As a former Spanish colony The Philippines still enjoy that slight mediterranean-colonial influence in certain things like the food -adobos and fried fish- or culture with a myriad of churches throughout the country.
We started in Puerto Princesa in Palawan Island via Manila. The island is geologically different from the rest of the Philippines as it is the result of two tectonic basements crashing. The result is that you have beautiful scenery in a still rather unspoiled island. Electricity cuts and poor internet are common in the towns so It is probably advisable to look for the best hotels with their own generators unless you wanna experience a backpackers experience and blend in the culture of Palawan. Honestly, we have tried that and can be demanding given the amount of mosquitoes and bugs in the rainforest, and it is advisable you get air conditioning rooms to avoid malaria and other diseases in rural areas. The south is even less spoilt and inhabited by Malaysian muslim descendants.
Palawan has dozens of ethic groups and different religions but they all live in peace. Puerto Princesa, the biggest town of the island is a good entry point and you can enjoy a couple of boat trips to the surrounding islands for snorkeling and a good lunch (included in all tours). The beach walk in Puerto Princesa deserves a visit as you will enjoy grilled fish and seafood plus some Philippine betting games. There are no tourists in low season and you will get a very local taste.
A trip to el Nido will take about 7 hours, some buses are with WiFi, those are the cherry buses and will make our trip easier. The island is very beautiful and you will enjoy rainforest rice fields, buffalos, banana trees, and very modest, poor and colorful villages.
The underground river is on the way and has been awarded as one of the 7 wonders of nature. On the way to El Nido, you can hop off at certain villages and request a transport to go there, although it is advisable to do it through authorized tours that you can arrange in Puerto Princesa.
El Nido is a town with a small beach that will serve as a base of operations to discover the amazing limestone landscapes and is similar to Halong Bay. Some trips will take you to hidden beaches and lagoons while you enjoy a tasty meal enjoying the sea. Prices range from 1200-1400 PHP per person or just 3000-5000 PHP for a private boat.
The array of hotels is huge from backpackers standard up to mile high club with your own boat taking you to the private islands where your pagoda house is waiting for you over the sea.