Pag-asa Island

Satellite Image of Pag-asa Island (Thitu Island) of the Spratlys in the South China Sea.

Located deep in the South China Sea, Pag-asa Island is possibly the remotest village in the country. Internationally referred to as Thitu Island, Pag-asa Island is the second largest (32.7 hectares) among the disputed Spratly Islands, all or parts of which are claimed by China, Taiwan, Vietnam, the Philippines, and Malaysia. (The largest is Itu Aba Island, currently occupied by Taiwan.) Pag-asa Island goes by the name of Zhongye Dao (中业岛) in China and Taiwan and Đảo Thị Tứ in Vietnam. It lies 280 nautical miles west of Puerto Princesa City.

Pag-asa Island serves as the poblacion (town proper) of the Municipality of Kalayaan, Palawan, more popularly known as the Kalayaan Group of Islands, which covers most, but not all, of the Spratlys. Pag-asa is also the name of the only barangay of Kalayaan, making Kalayaan one of the only town or city three towns in the Philippines to be composed of only one barangay. (I suppose that the mayor and municipal council also serves as the baranggay chairman and council as well.) The municipality is home to about 300 Filipinos with an additional 40 members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. Quirkily, Pag-asa’s police force has only one person!

As can be seen from the satellite image, the island is dominated by a 1.4-kilometer airstrip that juts out of both ends of the island. Pag-asa also has a small municipal building, a health center, a multipurpose hall, a water-filtration plant, and a Smart Communications cell site. (Smart really has the widest coverage! Hehehe.) For power, the island uses an electric generator by day and stored solar power by night that comes from a 1.5 kV solar power plant. Two commercial flights come to the island weekly and the Philippine Navy regularly drops off supplies to the island.

Bonus: can you spot the the grounded ship? This is most probably the BRP Benguet, a Navy vessel which ran aground on the reefs on December 2, 2004 while delivering supplies.

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Posted on
July 22, 2007
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  1. v wrote on August 8, 2007 @ 09:40AM

    More information for interested visitors please. like how to get there and where to stay.

  2. Luisa wrote on January 16, 2008 @ 05:10PM

    As additioanl information, the lone barangay of Kalayaan has a complete set of barangay officials..

  3. Jill wrote on March 27, 2008 @ 12:04AM

    i don’t think its open for public or tourists yet, but if you do have relatives who work in the DND then you may have a slim chance of joining one of the troops who go there, there will be a trip this coming summer but again unless you are a kin of any ARMY officer who oversees the place then you can go there. It’s a beautiful place, hopefully projects will be made soon enough for it.

  4. Eugene wrote on April 10, 2008 @ 02:07AM

    @Jill, thanks for that additional info! It was very informative.

  5. sarah wrote on January 17, 2009 @ 02:58AM

    I been there last 11 Jan 09 and I spend the night at PAG-ASA Island, the place is really beutiful but its not really open for tourist, maybe soon, hopefully i can go back to that island soon. If you really want to go to PAG-ASA Island try to coordinate with the Philippine Navy but be sure to prepare for a long trip and buy foods not just for yourself but also for those who are staying in the island and buy some good slippers hahahaha, and if you are carnivorous bring lots of pork meat, and I guess your starting point is at Plawan Navy port. Good luck!

  6. skie wrote on January 18, 2009 @ 02:49AM

    hello everyone, ohh was given the opportunity to visit pagasa island, the best experience ever so great there an amazing shop, beutiful white sand beaches, good people.. the best thing to bring there mosquito killer and mosquito net hahahah! and a huge pizza !!a good experience that i can never share but encourage every adventurer to feel the breeze at pag-asa.. bring a wind jacket if you want to gop around ..till next time more exiting stories at pag-asa.. starbucks at pag-asa also so great..

  7. migs wrote on March 13, 2009 @ 02:03AM

    hi skie,when are you going back to the island for a hop?amzing stories uv got…hear a lot about it..kindly post more stories,its summer time am looking for a good site..tell next time, i have a good time here in the phil..

  8. orielking wrote on June 25, 2009 @ 07:25AM

    time to save the earth naba?

  9. rea wrote on July 14, 2010 @ 05:14PM

    hi my father and i were interested to stay in pag-asa.maybe you can give me more information like how to get there and were to communicate or whose person should be contacted.thanks and hope you will respond to my request soon.

  10. juice00 wrote on April 2, 2011 @ 06:17PM

    how is that pag-asa are not open for tourism?other countries like malaysia open theirs for tourism. we should make our presence felt in the islands.

  11. ayong wrote on May 14, 2011 @ 07:10PM

    i like to venture for school business at Pag-asa. Our Filipino brothers like teachers to help their kids. I was a teacher for quite sometime. I was a programmer in overseas for more than two decades. i feel i can lot of help to our kababayans at Barangay Pag-asa, Kalayaan, Palawan.

    I am ready at any moment to there.

    Ayong

  12. ayong wrote on May 14, 2011 @ 07:27PM

    Gusto kong makatulong sa ating mga Kababayans sa Barangay Pag-asa, Kalayaan, Palawan. Nakita ko sa isang site na may mga batang naglalaro sa buhanginan. Nalaman ko na wala pang paaralan doon. Minsan nasabi rin na isang kababayan natin na sana may school sa Barangay Pag-asa kasi nga doon nagtatrabaho ang asawa niya bilang operator ng solar panel.

    Sayang naman ang mga bata ay nangangailangan na mag-aral lalo pa nga sa nasabi ng Pangulong Aquino na dapat lahat ng bata ay mag-aaral. Rember ang Universal Kindergarten? Gusto kong makatulong sa mga taga-Barangay Pag-asa. Eto po ang cellphone no ko 09273113272.

    Gusto kong makapagtayo ng school sa Barangay Pag-asa. Sana’y may taga-DEPED na makabasa nito.
    Ako po ay naging guro ng 15 taon at naging programmer sa abroad ng halos 26 na taon.

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