Port Barton: A Quiet Town in Palawan

We arrived in Port Barton after 2 delayed flights and a tightly-packed, cosy van ride from Puerto Princesa. After hopping out of the van we put on our backpacks and began what was a “10–15 minute walk” towards our guesthouse. Weary from our long journey and after having to pay a 50 peso environmental fee for entrance, we felt underwhelmed as we walked past the rather unattractive part of town surround the bus station into town.

This feeling turned swiftly to excitement as we hit the coastline. That feeling of finally arriving to the destination set in. We stumbled along the beach past very relaxed looking beachgoers, local beach touts and smiling, curious and welcoming school kids.

Also dogs. Lots of dogs roaming around and sleeping along the beach. We’d later see that this is part of the charm of beaches in the Philippines.

Setting the vibe

Sunset at Ishtaytay Beach

Our first night was naturally spent sipping on San Miguel’s on the beach whilst watching the sunset. Looking back, that sunset was a strong contender for top place during our trip.

Port Barton is a great place to people-watch. As we enjoyed our beers we watched groups of school children playing along the beach. A group of older boys taunted a pack of dogs by waving at them with an umbrella. They proudly declared “bye-bye!” as they ran off from the frustrated, barking dogs after successfully winding them up.

Every now and then a scooter would cruise by along the beach. The iconic pump boats, that I will forever associate with the Philippines, would pull up with Filipino boatmen hopping off. Finished for the day.

We finished an early night with a meal at Kusinero Del Barrio, an unpretentious little Filipino restaurant in the main town.

It was the perfect introduction to what would be 2 weeks of adventure in Palawan, the most beautiful of the Philippine Islands.

Sunset Colours: Our hidden away guesthouse

Admiring the beautiful colours on our morning boat ride, View from our room at Sunset Colours

After an early morning dip in the water, we made our move to where we would be staying for the next 2 nights. Sunset Colours was located outside the main town and required a short boat ride to get to.

Low tide in the early morning at Ishtaytay Beach

Upon arrival, we were treated to a chilled iced tea and showed to our rooms. The area was beautiful. Essentially, we were on a secluded beach. Sharing only with the guesthouse staff and other visitors.

Our day was spent lazing around the area, sorting out an island hopping trip for the next day and eating a couple of delicious meals at the on-site restaurant (there aren’t a lot of food options in such a secluded area.)

Power was only available during set times. 8 am — 11 am and 7 pm — 9 pm. So phones, laptops and cameras were to be charged during these hours only!

Red Horses and sunsets became a staple during our trip

Each day as the sun would begin to set, the area transformed into a dreamy beach with glowing orange and blue hues across the landscape. Having this area to ourselves during this time of day was special.

I’ll take a moment here to talk about the beer options you’ll usually have. San Miguel, the famous Filipino brewery, offers a nice choice of beers that will become familiar with when you visit. San Miguel Light and Pale Pilsens are your standard fare, whilst Red Horses are more potent in terms of alcohol percentage. Occasionally, you’d see the Apple and Lemon flavoured variants of San Miguel Light too. 2 or 3 Red Horses did the trick for us most nights.

Island Hopping around Port Barton

Our boat for the day, anchored outside German Island

We had booked a group tour with our guesthouse for the following morning. We had read in the reviews that theirs were excellent. They offer only 1 route, which they believe offers the best that Port Barton has to offer.

We were very lucky and discovered that it would just be the 2 of us for that day. Essentially getting a private tour for the cost of a group one!

We lazed around and had lunch on a beautiful island. Snorkelled with turtles. Explored 2 islands joined by a thin stretch of sand. And walked a couple of hundred metres out into the sea on a sand bar, surrounded by picture-perfect beaches and islands.

German Island
Our lunch during the tour
Snorkelling with turtles
Walking on the sand bar

Last Thoughts

Port Barton is a charming town to visit. The calmness and understated beauty of the area make it a great stop off point on the way to the more hectic destinations of Palawan, such as El Nido or Coron.

What we would have done differently

  • Spent a couple more nights in the main town
  • Trekked out to and explored the famous waterfalls in the area
  • Tried out another island hopping tour
  • Made the trip out to Mojitos Restobar