Port Barton, Palawan

Posted by on Jan 12, 2016 in Philippines | 0 comments

Port Barton, Palawan

We take a mini-van from El Nido and finally, at the end of a long and bumpy dirt road arrive at the sleepy little town of Port Barton in San Vincente.

Here there are no ATMs or banks, no taxis or trikes, and electricity is only available from 6pm until midnight.

This means during the day there’s no wifi, which turned out to be a total blessing and an opportunity to switch off and unwind.

Instead of being on our phones we read books cover to cover, had real conversations, played games of chess and laid in hammocks that swung gently in the breeze.

Time passed by in a pleasant haze.

Without the constant distraction we found ourselves truly present in the moment of whatever we were doing.

We were not checking the time and our days became dictated by simply listening to how we felt.  If we were hungry it was time to eat, if we were sleepy it was time for a nap.

With each passing day we relaxed further into the languid lifestyle.  I found myself breathing deeper and contemplating nothing but the constant sound of the sea lapping at the shore.


Wayne in hammock


That’s not to say we didn’t do anything!

We walked through luscious jungle for four kilometres to find the peaceful Pamaoyan Waterfall, which we had all to ourselves.

We rented a kayak and discovered a gorgeous little sand bar island where we sat in the shallows and cooled off.  You can see some footage of it in a clip from our trip here.

A day was spent on an island hopping boat tour visiting the aptly named Paradise Island, German Island and snorkelling beautiful reefs.

During a morning run along the beach I watched local men huddle around a fisherman who showed them his catch.  In the background a man was pulled across the sand by a water buffalo while sitting on sticks tied together to make a sled.

All the while a local pack of dogs playfully roamed the beach, which they did at all hours of the day.


Sandbar island


The aspects of life in Port Barton that currently make it undesirable to the masses – a lack of electricity (including air-conditioning and wifi), hot water, large resorts and a sealed access road – are unlikely to stay this way.

I fear it is only a matter of time before Port Barton is “discovered” and becomes another bustling tourist stop.

If you want to relax in an unspoilt coastal village, my advice is go now and experience the genuine tranquility and peace of Port Barton.


Jambalaya table


Where to stay

  • We loved our stay at Ausan Beach Front Cottages where we stayed in ‘The Treehouse’ which really was a treehouse complete with trapdoor, right on the sand.
    Of an evening they set up romantic candlelit tables on the sand, and a three course dinner will set you back 200 pesos (about $6 AUD).
  • We also stayed at Elsa’s Beach Resort which had lovely hammocks for laying about, and chess boards and other games in their common area.




Where to eat

For such a small town there were some surprisingly good dining options:

  • Jambalaya Cajun Cafe had the best coffee in town, including proper espresso.  We ate here too and the food was fresh and flavoursome, they bake their own bread and have western and local options.
  • Miam Miam Glou Glou is a French owned restaurant that (unsurprisingly) attracted all the French visitors, on one evening we were treated to the wonderful musical talents of a French guest who played guitar and sang in between courses.
  • The Barton Bistro is the most modern looking place in town, and this is where we liked to settle in each morning.  We would order a pot of french press coffee and some breakfast, then while away a few hours reading our books and wiggling our toes in the sand.  (This is also where we hired our kayak from).
  • Alexi’s is a small “restaurant” attached to the side of a family’s house, serving tasty and cheap (about half the price everywhere else) local dishes.


Overall Port Barton was a breath of fresh air, literally and figuratively.



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