Saturday, May 28, 2016

Islands and Sandbars of Balabac, Palawan

Palawan is the number one island in the world.

Balabac, Palawan epitomizes the reason why Palawan is simply the number one.

Balabac is a second class municipality in the province of Palawan. It is situated in the southern end of Palawan island, It consists of 32 islands and 14 barangays. It is only 50 kilometers north from Sabah, Malaysia, across the Balabac Strait and lies in the Sulu sea. 

My favorite spots in Palawan are Coron and El Nido. I learned this island from a fellow traveler named Anj of Kilometer Zero (0917) 833 1003 /  (0998) 998 1003and she was the one who arranged my tour in Balabac.

Before the Balabac trip, I visited Port Barton and stayed in Puerto Princesa for my van pick-up in the city. However, I was not fetched by my ride to Rio Tuba and good thing Barakah was there to save my tour.

The van ride to Rio Tuba normally was good for 5-6 hours but since I was in a hurry, I was able to ask the driver to step on the gas in order for me to catch the boat ride to Balabac. I was able to arrive at the designated place and time. Unfortunately, the boat left at 10:30 am and I had to wait for the next boat which left past 12 noon.  

Past 3 pm, the boat arrived at Bancalaan Port.

Good thing my boat ride was already there for my much-awaited tour of the islands of Balabac. Reymart and Richard, siblings, were my guide and the boat operator. 

Day 1 

Our first stop was just 15 minutes from the port where we departed. The sea was quite rough that day but that was part of the adventure!

Before I continue with my blog, Kap Andong requested that I should not give the name of the islands and being an obedient person, I will simply put the initial of the island.

P Island
One of the best islands that I have seen in Balabac is this island. The name of the island comes form the word "Tawan" which means sharp. It is one of the nesting areas of the sea turtles. 

It is a white sand beach island with pristine clear waters. The temptation to swim was there and I was not able to resist the temptation.

Next stop was C Island. It took us 45 minutes before we reached the spot. Fishermen usually docked at this island.

C Island

It is one of the islands inhabited by the locals.

C Island

Next stop was the Starfish Sandbar. There were 3 sandbars in the area and we visited two of the 3 sandbars. 

Last stop for the day was the C Island. It took us 30 minutes before we reached the said island. C Island is also one of the nesting areas of sea turtles and 3 eagle species. 

We camped at this island, cooked our dinner and enjoyed our sumptuous dinner. 

The tour will not be complete without our sunset viewing.

I was the only person in the tour and I enjoyed the comfort of being alone in the tent.

Day 2 

The following morning, we woke up 4:30 am and prepared our meal. By 6 am, we were already heading towards our first destination. The weather was sunny that day. A perfect day for my tour.

Past 8 am, we reached the Anjela Sandbar and then passed Mansalangan island.

Punta Sebaring
We stayed for a couple of minutes and headed to our next destination. After one hour, we reached Punta Sebaring. 

the finest white sand in the Philippines
Punta Sebaring boasts of having the finest white sand bar in the Philippines!

Afterwards, we went to the next island, S Island.

Next destination was the T Island.

T Island has the best rock formations and the perfect place to shoot your landscape pictures. I roamed around the island and captured breathtaking pictures.

You have to stay long in this island and explore its beauty and mystique. 

I did not mind the time and I did not mind that it was past 1 pm. I was capturing pictures!

I trekked the top of the rock formation and the view was even more amazing!

According to the locals, the island is owned by this man whom I forgot the name.

Next stop was C Island. Another island to enjoy your swim.

And the last stop was SS Island and it was just 5 minutes away from C Island. It also has the rock formations of T Island.

Matangguli Sandbar
We saved the best for the last. I was told that there was this last sand bar and the name of the sandbar was  Matangguli Sandbar.

We headed to Balabac mainland, specifically to Barangay 4, Poblacion, Balabac.

There I met Kap Andong and her wife. Kap Andong is the boat operator. 

I roamed around the small town of Balabac.

There only two places to stay in Balabac.

I stayed in this place.

You can visit the entire town in less than an hour of walking.

By 6 pm, I went to the port and watched the day as it ended.

5 sandbars
10 islands

I will go back and conquer Mangsi and Onuk Island!

Port Barton and Long Beach, San Vicente, Palawan

Finally, after years of anticipation and planning, I have visited San Vicente Palawan!

San Vicente is known for the laid-back white sand beach of  Port Barton and the 14 -kilometer undeveloped shoreline of Long Beach (Mahabang Buhangin), the longest white sand beach in the Philippines. Two of the top ten destinations in Palawan.

I had only two days to spare in Port Barton and I had to make the best out of it.

How to get there

Board a plane to Puerto Princesa, Palawan. Upon arrival in Puerto Princesa, just outside the airport, there are numerous vans plying the route of Port Barton. If you will be booking thru a travel agency, they will charge P500.00  But the actual fare is only P250-300. Travel time is 3 hours. The best and most reliable is Recaro Transport.

Upon arrival in PPC, I immediately boarded the Recaro Transport van ride to Port Barton. It took us three (3) hours before reaching the town of Port Barton and majority of the passengers were foreigners.

White Beach
Day 1

I was able to find a room to stay for the night and I paid only P500 for the stay. I immediately rented a boat courtesy of Mackie's help (0975-858-0078 / 0950-307-3513). His father is one of the boat operators in Port Barton and he is working in Recaro Transport. Mackie was the one who arranged my room and my boat ride. I rented the boat for only P400 and I was able to visit two places, White Beach and Sandbar (Puting Buhangin).

It took us only 15 minutes and we reached White Beach. I only took pictures and after 10 minutes, we left the island.

Next and last stop was the Sandbar.

The Sandbar is the favorite destination for overnight camping and sunset viewing.
Overnight camping plus the boat ride is P1,700.

And we waited for the sunset.

And good thing we waited, the sunset was spectacular!

Long Beach
Day 2 

The following morning, I rented the boat of Mackie's father for the Long Beach ride and Port Barton Island Hoping Tour for a discounted rate. 

Port Barton Island Hopping Tour - P700/pax with meals (minimum of 4)
Drop to San Vicente - P1,500 (2-4 pax)
Port Barton to Long Beach and vice-versa - P2,500 (2-4 pax)
Both Port Barton and Long Beach - P5,000 (negotiable)
Private Island Hopping  (turtle watching, snorkling) - P2,500

Long Beach
After nearly two hours, we were able to arrive at Long Beach, San Vicente, Palawan. The beach is not accessible by boat during rainy season and the best time to go there is from March - May only. During rainy season (June-December), it can be reached only using a motorcycle ride from the town of San Vicente.

We stayed only for 20 minutes, took pictures, enjoyed the beach and left the island.

We went back to Port Barton and after nearly 2 hours, we reached Paradise Cove Island (Cagnipa Island).

Next stop was Coconut Garden Island also in Cagnipa Island.

Then, we passed the spot where Sea Tutles or Pawikans are abundant.

Next stop was the Exotic Island.

This is where tourists cook, prepare their meals and eat. Entrance fee is only P20.00.

It is one of the best spots to swim and enjoy the clear blue waters of Port Barton. 

Then, the island hopping continued from one island to another. We passed several islands and I lost track of the names of the islands along the journey. I was not mindful of the time nor the names of the islands and I was having the time of my life. This is Port Barton!

Last stop for the day was the German Island

German Island is the most popular island in Port Barton. Compared to the other islands, it offers the best facilities and amenities and it is the best place to dive and snorkel. Entrance fee is P50.00.

The white sand beach is one of the best reasons why it is frequently visited by tourists.

And the best place to snorkel in Port Barton is in German Island!

I snorkeled for an hour and enjoyed the various corals.

Just opposite the island is another island but it was not open to tourists. Past 2 pm, we went back to the town of Port Barton.

Mangrove Trip using a motorbike or boat
Water falls using a motorbike (there are two waterfalls)
Butterfly watching
Scuba Diving
Overnight in the Island

Port Barton to El Nido by van
Port Barton to Puerto Princesa by Van
Port Barton to Sabang 

In case you need boat transport in Port Barton, please contact Mackie's Father - (0975-858-0078 / 0950-307-3513).

I definitely enjoyed Port Barton!