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:
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.
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.
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>.
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.
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.
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