fairly uniform for the whole province. The mean annual average temperature is 26.67’C. The warmest months are March, April and May with an average 27.5’C. The coolest are December, January and February with an average of 25.72’C.

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