Palawan,officially the Province of Palawan, is an island province of the Philippines that is located in the MIMAROPA region. It is the largest province in the country in terms of total area of jurisdiction. Its capital is Puerto Princesa City, but it is governed independently from the province.
The islands of Palawan stretch from Mindoro in the northeast to Borneo in the southwest. It lies between the South China Sea and the Sulu Sea. The province is named after its largest island, Palawan Island (09°30′N 118°30′E), measuring 450 kilometres (280 mi) long, and 50 kilometres wide Palawan is composed of the long and narrow Palawan Island, plus a number of other smaller islands surrounding the main island. The Calamianes Group of Islands to the Northeast consists of Busuanga Island, Coron Island and Culion Island.
Durangan Island almost touches the westernmost part of Palawan Island, while Balabac Island is located off the southern tip, separated from Borneo by the Balabac Strait. In addition, Palawan covers the Cuyo Islands in the Sulu Sea. The disputed Spratly Islands, located a few hundred kilometres to the west, are considered part of Palawan by the Philippines, and is locally called the “Kalayaan Group of Islands”.
Palawan’s almost 2,000 kilometres (1,200 mi) of irregular coastline are dotted with roughly 1,780 islands and islets, rocky coves, and sugar-white sandy beaches. It also harbors a vast stretch of virgin forests that carpet its chain
of mountain ranges. The mountain heights average 3,500 feet (1,100 m) in altitude, with the highest peak rising to 6,843 feet (2,086 m) at Mount Mantalingahan. The vast mountain areas are the source of valuable timber. The
terrain is a mix of coastal plain, craggy foothills, valley deltas, and heavy forest interspersed with riverine arteries that serve as irrigation.
The crust of northeast Palawan was derived from the Eurasian Plate of mainland China. It is the exposed portion of a microcontinent that drifted southward with the opening of the South China Sea. This microcontinent also forms the shallow water north of Palawan in the Reed Bank-Dangerous Grounds area of the southern South China Sea. Some of the oldest rocks of the Philippines are found in northeast Palawan (Permian-Carboniferous age). Southwest Palawan exposes primarily ophiolitic material (rocks derived from uplifted oceanic crust and mantle). This oceanic material appears to have been thrust upon the continental crust. The transition from “oceanic” ophiolite in the southwest to “continental”-type rocks in the northeast occurs in the area of central Palawan around Ulugan Bay. In the Dalrymple Point area, on the east side of Ulugan Bay,
are several exposures showing that the Palawan ophiolite has been thrust on to the continent-derived clastic rocks (“Sabang thrust”).
Specific rock types in the “continental” northeast, include clastic rocks (sandstones and mudstones). Good exposures of these rocks types can be found on the main road running along the southern coast east of Puerto Princesa all the
way up to Malampaya Sound. These rocks probably formed the continental shelf, rise, slope or even deeper marine deposits on the southeast margin of China prior to the opening of the South China Sea. These rock units were deformed as they collided with the Cagayan arc-subduction zone. They underwent polyphase deformation with observable transposed foliations and at least 3 phases of folding. The rocks are largely metapelites (metamorphic rocks derived from mudstones) and metapsammites (derived from sandstones) metamorphosed at low metamorphic grade where the mudstones have been transformed to slates and phyllites.
The Palawan Trough is an area of deeper water adjacent to the north coast of Palawan in the South China Sea.
Further north, around the Malampaya Sound area and up to the El Nido area, one finds deep marine chert and limestone. Based on the structure of these sedimentary units, it is thought that they formed part of an accretionary prism on the southeast margin of China at a time when that part of China was an Andean-type plate margin (an ocean-continent subduction zone). The chert and limestone were scraped off of an oceanic plate and accreted to the margin of China (again, prior to the opening of the South China Sea). Some of the limestones are also thought to be of olistostromal origin (i.e., they formed in shallow water but were transported to deeper water by submarine slides).