Division of Palawan
Palawan is an island province of the Philippines located in the MIMAROPA region. Its capital is Puerto Princesa City, and it is the largest province in the country in terms of total area of jurisdiction. 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, measuring 450 kilometers (280 mi) long, and 50 kilometers (31 mi) 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 northwest consists of Busuanga Island, Culion Island, and Coron 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 kilometers to the west is considered part of Palawan by the Philippines, and is locally called the Kalayaan Group of Islands.
Palawan's almost 2,000 kilometers (1,200 mi) of irregular coastline are dotted with 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 Matalingahan. 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 history of Palawan may be traced back 22,000 years ago, as confirmed by the discovery of bone fragments of the Tabon Man in the municipality of Quezon. Although the origin of the cave dwellers is not yet established, anthropologists believe they came from Borneo. Known as the Cradle of Philippine Civilization, the Tabon Caves consist of a series of chambers where scholars and anthropologists discovered the remains of the Tabon Man along with his tools and a number of artifacts.
Because of Palawan's proximity to Borneo, southern portions of the island was under the control of the Sultanate of Borneo for more than two centuries, and Islam was introduced. During the same period, trade relations flourished, and intermarriages among the natives and the Chinese, Japanese, Arab, Hindu. The inter-mixing of blood resulted to a distinct breed of Palaweños, both in physical stature and features.
After Ferdinand Magellan's death, remnant of his fleet landed in Palawan where the bounty of the land saved them from starvation. Antonio Pigafetta, Magellan's chronicler named the place "Land of Promise."
The first ever recorded act of piracy in the Philippines happened in Palawan when Chief Tuan Mohamad and his staff were captured aboard their vessel and taken hostage by the Spaniards who demanded ransom within 7 days consisting of 400 sukats or 190 sacks of clean rice, 450 chickens, 20 pigs, 20 goats
In 1818, the entire island of Palawan, or Paragua as it was called, was organized as a single province named Calamianes, with its capital in Taytay. By 1858, the province was divided into two provinces, namely, Castilla, covering the northern section with Taytay as capital and Asturias in the southern mainland with Puerto Princesa as capital. It was later then divided into three districts, Calamianes, Paragua and Balabac, with Principe Alfonso town as its capital. In 1902, the Americans established civil rule in northern Palawan, calling it the province of Paragua. Finally, in 1903, pursuant to Philippine Commission Act No. 1363, the province was reorganized to include the southern portions and renamed Palawan.
When the Spaniards left after the 1898 revolution, a civil government was established by the Americans. Provincial boundaries were revised in 1903, the name of the province was changed to Palawan, and Puerto Princesa declared as its capital.
Many reforms and projects were later introduced in the province. Construction of school buildings, promotion of agriculture, and bringing people closer to the government were among the priority plans during this era.
The crust of northeast Palawan was derived from mainland China. It is the exposed portion of a micro continent that drifted southward with the opening of the South China Sea. This micro continent 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" (ophiolitic)-type units 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.
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 scrapped 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).
Palawan's economy is basically agricultural. The three major crops are palay, corn and coconut. Mineral resources include nickel, copper, manganese, and chromite. Logging is also a major industry. Palawan has one of the richest fishing grounds in the country. About 45% of Manila's supply of fish comes from here. Having natural gas reserves of approximately 30,000 trillion cubic feet, the province is the only oil-producing province in the country. In addition, tourism is also a thriving sector. The economic and agricultural business growth of province is at 20% per annum. Coconut, sugar, rice, lumber, and livestock are produced here.