Tuesday, December 27, 2016

A Mini Guide: Port Barton in San Vicente, Palawan

Port Barton is a barangay in the municipality of San Vicente in Palawan. It is about 145 km northwest of Puerto Princesa.

Go

From Puerto Princesa
From Puerto Princesa, there are two shuttle companies that go to Port Barton:
  • SBE 0928 765 2181
    • Puerto Princesa to Port Barton 830AM / 130PM / 4PM
    • Port Barton to Puerto Princesa 630AM / 10AM / 130PM
  • Recaro 0998 569 4871
    • Puerto Princesa to Port Barton 730AM / 9AM / 11AM / 2PM / 4PM
    • Port Barton to Puerto Princesa 630AM / 10AM / 130PM
Fare is Php 250 and travel time is 3 hours. For some reason, foreigners are charged Php 350. And Recaro, when I called, said fare was Php 300 (Php 350 if picked up from airport). The shuttle vans will drop you off at your accommodation in Port Barton.

Heads up! From Puerto Princesa to the turn off for Port Barton is smooth sailing, but from there on to Port Barton is a jiggly, wobbly, slippery, muddy (when raining) ride. Brace yourselves! It takes an hour to an hour and a half to navigate this muddy 22-kilometer road. Concreting of this road is underway and will hopefully be completed sometime 2017.

From Sabang
From Sabang, Port Barton can be reached by van (Lexxus Shuttle) or pumpboat.

From El Nido
From El Nido, Port Barton can be reached by van (Lexxus Shuttle).

From the Poblacion of San Vicente
Although Port Barton is a barangay of San Vicente, it is kind of cut off from the municipality in the sense that there is no direct road between Port Barton and the Poblacion of San Vicente. Well, there is, but as of the moment, it is a small dirt road that only motorcycles dare use.

These are the three ways to travel between Port Barton and the Poblacion:
  • motorcycle or habalhabal through the mountains – 45 minutes, but not recommended during rainy season (June to November)
  • jeepney then shuttle van – from Port Barton take a jeepney to Roxas (Php 100, 1.5 hours, leaves Port Barton between 8AM to 9AM) then at Roxas terminal take a shuttle van to San Vicente (Php 120, 1 hour)
  • pumpboat – Php 1500 for up to 4 pax, 1 hour.
Stay
Sorry to disappoint you, but I don't have a list of accommodations for Port Barton. There are a lot! But I do recommend the place I stayed in: Divinagracia Cottages [Mrs Julie Divinagracia 0912 543 0983 / Ms Avon Divinagracia 0947 424 8584]. It's not beachfront, but a one–minute walk to the beach. It is that close! 

Divinagracia's native cottage

The room on the ground floor of Divinagracia's concrete building

Divinagracia Cottages has two native cottages and two rooms in the new concrete building. Each room is good for two persons and priced at Php 600 per room. All rooms have a fan (electricity is from 6PM to 12MN only) and an ensuite toilet and shower. Towel, toilet paper, soap, and shampoo are provided. The rooms are clean. The owners are friendly and helpful.

Eat
There are many restaurants in Port Barton, but I only had the chance to try these two:

Gacayan Restaurant
Gacayan Restaurant is said to be the cheapest restaurant in Port Barton. The food is affordable and the serving size is quite big. They have many dishes to choose from (their menu took up the entire width of one wall!).  The dishes I tried are special adobo with rice (Php 130) and shakshuka with two pieces of bread (Php 120).

Miam Miam Glou Glou
Miam Miam Glou Glou is a French Restaurant. The owner is a Cebuano from Pasil who married a Frenchman. They bake their own unsalted bread. I tried their savory crepe (Php 160), hummus (Php 120), and homemade bread.

Do
You're on vacation. Just relax and laze around on Port Barton's beach. But if you have itchy feet and can't stay put for too long, you can go island hopping or visit waterfalls.

Island Hop
There are four island hopping tours, each tour visiting three spots. Each tour costs Php 700 per person, which includes lunch, snorkel and mask, and lifevest. The tour is from 9AM to 4PM. Solo travelers can join other groups. But if you as a solo traveler are very unfortunate to not find other groups to join, you'd have to go on a private tour which would cost Php 2500 per boat.

Although only three destinations are listed for each tour, we were actually taken to: Exotic Island, Paradise Island, Starfish Island, and snorkeling in Twin Reef, Ocean Reef, and an area near German Island/Double Island where there was a sea turtle.

Exotic Island

Paradise Island

Starfish Island

Twin Reef

Sea Turtle near German Island/Double Island

Ocean Reef

Other snorkeling spots you can visit while on an island hopping trip: Aquarium Reef, Marine Sanctuary, Wide Reef, and Fantastic Reef.

Visit Waterfalls
In Port Barton, you can visit Pamuayan Falls and Bigaho Falls. Pamuayan Falls can be reached by hiking a 3.5-kilometer trail near Greenviews Resort. Bigaho Falls can be reached by taking a pumpboat to the village of Bigaho then a short 20-minute hike. Bigaho Falls is one of the spots visited by of one of the four island hopping tours offered in Port Barton.

Heads up! Visitors are required to obtain an eco–card (Php 50) which is valid for 10 days. This can be obtained from the tourist office or through the island hopping operator.



San Vicente Short:
A Mini Guide: Port Barton in San Vicente, Palawan (you're here!)

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