Ever had that feeling that you just want to be alone somewhere beautiful to reflect on how your life has been. This pretty much sums up how I feel most of my life and that's why Port Barton suits me in many ways. This secluded paradise is the real deal in Palawan and free from the influences of the outside world. Expect no constant supply of electricity, laid back and hospitable community of people, free from pollution of high end resorts and offer one of the most peaceful sunset scene I've ever witness in my life. They also have pristine undeveloped islands to explore, diverse coral gardens and a scenic hike which lead to a waterfall. You will be treated with nothing more than the raw beauty of nature. And so our last respite in the Northern Palawan escapade happens here.
As the sun slowly ascend in the horizon, the rays startled my eyes and woke me from a relaxing slumber. I was the first one to wake up in our beachfront accommodation in Tandikan Cottages and decided to take my routine morning walk by the beach. Since this is the last day that I will be treated with the unassuming beauty of Bacuit Bay I took my time to appreciate it in all her glorious beauty.
When I got back we were served coffee and soon breakfast follows. It was not the ideal breakfast I expect in such trip but is enough to fill our tummy for a busy day ahead in traveling to Port Barton. We were an hour late from schedule because my companions were a bunch of lazy bums who have trouble getting out of bed. They're still daydreaming of the mesmerizing island hopping tour we did the other day and busy updating their social media accounts.
There are convenient ways to travel to Port Barton from El Nido through vans ( Php 600 - Php 700 per pax ) which we found quite pricey so we commute through bus transfer. Our method is effective if you are solo and strict in following the itinerary by leaving on time. We were supposed to leave for the bus terminal before seven and ends up pass eight in the morning thus resulting in a messy itinerary.
Unexpectedly, we weren't able to caught up with the bus in the junction road in San Vicente and is charged ridiculously by tricycle drivers plying to Port Barton. So much precious time was wasted that we all agreed to cancel the island hopping tour in Port Barton and just relax along beach once we get there.
A scenic and bumpy ride through a mountainous route assures us that this is going to be an interesting day. We caught glimpse of wild monkeys playing along the tree branches and serenaded with mating calls from some unknown birds & insects on our way to Port Barton. This caught me off guard because I did not expect it would be this unfrequented and really that secluded.
Finally, after almost an hour we reached our destination and were surprised of how undeveloped the location yet amassed by numerous foreign tourists. They occupy almost every corner of the beach and what's even more surprising is I cannot find a single Filipino tourist besides us. We spend almost an hour again searching for an accommodation along the shoreline because they're mostly fully booked.
|It is already low tide when reached this part of the shore. It is more beautiful during high tide.|
When we reached an area with mini sandbars formed along the shoreline that's where we found our accommodation and it was indeed worth every penny. El Dorado Cottages offers backpacking stay for as low as Php 300.00 per night and it has a perfect backdrop between the mountain and the ocean. They also cook home made food by request and I gotta say it was delicious for a justifiable price.
|Entrance to El Dorado Sunset Cottages|
Naturally, the resort is in the farthest ( right ) edge of the shoreline and also closest to the trail en route to Pamuayan Falls. There have been plenty of Palawan Horbnill ( Talusi ) sightings near the resort as well according to the staff. Be warned that electricity will only be available around 6pm - 1am and there's also WiFi in the restaurant around those time. I admire the hospitality of the staff in this resort and she even arranged us a transport back to Puerto Princesa in the next day for only Php 200.00 per pax. We were like the luckiest group in that day for finding this resort.
Since it is already a bit late we just explored the other ( left ) side of the Port Barton shoreline and wait for the sun to disappear in the horizon. There's a mangrove area around that part and a really beautiful sunset spot.
|The mangrove forest on the left side of the shore and weird noise by unknown birds is audible here|
|I actually checked the dark forest behind those trees because I was captivated and found an old abandoned house.|
|The sunset scene on the farthest part of the shore we reached. I want to go on by my companion gives up & it is getting dark.|
We go back to the resort once darkness started to fill the sky. It is such a peaceful location to contemplate as we walk by a pristine beach. I've noticed the tourists here are more laidback compared to the party crazy ones in El Nido. We appreciate the natural wonder of Port Barton. I love the easygoing mood here and a perfect place to wrap up our amazing trip in the northern part of Palawan.
|Curved palm trees are a common sight in Port Barton.|
|Foreigners playing frisbee is a beautiful activity during sunset.|
|Sunset watching is a must in Port Barton.|
|The gate near our room (left side ) when we reached the resort.|
MORNING TREK TO PAMUAYAN WATERFALL
When the day light broke free from the horizon I was already wide awake waiting for my companions to rouse from their slumber. I remember reminding them last night I can go to the waterfall on my own if ever they won't get up on time but they insist that we should all go together.
We have a very limited time to do this because of an early call time by our van to leave at eight in the morning bound to Puerto Princesa. We allotted one and a half hour for the whole activity and I heard from the staff it would take at least one hour and thirty minutes for the trekking alone. Since I was so desperate to visit at least one waterfall on this trip I pushed through and we left the resort without any guide at six in the morning.
I felt responsible for them on this activity because I'm the only waterfall chaser in the group and so we rely on my navigational skills to reach the location of the waterfall. The only direction I got from the reception is to take the road leading to the forest in the resort next to ours.
You can't miss the sign which is quite easy to spot. That is the only assurance I have that we are on the right road. After the sign take the left path which is an uphill road for about 10 minutes passing through a cemetery. Continue hiking the big road for 30 minutes not taking any unnecessary turn unless you find another sign stating to turn right into the stream of the waterfall. The few road signs about the waterfall will reassure hikers that they are on the right track and I'm glad someone made an effort of making them.
Every waterfall chaser follow a logical rule if we are unsure of the trail going to a waterfall and that is to tail the stream upwards to the source. I applied this rule on our scenario and reached Pamuayan Falls without any difficulty. It would take another ten minutes of trek to reach the waterfall from the main road.
It make sense to do this activity early in the morning to energize your body with the refreshing breeze and scenic route. The mixing cry of different forest dwelling creatures is music to my ears and the greenery is relaxing to my eyes.
If you're lucky, you might see a small mammal endemic to this part of Palawan. We spotted a Northern Palawan Tree Squirrel ↸ rummaging in the main road and quickly sprint to the forest once we were on sight. They're usually known to search for food early in the morning.
Pamuayan Falls is a horsetail type of waterfall, meaning it remains in contact with the bedrock most of its descent, with a height of around twenty feet, and empties in a wide basin. We weren't able to enjoy its water because we stayed for less than three minutes and just took lots pictures and selfies. I noticed the water is tea colored maybe because of the dead leaves collected in the basin and the flow is not strong enough to wash them off. The locals actually placed a rope attached to a rock in the deeper area of the basin for non-swimmers. Speaking from preference, I don't see this color of water inviting so I leave without hesitation and the sight of the waterfall is rewarding enough.