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.
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.
The day was quickly coming to a close. When I thought we were heading back to the mainland we were told that we’ll visit one last island on our way back to San Pascual proper. Tinalisayan islet is only 1.5 nautical miles from the mainland, roughly a 20-minute motorboat ride from town. After seeing the two islands Animasola and Sombrero Islands, I thought I wouldn’t be surprised anymore but Tinalisayan islet has a little bit of everything. A white sand beach, a scenic hill with nearby rock formations, a long sandbar off the coast, and a burst of sunrise and sunset colors.
Filipinos really have a knack for naming places or islands that are easy to recall like common things like – hats! In Burias Island, Masbate, another set of islands got the moniker of Sombrero Island just because the island looks like the top of a cowboy hat. It’s funny though that the Sombrero Island Masbate in San Pascual is a set of two islands close together, fraternal twins I may say. The other island near the hat-like island has a gorgeous-looking stretch of beach and sand bar. Sombrero Island Masbate is our second island destination in San Pascual, quaint and laid back.
From afar, it looks like a miniature version of the Kapurpurawan Rock Formation in Ilocos Norte with its shoe-like formation on top, and the island itself resembles the formations from the famous Biri Islands like a slightly squashed cake with lines and layers running along the sides. Animasola Island was a surprise in terms of natural wonders, much like the municipality it belongs to which is San Pascual in Burias Island, Masbate. It was just the start of our three-island and didn’t expect this first island to be a favorite among the three.
Being one of the “35 Clearest Waters to Swim Before You Die” from the viral list site of Daily News Dig, has placed the municipality of Linapacan, Palawan in the world map. While the main photo there is a bit misleading (since that one was from El Nido), being part of the list made people curious of this set of remote islands found in between the north Palawan mainland of El Nido and south of Calamianes Archipelago. My curiosity led me to east of El Nido where I had a chance to go island hopping to the southern islands of this famed municipality to see if the claims were true. Are the waters truly clear as they claim?
Camarines Norte has been abuzz lately simply because more people are enjoying the dazzling and fine white sands of Calaguas Islands in Vinzons. But even before Calaguas islands came into the limelight, there were other island gems in Camarines Norte. We were going to Apuao Islands, one of the seven captivating islands off the coast of Mercedes. While not really part of Daet for our #DateinDaet tour, Mercedes is a neighboring municipality, so close its like an extension of Daet at the eastern coast of the province.