Little village with a chill ambient and lots of cool bars – Port Barton in Palawan, Philippines took heart of lots of travelers away, still having this remote island vibe. It’s possible to visit Port Barton without taking a boat tour, as there are plenty of places you can reach walking. I took the whole day to discover them and still had some time to relax on the beaches and snorkeling.Port Barton is a lovely stop on the way from El Nido to Puerto Princesa and one of the main touristic spots on Palawan. I really enjoyed the cool vibe of the place. There is a beach with bars all along, where in the evening people chill with the beers, pulling their sunburn skin off. Few of them have life music shows and absolutely all will make you want to stay on the beach longer, until you can watch the sunset, later on observe the stars and get eaten by mosquitos. So romantic.
Is visiting Port Barton without taking a boat tour possible?
The most popular activity in Port Barton is taking the boat tour to nearby islands and beaches, where you can swim and snorkel. As always I tried to find also off the beaten path spots, instead of ordering the tour from the agency. I like to discover places by myself and enjoy the places as long as I want. I really like this freedom of discovery by myself. Of course, sometimes it’s not possible, for example I took a organised boat tour in Coron Island, which was the only opportunity to see the natural wonders of the island. On the other hand, I also tried to find alternative things to do in Coron, to see how locals live and enjoy the non-touristic spots of the Philippines.
Port Barton is a small place, so it’s possible to walk everywhere without taking a tricycle or renting a motorbike. Therefore, it’s really easy to visit Port Barton without taking a boat tour and see its beautiful nature. I will show you some of the best spots of Port Barton for one day trip.
It was first time for me to see Mangrove Forest – trees which drink salty water and grow on the sea front. Therefore, I was quite excited to find out one of them just in the end of the main beach in Port Barton. Just next to the forest there is a little path into the jungle which I recommend taking. In a couple of minutes, I reached another beach, which was totally empty and just old colorful boats standing there. I continued to reach another Mangrove forest, where I could even step into the dramatic scenery of the black roots.
This jungle trek is known for tourists and locals. I was there alone and felt perfectly safe. However, there were two black monkeys which scared me suddenly jumping on the trees and 2 m long snake crossing the path in front of me. I also encountered little wild boar, which didn’t even notice me while making a hole in the ground. So cute! I continued walking to reach the Coconut Beach and later on, the White Beach.
It takes around 15 min. to walk along the sea from Port Barton beach to reach Coconut Beach. It’s all the same path I mentioned, going next to the Mangrove forest. I saw only four people on the long white sand beach under the coconut trees. Such a paradise on Earth! As in the Philippines all natural wonders are paid (unfortunately), you have to pay 30 php entrance fee.
Continue the road after the Bamboo Beach for another 10 min and you will find yourself on one of the most famous beach in Port Barton – the White Beach. The entrance fee is 50 php and it’s more touristic as the boat tours have a stop here. The White Beach is a great place to try snorkeling.
For those who like to have a longer walk, I recommend hiking to the waterfall. It’s not demanding hike, just a little hill and asphalt or dust roads. There are few little rivers to cross on the way until finally you can deep inside the fresh water of the waterfall. The hike takes around 1.5 hours one way from Port Barton center. There is no entrance fee, but the registration book and a donation box. The waterfall has around 10 m and has a perfect natural swimming pool underneath.
Staying in a bamboo hut in Port Barton
I had an amazing stay in a bamboo hut in a Backpacker’s Hill Resort. with eco-friendly attitude. The design refers to the native huts out of bamboo with a straw roof. It’s very new place, as for now they have only 5 huts. Each of them is suitable for two people and has a bathroom inside. There is a mosquito net over every bed and a common kitchen. The place is on the little hill, 10 min walk from the beach front/center of the village. It’s out of the center, but instead there is a great view on the greenery around and just a choir of cicadas at night and karaoke of cocks in the morning. My stay felt so comfortable and relaxing, as it perfectly fits to the Port Barton chill vibe.
Responsible tourism in the Philippines
You can’t help leaving a charcoal smudge in your wake, no matter what. However, this does not hurt trying to take more eco friendly choices while traveling and lift the remorse and lighten the blemish on Mother Earth.
Keep in mind that Philippines has horrible waste management and it’s one of the world largest polluters of the oceans. Every waste we produce may end up in the ocean. Please be conscious and reuse and reduce your waste as much as possible. Paradise islands look stunning but you don’t know if the hotel owners burn they trash or it ends up on the landfill. Remember that apart from their own trash Philippines is dumpsite of Canada, Australia and few other countries which ship their trash there. Try to not buy one use plastic, say no to straw, use reusable cotton bags and refillable bottle. Inspire the others for a better and plastic free world for all of us.
I believe, we can all keep trying and care about our planet as much as possible. Thinking that small changes you make will not change anything is completely wrong! If everyone would think like that, indeed nothing would change, but power of individual actions is insane and inspiring! Brick by brick we can build more sustainable environment.
Responsible tourism in the Philippines is growing along with the increasing population and pollution. Being a responsible tourist will help to reduce the carbon footprint and will have a positive impact on the Philippines nature. Choose the tours wisely and take a ferry rather then taking a plane whenever possible. Choosing eco-friendly hotels and ecotourism is a great contribution as well, to reduce pollution and support the “go green” trend in the Philippines.
The Bee is a nature lover and tea addict. Loves the idea of slow life and responsible traveling, constantly trying to improve to bee more eco-friendly. Appreciates old cultures and traditions, loves to immerse with locals, listen to ethnic music as well as taste regional food and drinks. Her favorite spots while traveling are family houses and street markets.