Coron has been declared one of the most beautiful islands, not just in the Philippines but the whole world. So, if Coron is not on your bucket list, then it is time you did so, or you would be missioning out on a whole lot of fun and excitement. It is a haven for the adventure lovers who simply love the breathtaking scenery, the pure nature, and the clearest waters.
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.
There was a night in Sibaltan, El Nido where a group of performers from the Sibaltan Heritage Society (SHC) showcased a few Cuyonon folk dances. Cuyonons, are an ethno-linguistic group that originated from Cuyo Island. I watch at least five pairs of young boys and girls enthusiastically dance on the sand, under somewhat dim light of the night from Tapik Beach resort. The sound coming from a boom box was all treble with scratchy bass but the performance was all heart and passion as we could see the expressions from the young performers as they execute dance steps highly Spanish-influenced, often upbeat to jumpy with a lot of swirl movements from the girl. I could not understand the lyrics but I was told these dances are often about Cuyonon life – livelihood, courtship, marriage that are often depicted with witty naughtiness to slightly obscene which is a character of Cuyonon songs. Watching this humble spectacle made me imagine how the Cuyonons manage to cross the Sulu Seas, traversing at least 100 nautical miles to reach the shores of Paragua, what we know now as the land of Palawan. The newly built Pangko Maritime Museum in Sibaltan, sheds some light into the history of Cuyonon migration.
All eyes were on me. Somehow, my presence interrupted what seemed to be an early morning trade of freshly caught fish and other seafood. I was running the upper stretch of the San Vicente Long Beach in Palawan and just reached the rocky cliff cutting the long stretch of this white sand beach on the other side. I was already heading back when I caught this small crowd and it seems from their reaction, they don’t get as many visitors as early as this morning. “Magandang umaga po! Ano pong meron dyan? (Good morning! What’s in here?)” I asked, bringing out my best smile which seemed to have broken the tense and curios atmosphere. I was reciprocated with the genuine smiles from the locals and they went on with their bargains, weighing-in of goods and sale. I went on with my run back to where I started.
So you have done all the tours in El Nido Palawan from Tours A, B, C, D and E. The west side of El Nido, the Bacuit Bay in particular does have dramatic limestone karst islands and captivating beaches, but El Nido doesn’t end there. The other side, the El Nido east coast holds more islands to explore and stunning white sand beaches to bum around. Sibaltan is the jump off point for these island adventures. I have written about some of the islands of Linapacan, now discover the limestone island of Imorigue Island. From afar it looks daunting but the locals swear on how rich the marine life surrounding its waters are.
I have ran to the northern most part of the famous San Vicente Long Beach when I stayed at JuRiSu Inn situated in the central stretch of the beach. For another couple of nights I decided you stay at the southern end so I decided on booking at the only resort found on this side of the beach which is Ursula Long Beach Traveler’s Inn. An interesting family ran resort amidst a fishing village.
Staying for the fourth time in a hotel means I like the establishment a lot. That I trust in the quality of the rooms and also the service they provide. That I could say for Microtel by Wyndham Puerto Princesa Palawan. If I ever wanted to stay in a beachfront property in Puerto Princesa, this is a top choice in mind. It has been five years since I first came here and I have to commend how well they have maintained the place. Yes a few little changes here but it’s the same old Microtel I liked.