The southern part of Palawan has a lot to offer when it comes to different agricultural commodities. But various municipalities have already proven they have more to offer than just veggies and palay (unhusked rice).
Bataraza, the province’s southernmost town, is a 5-hour drive south of Puerto Princesa City. While it has established itself as a pineapple-producing town, Bataraza is much more. It can take you to turquoise waters, centuries-old caves, and mesmerizing waterfalls.
Here are some of the sites that guests may add to their checklist.
The turquoise waters of Capayas Island entice us to travel the three-hour distance to Barangay Tabud. According to barangay captain Junkipli Samod, the name of the island was taken from the Palaw’an word for papaya, “Capaya,” which is abundant on the island.
The island is approximately three hectares in size, and its surrounding seas are rich in fish and seaweed. Its tranquil atmosphere is conducive to excursions and overnight stays.
Guests may rent a van from Bataraza proper to Tabud, followed by a 10- to 15-minute trip by boat for P100 per head. They can rent cottages or bring their own tents to spend the night on the island.
It was opened to the public some five years ago and guests are only charged P100 each. Food may also be prepared on the island while enjoying their stay.
The town also showcases its centuries-old Gangub Cave in Barangay Sandoval to lure tourists. The cave, derived from the Palaw’an word “gangub”, is estimated to have formed some 15 centuries ago, according to the municipal government.
Gangub is the biggest cave out of nine located in the area and is the most accessible and open to the public. It has 121 steps leading up to the entrance.
The cave is only less than a 30-minute drive away from the Bataraza proper through a rented van or motorcycle. In 1987, the cave used to be a church of the Seventh Day Adventist, and chairs are still left inside.
It became a church of the Seventh Day Adventist in 1987 and is also known as ‘Panuyon Cave,” which comes from the Pala’wan word “panoy”, which means small bats. It is home to bats that provide a good supply of guano used as high-value fertilizer.
The tourism office said it has served as a shelter to past inhabitants. Bataraza tourism officer Jun Dawili said that the cave is now under the management of the local government, assuring security against treasure hunters digging for luck inside the cave.
Adventurers who are up to chasing waterfalls may try to explore Kapangyan Falls in Barangay Malihud, Bataraza town. The 70-foot-high waterfalls will give guests a refreshing experience and may dip in the 50-foot-wide pool below.
Its name was derived from the tree called “Pangi” by the Pala’wan, which is abundant in the area.
The barangay is a 15-minute drive away from the town proper by motorcycle or car. Guests need to take a 30- to 40-minute walk from the registration area to reach the site.
It has been accessible to the public since 2014, and tour guides such as Maripe Asipan recommend visitors hire a guide to ensure their safety during the hike.
“Kung walang tour guide na kasama pumunta sa taas, baka pag nagkaroon ng disgrasya ay hindi natin alam kung anong mangyari,” he said.
Aside from Kapangyan Falls, guests may also visit the rock formation, which is seven minutes away from the falls. It is also one of the best spots for picturesque background.
The two sites are free to the public, including the fee for the tour guide, but donations are welcome.
Kapangyan Falls is part of the series of Malihud Falls coming from the Bulalacao River. If planning to explore additional spots, Lalatuan Falls is only an hour away if trekking from Kapangyan.
Tourists may coordinate with the tourism office to arrange their visit in various tourist spots of Bataraza. The town highly emphasizes the protection of those areas and informs guests to bring their trash and not leave it on.