PORT BARTON, PALAWAN — While this northern beauty is never the first choice for first time Palawan visitors, it is now more becoming popular for its beaches, waterfalls, and sunsets, especially to those who do not want crowded destinations like El Nido and Coron.
It is not unique to other Philippine destinations but the absence of high-end hotels and resorts here makes Port Barton different, and more welcoming, giving visitors close encounters with the locals.
If you are looking for luxury, Port Barton is not the place for you. It is the perfect fit for backpackers and adventurous travelers who enjoy nature, and a more relaxed atmosphere. Its beaches are among the beautiful in Palawan, mostly pristine and underdeveloped.
Part of the town of San Vicente, which is also now gaining admiration among travelers, resorts and inns at Port Barton are simpler, thus cheaper, but they are capable of providing safety and comfort to its guests.
When in this side of the province, we stay at El Dorado Sunset Resort, a simple locally-owned resort situated by the beach front that offers the best view of sunset here.
From Puerto Princesa City, we headed up to Port Barton one weekend and enjoyed the hospitality of El Dorado’s owner, Tita Lucy — and everything Port Barton offers. (This writer calls everyone in their 40s and up Tita/Tito when given a chance, especially if they are friends’ parents.)
Depending on one’s demand, El Dorado’s rooms are enough to give guests a comfortable night stay after a tiring day touring the islands and the attractions here.
The rooms, priced at P500 to P2,000 per room ($10-$40) are clean, and well-managed for the price but too cheap for Tita Lucy’s hospitality and care.
During the day, Tita Lucy and son would wake us up for breakfast, and encourage us to enjoy the rest of the day, giving tips on where to swim, what to eat, and what to enjoy in the village. We spent the days touring the surrounding islands and eating the freshest seafoods Palawan offers. By the days end, we found ourselves sitting by the beachfront watching the sunsets, if not taking photos of them. Then we’re ready for story-exchanges at night before heading for a night’s rest.
It wasn’t peak season during our visit so we managed to enjoy the resort for ourselves. We shared the nights only with a few foreigners that instantly became friends as we share stories and laughters over bottles of beers.
When in Palawan, having a room with foams is too much, as beaches are good enough as beds, and hammocks are luxurious treats. Staying in El Dorado however sets the difference. Aside from providing us the room, the island beaches, and those hammocks, they gave us awesome sunsets and the feelings of safety, and being cared for while enjoying our time in one of the most beautiful places on Earth.
Note: This writer got a lot of friends in Port Barton. He spent some three years of his teenage life in the town of San Vicente before heading for college in Puerto Princesa City, some four hours drive away from the town. We’ve been in this village a few times in the past, and as always, Port Barton never ceases to amaze people with its beauty, serenity, and beautiful sunsets. More about Port Barton in a separate post.