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Travel Guide to San Vicente: Palawan’s Backpackers Lounge Edit

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Michelle Tobias  • Contributor
Opinions expressed by Explora.ph Contributors are their own.
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Cover photo from San Vicente Tourism Office. Graphics by Manel Solsoloy.

At a Glance

Spanning an insane 14.7km, San Vicente’s Long Beach is the longest beach in the Philippines. Walking from end to end would take you about 4 hours! San Vicente is most known for the backpacker’s village Port Barton, its chill vibes and homey community, island hopping sites, diving areas, and waterfalls.

Overview

In between Puerto Princesa and El Nido lies San Vicente, an idyllic community of fishing villages, pearl farms, and slowly developing concrete roads. Its coast is lined with the mind-blowing 14.7km Long Beach, an uncommercialized and undeveloped beach, fringed only by coconut trees and a few nipa huts. This long stretch of beach is even made more spectacular when it turns into gold at sunset.


Tucked in the west coast of San Vicente is the peaceful and quiet village of Port Barton. Free from the barrage of tourists streaming into Palawan, Port Barton has been steadily attracting a small number of backpackers due to its remote location, relaxed and friendly atmosphere, and natural attractions.


Its main point of interest is Port Barton Beach, a slightly developed, 1.5km long beach with a few bungalow and beach hut resorts. Facing this beach is Port Barton Marine Park, a fish sanctuary covering 750 sq km of protected marine area. The park has 12 islands good for sunbathing and swimming, and three main reef areas for snorkeling—Albaguen Island, Manta Ray Reef, and Exotic Island.


Travelers seeking to trek can visit two waterfalls in the area. Taking an hour to reach, Pamuayan Falls is about 30 meters high, dropping into a small pool where visitors can swim in. Reachable by boat and a short trek, Bigaho Falls, on the other hand, has 14 levels of waterfalls, but only two are open to the public. Every June, locals celebrate Malagnang or Mud Festival and perform dances in the mud, a tribute to the earthly element and the town’s fertile soil.

8 Fuss-Free Destinations to explore on your upcoming San Vicente trip

Words by Michelle Tobias and Colleen Cabili

Island Hopping in Port Barton Marine Park

Port Barton offers four tours in its Marine Park: Tours A, B, C, and D. While all of these cover different islands worth trying, Tour A—which plies Twin Reef, Fantastic Reef, Exotic Island, and German Island—remains the most popular. 

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Photo by Anthony Impinna.

Long Beach

The longest beach in the Philippines, Long Beach stretches a staggering 14.7 kilometers of soft, creamy sand, more than three times the length of Boracay’s White Beach. 

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Photo from myproperty.ph.

Port Barton Beach

Facing the sunset, the beach is lined with palm trees, some hammocks, and a few fishing boats moored at one end. The beach is backdropped by a jungle, where you can find a trail leading to a waterfall.

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Photo from wikitravel.org.

Bigaho Falls

This waterfall is reachable by a 20-minute boat ride, followed by a leisurely 15-minute trek through a forest. The waterfall is about three storeys high and drops into a cold and clear pool of water. 

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Photo by Jackie Jardinero.

Pamuayan Falls

This 8m high waterfall takes about an hour of trekking to reach. The latter part of the trail requires passing over boulders and through streams and lush vegetation. The highest of the three waterfalls in Port Barton, Pamuayan Falls is rather narrow, and slows down to a trickle during the summer months between March and May.

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Photo from lagavetavoladora.com.

Snorkeling in Port Barton Marine Park

Port Barton’s islets and islands are abundant in delightful coral reefs and all sorts of marine life. On a good day, you might even encounter two different species of sea turtles—the Hawksbill and Green Sea turtle!

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Photo by Genesis Joy Vidal.

Seafood boodle at Port Barton

The quaint town of Port Barton considers fishing as its main source of livelihood. If you’re in the area, treat yourself to a generous spread of freshly caught and nicely cooked seafood, boodle-style!

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Photo from justcliqit.com.

Malagnang or Mud Festival

Held every June 17-21, Malagnang Festival is celebrates the earthy element of mud. It’s a symbol of the fertile soil that gave life and prosperity to the early natives of the town. It’s also an incredible mud party experience!

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Photo from San Vicente Tourism Office.

Where is San Vicente, Palawan

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San Vicente is located in northern Palawan in west central Philippines. Graphic by Manel Solsoloy.

How to get to San Vicente, Palawan

From Metro Manila or Cebu, book a flight to Puerto Princesa City via Cebu Pacific, Philippine Airlines, or Air Asia. The travel time takes about an hour. Once at Puerto Princesa International Airport, take a tricycle or multicab to San Jose Terminal. From the terminal, ride a van or minibus going to San Vicente. Travel time is 3 to 4 hours. To go around San Vicente, you can ride a tricycle to get from one point to another, or rent a motorbike to explore the town for a day.


San Vicente Regional Airport was launched in May 2018 and will soon receive flights to the town. Watch out!


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