Arriving late afternoon we proceeded directly to the Bamboo Hut and learned they were filled so I took off on foot exploring the area and found a great place to stay. We found a cottage right on the beach for 600 pesos. Ideally situated Port Barton is the kind of place you dream about. A great beach escape with absolutely nothing to do but enjoy the palm trees and quiet lifestyle. However, you are only minutes from great snorkeling destinations… and Island Hopping is as good as it gets. One good side trip is to visit Paradise Island which has several reefs with some beautiful fan corals.
You simply make arrangements with the locals and tell them what you would like to do such as nature watching, snorkeling, diving, visiting a waterfall, or relaxing on a private beach with a lunch prepared by the boat staff.
After checking into Elsa’s cottage we made arrangements with the owner to take her sisters pumpboat for a day of island hopping. I invited the owner to come along and at about eight am she came with a parade of food fit for a king. We loaded into the pumpboat and headed toward one of the local islands named Exotic Island with a cut directly into the sea between islands. The water was crystal clear blue and excellent for swimming , snorkeling, or just hanging out.
The boat crew asked if we wanted fresh fish for lunch and we gave 130 pesos to the captain. Twenty minutes later he returned with three bright, fresh, lapu-lapu fish, which is the Philippine name for grouper. One lapu lapu was a golden color… absolutely beautiful specimen of the fishes in the area. While we relaxed at the beach they prepared the lunch which included watermelon, homemade garlic potatoes, cucumber salad, fresh mango and grilled fish.
We then headed out to another island and proceeded up the island, where we met the caretaker of the falls named Bigaho Falls and gave him a donation to keep up the walks and keep it clean. He followed us telling us interesting stories about the area and dove off the highest rock into the pool below. We enjoyed the cool water and spent time swimming and sliding down the waterfall… as if it was a water-park tourist attraction. The Bigaho waterfall is approximately 20 minutes by boat from Port Barton and a one km walk to the water pool below the cascading picturesque waterfall… and certainly makes a great outing for lunch and cooling off. Be sure to take your camera!
From there we went to another island and just enjoyed the ambiance of a great day with great people. We then returned to our seaside cottage, where we watched a series of different colored skies and a magnificent sunset, We turned in early as we made arrangements to go by local pumpboat to Sabang, where the famous underground river is located. The normal travel time by water can vary according to whether they stop for lunch or if the seas are rough. The couple living next to us in our seaside cottage from France came in late in the afternoon and were completely drenched. It is recommended to have either a waterproof sea bag or wrap all of your valuables in waterproof plastic. It took them approx 5 hours coming from Sabang to Port Walton! The normal travel time by boat is approximately three hours and it is best to leave early in the morning before the waves increase in size and intensity.
We boarded our pumpoat at 4 am in the morning and slipped out silently as we made our way in the night… without a light I might add. As the sun came up we moved along so effortlessly. Our Captain steered the boat thorough various gorges which anyone without local knowedge could have dead-ended, hit a rock or ran aground in the shallows. We were amazed at their navigational skills and pleased to spend quality time on a new adventure. Feeling as if we were royalty… we could see pods of bait-fish spraying the water in the distance and dolphins racing alongside the boat showing off their acrobatics.
We arrived in near record time…only two and one half hours and had the entire trip to ourselves. We spotted only two or three fisherman in their boats off in the distance. Upon docking at the busy port of Sabang we bought fish breakfast for the boat crew and thanked them for such a scenic and safe private boat trip. They finished their breakfast and said goodby as they were heading back to Port Barton before the seas would get too rough and make it difficult to travel.
So there you have it! Port Barton is an excellent destination just three hours by bus and jeepney from Puerto Princesca and a great jumping off point either going to El Nido (which you can also go by pumpboat approximately five hours or go by private van or jeepney, and just three hours by pumpboat to Sabang… and then another hour to Puerto Princesca by jeepney or visa versa. If you want a quaint fishing town very much the same for hundreds of years with very little hustle and bustle… then Port Barton should definitely be included on your travel list to the providence of Palawan….the last frontier!
QUOTE:“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain
THINGS YOU MAY NOT KNOW:The World Wide Web was invented in 1990 by Tim Berners-Lee
as a tool to link scientific research. It was not widely available to the public until the mid-1990’s.
THINGS YOU MAY WANT TO SAVE: Bonus travel miles…your just a computer keyboard away from your next trip!
ZENTRAVELER SAYS: Island fever may be incurable but look at the upside…. I still have over 7000 more islands to travel just in the Philippines… then there is Borneo, Malaysia, and the list goes on and on!
From here to Infinity is a relatively short ride! The next leg takes eons and eons as you fly through the Barycentric Dynamical Time Zone!
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