a corner of bliss, Palawan

If there's one island more enchanting than the rest of the Philippines, it would be Palawan. It's like a distant paradise seemingly inaccessible but promises little corners of bliss. The Visayas area has been a more popular destination for local tourists because at first glance, Palawan is known for its luxurious islands off the mainland of El Nido. But it's a 650km tip to tip stretch, has the western & eastern side of the sea making it nature at its best. The only thing about that is it makes travelling inside the island an adventure. At very little time, we were only able to map out two towns on the western side of the archipelago: Port Barton & Sabang. The beach in the Underground River, Sabang

Being first timers of Palawan, it's hard to choose a destination while taking to consideration your transportation & your holiday mode. The island is still developing by land. There's only one main highway that stretches from south to north. Plus, we noticed how costly it is to travel around. Accomodations are surprisingly good at affordable rates. Power is also in progress. Most places do not have electricity & generators work on schedule, normally from 6am to 10am & at 6pm to 12mn.
Like any other capital, Puerto Princesa is a busy little town with so much to do. Although it has only been our jump in & off to other locations, we're sure to be back to visit so many places in the area. What I really liked here is the cost of a tricycle ride. Anywhere to & from the busy part of Rizal Avenue will be 7 or 8php per person when taking it from the terminal, regardless you're alone or not. One driver almost had us but thanks to other honest drivers, we learned fast. We stayed a night at Puerto Pension before heading to Port Barton. Right, islands off Port Baton, children fishing for the day's lunch

Port Barton is about 150km from Puerto Princesa. There is only one bus
who can bring you there: Jerry Boy. It leaves San Jose Terminal at 10am every other day & if everything goes well, arrives Port Barton at around 3pm. At 11.30, we stopped over a small canteen in Binduyan for lunch & met a Marseillais through my husband's tabac roulé (loose tabacco, diy rolling), and owner of Hibiscus Garden Inn Resort in Puerto Princesa. Lunch was a 30-45 minute stop & we continued our winding roadtrip to the north. 3 hours to the trip, it started raining hard as we exited the main road to a rough road literally with big stones. In just a couple of meters, we had to stop & the driver turned off the engine. Apparently, there was a jeepney who needed help in carrying its engine, which happen to fall off in the middle of the road. But this was not only the commotion. Below: Jerry Boy & the road to Port Barton on a rainy day, a truck already stuck

The rain had made the dirt road into sticky mud. All passengers had to go down & walk through the mud & of all the passengers, I was the most muddy making me more of a tourist than the lone French in the bus. A bit pissed off, I happily washed off in the rice paddies while my husband enjoys this spontaneous event. There were more patches of soft mud on the road but Jerry Boy, despite of sludge & close cliffs on the road, is the only way to Port Barton. This advenutre ride is worth 200php per head. All worth every cent.
We arrived Ysabelle Resort, former Swissippini Lodge & Resort, at past 5pm. Port Barton mainland is a laid back beach, a little jewel after the roadtrip to reach it. With a lot of its surrounding islands, it is known for diving. Doris is the only dive shop in Port Barton. You can never miss Easy Dive (rates on website have changed, credit cards are not accepted). With the diving boat, we were offered to take an island tour. In one of the islands, you will find Blue Cove Resort, a charming paradise with fine white sand & clear waters. They also have a trail to the top of the island for an overview of Port Barton's surrounding islands. Be sure to bring some cash when you go on island hopping because you might discover good bars & restaurants like Blue Cove. The French couple we met in Blue Cove told us that it was the show Koh-lanta (the French Survivor reality show, this year they are again in the Philippines, Camaroan) that made them visit Palawan. It was more than they expected. Left, Port Barton Beach, below, Blue Cove Beach & the resort's bar & restaurant view from the sea

There are two ways to leave Port Barton to Sabang. By boat or by a hired van. Both costs 3000php minimum but negociable. The only problem with the boat is that you have to leave really early & with the h
ired van, it has to be arranged. There is a boat that comes from Sabang on a regular basis. If you can get the schedule, this would cost less than 500php a head. It's the same with the van. If you find other people with the same destination, you share the cost of the van. With a problem with communication, we were obliged to take the van (actually a Hillux pickup) at 3000php to Sabang. We tried to negociate & all we got was free entrance to the Underground river. It was a 4 hour fast & bumpy ride.
Sabang is home to the Underground River. It is one of the most visited places in Palawan. The tour is organized from the boat ride at 250php to the entrance of 150php per head. If you're adventurous & have great endurance, you can reach the Underground River through the Monkey Trail (or Jungle Trail), a 2 hour trek in the jungle according to the Dutch tourists we met. You can see wild monkeys on the way too. I liked the tour on the Underground River especially our banca chauffer who cracked more jokes than information on the cave. The tour is about 45 minutes. Underground River entrance

Although the beach in sabang is not totally white sands, it is still nice to see a lo
ng stretch of beach. The water is great plus our resort is the best we stayed in in Palawan. I would rate Daluyon Resort a 5 star resort thus we had to stretch a bit more for the accomodation budget. After the travelling we did, Sabang was a relaxing spot. We enjoyed the food & drinks on our room's balcony as we prepare to get back to reality. Below, view of the resort from the beach & our room

Palawan has so much paradise to share that needs plenty of time to experience. Because it is relatively a big island, it is hard to choose a destination. You can only do 2 to 3 destinations in one visit to be able to appreciate every place. Our next stop would be in down South on the eastern side & El Nido. This time, I won't forget to bring a spray for bed bugs. My polka dot skin was one of my souvenirs of Palawan. The Philippines truly still boasts of paradise. Can't wait to go back. Below, the view from our room in Sabang & our ride to the Sabang terminal

Please let me know if anyone can share us more info on lands for sale in Palawan. Thanks!


From Manila to Paris, then to Marseille & to the Côte d'Azur, now in Singapore, clinging to a map of three worlds, where everything becomes all relative.


  1. Those pictures are gorgeous! Damn, the idea of electricity being cut at certain hours of the day makes me want a holiday in Palawan! I also want to ride the one and only Jerry Boy. Minus the mudslide. :D

  2. Your experience was just exciting, funny, and full of adventures rolled into one! We plan to visit Palawan bust since you advised us to visit it later when kids get older we opt to explore Bora :D !

  3. Kala, thank goodness there's water even without electricty. A bit difficult though because in Port Barton, we had to eat dinner early & finish up our drinking in the resort's bar fast before lights out. Almost pitch black ha! Especially in Sabang. The resort's bar closed on us already & we still wanted to drink & we saw the town in total shadow! If you do go, bring extra booze :)

    Haze, I really think the kids will enjoy Bora. Heck, I enjoyed Bora & still want to go back! Palawan is really more sauvage.

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  5. hello
    i am a backpacker from france and i've been travelling non stop for 3 years now (no! i didn't win the lottery ;)_)
    i found a very good site, very helpful to take advantage of asia, palawan, ...

  6. Stumbled by your blog searching for more places to visit in Palawan -- my new home. You have interesting posts :) Hugs from the island! ;)