Port Barton – the jewel of Palawan
|Enjoying the beachfront in Port Barton|
If you're looking for a quiet retreat, where the world is still a little bit perfect, go to Port Barton. We spontaneously decided to spend a couple of days there between El Nido and Puerto Princesa. The trip to this fantastic place is not too convenient yet, probably that is what helps to keep mass tourism off. We had to tell the driver in El Nido to please kick us out of the mini van at the junction in Roxas. From there, we took a jeepney to Port Barton. Sure there is no timetable for jeepneys in Roxas and the tricycle guys want you to take a ride with them. But the mini van from El Nido to Roxas costs 350 PHP (7 EUR), the jeepney to Port Barton costs 150 PHP (3 EUR). Why would I pay minimum 500 PHP (10 EUR) for two people, when it is incredibly uncomfortable, stinky and you are not faster at all? We waited for the next jeepney to come and had a perfect open air ride to paradise.
Well, some tourists obviously go for the tricycle even for this outrageous price, which is obviously high enough that the locals who offer these rides don't need to work the entire day afterwards anymore. Once more it appeared as if some Philippinos rather don't work than offer lower prices to get a reasonable amount of money to earn something. Well, if I could earn my daily income with one ride paid by a stupid tourist who doesn't even bargain, I might have the same attitude. Market spoilt for all the tourists who don't want to support that. Not a capitalists' world on the Philippine Islands.
So we finally got to Port Barton. Only a few expensive hotels provide the possibility to make an online reservation. We decided once more to just
show up and ask around for a room. Everybody wanted to help us and to show us the best rooms in the village. We decided to walk along the beach first and then check out some rooms in the second and third row (there aren't more than three streets).
The beach cottages cost at least 1250 PHP (25 EUR) per night, which was a bit too much for us for what it's worth. So we walked to the back and looked at a couple of rooms there. As soon as you're off the beach, rooms are available from as little as 400 PHP (8 EUR) but with shared bathroom and very basic interior. For a bit more, you can get quite luxurious versions of cottages. We finally settled for a room for 900 PHP (18 EUR) and got it for 850 PHP (17.5 EUR) as we stayed for three nights. It had a fan, wifi, hot and cold water, a little balcony, and most important, it was very new. That means there was no mold and the owner family of Melbhemar Cottages was still interested in guests and really hospitable. It was fantastic, we felt at home immediately.
|A great place for lunch|
A very nice surprise after the high prices in El Nido were the costs in Port Barton. A beer is available for 35 PHP (0.7 EUR), a great meal for about 200 PHP (4 EUR) per person. That was quite a relieve. Also the costs for island hopping were way nicer. Here a tour was available from 500 PHP (10 EUR) each. Finally we could afford to see the beauty of these lost beaches one can only reach by boat. We booked it right away in our favorite hotel and bar at the beach front. Ausan Beach Front Cottages is a very nice hotel at the beach with friendly staff and tasty food. We were very unlucky with the weather, but obviously super lucky to book our island hopping trip. The owner gave us the money back when we had to accept that it wouldn't make sense to hop the islands in these conditions.
Even though the sun wasn't shining too often, we had a wonderful time. We jogged to the waterfall close by, hiked through the forest, strolled along the beach or just relaxed in a beautiful spot. Port Barton is fantastic, be quick to discover its beauty before the highway is built and mass tourism gets there to spoil everything!
More pictures from Port Barton
More pictures from Port Barton