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 (ä¸ä¸šå²›) in China and Taiwan and Äáº£o Thá»‹ Tá»© 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 of the
only town or city in the Philippines to be composed of 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.