There’s an advantage and disadvantage of staying in San Vicente town proper as I have learned. Advantage is that I get to stay real close to San Vicente’s Long Beach, the longest white beach in Palawan which I have immensely enjoyed combing through. Disadvantage is that Island Hopping here is costly unlike if I stay in Port Barton. The Island hopping tours (A to D) only cost Php 700 per head for a minimum of four people in a group. But since I’m travelling alone, I would have to shell out Php 2,000 to get to Port Barton by boat. The people at tourism office said if there are any groups from here that would do the tours I could always join in but from the looks of the people coming and going through this town, chances are pretty slim. I was resigned to spend my last full day in San Vicente by the beach when Ate Flor, the owner of Ursula Long Beach Travaller’s Inn called me up while having breakfast that she’s at the tourism office and managed to get me a slot to join a group doing a Port Barton Island Hopping Tour. I immediately said yes, quickly packed my camera and gear and hopped on a motorbike to take me to the port.
Port Barton Island Hopping Tour
Port Barton is a small village of San Vicente, Palawan separated by mountains and hills. It has a different access road coming from Puerto Princesa, though there are talks of road construction connecting Port Barton from San Vicente town. Port Barton Bay is where most of islands and reefs are located in San Vicente. From the Port Barton town, the closest tourist spot is only about 2.7 nautical miles. Since we’re coming from San Vicente port, we had to travel at least 7.5 nautical miles which is around an hour travel time.
Snorkeling at Twin Reef
I was the only outsider from the group on the boat. I was with a friendly French family with a French guy married to a Filipina. Tagging along is their young daughter probably of 4 or 5 years old. The French guy’s parents were also there and as well as his brother and the bro’s girlfriend. They were touring Palawan coming from El Nido and Taytay making their way down to Palawan. They were a friendly bunch and I never felt left out during the Port Barton island hopping tour.
The Twin Reef was our first stop. I couldn’t see where the name came from if it was the characteristic of this reef it’s not that apparent. What I do know is that the water here is shallow but deep enough to swim around. It has good set of corals in very good condition and fish aplenty. I enjoyed this first part of the tour and it seems my French companions as well that went down to snorkel.
German Island Hammock Time
It was already inviting from the approach. German Island, is how tropical paradise are often pictured – gleaming emerald waters, blinding white sand beach topped with coconut trees. Named as such because a German national rented this private island for 20 years. This was our lunch stop. A native gazebo in the middle of the island and toilet facilities near the low hill. It’s a beautiful small island with a nice beach and surrounding waters home to a few resident pawikans (sea turtle). It was mid-day with the sun at its highest so I wasn’t in the mood for a swim. The hammocks beckoned and I spent the rest of my time there after lunch.
Ferdz Decena is an award-winning travel photographer, writer and blogger. His works has found print in publications such as Singapore Airlines’s Silver Kris, Philippine Airlines’ Mabuhay, Cebu Pacific’s Smile and Seair InFlight. He has also lent his expertise to various organizations like the Oceana Philippines, Lopez Group Foundation, Save the Children and World Vision, contributing quality images for their marketing materials.