Balabac Island

Coordinates: 7°56′31″N 117°0′29″E / 7.94194°N 117.00806°E / 7.94194; 117.00806
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Balabac Island
Balabac island satellite image captured by Sentinel-2 in 2016
Balabac Island is located in Palawan
Balabac Island
Balabac Island
Location within Palawan
LocationBalabac Strait
Coordinates7°56′31″N 117°0′29″E / 7.94194°N 117.00806°E / 7.94194; 117.00806
ArchipelagoBalabac Group of Islands
Adjacent to
Highest elevation1,867 ft (569.1 m)
Highest pointBalabac Peak
Additional information
A photograph taken in 1892 of Cape Melville Lighthouse on the southern point of Balabac Island, built in 1892.

Balabac Island is the southernmost island of the Palawan province, and therefore the westernmost undisputed island in the Philippines, only about 50 kilometers (31 mi) north from Sabah, Malaysia, across the Balabac Strait.

The island borders the West Philippine Sea, a portion of the South China Sea, and therefore borders the area of the territorial disputes in the South China Sea among the Philippines and particularly mainland China, but also including the Republic of China (Taiwan), Vietnam, Malaysia, and Brunei. Balabac is close to Panganiban Reef (Mischief Reef), which the mainland Chinese government occupied in 1995 and subsequently turned into one of its largest artificial islands within the what the Philippines considers its 370 kilometres (230 mi) exclusive economic zone.[1] Balabac hosts Naval Station Narciso Del Rosario of the Philippine Navy and will host the United States Military under the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA).[1]


Administratively, the island forms the main part of the municipality of Balabac and is divided into 14 barangays (the other six barangays of the municipality are on other nearby islands):

  • Agutayan
  • Catagupan
  • Indalawan
  • Malaking Ilog
  • Melville
  • Pasig
  • Rabor
  • Salang
  • Poblacion I
  • Poblacion II
  • Poblacion III
  • Poblacion IV
  • Poblacion V
  • Poblacion VI


The Molbogs, a Muslim ethnolinguistic group, are concentrated on the island. Their livelihood includes farming, fishing and barter trading with the nearby Mapun and Sabah market centres.


Balabac Island is home to various endemic species. It is the home of birds like the grey imperial pigeon (Ducula pickeringii), Philippine cockatoo (Cacatua haematuropygia), blue-headed racket-tail (Prioniturus platenae), and the Palawan hornbill (Anthracoceros marchei). The Philippine mouse-deer, a subspecies of the greater mouse-deer (Tragulus napu) can only be found in this island.


  1. ^ a b Mangosing, Frances (15 September 2023). "PH, US top brass eye more Edca sites". Philippine Daily Inquirer. Retrieved 17 September 2023.


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