Most people would visit either Puerto Princesa or El Nido when in Palawan, Philippines. No one really knew Port Barton as a tourist destination until in recent years. Port Barton is a small town in San Vicente located on the north west of Palawan. It is a fishing village that is now thriving in tourism.
How to Get There
When I first landed in Puerto Princesa, the first business postings I saw were the schedule of vans and buses going to and from Palawan’s capital to Port Barton. Travel time is around 5 to 6 hours. And if you are in El Nido, you will also find a way to get to this place with lesser travel time of around 4 to 5 hours. Most hostels would have information on the van schedule from town.
Take note that when you first arrive, you have to pay P50 (<USD 1) for an Eco Card. This was valid for 2 weeks. There isn’t really an office but this is just located by the entrance.
The town isn’t a total touristy place and the accommodation are near the residential area. On our first night, we went out and joined the locals in watching a basketball tournament. The atmosphere was competitive. I wasn’t surprised though because basketball is the most popular sports in the Philippines.
Things to Do
The main town is a fishing village and it also serves as a port and boats are parked here. It isn’t really a good area to swim but you can still swim in areas which aren’t busy. However, you have to get out of town and explore the islands to really see Port Barton.
Their island hopping tours seems to mirror the El Nido island tours. Similary, they have categorized it into Tour A, B, C and so on. As of now, these tours aren’t strict and the boatmen are flexible to take you to a different island if you have already been to one that is already part of the tour, that is if all other joiners would agree with this arrangement.
Each tour costs P1,200 (>USD 60) for a full day tour inclusive of lunch that is freshly prepared so you would have a picnic by the beach. I was actually surprised by this fee because when I previously checked blogs which were just a year old, the tours only costs around P700 (>35). It is becoming more popular and pricey (almost the same price as El Nido tours)! Some locals said that the price of gasoline (for the boat) increased, hence, the double in fees.
We went to six islands/ spots (some are open ocean for snorkeling) and my favorite in this is the German Island. We’re still here in the Philippines but it was popularly known with that name because a German guy used to own (or lease?) the island. It has been renamed to Inaladelan Island, but heck, German island is easier to pronounce even for me. I like this kind of island because it was just a place to relax, there are hammocks under the coconut trees (just watch out for falling coconuts!), and the water is so blue and crystal clear.
From German Island, we took a short trip to the Turtle spot. It was lunch time but looks like most turtles were having their siesta. We just spotted one Pawikan, a big kind of turtle found in the Philippines (that’s how I describe it but just google for the technical definition of this turtle species).
Hanging Out at the White Beach
A day filled with island hopping was sooo fun but was exhausting. The following day, we decided to chill out in one spot. We went to White Beach which has better swimming waters than the town’s beach area. You have to ride a passenger boat to get there which costs P300 (>USD 5) roundtrip and pay an entrance fee of P50 as this is a private resort. You can also opt to stay there as they have rooms available.
- White Beach, Port Barton
I wasn't able to ask why it was called White Beach as the sand is a bit creamy to greyish. So do not expect sand to be like that of Boracay.
Yoga by the Beach
Yoga isn’t that popular yet in the Philippines, but you are sure to find a yoga hub where there are tourists or expats. Deep Moon Resort is centrally located along Port Barton’s shores and they have a yoga spot overlooking the beach. We tried the sunset yoga which was from 5pm to 6pm. I prefer taking yoga classes in this part of the country rather than in the city because the ambience goes perfectly with it. No need for music as the sound of the waves serves well to calm your senses. As you end the practice, you get a glimpse of the orange skies.
- Yoga at Deep Moon Resort, Port Barton
They also have a sunrise yoga from 9am to 10 am. Each session costs P400 (>USD 7).
More Island Hopping
Since I got to rest, I have energy for another island hopping tour! It wasn’t really planned but I have nothing to do and it was easy to just book and there were boatmen by the shore offering the tours before they leave. The place isn’t touristy yet but I can imagine you may need to plan this ahead when this place gets more touristy.
I wouldn’t bore you with all the islands we went to that day but I would like to share my favorite in this tour which are the twin islands – Maxima and Exotic island. These islands are literally just a walking distance away, the waters are shallow so you do not even have to swim. This was famous for dogs swimming back and forth the two islands.
- Twin Island, Port Barton
On my last day, I decided to get a haircut. The place isn’t a professional looking salon but it was just a small open room made of bamboo and wood beside a Sari-Sari store (mini grocery store usually found in small villages in the Philipines). The haircut was only P150 (<USD 1.50) so why not. This is also my way of helping locals in their day to day livelihood.
- Haircut by the Beach
If you want to experience something Filipino, join a group of locals for some karaoke and don’t be shy to sing. It doesn’t matter if you have a good voice, anyone can sing in a karaoke. A group of travelers I met on my last night were game for some karaoke so off we went to 7170.
It was just 5 pesos per song! We sang popular karaoke songs and 90s songs. There were also locals there who also sang with us. It was super fun and a lot of times people would sing along with you, drowning your voice so there is really no excuse not to touch that mic.
How I was I could stay longer but it was time for me to head to Puerto Princesa. I took a bus going back and it was more comfortable and spacious than riding a van.
Up next, I will be writing about places we ate at Port Barton. Would you believe we found a really good brick oven pizza on this remote island! Stay tuned 😊
Update: Here's my recommended restaurants in Port Barton.
Here's a video of the island hopping and White Beach in Port Barton