Port Barton, a tiny town on the north-west coast of Palawan, one of the barangays in the municipality of San Vicente, Palawan. 3 hours ride via land vehicle from Puerto Princesa City.
Port Barton is unspoiled and untouched; it will give you all the province-feels. A place that will give you the best escape from all the toxicity of life. A place that doesn't have banks, hospital, and doesn't have electricity from 6pm to midnight. It doesn't have any big shopping stores, bars or luxury hotels and restaurants. No night life. Everything is basic which makes it exactly my favorite island.
This is the smaller and quieter version of El Nido. The activities that you can enjoy here are very similar to those in El Nido and Coron but is almost half the price! 🙂 Port Barton is a good choice for budget backpackers (like us) who prefer the province-feels-peaceful-beach-life.
San Vicente, Palawan
Status: Very small place
Population: 4,832 people
Region : Province of Palawan (Mimaropa)
WHAT TO DO / ACTIVITIES
WHERE TO EAT
There are restaurants in the front beach and some cheap "carinderia" (small eatery) at the back beach. The sad news is that, when it is low season (June - August) most of the restaurants are close due to low number of tourists.
We only get to eat in Summerhomes and Elsa's Resort. I was not able to capture all our meals.
But you have like a dozen to choose from; price ranges from Php 150-Php 300.
HOW TO GET THERE
It is 3 - 4 hours away from Puerto Princesa City. The town is like a small village that you can just walk around; I don’t see any tricycle here so yes, just enjoy the stroll and don’t forget to buy sweet-juicy pineapple. 🙂
Please take note of the schedule of vans, you may contact them in advance especially during lean months as schedule may change without prior notice.
RECARO: 0946-0444250 / 0919-5310967
This is the cheapest way but take note of the schedule which is 12noon
Direct van - price ranges from Php 600-800 per person. I haven’t tried this route
WHERE TO STAY
We stayed within the vicinity of Summerhomes – fronting the beach; we pitched our tent beside the beach couch and paid P300 per tent (Php 150 each since I traveled with my co-blogger). Php 300 comes with free use of comfort rooms, unlimited charging of gadgets (Btw, they are using green energy so we get to enjoy 24/7 electricity); they even provided us foams and pillows plus 24/7 roving security guard 🙂 If you don't have your tents with you, you can rent from the resort and pay Php 500 per tent.
Note: To those beach campers like us, don’t just pitch tents elsewhere as there are cases of robbers in Port Barton because they don’t have roving Policemen here. So I recommend that you stay in Summerhomes for your safety 😉 The staff is so welcoming and caring; they always check if we are okay or if we need anything.
Okay. Initially I just came to Port Barton so I could just lie in the beach, relax, read the book and enjoy the beach. Nah. I’m kidding. I always try to explore the island by doing what I love doing – Island Hopping! I didn't expect much about Port Barton but surprisingly, the snorkeling sites are far way better than El Nido and almost comparable to Coron 🙂
DAY 1 - Puerto Princesa City
0700H - Wake up / Breakfast / Pack up
0800H – Cab to San Jose Terminal
0830H – Van to Port Barton (Reserve in advance!)
1100H – Arrival in Port Barton; Tell the driver to drop you off at the tourism office and pay for the eco-tourism development and management fee.
1130H – Check in; Pitch tents – even though it was raining that time 😀
1145H – Walk around town
1200H – Lunch at Elsa’s – beach front
1300H – Walk back to Summerhomes; Siesta
1800H – Night swim
1900H – Shower / Tidy up
1930H – Dinner at Summerhomes
2100H – Smores; almost ‘partied’ hahaha
2200H – Glamping; Sleep mode
DAY 2 - Port Barton – Island Hopping
0600H – Wake up / Pack up
0630H – Breakfast at Summerhomes
0800H - 1500H – Island Hopping (Private)
- AQUARIUM REEF (snorkeling site)
- INALADELAN RESORT (formerly GERMAN ISLAND)
- TURTLE SITE
- MAXIMA ISLAND - LUNCH
- EXOTIC ISLAND
- PARADISE ISLAND
- FANTASTIC REEF (snorkeling area)
- TWIN REEF (snorkeling area)
- STARFISH POINT
1530H – Back to Summerhouse; Tidy Up
1600H - Snacks
1700H - Van ride to Puerto Princesa City
- No banks or ATMs; though some restaurants/inn are accepting card payments
- You can wire money thru Palawan Express
- No landline phones
- Globe signal is poor. You can only get 3G; Smart signal could get you speedy connection
- Bring snorkeling gear! Though our private tour comes with free snorkeling gear J Apply toothpaste on your goggles lenses! Tip from the boatman
- Electriciy runs from 5pm-12mn. Some accommodations have generators; In Summerhomes, they are using green energy. 24/7 power is available
- We negotiated a private boat tour from 8am – 3pm for the 2 of us. Rate is Php 2,500.00 but we haggled it to Php 2,000.00 (Php 1,000 each with sumptuous lunch and snorkeling gears) and we get to see 10 destinations! You can even go for more but we chose only the highlights of the tour a – d 🙂
- Contact Person - ISLAND HOPPING: Kuya Nimrod ‘Ontong’ de Veluz – 0939-6172914
- No hospitals or drugstores. Bring your medicines.
- Bring bottled water
- (Office hours of tourism office: 8am-5pm, Monday to Sunday)
ECO TOURISM RATES AS FOLLOWS
Php 50 / person : visit duration 1 – 10 days
Php 100 / person : visit duration 11 days – 6 months
Php 200 / person: visit duration 6 months – 1 year
I am a local of Puerto Princesa so they just checked my ID, have me registered on the logbook and it’s free including my companion (which instantly proclaimed as a local of Palawan, haha!)
Cab to San Jose Terminal – Php 12.00
Van to Port Barton – Php 250.00
Summerhomes Tent fee – Php 150.00 (Php 300/tent)
Pineapple – Php 45.00 (Php 90.00)
Lunch in Elsa’s – Php 170.00
Dinner in Summerhomes – Php 212.00
Breakfast in Summerhomes – Php 180.00
Island Hopping Fee – Php 1,000.00 (Php 2,000 per boat)
PM Snacks – Php 87.50 (Php 175 for 2)
Van to PPS – Php 250.00
TOTAL – Php 2,356.50 per person
I enjoyed the island hopping and snorkeling activities in Port Barton more than my El Nido trip. A trip here should definitely be in the list of backpackers and people who want a vacation away from the crowd. Its laidback life and tranquility keeps on luring me back. I wanna go back and catch up on my reading on a swaying hammock while enjoying my pineapple 🙂 Such a total relaxation where you can completely be lazy for the whole day.
The sad thing is, along with its less touristy crowd, is a dying business destination. Most of the restaurants were closed because of the low number of visitors. Yes, that kinda make me sad.
But overall, I will definitely go back here and I wanted to stay longer the next time.