Beyond the bustling crowd of El Nido lies a backpacker’s haven – a place of playful breeze, uncrowded beach, crashing waves, and friendly strangers. This paradise is a piece of silence in the rush of tourists, a must-visit for those who long to feed their soul with quiet – Sibaltan.
Locales and travelers from all over the globe visit El Nido for its magnificent limestone islands, clear azure waters, and white sand beaches along with its unmatchable tropical vibe. But more than these, past the northernmost tip of Palawan Island, and a little more down east, Sibaltan is waiting, ready to give a home and these for days:
Sunrise and silence
Wake up early to the soft sound of the breeze playing with the coconut leaves, go sit on the nearby beach and wait until the first hint of pink kisses the grey horizon. Relish into the changing hue of the morning sun, see it bloom from soft colors of rose to bright vermillion as it warms your face and touches your eyes. Coffee in hand, with the sight of locales gleaning for the days’ meal, enjoy the silent sunrise of Sibaltan.
Rent a local boat and go to Abang-abangan Reef. Wonder in the spectacular sight teeming with colors and sorts of marine life comparable to the best spots in the world. Swim with schools of damselfishes, wrasse, parrotfishes, and angelfishes seeming so welcoming in their home. Watch them play and dance around the blues, reds, and violets of staghorn, fan and table corals. The reef seems to endless and magical – I wish it could stay this way for everyone to see.
Enjoy the surrounding islands in the borders on Linapacan – visit Binulbulan, Magransing, and Pical. Chances are these islands are deserted with tourists with only the locals and coconuts proudly swaying under the blue skies. Magransing boasts a long powdery sandbar surrounded with sites perfect for snorkeling and simply basking under the sun while Pical’s beach privacy will give you a sense of luxury and ease. You may also take a paddle boat to Bubog island, best after sunrise when the sun is just out and the heat is just enough.
Cuyuno village experience
You don’t have to hurry in Sibaltan. Walk into the long stretch of the beach and meet locales, strangers, and backpackers. Visit the Cuyonon Cultural Heritage Center to learn more about the everyday life of Palawan’s largest ethnic group. Try the local dish of fried fish, annatto and ash gourd and learn simple Cuyuno greetings and phrases. Live life slowly for a while.
Getting and staying there
Sibaltan is located northeast of El Nido, Palawan almost 310 kilometers from Puerto Princesa City. This sleepy Cuyuno village is accessible via private vehicles and public vans and buses departing daily (4:00 AM to 9:00 PM) from San Jose Terminal in Puerto Princesa City to El Nido town with fares ranging from PHP 400 to 600 – these may take five to seven hours. Public transport from El Nido town to Sibaltan that leaves at 10:00 AM, 1:00 PM, 3:00 PM and 6:00 PM is PHP 100 to 150.00 and may take one hour. Pre-book your accommodation ranging from tents and modified huts. You may stay in Bayog Beach Campsite (+639264912326/+639278545870) or any nearby accommodations such as Tapik Beach Park Guest House and Ursula Beach Club. You may rent a boat (without meals and other fees) for snorkeling and day-tour from these accommodations from PHP 4,500 to 5,500 or you can arrange a group tour with them including meals, guides, boat and other fees for PHP 1,200 per person. Meals are available at the resorts from PHP 100.00 and above.
• The electricity in Sibaltan is only from 6:00 PM to 6:00 AM (at least in Bayog Beach Camp Site)
• There is no ATM in the area, it is best to withdraw money from Puerto Princesa City
• Coordinate well with your agents or hosts to clarify travel logistics
• Please adhere to what the local guides instruct during tours
• The road from El Nido town to Sibaltan is already concrete (with the exemption of a very short gravel road in the barrio)
• Network signal is quite weak