Checkout this page for more photos : http://blog.macoymejia.com/2016/03/06/10-myths-going-to-balabac-palawan-philippines/
“Cape Melville Lighthouse is a historic lighthouse located in the island of Balabac, the southernmost point of the province of Palawan in the Philippines. It is also the southwest corner of the archipelago. The first-order light was constructed by the Spaniards to light Balabac Strait, the treacherous body of water that separates the Philippines from the neighboring country of Malaysia.” wiki: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cape_Melville_Lighthouse
- No public transport available in Balabac
- You can take the a Van Transfer Puerto Princesa – Rio Tuba vice versa. Rio Tuba – Balabac Public Boat operates daily, but there’s a chance to cancel the trip if not accommodated with 50 passengers. In Balabac, Habal-habal and Tricycle is the main means of transportation with-in the island. Island-hopping, you can hire a private passenger boat big enough to counter the waves, with “puppet” boat (a smaller boat) to bring you to the shore without damaging the beautiful corals
- Balabac is Infested by Mosquitos with Malaria
- There are reports in some islands (not all) in Balabac that does have cases of Malaria disease. Take some anti-malaria shots or meds before going to Balabac. It is best to ask your nearest doctor/hospital about anti-malaria meds. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
- There is Niknik (Sand Mites) infestation on Balabac beaches and shorelines
- Yes there are Sand Mites in “some” islands… but again, not all. Cover your skin as much as possible at night. Put on insect repellant or lit a bonfire (not on the sand) near your campsite. The smoke will push away the insects, not the fire.
- No drinkable clean water in Balabac
- In Balabac town proper, there are shops where you can buy bottled water. There’s even purified water refilling stations. Before hopping the near by islands and shores, bring enough water that you think you need to consume during the trip and in campsites. It is best to have a portable water filtration system and water purifier tablets with you during the trip.
- No Mobile Phone Signal in Balabac
- You can get full bars with Smart and Globe with in Balabac town proper… but no data with Smart. Save your phone battery by turning on Airplane mode during sea travels. In some part of Balabac facing Sabah, you can get Malaysian mobile phone signals.
- There is no electricity in Balabac
- Electricity is not 24/7 in Balabac town proper… No electricity at all outside the town. Some households use solar panels. Bring and full-charge your powerbanks… or bring portable solar panels and crank chargers if you need to charge your devices.
- Infested with Saltwater Crocodiles
- There are sightings of saltwater crocodiles in near-by rivers and mangroves shorelines. Most of the victims are dogs, chickens and goats… and a fishermen who went night fishing got bitten by a small crocs.
- Tourist and Foreigners are not welcome especially non-Muslims in Balabac
- They are generally friendly and hospitable like any other places in the world. Religion is not an issue… You just have to respect everyone you meet and their culture when you visit places on your travel. Balabac population is mostly Muslim brothers and sisters. Muslims and Non-muslim in Balabac get along happily and peacefully. Just for your safety and record purposes, you need to drop-by and register to the Balabac police station. Another tip: Hire or a local guide.
- No resort nor hotel and lodging in Balabac
- Look for “Sing and Swing” Lodging/Hotel in Balabac Town. They offer rooms with fan, shared bathroom and comfort rooms. Accessible to all shops, markets and wharfs.
- You can set a camp for your tent or hammock on the islands for free. Most of them don’t ask for payments… just hand over enough money as token of gratitude.
- You need to break a bank to visit Balabac
- “If you want to travel fast, travel alone. If you want to travel far, travel together.”… travel with a group to save cost and for your safety. There are lot of alternative and less expensive way to travel going to and staying in Balabac. Its up to your personal preference.
Banana Island is a fish and coral sanctuary in the southern part of Coron, Palawan, Philippines. Preserved and privately-owned by Gallego Family, they allow visitors to swim and see the clams, corals and lots of fishes just few meters from the shoreline of the island.
To visit the Island from Metro Manila, I made a sample 2-nights travel itinerary for you to begin with:
MONDAY (Day 0)
- 05:00am ~ 06:00am : Breakfast
- 06:00am ~ 07:00am : travel to Manila Airport
- 07:00am ~ 08:00am : Check-in
- 08:00am ~ 09:00am : Boarding
- 09:00am ~ 10:00am : Manila > Coron Airport (SkyjetAir 9am flight)
- 10:00am ~ 11:00am : Coron Airport -> Coron Town
- 11:00am ~ 01:00pm : Lunch and restock in Coron Town
- 01:00pm ~ 02:00pm : Shopping in Pantalan
- 02:00pm ~ 04:00pm : Coron Town to Banana Island Passenger Boat
- 04:00pm ~ 05:00pm : HAYAHAY
- 07:00pm ~ 08:00pm : Dinner
TUESDAY (Day 1)
- HAYAHAY, snorkeling one to sawa, sunburn
- Eat, Sleep, Repeat
WEDNESDAY (Day 2)
- 06:00am ~ 07:00am : Breakfast
- 07:00am ~ 08:00am : Pack-up
- 08:00am ~ 09:00am : Catch-up Bulalacao -> Coron Town Passenger Boat
- 09:00am ~ 10:00am : Van Transfer Coron Town to Coron Airport
- 10:00am ~ 11:00am : Check-in
- 11:00am ~ 12:00nn : Boarding
- 12:00nn ~ 01:00pm : Coron to Manila Airport (CebuPac 12nn flight)
- 01:00pm ~ 02:00pm : Home Sweet Home, Lunch
- 02:00pm ~ 03:00pm : UPLOAD! UPLOAD!
Things to bring:
- Waterproof Travel Bags
- Snorkeling Gears
- Aqua Shoes
- Coral Reef Friendly Sunblock
- Battery Pack for your Gadgets, solar or crank usb chargers
- Garbage Bag
- Food and Water
- Bread for fish feeding
- Cooking Stove, Cook Set and Fuel (optional)
- Eating Utensils (optional)
Things to Remember:
- Beach camping on the island is no longer allowed
- Day-tour entrance fee is PhP 200
- Overnight fee is PhP 850 ~ PhP 1000 per night
- Most of the cottages have lights and electric fans run through electric generator
- They can cook for you, but bring your own food to cook
- No fishing, but you can ask them to fish for you
- They have a small store that sell few items like softdrinks, beer, alcohol drinks, cigarets, and chips
- Waterproof your bags, phones and gadgets
- DO NOT use non-coral-friendly sunblock
- Garbage In, Garbage Out. No garbage should stay on the island
- The Coron-Bulalacao Passenger Boat operates Monday, Wednesday and Saturdays only. Bulalacao-to-Coron-Town: leaves at 8am~9am, while Coron-town-to-Bulalacao between 2pm-4pm in Pantalan.
- Contact their Facebook page for guidance : https://www.facebook.com/banana-island-coron-palawan-120622397968261/
How about you? How’s your Banana Island experience?