Philippines pilot site: El Nido, Palawan

View El Nido, Palawan, Philippines in a larger map

El Nido is a coastal municipality in the north of Palawan in the Philippines. With 18 barangays and covering 465 square kilometres, the municipality has been declared a managed resource protected area due to its high marine and terrestrial biodiversity.

Historically, fishing and agriculture have been the main industries in El Nido. Once a boutique tourism location, increasing publicity on the area’s dramatic natural beauty and world-class diving in recent years has fuelled the local tourism industry, particularly the backpacker market. The main town, Población, is developing rapidly to cater for increasing tourism. The local population is expanding as immigrants arrive from other areas in the Philippines seeking work in the growing economy.

These and other pressures have the potential to impact the ecosystem services provided by the area’s coral reefs, mangroves and seagrass beds. Work done by CCRES with coastal communities in El Nido will support the development of toolkits and spatial planning models that will demonstrate the value provided by the ecosystem services. The information will also be used to identify opportunities to support or enhance sustainable businesses which rely on the area’s coastal resources.

El Nido, a coastal municipality in the north of Palawan in the Philippines has been selected as a pilot site for CCRES

Fast facts on El Nido

  • Land area of 465.10 km2
  • Bounded by three bodies of water: Linapacan Strait (Luzon Sea), Taytay Bay (Sulu Sea), and Bacuit Bay (West Philippine Sea)
  • 16 of its 18 barangays are coastal
  • Population: 36,191 (NSCB, 2010)
    • 95% of the population are migrants
    • 4.77% annual population growth rate
  • ​Largest industries: agriculture, fishing, and tourism (WWF, 2005)
  • Known locally and internationally as a tourist destination
  • Number of tourists: Approx. 10,000 in 1994; 50,876 in 2012 (Source: MTO)
  • El Nido – Taytay Managed Resource Protected Area (ENTRMPA)
    • The El Nido-Taytay Managed Resource Protected Area was established on 8 October 1998
    • The National Integrated Protected Areas System (NIPAS) and Sustainable Environmental Plan (SEP) Acts are the legal bases for protection
  • Three major marine habitats – coral reefs, seagrass and mangroves – are present.
    • About 910 fish species
    • More than 400 species of coral
    • Eight species of seagrass
    • Nesting area of three species of endangered sea turtles: hawksbill, green sea, and olive ridley
    • Large marine vertebrates such as dolphins, whales, manta rays, whalesharks and the dugong have been sighted here

Hear about El Nido

Miledel Quibilan, Country Coordinator, CCRES
University of the Philippines, Marine Science Institute

Work at our Philippines pilot site has included:

  • Engaging with local communities to investigate socio-ecological problems such as food insecurity, fish catch decline, mangrove loss and water pollution. New technologies such as iPads and a specially developed app have been used to guide discussions and collect data • Interviewing business people, resource users, members of the local government and enforcers to assess potential for new business opportunities
  • Interviewing tourists to understand their habits and preferences
  • Developing a model to understand the impact of coral reef structure and health on fisheries
  • Monitoring the amount of sediment trapped in mangroves to understand their contribution to reducing erosion, and improving water quality