The gateway to Cebu from Palawan is Puerto Princesa. Whether you are starting from El Nido, Port Barton or elsewhere, you will need to get to Puerto Princesa first. The flying distance between Puerto Princesa and Cebu is just under 600 km and flying is the best and practically only way to travel between the two islands.
In theory you can follow the overland/sea route via Pan-Philippine Hwy/AH26 or the Western Nautical Hwy and cover between 1,400 and 1,500 km but there are no direct trips between the two – you will have to use multiple buses and ferries, connecting your trips all by yourself. The whole journey will take from 48 hours up provided you manage to find ideal connections – what is not going to be the case in the real world. Thus we highly recommend to fly between Cebu and Palawan unless you are going to check up other destinations on the Luzon island en route. Flying takes 1 hour 20 minutes only. There are several airlines that can whisk you from Puerto Princesa to Cebu for an average cost of PHP3,500 one way.
Flights from Puerto Princesa to Cebu
Three commercial airlines fly the route between Puerto Princesa and Cebu multiple times a day. You can book one way tickets with Air Asia for as low as PHP1200 while Cebu Pacific's lowest seats can be bought for around PHP1500. If you are on a budget or traveling light, we recommend taking advantage of the relatively affordable airfare of these budget airlines. They offer flexibility by selling fly-only seats that include just the standard 7-kilogram hand-carry luggage. Otherwise, you can purchase add-ons like meals, luggage allowance, insurance and seat selection. These two airlines are also known to regularly offer seat sales so we suggest following their social media accounts.
The country's flag carrier, Philippine Airlines, also serve this route and although they are generally more expensive, it is still possible to book a flight from Puerto Princesa to Cebu for PHP1700-PHP5800. Perks like a light snack, more leg space and more check-in luggage compensate the higher rates. Although not as frequent as the other two, Philippine Airlines also offer promotional seats. Just be on the lookout on their website from time to time or subscribe to email alerts and their social media accounts.
Each of these airlines flies from Puerto to Cebu multiple times a day but the majority of flights are connecting flights with a layover in Manila. Unless you have a good reason to be at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, we suggest you getting on a direct flight. Even if you have a longer layover like 8 hours, the horrendous city traffic will just leave you stranded at the airport.