The story of the most popular boulder in San Vicente, Palawan

The story of the most popular boulder in San Vicente, Palawan

What was once a hangout of a child is now the most famous view deck in Palawan’s growing hotspot, frequented by tourists

Whenever you search for photos of San Vicente, Palawan, chances are you’ll find this photo:

The photo that pops up the most when you search for San Vicente, Palawan on Google. Photo from SkyJet Airlines

It’s often mistaken for Long Beach, but it’s actually called Irawan Beach. The place where this quintessential San Vicente photo is taken from? It’s on top of a boulder that’s up a short hill… and it’s called Bato ni Ningning.

This is the view from Bato ni Ningning. Photo by Harvey Tapan

Named after a television show it was in, Bato ni Ningning is perched on top of a hill in Brgy. Alimanguan, the northernmost barangay of San Vicente.

Getting to Bato ni Ning is a 47-minute drive from the airport or a 22-kilometer drive through paved and dirt roads. It’s best to take a guide with you and rent a motorbike to get to the hotspot.

Introducing Bato ni Ningning. Photo by Harvey Tapan
Irawan Beach from the air. Photo by Harvey Tapan

Once there, you will be rewarded with a panoramic view of Brgy. Alimanguan, with Irawan Beach right in the middle. Simply pay the Php20 entrance fee, stand atop the boulder, whip out your camera, and either take a selfie or replicate that photo of San Vicente you always see online.

Get there
SkyJet Airlines (Flyskyjetair.com) flies direct from Manila to San Vicente four times weekly. Flights are to increase to six times weekly beginning October 27, 2019.

Dashing Spot: Lakawon Island

Dashing Spot: Lakawon Island

White sand beach, azure water, with an amazing floating bar make this hotspot your barkada’s next holiday destination.

If you’re looking for an island where you can find a pristine white sand beach with an exciting vibe, you should be booking a trip to Lakawon Island in Negros Occidental.

It’s roughly two hours by land and sea combined from Bacolod with a stunning white beach as its main centerpiece, is in tune with nature, and dotted by palm trees. The cabanas complete the island paradise look that makes it seem like the island was made for relaxation.

It’s closed right now, but once Tawhai re-opens, you’re going to WANT to go there.

Enjoy a walk on the beach, swim in the clear waters, or try your hand at kitesurfing. If you’re feeling peckish, Sunset Bar offers local-inspired dishes whipped with the the day’s fresh catch.

Get there

Coordinate with Lakawon Island Resorts and Spa (Lakawon.com.ph/) for a van to take you from Bradco Port to Lakawon and back for Php4,500.00 roundtrip (six-14 pax). To get to the Bacolod Bradco Port, simply ride a ferry from Manila to Bacolod.

Entrance fee is at Php350 per person, with the umbrella hut starting at Php600. Overnight stays are from Php2,500 per night (good for four to six people) at the Tropical Bamboo House.

Dashing Spot: Mantigue Island

Dashing Spot: Mantigue Island

There’s more to Camiguin than its famous sandbar. Case in point: Mantigue Island.

Mantigue Island's white sand beach with a view of the mountains of Camiguin
It’s a marine sanctuary with a white sand beach. What more can you ask for? Photo by Daniel Soriano

When people hear Camiguin, the image that first pops out is usually that of White Island. The popular sandbar has always been one of its major tourist draws, but that doesn’t mean it’s the only one.

In fact, there’s this four-hectare island off the coast of Mahinog that gives you the same white sand beach experience coupled with more things to do: Mantigue Island.

Mantigue has a bit more cover than White Island—thanks to the small beach huts on the southern part of the island. There’s coverage in the form of mangroves along its shores as well as vegetation in the middle part of the island, where you can find a restaurant, which doubles as the island’s tourism office. The waters surrounding Mantigue has been declared a marine sanctuary, making it perfect for snorkeling or diving. There’s also a small fishing community on the northern part of the island.

How to get there

SkyJet Airlines offers direct flights to Camiguin five times weekly. We suggest renting a motorbike (Php500 or about USD10 per day) and driving to get to Brgy. San Roque in Mahinog, which should take around 30 minutes. In San Roque, board a motorboat (Php600/boat, maximum of six people) to the island, where you can stay for four hours maximum. If you stay longer will set you back Php75 per hour per boat.

Things to do

There are a couple of things you can do in Mantigue Island, even if you’re only limited to for-hour stays.

Mantigue Island fees as of May 2019.
  • Stand-up paddle board
  • Diving
  • Glass boat rides
  • Kayaking
  • Beach bumming for the Gram
  • Talk to the island locals, and (maybe) buy fish from them (fresh or sundried)

Dashing Spot: White Island, Camiguin

Dashing Spot: White Island, Camiguin

It’s white, it’s fine, and it’s oh so far away.

Arguably one of Camiguin’s most popular attractions, White Island boasts of fine white sand beaches as far as your eye can see. Photo by JJ Alvarico

If you think you’ve seen the whitest of sands a Philippine beach has to ofer, wait until you set foot on Medan Island, more popularly known as White Island in Camiguin.

White Island, a 10-minute motorbike ride from the northern coast of the island province, is postcard perfect— with blindingly white sand that strikes a stark contrast against crystal clear waters that reflect the blueness of the skies. It will be hard not to be taken aback by Mt. Hibok-Hibok’s commanding presence in its backdrop.

But the main charm of White Island is its changing shape, which depends on the tide. So sometimes you see a serpentine shape, other times, the crescent of a usual beach, and who knows what else at another time.

Magical, isn’t it? 

Get there

SkyJet Airlines launches its direct Manila to Camiguin flights on May 6, 2019. Tickets are now on sale. Flights are on daily except Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

Dashing Spot: Pass Island, Coron

Dashing Spot: Pass Island, Coron

In Coron, Palawan lies this tiny island with a beach that will stun its visitors, whether they’re staying for the night or only stopping by. We highly recommend it if you’re after Coron’s unique beauty but want total detachment.

Crystal clear waters, stunning surroundings of Pass Island

If you could choose to get washed up on the shores of an island after venturing headlong into a storm, where would you like to end up in? We won’t want that in general but with enough food and water supply, Pass Island, a tiny island hours away from Busuanga Airport, in the middle of Coron, is not a bad place to be stuck in for a while.

It’s an interesting name for a three-hectare island that’s often thought of as nothing more than a lunch stop for island hopping tours. The name comes from the island being the only island that you’re 100% guaranteed to pass through on your way to distant towns like El Nido and Culion. The best parts of Pass Island are its crystal-clear waters that are perfect for swimming and snorkeling and a beach with sand that’s so powdery white you’d be forgiven for thinking it’s Boracay. It also has unimpeded views of the sunrise and sunset along with so many places for selfies (get the hammocks!) that you’re bound to run out of storage space on your phone or SD card.

Get there

  • Board a Skyjet Airlines flight to Coron from Manila, which takes about 35 minutes.
  • Once in Coron, take a ride to the Coron Port, roughly 45 minutes to an hour from the airport.
  • Get on a boat to Pass Island for around Php6,000 (you’ll have to rent the whole boat) . You can also book a Reefs and Wrecks tour in town for anywhere between Php1,400-Php2,000 per person. Entry to the island for the day is at Php200 per person.

Stay

Pass Island offers beach huts at Php1,000 per person per night. You can also bring your tent or sleeping bag for Php500, while renting one of their own tents is at Php750. Pass Island Palawan. 

Words and photo: Andrew Del Rosario

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