What is the status on Covid-19 in Palawan and how does it affect scuba diving?

The first positive Covid-19 case in El Nido was reported on July 25. Here is a summary of the most important facts regarding Covid-19 in El Nido Palawan.

  • The municipality of El Nido had it's first positive Covid-19 case on July 25, a local resident (LSI) who returned from Manila by boat. As everyone can imagine, options for efficient testing on Covid-19 are limited on remote islands.
  • There have been several more cases further south of Palawan. Mostly from returnees from Manila or frontline personal in hospitals. But again, the full picture might look different due to limited testing.
  • Palawan is under some kind of Quarantine, status name has changed several times.
  • Since March 15 2020 all scuba diving operations in Palawan are paused.
  • There is no schedule for re-opening tourism. Flights in are only open for returning residents.
  • Tabanka Divers stopped all operations since mid March when most travellers left the Philippines. Our boat is dry-docked in a safe bay, our diving gear cleaned up and in storage and all our staff has returned to their families.
  • If you are planing a trip to Philippines:  Status August 2020 is that no foreigners can enter the country. We can't forecast when flights will operate again and what safety precautions can be taken to make travelling around the world a safe and fun activity for you. Let's hope for the best in 2021.

"At least you are stuck in paradise"

Well yeah, El Nido is more beautiful than ever with less human impact, traffic and noise. Like most cities in the world El Nido is basically in lockdown: social distancing, only go out to get your basic supplies and a strict curfew from 8pm to 5pm limits the fun. No public transport, no travelling within the island, even our own boat can't leave, surely no diving and very few foreign visitors are left here in paradise. This is the status end of April 2020.


Leaving Palawan for any reason seems pretty much impossible now while the Corona-Virus is spreading in Manila, Cebu and has finally also reached El Nido. So we have clearly no other choice than supporting the travel ban and the Enhanced Community Quarantine that has been implemented since mid March. Like people in all other places in the world we can only hope for a fast progress in the development of treatments and the availability of  safe, efficient vaccines. 


Saying so: the editor of this website does not believe that travelling the world and going scuba diving is what people worry most about these days. First everyone need to support her/his families, friends, co-workers and community by being smart, kind, patient and generous when needed. Once things find a new rhythm and balance, travelling to remote areas like Palawan might move back into our focus and we all will double-appreciate being privileged to do so. Than we can happily blow some bubbles together. Certainly not this year but hopefully mid 2021 - we will be here in El Nido waiting for you.


Your team

Tabanka Divers







El Nido, Palawan, Drone, Beach, Banner Fish, Sea Snail, Clear Water, Dive Boat, Helicopter Island