We went on a cove-hopping expedition in the country’s last frontier’s sleepy town, and these are what we’ve found .

San Vicente is looking like the next big thing for the coming holidays’ travel, with its 14.7-kilometer-long Long Beach and the backpacking haven that is Port Barton, notable for its laid-back hostels and array of seaside bars fringing its shoreline.

Truth be told, the town is a mirror of what Palawan’s got in its golden days when the crowds haven’t arrived. It has pristine beaches with powdery cream sand, unspoiled nature, hardly any construction. It’s a peaceful setting for a true away-from-it-all experience, which you can amp up by visiting these beaches:

Daplac Cove

Daplac Cove is for those who want to be away from the crowd.

This is one of the more pristine beaches on Boayan Island, which is home to other coves that will have, at most, one or two other people on them. It’s a small, 300-meter stretch of powdery white sand that’s a good pitstop for lunch. Sea turtles sometimes graze on the seagrass offshore so make sure you keep a sharp eye out for them (or ear, since your boatman will usually spot them first).

Daplac Cove is on Boayan Island, about 30 minutes by boat from Poblacion.

Exotic Island

Clear waters for swimming, white sand beach for bumming, and a sand bar that’s waist deep to get across to the other island.

The name is a massive cliché, but this island does it justice. It’s a small island with a white sand beach and crystal clear waters that will entice even non-swimmers to take a dip. It can get a bit crowded, but there’s a sandbar between this and Maxima Island in waist-deep water that you can use to “escape” that crowd.

Exotic Island is found within Port Barton Bay, a 15 to 20 minute boat ride from Poblacion.

Inaladelan Island

Spend a night here. It’ll be worth it.

We can’t talk about beaches in San Vicente without talking about Inaladelan Island, also known as turtle island. This private island resort has a 300-meter white-sand cove at its southeastern tip that’s populated by coconut trees and a couple of cabanas. Take a spot on a hammock between the coconut trees and enjoy the view, or book a tent for the night and have this island all to yourself. The highlight: turtles you can swim with just several meters off shore.

Know more about Inaladelan island here <Inaladelan article to be linked after publishing>.

White Beach

It’s a fairly quiet beach that’s away from the bustling backpacking paradise of Port Barton.

This one’s a bit tucked away (and also happens to be a private resort), but White Beach (or Esmeralda Villa as it is now known) is one of the better beaches in Port Barton. It’s not as crowded as Port Barton’s front beach so you’ll feel like you own the place. There is a Php50 entrance fee, but this beach is worth it.

Esmeralda Villa is a 15-minute drive from most inns in Port Barton. You can rent a motorbike to get there for about Php600/day.

Irawan Beach

Hardly a resort in this spot, and it ALWAYS gets confused for its longer neighbor.

The last one on our list has a bit of a reputation as the first photo you come across whenever you look for San Vicente or Long Beach. It has cream-colored sand and stretches looks quite long from the top of Bato ni Ningning, but Irawan Beach is more secluded than its longer neighbor. There are hardly any resorts within the area; this means the beach is about as empty as it gets. Perfect for those sunset selfies!

Irawan Beach is a 20-minute drive north of Poblacion in San Vicente, located in Brgy. Santo Niño.

The basics
SkyJet Airlines has direct flights from Manila to San Vicente 4 times weekly, which will increase to 6 times weekly beginning October 27, 2019.

Photos: Harvey Tapan