Port Barton, Palawan
The day started unpleasantly. It was agreed that Marsman would pick up us from the hotel at 6:30AM to take us to the airport. As there was nobody still at 6:45, we started to worry and took a taxi. We thought that this is not a good sign and at that moment we were quite negatively attuned towards the trip.
Happily the taxi was quick and took us to the local terminal in time. The Flight was scheduled at 8AM. Local terminal was small and full of people going to different islands. Air Philippines departure in time and arrived in Puerto Princesa airport at 9:15AM. The island itself looked great from the air with its sandy beaches and corals in the turquoise blue waters. But honestly we were a little bit afraid what to expect, because the tour operator had not kept the first promise.
After the arrival procedures we were met by the driver and the guide. Honestly, this was relief. The driver and guide made us the tour in Puerto Princesa covering the City Museum, the Butterfly Garden and the Crocodile Farm. We felt very comfortable to have a driver and a guide serving just us.
The Palawan Butterfly Garden is located in Santa Monica, Puerto Princesa City. It includes butterflies not only native to the province, but, from other parts of Southeast Asia too. It was interesting to know that the garden has started as a hobby and has turned into a fine garden and butterfly domain.
In the Crocodile farm we watched a film about crocodiles’ life. The farm raises two endangered species of crocodiles in the country, the Philippine crocodile and the saltwater crocodile. The two species are among 22 reported reptiles in the world that have been around for more than 200 million years and are the lone survivors of the Dinosaur Age. The place is also maintains a Mini-Zoo featuring some of Palawan's endemic animals.
We saw a lot of tricycles on the streets. Tricycle is a main transport for the people in the cities. Tricycle is a motorcycle with a sidecar (passenger-cabin) on a third wheel attached.
As Philippines have two official languages - Tagalog and English - it is very easy for tourists to get the information.
We had a lunch at the Badjao Seaport Restaurant located within a mangrove-protected area in the city. By the instructions it offers the best Palawan sea food cuisine. Honestly the soup was average, but main course was really delicious.
We saw a lot of local rural life by the roads - the rice fields, water buffalos, villages, etc. We also saw how the locals had funerals, how they rafting logs down the river.
As most of the road was new, the drive was quick. Only the last 40 km was driving through the rain forest and at the rough road. One piece of the road was broken totally by the rain. Then we stopped and helped locals to repair the road.
Finally we arrived in Port Barton. Port Barton is a small friendly community on the picturesque Pagdanan Bay in NW Palawan about 150 kilometers from Puerto Princessa. The life here is so simple and natural; mostly you can meet fishermen’s community. Our home for next three days - Greenviews Resort - was at the end of a long stretch of the beach on the eastern edge of the bay. Greenviews Resort welcomed us with its idyllic location, traditional cottages with clean bathrooms and beautifully landscaped grounds. Greenviews Resort is owned by the british-philipino family. It has simple rustic cottages designed to blend with the serene and lush green mountain forest protecting Port Barton’s white sand beaches and its bay containing many islands and reefs.
We were almost only guests in the resort. In addition to us one German tourist was also there. This was because of the rainy season and also hectic political situation. We were so excited because it felt like we were in an exclusive resort. You feel at home here, not like just a number in a hotel. Also, the staff was very friendly. The seaside cottage was given to us. In this village the electricity is available only from 6-11PM. When you are there you just realize that this is enough.
In the evening we just walked on the beach, had a delicious dinner and enjoyed beautiful surroundings and an excellent sunset.