I’m confident when I say that this could possibly be the best beach ever. Why? Just take a look at it:
Most people already know how beautiful Palawan is, especially since it’s where one of the 7 wonders of Nature and a UNESCO world heritage site is located: the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park.
Aside from the usual go-to locations of Palawan like Coron and El Nido, though, there is also a much less touristy town in the southernmost province of Palawan known as Balabac.
I was still contemplating whether to continue writing this article or not because I wasn’t sure if the publicity would be helpful for the island to preserve its natural beauty; but I guess my goal here is to show the world – uhm, the universe rather – how beautiful the islands of the Philippines are.
So how beautiful is Balabac? Check out some of the islands I visited during a recent tour that I went on:
Patawan Island was my first destination on my 3-day island tour and I was immediately shocked by how beautiful the island is. It definitely set the bar high.
This long “S-shaped” sandbar has a small pool in the middle that is separated from the rest of the ocean.
This is where we rested and enjoyed our lunch while having a mini photoshoot:
A visit to Candaraman Island is almost like visiting two islands at once. The wide stretch of the smaller island’s sandbar only appears during low tide.
Please do prepare your goggles or snorkeling gear for this trip because you’ll be able to see a ton of starfish here. There are also some sea urchins that you will need to look out for, though.
Look at all of the starfish!
The bigger island is known for its camping site. We stayed overnight by renting tents (each one fits two people), though you may also opt to rent one of their cottages if you’d prefer.
You may purchase fresh buko from the locals for only 25 pesos. For dinner, you may ask to buy some fish from the local fishermen. Fresh seafood can help the community!
The sunset here is so beautiful! Get your cameras ready and wait for the ‘Golden Hour’.
Mansalangan is a vast stretch of a sandbar where you won’t see any mountains breaking the horizon of the water. The view and setting are incomparable. I was just sitting on the sand in awe of where I was.
Super carefree pose!
Punta Sebaring is known to be one of the best islands on the Balabac island tour due to its unspoiled beauty. Famous for having the most powdery kilometer-long stretches of sand, this island is one you shouldn’t miss!
We only stayed here for a short period of time because it was high tide and the sun was too bright.
Fortunately, there was a cottage there where we could rest and take pictures of the mangroves:
Onuk Island was hands-down the highlight of my whole trip. This jaw-dropping island seems almost unreal. With two cottages and an island all connected by wooden bridges and ladders, you might just want to stay the night.
I went snorkeling here and got the chance to see a Pawikan, ginormous clams, sea urchins, and corals.
The most Instagrammable wooden ladder.
Onuk Island is pretty huge; it’s like a whole new paradise just waiting to be explored.
There are a lot of islands in the town of Balabac, but here is the itinerary that we decided to follow:
Arrival at Puerto Princesa
3AM – Land trip to Rio Tuba
8AM – Arrival at Rio Tuba Port in Bataraza
10AM – Departure of the boat from Bataraza to Balabac
2PM – Arrival at Balabac, Poblacion
8PM – Overnight accommodation in Balabac (We stayed at JD Lodge/Sing and Swing.)
ISLAND HOPPING DAY 1
ISLAND HOPPING DAY 2
ISLAND HOPPING DAY 3
6AM Boat back to Rio Tuba in Bataraza
10AM Arrival in Bataraza
3PM Land trip back to Puerto Princesa
8PM Arrival in Puerto Princesa
Flight back to Manila (anytime)
Islands to Possibly Visit:
*Comiaran (Pink island)
One of the cheapest ways to experience Balabac is to join an organized tour group. If you’re up for new experiences and meeting new people, I highly encourage trying it out. For most of my trips, I join ‘HashTravels’. Their motto is “Everyone is welcome”. Plus, the group prepares awesome food – not kidding!
Some tips and reminders for those going here:
1. Bring insect repellant (organic or the sticker would be better) to protect you from mosquitoes and sand mites.
2. Bring sunblock and keep reapplying it on your face and body (preferably SPF50 and up)!
3. Make sure you bring a bag for all of your OOTD costume changes. (let’s not lose things)
4. Keep in mind that cellular reception is tough.
5. There are no ATMs or banks in Balabac. The nearest one is in mainland Palawan in Rio Tuba.
Overall, I spent around Php18,700 on this getaway (tour package: Php11,100; airfare: Php2,649; pocket money: Php5,000).
This should definitely be on your bucket list!
(ALSO READ: Philippine Eagle Featured in ‘Our Planet’ Documentary)
Discover any other hidden gems in the Philippines? Share your experiences with us!