A fusion of delightful dishes makes a restaurant stand out from the rest. Maintaining a good portfolio of food for the past years makes you more credible on your craft.
Author: Andrea Antonio
If you want something different from your usual Friday night and weekend afternoon hangout with friends. This is an unconventional place for you. Sometimes we just need to halt are normal routine – break the “sawa” factor or “dito ulit” habit.
Balabac is a second class municipality and it’s located at the southernmost tip of Palawan province, approximately about 50 kilometers from Sabah Malaysia. The island is said to be the home of the distinctive mouse-deer as locals may call it “ Pilandok”. The place is also known for a variety of endemic species such as grey imperial pigeons, crocodiles, sharks, dolphins, sea turtles and a lot more.
Palawan is one of or should I say the most beautiful island in the province of the Philippines. People would ask what is your favorite beach destination? They would often say Palawan – Puerto Princesa which is popular for its subterranean river, Sabang tour. Coron which is known for its lakes and lagoons, and snorkeling at the WWI Japanese shipwreck and El Nido for its granular and sugary like beaches but there is more to see in Palawan, it’s a concealed paradise as I describe it.
Balabac have marveled at its untouched splendor. It remarkably features a white powdery dust sand beaches, the sparkling crystal clear water, mangroves, marine gardens and nature reserves that you truly enjoy.
There’s a feeling of peace in this place, it was amazing – the sweet air, the whistle of the warm comforting sea breeze, salt-watered soaked feet parading up the soft shores, the sway of the trees, lay on a “salbabida” and listen to the splash of gentle waves is ultimately relaxing. These iridescent colors of beauty and sunshine, the smell of fresh salt was so perfect that my eyes were filled with warm droplets of satisfaction.
PAL, Cebu Pacific, and Air Asia going to Puerto Princesa. On an average, there are 13 flights that go in and out of Puerto Princesa by local commercial flights coming from Cebu, Manila, Caticlan, and Davao. Make sure to keep an eye on promo fares as there are plenty to choose from.
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We stayed in Le Mon Pension in Puerto Princesa City for a day before we headed to Balabac. Should you want to check out other options CLICK HERE to check out the TOP 10 Puerto Princesa accommodations that fit any budget
Our trip was actually arranged by KilometerZero Philippines but the flight arrangements were covered by us. Thank you to Boni Andino for coordinating and representing the group for our itinerary.
We left Puerto Princesa, picked-up by a van at the hotel by 7:00 AM, the van ride took us 5 to 6 hours going to Barangay Buliluyan, Bataraza. Once you have reached the Buliluyan private port a boat will take you to Kap Andong Noe’s camp where we stayed in Balabac.
By Land and Sea
Rio Tuba in the town of Bataraza is the entry to Balabac Islands. A public boat departs daily at around noon from Rio Tuba Port to mainland Balabac, travel time is just about four (4) hours and the fare is P450 one-way. Take note that there is no fixed schedule of boat departure as it depends on sea conditions and passenger traffic. It is best to be there as early as 9:30 AM.
Day 1: Half- Day Island Hopping
First stop, Patugang Island there is not so much to see on this island but what I like about this place is that you get to relax for a long travel from the city. There is no harm in dipping for 30 minutes into the ocean to feel the water runs through your body as if you’re in a sauna.
Second stop, Palawan Island it’s like a desert island if you want to do soul searching, leave your worries behind well this is a good place to unwind.
Then we headed to the campsite to watch the sunset, wash-up and have dinner. Nanay Lerma, wife of Kap Andong Noe prepared and served good food, fried Lapu-Lapu, Pancit, fruits, and refreshments for us.
Day 2: More island-hopping and sunset watching
They say that sandbars are best visited during low tide. We are lucky we get to see the 3rd longest sandbar in the Palawan and it’s amazingly beautiful. We stayed there for more than an hour just staring at starfish and do our usual selfies. Before we went down, the boatmen checked if there are stingrays roaming around the place, they used their paddle to shoo away these species so don’t worry it’s safe to swim here.
Next, Byan Island the water is crystal clear blue waters, you would really see through the water through the current is too strong we still decided to dip into the water and swam.
This is a must see in Balabac, the Sibaring Island it has the finest sand, and your feet will really sink into the sand. I won’t recommend that you do sunbathing here if you don’t want your back, arms, and legs to be bitten by sand flies
There is also a place called First paradise – the longest infinity pool in Palawan. The white powdery sand, tranquil trees surrounded the area makes it more comforting.
It’s really tiring hopping to one island to another, while we are on our way back to the campsite feeling hungry and very eager to wash up. We just enjoyed our moment at the boat, listening to the waves, feeling the splash of water on our face and feet and basically just enjoy watching the sun.
Day 3: Mangrove, beach-bumming, and snorkeling
It would take you 2 hours to reach Timbayan island, one of the popular mangroves in Balabac. The rock formations and these rock structures will simply put you in awe.
Part of the trip is to relax, sunbathing, chit-chat, snacking and listening to music.
- Kobe’s Baywalk Tambayan Puerto Princesa City– if you are looking for a cheap boodle feast this is the place to go.
- Ka Joels Inato ( Ka Inato) – the native ambiance of the place is relaxing, I’m so impressed with the colorful interior, sculptures and paintings represent so much of our Philippine culture. It’s a good place to dine.
- Kahlui – this is one of the popular restaurants in Palawan expect that the price is a bit high compared to other restaurants.
Malaysian products in Balabac:
- Mi Sedaap Mi Goreng instant noodles best with boiled egg – Php 75.00 a pack of 5
- curry chicken in a can around Php 60.00 each
- susu soya drink (we got this for free during our trip)
Balabac in an isolated place, and doesn’t have safe drinking water. Expect that the locals will be refilling water containers from Puerto Princesa or import from Malaysia. To save the power supply, they have a generator at the campsite that is available at night from 7 PM to 10 PM so you can charge your cell phone and power banks. I would suggest you bring a multiple USB charging ports so not to overload the generator. Sadly, there is no data connectivity in Balabac. I believe there is GSM signal somewhere or a spot in the campsite so you can still receive or send SMS and take in calls. Globe has a weak signal so if you are Smart user good for you folks!
Mosquitoes are rampant at night too, so it’s a MUST that you bring insect/bug repellants. There are sleeping quarters available – hammocks, tents, and kubos. Make sure to coordinate properly with your travel agent on your preferred sleeping area. Expect that there are a lot of guests coming in and go the camp so I suggest you booked early but as for me, I’m happy sleeping in a hammock.
Our 4-day trip to Balabac remarkably one of the most memorable beach experience that I have ever been. I get to meet new people, appreciate the wonders of nature and basically just to have fun with people you love the most. According to Bryant H. McGill, curiosity is one of the great secrets of happiness. No wonder that after my trip I felt happy. Sometimes you just have to go somewhere quiet and experience something different. It’s okay to be afraid, but it’s also good to explore and learn.
~P12,000 each for 4D/3N
~P10000 each for 3D/2N
May these photos/videos will be a reflection of how my experience went, may this also reflect how magnificent and splendid it was. Hopefully, I was able to capture the astonishing marine life and what Balabac can offer.
As we always say, go forth and wander and when you return home to become a storyteller.
For more of our Palawan Series please feel free to go through our contents:
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Photo Credit: Boni Andino and Clemen Alvin Ascano
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