Surviving Palaui Island: The Ultimate Paradise for Introverts

Day 2: More Islands and Scary Boat Problems

The next day, we prepared for a more extensive island hopping. It was Survivor day because we were going to check out the beaches where Survivor was filmed. And yes, I brought my buff.

It proved to be a day of actual survival because when we were out in the ocean, the boat’s engine failed. It started to cough and sputter. And with the limited space on the boat, it was difficult for the boatman to fix the engine. The engine flatlined several times and, to make things worse, we were in an area where the waves were two feet high and hitting from both directions.

I searched the boat for oars, but only found one. We didn’t have any life jackets on. I should have been scared, but I was actually excited. I felt like we were about to get marooned on a remote island.

Palaui Island - boat ride 1

Luckily, the boat came back to life and although it was moving at a pace similar to that of a snail, it was better than being stuck in the middle of the ocean. It turned out to be a great thing, too, because we had the chance to take in the beautiful scenery right before our eyes.

On our right were mountains with thick foliage. These islands had rugged terrains and looked more like rock islands had it not been for the trees covering the whole place. The beaches were long and stunning; they looked like white line from a distance and there were rock formations that disappeared with each wave.

I took a very good look at each cove that we passed by, hoping to see remnants of the castaways that lived there for 39 days.

Palaui Island - boat ride 2

Then the boat died again. This time, our boatman decided it was too risky to continue, so we took a detour and headed to the nearest cove instead.

As we approached the beach, I noticed a small fishing boat that had about twenty people in it. The water was so blue and calm as we neared the beach. On either side were tree-lined rocky hills and in front of us was a long stretch of white beach made of pebbles, sand, and corals. It was the perfect place to have lunch.

Palaui Island - beach

Palaui Island - picnic site 2

Palaui Island - picnic site 3Eating with a view like this–plus great company–beats any fine dining experience, hands down.

We finally had the chance to jump into the water after eating. The place was really quiet since there were only two other groups. You can really feel being one with nature. I can hear the sounds of the water crashing against the rocks and feel the cool wind on my skin. I could hear the birds from above. It was like being taken into another world. Everything was muted and serene.

When the boat was fixed (or so we thought), we continued the journey to our destination: Punta Engano.

After several more minutes, we finally saw this:

Palaui Island - beach lighthouseOut of all the places we’ve been to, this is the only one where we encountered more than ten people.

On our left, perched on top of the hill was the lighthouse. Even from afar, we could see the people walking down to the beach. It looked dangerous because there were no railings, though. Once we hit the beach, we started to head towards the trail to the lighthouse when we were stopped by some locals. Apparently, we had to sign up and pay for a guide.

I didn’t see the point in getting a guide when the trail was so clear. We soon realised that our P300 was a total waste because there was no way our guide was a legit one.

I thought our “guide” was training for a fun run. I swear she was almost running. She was at least ten feet from us and we were like, “Ate, wait lang!” Our friend wanted her to tell us more about the history of the lighthouse. Her response was laughable.

Guide: Naku, mahabang storya po yun, sir.

Ice: Okay lang, Ate.

After a few seconds of dead air…

Guide: Sa totoo lang po, hindi ko po alam eh…


Guide: That’s a long story, sir.

Ice: It’s okay. We’ll listen.

Guide: The truth is I really don’t know…

Are you kidding me???

She then went on to offer some excuses about how she was not a full-time guide and stuff. I stopped listening and turned away. I felt cheated. 

Palaui Island - trail to lighthouseIt was a long, hot, and exhausting walk up the hill.

The hike was an experience in itself. It was a little scary because it was very high and you could easily slip and fall down. But how could I worry about that if I had this view?

Palaui Island - Punta Engano 5

Palaui Island - Punta Engano 4

The wind was blowing and the sun was shining bright. It was the perfect background for super selfies. Or buwis-buhay shots like this:

Palaui Island - cliff shot

Then this view emerged as we got higher:

Palaui Island - Punta Engano 2

Palaui Island - rocky beachOn the other end of the valley was this picturesque image of the crashing waves.

Soon, we reached the lighthouse. The property was spacious. The walls were still intact, but the lighthouse itself had no limits because the stairs were rusty and dilapidated.

Palaui Island - Lighthouse

Palaui Island - lighthouse up close

Palaui Island - group shot The obligatory group shot inside the lighthouse premises

Palaui Island - Punta Engano 3This is my favorite view of the entire place

As we headed back down, we decided to change route and go around the beach. We soon found ourselves in this spacious valley. It was such a beautiful spot, we did what any normal person would do: take more pictures.

Palaui Island - Punta Engano 1

Please indulge me for a while as I share photos better shared on Facebook.

Palaui Island - jump shot

Palaui Island - jump shot 2

We soon headed back home, and just when we thought nothing could go wrong anymore, something did. The engine failed again and we got stranded for several minutes. Thankfully, we had a skilled boat guide and he managed to bring us home in one shape.

Palaui Island - boat rideWhen you’re stranded in the middle of the sea, there’s nothing better to do than take pictures.

To cap off the day, we headed somewhere fancy: the Cagayan Holiday and Leisure Resort where we waited for the sunset. It was exciting for me because this was Ponderosa, the place where survivors who’ve been voted out retired to. I was walking on the same sand Morgan and Jefra walked on several months ago. 

Palaui Island - Sun City

Palaui Island - Sun city beach

Palaui Island - Sunset at SunCity

As the sun disappeared under the horizon, I realized how lucky the locals were to have one of the most stunning locations in the world as their neighbor. While most of the people we talked to weren’t that excited or impressed by the beaches because they were so familiar to them, I could still feel how proud they were to be living here.

Palaui Island is stunning. Its allure isn’t found in most beaches. It’s beautiful, secluded, and unadulterated. It’s the ultimate paradise for introverts like me.



Surviving Palaui Island: The Ultimate Paradise for Introverts