|Municipality of Balabac|
Map of Palawan with Balabac highlighted
|Region||Mimaropa (Region IV-B)|
|Barangays||20 (see Barangays)|
|• Type||Sangguniang Bayan|
|• Mayor||Shuaib J. Astami|
|• Electorate||20,665 voters (2016)|
|• Total||581.60 km2 (224.56 sq mi)|
|Highest elevation||569 m (1,867 ft)|
|• Density||69/km2 (180/sq mi)|
|Time zone||UTC+8 (PST)|
|IDD : area code||+63 (0)48|
|Climate type||Tropical climate|
|Income class||2nd municipal income class|
|Revenue (₱)||143.5 million (2016)|
The municipality consists of some 36 islands, including the eponymous Balabac Island. The islands are notable for its uncommon indigenous plant and animal species, such as the nocturnal Philippine mouse-deer (or Pilandok). The islands are also home to dugongs, saltwater crocodiles, sawfishes, and sea turtles. Due to its biodiversity, the terrestrial and marine ecosystems of the Balabac archipelago are currently being pushed by scholars to be included in the tentative list of the Philippines for a possible UNESCO World Heritage Site nomination in the future.
Balabac was converted from a municipal district to a full municipality in 1957. Before that, it was a barrio of neighboring Bataraza.
The municipality of Balabac is composed of a group of 36 major and minor islands, notable of which are the following:
Shoals and Sandbars
The municipality of Balabac is composed of various islands located at the Balabac Strait. The strait is known for its shallow waters due to the presence of shoals and numerous sandbars. Balabac has the third and fourth longest sandbars in the Philippines. The third longest is Queen Helen Sandbar at the southern tip of Bugsuk and the fourth is the Angela Sandbar east of Mansalangan.
Balabac is politically subdivided into 20 barangays:
|Population census of Balabac|
|Source: Philippine Statistics Authority|
In the 2015 census, the population of Balabac was 40,142 people, with a density of 69 inhabitants per square kilometre or 180 inhabitants per square mile.
The Molbog people dominate the municipality of Balabac, as well as the municipality of Bataraza in the north. The area is the homeland of the Molbog people since the classical era prior to Spanish colonization. The Molbog are known to have a strong connection with the natural world, especially with the sacred pilandok (Philippine mouse-deer), which can only be found in the Balabac islands. A Muslim tale tells the Philippine mouse-deer once tricked a prince into giving up his bag of gold and facing a hive of angry bees. Another tale depicts him as a clever guardian of the environment, using his wisdom as an advantage against those who destroy forests, seas, and wildlife. The coconut is especially important in Molbog culture at it is their most prized agricultural crop.
Cape Melville Lighthouse
An old airstrip located on the island of Bugsuk serves no commercial flights. Another private airstrip is located on the island of Ramos.
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Media related to Balabac, Palawan at Wikimedia Commons