Thanks to its relative inaccessibility, "magical" and "fascinating" Palawan has preserved its local culture. Its residents appear to be benefitting economically from its nascent tourism industry. Unfortunately, illegal mining, logging, and fishing have all begun to chip away at the island's ecological integrity.
Here is a representative sampling of additional anonymous comments from the panelists. They are not necessarily the views of the National Geographic Society:
"Enchanting compared to Manila. There is a lot to see and do, whether one is interested in flora, fauna, water activities, or ancient history. The locals appeared to participate in the tourism industry, as drivers, guides, restaurant owners, etc."
"Illegal and legal overfishing fishing are taking a heavy toll on the health of the marine ecosystem. Land-based tourism development is overall more positive than negative due to awareness of sustainability principles in places like El Nido and Puerto Princesa."
"Has been impacted by illegal mining, logging, fishing and reef beating. However, the municipality of Puerto Princesa is absolute magic. Tourism is well balanced with the environment. Accommodation ranges from bungalow to 4-star. There are great community-based tourism activities including dolphin watching, mangrove tours, and whale-shark diving."
2014 Traveler Photo Contest
See all the winning images from the 2014 Traveler Photo Contest.