Balabac, Palawan

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Municipality of Balabac
Official seal of Balabac
Map of Palawan with Balabac highlighted
Map of Palawan with Balabac highlighted
Balabac is located in Philippines
Location within the Philippines
Coordinates: 7°59′N 117°03′E / 7.98°N 117.05°E / 7.98; 117.05Coordinates: 7°59′N 117°03′E / 7.98°N 117.05°E / 7.98; 117.05
Country  Philippines
Region Mimaropa (Region IV-B)
Province Palawan
District 2nd district
Founded 1957
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)
Population (2015 census)[3]
 • Total 40,142
 • Density 69/km2 (180/sq mi)
Time zone PST (UTC+8)
ZIP code 5307
PSGC 175304000
IDD:area code +63 (0)48
Climate type tropical climate
Income class 2nd municipal income class

Balabac, officially the Municipality of Balabac, is a 2nd class municipality in the province of Palawan, Philippines. According to the 2015 census, it has a population of 40,142 people.[3]

The municipality consists of some 36 islands,[4] 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).


Balabac was converted from a municipal district to a full-pledged municipality in 1957. Before that, it was a barrio of neighboring Bataraza.[5]


Not considering the disputed Spratly Islands, the municipality is the westernmost point in the Philippines. It is separated from Sabah, Malaysia, by the Balabac Strait.


The municipality of Balabac is composed of a group of 36 major and minor islands, notable of which are the following:

Major islands:

Minor islands:

  • Canabungan
  • Candaraman
  • Gabung
  • Mansalangan (Byan)
  • Secam
  • Bowen
  • Lumbucan
  • South Mangsee
  • North Mangsee
  • Salingsingan

Shoals and Sandbars[edit]

Benlen Sandbar at the southern tip of Candaraman

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.[6]


Balabac is politically subdivided into 20 barangays:

  • Agutayan
  • Bugsuk (New Cagayancillo)
  • Bancalaan
  • Indalawan
  • Catagupan
  • Malaking Ilog
  • Mangsee
  • Melville
  • Pandanan
  • Pasig
  • Rabor
  • Ramos
  • Salang
  • Sebaring
  • Poblacion I
  • Poblacion II
  • Poblacion III
  • Poblacion IV
  • Poblacion V
  • Poblacion VI


Population census of Balabac
Year Pop. ±% p.a.
1918 2,109 —    
1939 2,760 +1.29%
1948 3,355 +2.19%
1960 4,591 +2.65%
1970 7,912 +5.59%
1975 11,152 +7.13%
1980 15,044 +6.17%
Year Pop. ±% p.a.
1990 20,056 +2.92%
1995 21,677 +1.47%
2000 25,257 +3.33%
2007 29,622 +2.22%
2010 35,758 +7.09%
2015 40,142 +2.23%
Source: Philippine Statistics Authority[3][7][8][9]

In the 2015 census, the population of Balabac was 40,142 people,[3] with a density of 69 inhabitants per square kilometre or 180 inhabitants per square mile.

Cape Melville Lighthouse[edit]

Cape Melville Lighthouse on the southern point of Balabac Island, circa 1892.

The Cape Melville Lighthouse, located on the island of Balabac, is one of the Philippines oldest lighthouses built in 1892[10] during the Spanish era and a major landmark of the town.


Transportation link to the town of Balabac can be done through the town of Bataraza from the main capital Puerto Princesa. From Rio Tuba, in Bataraza, a three-hour boat ride takes a traveler to the main island of Balabac where the town proper is located. Travel to other barangays in the municipality is done through boat rides.

An old airstrip located in the island of Bugsuk does not operate commercial flights. Another private airstrip is located in the island of Ramos.


  1. ^ "Municipality". Quezon City, Philippines: Department of the Interior and Local Government. Retrieved 31 May 2013. 
  2. ^ "Province: Palawan". PSGC Interactive. Quezon City, Philippines: Philippine Statistics Authority. Retrieved 12 November 2016. 
  3. ^ a b c d Census of Population (2015). "Region IV-B (Mimaropa)". Total Population by Province, City, Municipality and Barangay. PSA. Retrieved 20 June 2016. 
  4. ^
  5. ^ "R.A. No. 2022, An Act Converting the Municipal District of Balabac, Province of Palawan, into a Regular Municipality". Archived from the original on 2012-07-10. Retrieved 2011-04-13. 
  6. ^ Malicdem, Ervin (12 July 2017). "10 Longest Sandbars of the Philippines". Schadow1 Expeditions. Retrieved 29 October 2017. 
  7. ^ Census of Population and Housing (2010). "Region IV-B (Mimaropa)". Total Population by Province, City, Municipality and Barangay. NSO. Retrieved 29 June 2016. 
  8. ^ Census of Population (1995, 2000 and 2007). "Region IV-B (Mimaropa)". Total Population by Province, City and Municipality. NSO. Archived from the original on 24 June 2011. 
  9. ^ "Province of Palawan". Municipality Population Data. Local Water Utilities Administration Research Division. Retrieved 17 December 2016. 
  10. ^

External links[edit]