This is probably my third time to go to Palawan and I must say there’s still a lot to discover! Palawan is the fifth largest island located in the Western Visayas of the Philippines and in between the South China Sea and Sulu Sea. It has been awarded as the World’s Best Island in the World (206-2017) for two consecutive years and it has gained even more popularity since then.
If you want to visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park or also known as the Underground River then you can spend a few days in Sabang area. You can fly from Manila to Puerto Princesa and take a bus or a van from the airport or bus terminal to Sabang. There are also quite a few other activities you can do near the this city like Island Hopping in Honda Bay and Firefly Watching at night. You can find more details in my previous post here.
Since this was a combination of work and play I was able to visit a few other islands before heading to my solo trip in El Nido.
In a nutshell here’s the itinerary I followed:
2 days in Port Barton Area – Inaladelan Island Resort, Buayan Island
1 day in San Vicente – Private house and Long Beach
1 day in Sabang – Daluyon Resort
5 days in El Nido
Long post ahead but promise it’s useful!
If you are going straight to El Nido, you can:
- take a direct flight from Manila to El Nido or
- take a flight from Manila to Puerto Princesa and 6-7 hour drive to El Nido.
Yes, option 2 is a bit more tiring so if you really want to save cost but you want to still travel with ease and comfort you can try Daytripper! They provide El Nido and Puerto Princesa transfer using a 10-11 execustive seater van so you have your own space and a free a snack. It’s around PHP 850-950 per way so not a bad price to pay if you want to maximize the long drive with a long nap.
Here are other options you can choose from if you want to travel around Palawan:
Lexxus: Puerto Princesa, Sabang, and El Nido
Port Barton to Puerto Princesa and vice versa:
You won’t find a lot of information about Port Barton as it’s only starting to gain popularity these past few years but a quick browse in Lonely Planet and Trip Advisor will quickly tell you that this is the place to be, especially if you want to avoid the crowded El Nido and Coron. There are already a few hostels and restaurants in the area and to my surprise most of the visitors are actually foreigners.
From Port Barton we rode a boat going to Luli Island or also known as the Starfish Island where we watched the sunset.
Next stop was Inaladelan Island Resort. You can do a daytrip or an overnight camping with your friends and family. Just a few swim away is a turtle conservation reef. My colleagues saw some turtles, I didn’t. You can swim with them in the shallow area so no need for some diving skills.
Daytrip – Php 500 with lunch and boat transfers
Overnight Camping – Php 1500 with boat transfers, dinner, breakfast, tent with pillows
This is actually a private island so I’m glad we were able to see it, the owner even prepared a tamilok for us to try! It tasted like oyster or clam. Thanks Angela!
First time to try tamilok (wood worm):
San Vicente, Long Beach
As you can see this place is not crowded at all, in fact there’s no one near our vicinity. It’s literally a virgin beach. Watch out for insects though!
Where to stay in El Nido: Spin Hostel
It’s right in the middle of the town proper. It’s a pretty decent hostel and they have activities at night if you just want to chill!
I had a very bad stomach ache and I only wanted to visit selected islands so a few days before my flight back to Manila I took an open tour with Skipper Charters. I know you can never have enough islands to explore, but hear me out.
If you want to go island hopping in comfort and style (not to mention faster) then you can try Skipper Charters! They have open and private tours good for 6-8 people where you get to visit 8-10 islands in a day. You can either choose the islands you want or they have a recommended tour that combines all the best islands in Tour A,B,C,D. Did I say it also comes with a very good lunch?
Where to eat and chill:
To be honest, the prices of the meals and drinks in El Nido are a bit expensive so choose wisely where to eat! Here’s a list of restaurants you can try when you are in El Nido Town!
- Maremegmeg: Meals, drinks, swim and sunset!
- Beach Shack: Meals, drinks, and sunset
- Tamboks – Filipino Food
- Falafel – Huge servings!
- Lonesome Carabao- Good mexican food, but they also have other cuisines
- Gusto Gelato
- L’assiete Ice Cream
- Altrove Pizza – no photo but very good pizza!
- Cases of amoebiasis and food poisoning are a bit popular in the El Nido Town proper so make sure you don’t drink from the tap. Always buy bottled water and try to ask if the ice and water used in your juice is purified or mineral. I got amoebiasis in my second day in El Nido and it was a bummer! I had to rush myself to the hospital at 1am. They don’t have a hospital but they have small clinic.
- Bring insect repellents. Sand mites or niknik are pretty aggressive especially in beaches that are not often visited.
- Your mode of transportation in El Nido is either a motorcycle or a tricycle. The tricycle for “foreigners” (though this can also mean as long as you’re not from town) can cost around Php50-150 depending on your destination while for locals they said it’s only around Php10 per way.
Breakdown of Expenses:
*This only covers my trip in El Nido.
Definitely coming back to explore the other islands!
Thanks AirAsia for the port barton trip! 🙂
Thanks to Supremo World for the action camera.
Catch me in IG: @travelanyway for random trips and daily musings!