The first inhabitants of Palawan were migrants who arrived over a former land bridge that connected the island to nearby Borneo. These ethnic Malayans traded heavily with Chinese merchants, as shown by recent archaeological excavations revealing Chinese pottery and similar artifacts on Palawan.

The Calamianes Islands, in the northernmost region of modern-day Palawan, were the first to succumb to Spanish colonial rule. Early waves of Jesuit missionaries encountered heavy resistance from the local indigenous culture. However, by the 1700s, Spanish fortified churches served many colonial outposts both as a base from which to preach locals and as a refuge of defence against sporadic raids by local tribes.

In 1749, a significant portion of local Palawan Island was given to the Spanish crown by the Sultanate of Borneo. At this point, Spanish rule in the region was well established, and Palawan with its surrounding islands was subdivided into three colonial provinces: Asturias, Castilla and Balabac Island.

Today, Palawan has earned a reputation as a Filipino ‘frontier state’, with two UNESCO World Heritage sites and miles of pristine coastline backed by largely untouched forests. The lack of logging here in Palawan has preserved much of what has been lost on other islands in the archipelago, making this an ideal destination for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers.

Location,Geography and Climate

Total Land Area: 1,789,655 hectares
Alienable and Disposable Land Area: 447,776 hectares
Total Forest Land: 1,041,850 hectares


Demography (2010)

Population:  771,667

Density (persons per sq. km.):  53

Annual Growth Rate (2000-2010):  4.65

Average Household Size:  4.7


Vital Statistics

Births (2004):  12,115

Marriages (2004):  5,433

Deaths (2004):  2,283

Crude Birth Rate (per 1,000 pop’n, 2010-2015):  31.9

Crude Death Rate (per 1,000 pop’n, 2010-2015):  5.5


Crime (2012)

Crime Volume:  514

Crime Cleared:  195

Crime Solved:  119

Average Monthly Crime Rate:  5.71


Price Indices (2012)

Consumer Price Index:  137.5

Inflation Rate:  3.9

Purchasing Power of Peso:  0.73


Family Income and Expenditure (2009)

Average Annual Family Income:  132,640

Average Annual Family Expenditure:  112,822


Poverty (2009)

Annual Per Capita Poverty Threshold (in PhP):  14,038

Poverty Incidence Among Families (in Percent):  24.0

Magnitude of Poor Families:  46,045

Annual Per Capita Food Threshold (in PhP):  9,784

Subsistence Incidence Among Population (in Percent):  13.2

Magnitude of Subsistence Poor Population:  122,749