There are currently two ways to travel directly from Manila to Palawan. Getting there by air is clearly the quickest and the most convenient option. There are several airlines with daily flights and the airfare isn't too bad especially if you plan accordingly and book early.
The second option is to make the journey by boat but it can be a real white-knuckle experience and is not the most budget-friendly option either.
Palawan is geographically located approximately 795 kilometres from Manila. If you decide to go there by air, it should take you only around 1 hour 15 minutes. In comparison, making the trip by sea would take more or less 30 hours.
When it comes to cost, flying offers a wide range of options. You can fly from Manila to Palawan for as low as PHP1,900. If you decide to travel by boat, you can expect to spend from a minimum of PHP1,200 to about PHP6,500.
The three main entry points in Palawan are Puerto Princesa, El Nido, and Busuanga (Coron). Once you've reached any of these points, you can access other places of interest such as Taytay, Port Barton, Roxas, and Brooke's Point by land.
Ferry from Manila to Palawan
Depending on the type of the cabin you choose, set a budget of PHP1,200 upwards to PHP6,500 if you choose to travel by sea from Manila to Palawan.
Making your way to Palawan from Manila by boat can last up to 30 hours so it's definitely not for the faint-hearted. Bear in mind too that this route is considered to be one of the most treacherous in the country so it's important to choose a reputable company. If you are keen to travel this way, however, we recommend choosing 2Go vessels. They have several schedules weekly. St. Augustine of Hippo leaves Manila for Puerto Princesa and Coron every Tuesday and Friday at 1.30 pm.
Note! 2GO sails from Manila to Puerto Princesa on TUESDAY and FRIDAY.
Most 2Go vessels have more or less the same facilities and amenities. There's a onboard cafe, a lounge area, convenience store, spa, karaoke, salon, and even charging stations for your gadgets. Types of cabins may vary from the cheapest ones which are in fact large air-conditioned or non air-conditioned spaces with bunk beds to a more private cabin class. The most luxurious room would be the state and suite rooms that boast hotel-like facilities. Note that certain tickets – the cheapest ones – do not include blankets. It is possible to rent blankets on the spot but better bring your own. Don't forget to stock up on meds to combat seasickness.
Flights from Manila to Palawan
Flying from Manila to Palawan gives you a plethora of options. Economy seats will cost around PHP1,900 while a more premium seat can set you back an estimate of PHP6,000. You can also get on a seaplane and spend anywhere between PHP10,000 and PHP15,000 one way.
There are several airlines that fly to Palawan from Manila.
Air Asia, Philippine Airlines, and Cebu Pacific have daily flights to Puerto Princesa.
With the exception of Air Asia, the other two airlines also serve the Manila to Busuanga (Coron) route.
If you wish to travel straight to an island resort, you can board a seaplane and depart from Manila Bay to either El Rio Y Mar and Two Seasons Island Resort in Coron. AirSwift also makes it possible to head straight to El Nido from Manila.
On the average, you can expect flight time between Manila to major entry points in Palawan such as Puerto Princesa, Busuanga, and El Nido to be approximately 1 hour 15 minutes.