Thursday, April 18, 2013

Things to Do in Port Barton, Palawan: Part 2 (Why Port Barton Beats Coron and El Nido)

by Shawi Cortez
Having enjoyed the no-rush itinerary we had the previous day, we booked Dong again for a whole-day island hopping.

Because it was standard for the packaged boat trips in Coron and El Nido to include lunch, we arranged for it to be included.

Dong was easy to transact with. We closed the whole day trip to P1,000, but we had to buy the ingredients from the market (fish, rice, fruits, seasoning, charcoal and 6 liters of water added up to P350).

buying fish

this is THE fish market

Our day started around 11am, went to the  market with Dong to buy fish and the other stuff needed for lunch, and headed for the water.

My travel partner's interest in snakes led an earlier conversation with Dong to take us to the mangroves today. We traveled around 30 minutes before reaching the mangroves. Soon, our boatman drove slowly and turned his engine off. He paddled as we reached the inner portion of the mangroves, and we kept our eyes peeled for the black-and-yellow striped snakes.

paddling slowly : mangroves

"How do we spot them? Are they really visible?," a curious me asked.

"They usually rest on the branches and do not hide," Dong replied.

As he was speaking, I slowly lifted my head to the branch above us, and there it was! Fear crept in an instant, so I hid under our boat's tarp-covering.

What if it suddenly drops? I definitely do not want to be bitten by a poisonous snake in a foreign place!

snake spotting

We continued our journey to spot more snakes, but only saw three other on the way before making our way back.

After that scare-rush, Dong took us to another snorkel area called Aquarium Reef. Just like the previous day, it did not disappoint. Just like the Twin Reef we snorkeled to earlier, they have such a rich and diverse marine life.

Late lunch was supposed to be served and prepared in German Island, but upon his recommendation that there's a better place for picnic, we trusted his local advice.

Dong docked our boat in Paradise Island where only a couple arrived ahead of us and already cooling down the beach.

We settled in one of the 3 hammocks while our boatman got busy preparing the fire to grill the fish and cook the rice.

lazing underneath this hammock while our boatman prepared lunch

After the simple but appetizing and delectable meal, we each had our own time to ourselves, taking in the beauty of the island, relaxing under the shady hammock, with a cup of coffee in hand (Yes, the island's caretaker offered their coffee gratis). We almost lost track of time until Dong prompted us to get going before it got dark.

Paradise Island: who wouldn't lose track of time when this is the view?

We left as the sun was setting, and left with a smile on our faces, happy that our time was unhurried and had the itinerary as we wanted it.


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