Unraveling the Mystique of Palawan’s Southernmost Island

Palawan has long held its place as a crown jewel in tropical paradises. This archipelagic province is home to iconic destinations such as El Nido and Coron, famous for its breathtaking landscapes, crystalline waters, and vibrant coral reefs. However, beyond its popular tourist destinations lies a secret haven waiting to be discovered.

In the remote southwestern corner of Palawan, you’ll you’ll find Balabac—a group of islands where you can bask in the raw beauty of nature. Unlike some of its more famous counterparts in Palawan, Balabac remains largely untouched by mass tourism.

Make sure you and your travel buddies are well aware that embarking on a journey to Balabac means venturing into the farthest reaches of Palawan’s islands.

Experiencing Balabac

Much of Balabac is underdeveloped. Some towns offer basic lodgings, but remoter islands need more electricity. Accommodations there vary from basic camping setups to cozy cottages nestled under the coconut palms. While some might view it as a drawback, others see it as a chance to experience island life’s raw and unspoiled beauty. The limited electricity and humble retreats become a unique opportunity for visitors to disconnect from the constant hum of technology and reconnect with the simplicity of life.

During the day, you can explore the different pristine islands in Balabac, each with distinctive charms. For instance, you can tour Comiran Island for a unique coastal experience. Its beach has pink sand resulting from a delicate blend of crushed red and white corals.

You should also not miss Bugsuk Island’s Sebring Beach. An expansive white sand bar would reveal itself during low tide, creating a spectacle for visitors. This area transforms into a shallow pool during high tide, offering a tranquil and refreshing experience.

One to two hours away from Bugsuk Island is Candaraman Island, famous for its sand bar, often adorned with starfish. You can snorkel and “stargaze” during high tide beneath the crystal-clear waters. It is essential, however, to refrain from touching or removing starfish from their natural habitat to ensure their preservation and the continued beauty of this marine ecosystem.

Comiran Island, Bugsuk Island, and Candamaran Island are just among the many other islands you can visit in Balabac. Some islands also permit nighttime camping; therefore, inquire about designated camping areas with a guide. Without city lights, you’ll you’ll be under a canopy of stars that city dwellers seldom witness.

Getting There

There is a need for commercial airlines that fly directly to Balabac. The nearest airport is in Puerto Princesa City. From Puerto Princesa, you may ride a bus or a van heading to Rio Tuba or Buliluyan Port in Bataraza. These places offer boat rides to Balabac. You can tour for a less hassle-free adventure to avoid navigating through complex transportation routes and schedules.

The best time to visit Balabac is during summer, from March to May. It is also advisable to bring cash as there are no ATMs in Balabac, and phone signals may need to be more reliable. And remember to bring insect repellants!


Dana Sioson

An artist who weaves words into stories and paints moments with light. She's a writer and photographer who is fond of sports, films, and fishes.

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