Summer is coming! Palawan, the Travel and Leisure Magazine’s Best Island in the World, will abound again with travelers from around the Philippines and abroad. Famous beaches such as El Nido, Coron and Honda Bay will be filled once more with wanderers seeking for sun and tan. However, do you know that aside from these well-known destinations, there’s a more laid back but equally beautiful—and more affordable destination—perfect for weekend Palaweño warriors? Port Barton in San Vicente is a budget backpacker’s paradise, and if you haven’t been to this small and quiet beachside village at the edge of a forest, this summer is probably the time to cross it off your list. For beach-loving Palaweños out there, this 750-square kilometer Marine Protected Area awaits to satisfy your need for summertime sun, sea and sand!
Visit the islands, snorkel and get a tan
Port Barton Bay is surrounded by stunning islands and islets with fine white sand beaches. Explore Capsalay Island and walk along its long undisturbed shore for P50 per boat, chat with the locals and drink fresh buko juice while watching them thread fish nets. Stop by the middle of the sea across German Island to get a chance to see a sea turtle. Snorkel at the uniquely exquisite Exotic and Paradise Island, Aquarium 1, Twin Reef and Sanctuary. Head to White Sand Beach, float at its calm waters and enjoy the sound of the waves crashing against the shore. Love your color and don’t be afraid to get a tan – put on a sunscreen, empty your mind and doze under the soft warmth of the tropical sun. You can explore more, you can mix and match the destinations – tours can be easily arranged with the boatmen along port Barton Bay for as low as P700 per person.
Camp and chase waterfalls
If you have more time, you can camp overnight and enjoy the silence of the evening. Afterwards, witness the early sunrise at Capsalay, Inaladelan or any island of your preference – ask locals about this. Maximize your visit, hike for 30 minutes to one hour to Pamuayan Waterfalls and bath in its cool waters falling from a 17-meter cascade. Brave the nearby cliff, forget your worries, take a breath and plunge at the lagoon surrounding the torrents.
After exhausting yourself from island hopping and hiking, you can relax at the bars along the bay. Get a beer or two at Hangout Beach Bar and make more local travel plans with friends and travel buddies – of course, #ExpPalawan. Enjoy local bands while strolling along the shore. You can also lie on the beach and watch the moon and the stars – they are brighter there, I swear.
How to get there
Located 123 kilometers northwest of Puerto Princesa City, Port Barton can be reached by a three-hour land travel via private vehicles and vans. Recaro and SBE Transport vans depart San Jose Terminal daily from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. for P250 per person. Same vans leave Port Barton – last trip departs the area at 5 p.m.
Reminders for the wanderers
Bring cash, there are no banks and ATMs at the area. Electricity is only available from 6 p.m. to 12 midnight – charge your cellphones and cameras or bring a power bank. Register and pay for the eco-card at the tourism office near the barangay hall, and – don’t lose it. Some islands have entrance fees ranging from P50 to P100. Make sure to reserve your seat to and from Port Barton. You can contact Recaro Transport at 09054858597 or SBE transport at 09194455021. Reserve your rooms before the trip, for affordable rooms, contact the Blue House at 09156816095 and 09462155011.
About the Author: Karen Madarcos is a weekend warrior from Puerto Princesa. If you can’t find her in her daily walks around Sta. Monica, she’s either chasing a waterfall, floating in a nearby beach, getting lost in an unpaved trek, eating, getting bruises from hiking, blogging about all of these, reading her book of the week or most likely, working in a Research and Development Consortium to save for her upcoming weekends. Follow her instagram account at @shinakaren and see her website at wanderingkaren.com.
In #ExpPALAWAN, Palawan News aims to help in promoting the province’s numerous attractions by publishing the EXPERIENCE or EXPLORATIONS of our local bloggers, travel writers, or even weekend warriors (yay bes!). We believe there is no better way to learn about the beauty and wonders of Palawan than hearing it through the stories of the locals themselves. With articles or photo stories on natural wonders to cultural spots, to even the interesting nooks and crannies of the city and each municipality’s poblacion, #ExpPALAWAN hopes to cultivate discussion on the endless choices of places to see in the province. We encourage our readers, young and old, to share your travel stories, photos and videos as we harness social media to promote the beauty of the #WorldsBestIsland.
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