Top 5 Things to Do in Port Barton

Top 5 Things to Do in Port Barton

Port Barton is a quaint little beach town that’s somehow managed to retain all its quaintness and rural hospitality.

Off-the-beaten-path travelers come here to laze around its picturesque beaches, shifting slow-moving, satisfied eyes from one gorgeous view to another. But for the actively-inclined, there’s still plenty to do in Port Barton.

Here are the top 5 things to do in Port Barton, in no particular order:

Top Things to Do in Port Barton #1. Island Hop

You really can’t come to Palawan and not island hop. There is a bevy of gorgeous islands, mostly uninhabited, around Port Barton that you should really get to.

island hopping port barton

Before you go, find out the list of best islands in Port Barton!

Top Things to Do in Port Barton #2. Cool Down at a Waterfall

You know the feeling: you hike through lush jungles, whacking branches and spider webs out of your way, sweat dripping down your brow. One laborious step after another and suddenly, you begin to hear the whisper of falling water. You rush eagerly forward.

port barton waterfalls

The whisper turns into a roar and soon, you’re face-to-face with a majestic fall, feeling the refreshing spray against your face. Port Barton has 2 waterfalls nearby that are relatively easy to get to and are definitely worth checking out.

Bigaho Waterfall is a twenty minute boat ride from Port Barton plus a kilometer’s walk from Bigaho village. It’s perfect for an indulgent swim after the short walk and great for families with kids.

Papuwyan Waterfall is an easy hour-and-half walk from the town. The walk is not difficult, but the trail is a little tricky to find so hire a guide to show you the way.

Top Things to Do in Port Barton #3. Mangrove River

There are two rivers, Tugdunan and Darapiton, that combine to form a mangrove area. Hire a boat for the trip, lie back and glide along the mangrove. It’s a serene and silent ride, with nothing to hear but bird sounds and the occasional monkey call.

You can spot monitor lizards, various species of birds, snakes on and off the trees, and other animals. Keep your eyes peeled.

The cost for two people is about 600PHP.

Top Things to Do in Port Barton #4. Snorkel

Since Port Barton is a protected area, the marine life is abundant and the corals are plentiful. Without even donning diving gear, you can spot tortoises, mantas, and several varieties of fish. Snorkel gear should cost between 100 – 150 peso. It’s a good idea to snorkel while island hopping so be sure to pack your mask and fins…

port barton palawan

Read through our Port Barton snorkel tips before you dive in!

Top Things to Do in Port Barton #5. Do…Nothing

If you’re coming to Port Barton, this one is highly recommended: Just lie like a log, basking in the sun.

Note: Don’t be without sunscreen.

 

Port Barton, Palawan Snorkeling Tips

Port Barton, Palawan Snorkeling Tips

With over 7,000 islands making up its beautiful country, the Philippines, in general, is a giant snorkeling spot and Port Barton, Palawan is certainly no exception.

This lovely little fishing and farming village is most well-known (or unknown) for its tranquility. While lazing on the beach is probably our favorite Port Barton activity, there are plenty of other activities to dive into when you tire of lying under the sun, gazing off into the lovely horizon.

Snorkeling is one of the top activities to explore the waters and islands around Port Barton. Check out the best snorkel spots around Port Barton!

But before you strap on your fins and dive in, here are some tips on snorkeling in Port Barton, Palawan:

Tip#1. Get an Early Start

As they say, the early snorkeler sees the fish. Actually, they don’t say that. Fish are around all the time – in fact, they live there full-time. But ocean conditions are the best in the morning. Around 8 AM is probably the best time to set off.

port barton palawan

If you organize a full-day island hopping and snorkeling excursion with a local fishing boat, it’ll typically start around 8 AM and last until around 4 PM. Make sure lunch is included and that there will be enough – you’ll be raving starved after a few hours of snorkeling.

Tip #2. A Boat with a Canopy

The full-day excursions mean you’re going to be spending a lot of time on the boat. Make sure you get a boat with a canopy for shelter from the sun and also in the event of rain. In tropical climates, the rain sometimes comes without much warning and it can get really cold, really fast.

Tip #3. Check the Tides

Reefs are great since that’s where the fish congregate, however they’re pretty rough for humans. Protect your skin against the corals (and vice versa) by checking to see that the tide isn’t too low before you set off to snorkel.

Tip #4. Get a Snorkel

It’s a really smart idea to invest in a snorkel beforehand. Port Barton is not the most lively place on the planet – which is a huge part of its charm – and it doesn’t have a huge collection of rental shops.

snorkeling port barton

You’ll be able to rent snorkel gear at Palawan Easy Dive but it’d be better to have your own mask and snorkel so you don’t have to roam around the sleepy village and also so you know that your gear is legit.

Tip #5. Beware the Jellyfish

Port Barton is occasionally invaded by swarms of jellyfish. The blue jellyfish are pretty alarming looking but not really harmful – still, if you’re going snorkeling during jellyfish season, bring along a light wetsuit and some vinegar.

Tip #6. Stay covered, stay safe

Make sure you’re covered for travel-related incidentals wherever you roam so you can relax and concentrate on having fun. We highly recommend World Nomads. They cover travelers from over 150 countries around the world, offer great rates, and cover a range of travel-related costs from the more commonplace – lost baggage and cancellation costs – to the more severe – emergency medical and evacuation assistance as well as coverage for a wide range of adventure sports and activities.

Ready to go snorkelling? Check out the best snorkel spots in Port Barton, Palawan.

Palawan Fast Facts

Palawan Fast Facts

Palawan is fast earning a name as one of the world’s most coveted vacation destinations. Its waters are among the best in the world, from everything from diving to snorkeling to fishing, but its beauties stretch far beyond the beaches.

Palawan boasts incredibly diverse ecosystems, including rainforests, mangroves, white sane beaches, coral reefs, and even a wildlife sanctuary!

The waters and lands of Palawan hold extraordinary scenic wonders. Teeming limestone cliffs serve as an awesome background to crystal clear turquoise waters. The colorfully variegated coral reefs are home to fish, turtles, and even the sea cow – known as the world’s rarest marine mammal.

On land, you’ll find African animals from Kenya – giraffes, elands, zebras, and gazelles – co-existing with endemic Philippine animals – the Palawan bearcat, mouse deer, and peacock.

GEOGRAPHY of Palawan

Palawan is approximately 586 kilometres southwest of Manila, between Mindoro Island on the north, Borneo on the south, China Sea on the west, and Sulu Sea on the east. Its total land area of 1,489,655 hectares spreads across the peripheral islands of Busuanga, Culion, Linacapan, Cuyo, Dumaran, Cagayanes, and Balabac.

Its main island measures 425 kilometres long, and 40 kilometres wide. Puerto Princesa, the capital city, is the chief seaport and the centre of trade and commerce.

CLIMATE of Palawan

The province has two types of climates. In the northern and southern parts, as well as the entire western coast, there are two distinct seasons – six months that are dry and six months that are rainy. Dry season runs from November to May and the rainy season ranges from June to October.  There is some variance here, too – southern Palawan is virtually free of tropical storms but northern Palawan experiences torrential rains during the summer months of July and August.

The eastern coast of the province has a short dry season ranging from one to three months and pretty much no rainy period during the rest of the year.

Temperatures range from from an average of 25°C (78°F) in January to 29°C (84°F) in May. The winter trade winds make windsurfing a major attraction from December until April.

PEOPLE AND CULTURE in Palawan

Palawan is diverse! The province is a melting pot of 87 different cultural communities and races who live together in peace and harmony. Basically, its culture bears a strong influence from China, India and the Middle East. Influx of migrants from other parts of the Philippines, particularly from Muslim Mindanao, accounts for the high population growth rate of 3.98% annually. The native-born Palaweños still predominate the populace. Eighteen percent is composed of cultural communities such as the Tagbanua, Palawano, Batak, and Molbog.

LANGUAGE & DIALECT of Palawan

There are 52 spoken dialects in the province, with Tagalog being spoken by 28 percent of the people. Other major dialects are Cuyunin (26.27 percent), Pinalwan (11.08 percent), and Ilongo (9.6 percent). English is also widely spoken.

RELIGION of Palawan

The most dominant religion is Roman Catholic, other Christian groups comprise 9% such as Protestants, Evangelicals, Born Again Christians and the remaining 1% belongs to other non-Christian faiths.

POPULATION of Palawan

Palawan, the largest province in the Philippines in terms of land area, registered a total population of 892,660 persons based on the 2007 National Statistics Survey.

Of the 24 municipalities comprising Palawan, Puerto Princesa City, the provincial capital, was the highest in terms of population size. This registered a population of 210,508 persons or 23.58 percent of the total provincial population. Kalayaan had the smallest population with 114 persons residing the small island.

 

El Nido Travel Tips

El Nido Travel Tips

Travel writers the world over have been proclaiming El Nido as heaven on earth and once you land, you’ll most likely agree. Still, there are few things you should know and prepare for to maximize your time spent wandering around this particular Eden.

1. Choose the Best Time

Unless your idea of tropical paradise contains a lot of rain, the best time to travel to El Nido is between December to May. El Nido has two distinct seasons: a dry season from December to May and a wet season from June to November.

2. Book in Advance

The downside of coming during the lovely dry season is that it’s also high season then. And as El Nido as increased in popularity, so have the flocks of tourists.

El Nido’s high season is between December to around April-ish so if you’re planning on coming then, make sure you get a room ahead of time. A lot of people drop in to enjoy the weather and beaches so snagging a place early on makes sure you don’t get stuck in a hovel or an overpriced hotel.

3. Be Prepared to Go Without

El Nido has 12 – 18 hours of electricity. The exact hours and time frames vary, but overall, electricity is inconsistent here. So, no working on your laptop until 3 in the morning. Inconvenient, but also encourages complete relaxation.

blackout palawan

When there is electricity, there is WiFi. Many hotels offer free WiFi and you can also access broadband at Internet Cafes.

4. Bring the Monies!!!

There are no banks or ATM machines so come with cash money. The nearest banks are in Puerto Princesa, about 5 – 8 hours away.  If you’re uncomfortable traveling with large amounts of money, it might be a good idea to spring for an all-inclusive resort. Or, pay for your accommodations as soon as you arrive so you can lighten your load.

El Nido has a few places (such as the El Nido Boutique and Art Cafe) for currency exchange. In town proper, you can exchange USD, Euros, British Pounds, HK Dollars, Australian Dollars, Japanese Yen, and Singapore Dollars. A few places in town also accept credit cards, but it is rare.

5. Bring Plenty of Money

El Nido is not that cheap, so make sure you bring enough money to tide you over and then some. The increased demand for goods by the tourists in El Nido have raised prices considerably. You can still find cheaper places to eat, but meals will still be about 100 – 200 PHP, not including drinks.

6. Travel Insurance is a MUST

There is one health center and one private doctor in all of El Nido. The nearest hospital is one hour away in Taytay.

If – God forbid – anything happens, you want to make sure you’re covered. We highly recommend World Nomads. They cover travelers from over 150 countries around the world, offer great rates, and cover a range of travel-related costs from the more commonplace – lost baggage and cancellation costs – to the more severe – emergency medical and evacuation assistance as well as coverage for a wide range of adventure sports and activities.

7. Don’t Start a Fire

There is no fire station for the town of El Nido so please refrain from doing stuff like, you know, falling asleep with a lit cigarette.

8. Avoid Mosquitoes

There have been a few cases of malaria and dengue fever in El Nido, but the malaria situation is not that bad. That said, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure and better safe than sorry and all that, so stock up on mosquito repellant with DEET and malaria vaccines. It’s always a good idea to see a travel doctor before you travel.

9. Be Ready for a Water Shortage

There is no centralized water supply and some of the budget accommodations may have problems supplying water for showers and toilets. This is pretty rare.

10. Get a Skype account

There are no landlines in El Nido. You can buy a SIM card from Smart Telecom or Globe Telecom for mobile phone service. Simply recharge your credits at any local convenience store. For long-distance calls, you can head to the El Nido Boutique and Art Cafe.

11. Be Prepared to Wait for Your Food

There is no fast food in El Nido so expect everything to take as long as it does when food is made from scratch.

12. Bring Vinegar

During certain seasons, the jellyfish abound. Bring vinegar when you’re planning to go in the water.

13. Sunburn is NO Fun at All

This applies to all beach-side vacations: do not ever go without sunscreen.

14. the MOST important one is…

Relax and have fun!

 

The Must-See Islands of El Nido

The Must-See Islands of El Nido

It’d be lovely to see them all, but 45 islands is a lot of hopping. If you’re short on time and must choose, these are the must-see El Nido islands.


Vigan Island, El Nido (aka “Snake Island”)

Vigan Island might just be the fairest of them all. It’s been dubbed Snake Island due to the curving stretch of sand bar that perches perfectly between two parallel islands.

It’s best to visit Snake Island during low tide when you can see the winding sandpit clearly. The elegant slopes and perfect curve is startlingly gorgeous, so perfect as to seem not quite real. If you follow the path the entire way, you’ll wind up at a beautiful mangrove that leads into the other island.

Warning: Walking along the sandy snake path can produce conflicting feelings of wanting to look both right and left at the same time.

Miniloc Island, El Nido

Miniloc Island is home to both Small Lagoon and Big Lagoon. The Big Lagoon offers gorgeous above-water views, with limestone cliffs towering above you as you kayak through the lagoon.

Underwater, it’s not much for coral but its deep emerald waters are frequented by sea turtles.  Unfortunately, huge sea urchins like to congregate here too, so be careful where to place your feet.

Small Lagoon also offers a fun snorkeling opportunity: at low tide, snorkelers can swim through a four-foot crevice into a small, cliff-lined cove for a surreal experience.

Miniloc Island is also home to the famous Secret Lagoon (lots of lagoons on this island!) On top of all the lagoons, Miniloc is also an underwater paradise, largely due to the fringe of coral reefs that outline the island. In fact, the island, with its transparent, turquoise waters and colorful coral formations originally gained fame as a diving station for Japanese and European tourists.


Pangulasian Island, El Nido

You probably knew this one was coming. This beach is oft-mentioned, oft-photographed, and oft-revisited. Why? For starters, it has one of the widest stretches of pure powdery white beach in El Nido. The waters are calm and there are clusters of coral close to the shore, which makes this area ideal for viewing aquatic life at your own island-time pace.

There’s hiking to be done on the island as well and a trail that leads to the peak of the island for panoramic 360-degree views of the nearby islands. This island is perfect for sunset watching.

Note: Pangulasian Islands is going the way of the high-end resort and soon public docking will be no longer allowed. There are already the beginnings of luxury accommodations being constructed and it won’t be long ’til it’s complete. Visit this beautiful island now before it becomes another Hilton playground.


Matinloc Island, El Nido

Matinloc island is home to the famous secret beach. This beach is deemed secret since in order to get to it, you have to swim through through a hole formed in a cliff.

Once through the hole, it is spectacular. You have a calm, pristine beach of turquoise waters lapping at your toes while magnificently dark, jutting limestone encases the entire beach.

Secret Beach was allegedly the inspiration for the novel, The Beach. Quite the claim, but once you visit, you’ll see why.

Matinloc island also has a small slice of Greece. Not really, but the Matinloc Shrine is reminiscent of Greece and also offers a beautiful view.


Dilumacad Island (aka Helicopter Island)

From afar, this island looks exactly like a military helicopter. Upon closer inspection, it’s an island boasting a perfectly white sand beach that stretches nearly 300 meters.

The southern part of the island is bordered by a coral reef and the northern part has a deep underwater cave at about 30-50 feet that can be explored if you want to don the diving gear. As a favorite nesting site of marine turtles in El Nido, as well as the site of one of the most picturesque beaches, the island attracts its fair share of visitors.

The largest of the El Nido islands, Cadlao, can be seen from Helicopter island, giving Dilumacad one of the most stunning scenic landscapes of all the islands in El Nido.


Pinagbuyutan Island

Pinagbuyutan Island offers the most magnificent landscape. The juxtaposition of blindingly white sand and dark marble towers is incredible.

Underneath the jutting rock formations, there stretch tall, bendy coconut trees to provide natural shade for every beach bum who comes to Pinagbuyutan’s shores. This island also has quite a collection of seashells.