CAMPING WITH A DIFFERENCE
This amazing place that is located halfway between San Vicente and Port Barton and can only be reached by a 30 minute boat journey, and is absolutely impossible to hike there. You can either hire a boat from the pier at either place or arrange with the management for their boat to pick you up. They only operate between mid November until the end of April but check their website below for up to date information. The sandy beach is around 500 meters long, and you don't have to go much more than 10 meters in to the sea to find crystal clear water 6 feet deep (at least when the ocean is calm).
So let me explain exactly the type of camping that you will find here. The Canadian Toby and his friendly Filipina wife, Thelma limit the guests to around 14 people and try run a family orientated place, rather than a business place. There are 7 large tents, each protected by a native roof built over the tent, and come with a hammock, bamboo furniture and individual campfire outside. Inside the tents are wooden beds, rechargeable lamps and a small table for storage (as well as a "pee-pot" to save you from stepping outside at night).
There are several bathrooms where one can shower by scooping water from a tub, but if you wander along the beach Toby has arranged an outdoor shower from a spring which is very refreshing and a great favorite of the guests.
There is a well stocked bar with reasonably priced drinks, a book shelf, a communal eating area (or you can have your meals by your tent), but it is nice to sit round the campfire with other guests as the campfire is lit around 5.30 pm and kept fueled until the guests retire for the evening. The generator runs from sundown to around 10 pm.
Now for the food! Breakfast is served from 6'ish to late morning which is usually some type of eggs with brown bread, butter, marmalade and possibly some fruit with a coffee.
Lunch is served around 1 pm and can either be a plate of delicious food or buffet style, depending on what is available, but the dinner is worth waiting for as it is a grand buffet of perhaps 6 or 7 dishes and most people return for a second helping. While we were there we had grilled fish, squid rings, squid with veg, grilled pork, curry veg, and numerous other types of delicious food.
While there you can relax on the beach, swim or play volleyball or if you are feeling energetic take a kayak and visit a nearby beach and walk to a waterfall where you can swim in fresh water. If you are lucky you can spot monkeys, monitor lizards or squirrels.
AND THE COST OF THIS --- only 1,300 pesos per person including the three meals, but of course you pay for your drinks.!!!
HOW TO GET THERE
BUS or VAN from Puerto Princesa to Port Barton (3 a day)
Shuttle van from Puerto Princesa to San Vicente----nearly every hour.
ACROSS THE BAY AT MANGINGISDA
From Baywalk you can take one of the regular boats that crosses Puerto Princesa Bay to the pier at Mangingisda. The ride takes around 30 minutes and boats leave every hour or so, and it will only cost you around 40 pesos. Although there is not much to once you get there, you can enjoy a cold beer/soft drink at one of the several stalls at the pier. Hot dogs, boiled eggs and other snacks are available. From the pier you could wlak up the road for 3-400 m and turn right or left and explore the village, or you could hire a tricycle to show you around. It is also possible to return to Puerto Princesa by jeepney but this will take around 90 minutes.
IT IS WORTH STOPPING AT LANGOGAN
Langogan is a small village by a river with the same name around 75 kms north of Puerto Princesa on the northern highway. You cannot miss it as there is a long bridge, perhaps the longest on the island. Houses are to be found on each side of the bridge, as well as a few small stores selling drinks and basic meals. Just 100 meters before the bridge is a track that leads to the fishermen's village by the river. You will see the locals drying the fish on stands. Also if you branch right from the track you will come to the beach which has pebbles, but the advantage here is that the water is deep and great for swimming. You can also swim towards the river where the water will be cooler.
COOL DOWN IN ESTRELLA FALLS
Estrella Falls are locate just under 100 kms south of Puerto Princesa and 15 kms from Narra. Best reached by motorbike, head south on the National Highway and around the 80 km marker you will turn right where you see a signpost for the falls and Estrella village. After 4 or 5 kms you will come to Estrella village, drive straight through and you will find the falls after another 3 or 4 kms. The track will end here and you will find a car park and a small hut where you pay a small entrance fee to the falls and you could pay for a table too. There are several tables and a barbecue area where you can grill your meat or fish. There are also huts should you wish to stay overnight. The water is very refreshing when you first jump in but you will soon get used to the cold water. There is a rope across the river as the current can be quite strong during the rainy season. There is also a swing so you can sway above the river or plunge in. The area is in the forest and if you are lucky you may be visited by monkeys as we witnessed. Bring all your food, water with you as there is nothing to buy here.
- Water Sports
GREEN or RED COKE in the MIDDLE of NOWHERE
Once you are far away from the highway and there will not be any petrol stations but as you are traveling along you will see stands with coke bottles containing green and red liquid. No, it is not a new type of coca-cola but leaded and unleaded petrol. The locals will but large containers of petrol and transport them to their village or shack by the side of the road, then fill up liter bottles of coke. It is a general rule that you will not get a full liter but more like 950 ml as the bottles are not filled to the correct level, but this is normal everywhere. It has been known for water to be added but they would soon lose the business of the locals who live nearby. Generally they liters of fuel are sold for around 10% more than the nearest petrol station, so if someone sells 20 liters a day the profit will be around 120 pesos.
ONLY FOR THE ADVENTUROUS--SOUTH PALAWAN
If you really want to get off the beaten track rent an off road bike and circumnavigate the south. I would advise anyone who would like to do this to rent a Honda XR200 from one of the many rental agencies in Rizal Avenue, but check the bike out properly as you will be traveling 250 kms out of the 630 kms off road, and believe me, it is rough going. From Puerto Princesa you will reach Aborlan after 68 kms, not too much to do here, perhaps a quick snack. Better you continue another 30 kms or so to Narra where there is a large market and a better choice of restaurant. From Narra you can continue to Brookes Point and spend the night in this laid back town. Brookes point as the name suggests sits on a point and is surrounded by water on 3 sides, in fact the road ends when it reaches the sea. You will experience some rough patches in the road and you must be careful, and you will also start seeing a few mosques by the highway. The mining and port town of Rio Tuba is a further 60+kms south, and i am sure that after a quick look you will want to leave this town. The road through the newer part of town is divided by a metal fence on each side of the road with various shops along the side. You can continue another 4kms to the old Rio Tuba, just named the pier area. Market day is on Saturday and hectic trading takes place, many goods coming across from Malaysian part of Borneo.
The next part of the trip is really interesting as you will go to places that very few tourists have seen but be warned --- it is all off road and can be very tough in places but you will be well rewarded as friendly faces greet you along the way and wherever you stop. Around 10 kms north of Rio Tuba you turn off the main road, there is no sign, but there is a waiting shed and a small store. You will just have to ask someone for the turning to Rizal. The track takes you over hills, through rice fields where you can see the locals at work. There are several small villages where you can stop and possibly have a cold drink and a rest. Eventually after 63 kms you will reach Rizal, and by that time you will be ready for a rest. In the new part of Rizal along the highway there are several establishments and a couple of places to stay, but you will eventually reach a roundabout where you can turn left and after a couple of kms you will reach the old Rizal where there is a market, bakery and a few places to eat local food. If you want to stay here there is a wonderful pension house in the middle of a pond called "Mountaineers Pension", so called as a few climbers stay here to hike up the highest mountain in Palawan, Mount Manalingajan, 2085m. You can continue another 57 kms to Quezon, spend the night at Villa Esparanza, that has lovely bungalows by the sea. Explore the fishing village and take a boat to the Tabon Cave Complex where Tabon Man was discovered last century. The skull dates back 17,000 years and more bones have been found that have been carbon dated 47,000 years old.
From Quezon you can go north occasionally the track meanders along the coast line where there are magnificent untouched beaches. You will pass the villages of Aramaywan, Berong where there is a splendid concrete road for a few kilometers. The next part of the road between there and Apuauwan is extremely difficult especially for a few kilometers up and down two hills where the road has just been widened. There are boulders the size of footballs and you will be reduced to a couple of kms an hour and use your two feet to balance yourself and the bike. If carrying a passenger he will have to get off and walk at a couple of places. Around 75 kilometers after leaving Quezon you will arrive at Santa Nino, which is almost joined to Aparuwan. Here there is a small resort with bungalows on a hill overlooking the ocean as well as another resort by the beach. I suggest you stay here and continue another 20 kms to Napsan the next morning. Napsan back to the main road is 35 kms and the road is being concreted, then once you reach the national highway it is 23 kms back to Puerto Princesa.
NOTE---I suggest that you should not take this trip alone in case of emergency.
For more detailed information of attractions, roads, accommodation please look at my reviews on the individual places of Aborlan, Narra, Brookes Point, Rio Tuba, Rizal, Quezon and Napsan, but it may be a few weeks before i have finished editing.
Ride a Bus, be ready, Take a ferry a bit squeezy..
As Palawan become the #1 island destinations in the world, El Nido and Coron will be more crowded soon, as a Tourist you always wanted to be alone and or just the few people can be friends or travel mates companion... Season in this place start around October until late June... and even few months left still tourist is on...
As every service provider in this places always do the usual thing, and never make some alternative options... So If you like to experience El Nido and Coron like Robinson Crusoe try to do Island Camping, in this places...And it Includes Linapacan Island which very remote and seldom visits by travellers... This islands in between of Coron and El Nido, but the place is authentically tropical and very untouch..
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