PALAUI: The Northern Paradise!

May 2015:

Ranked number 10 in CNN World’s 100 best beaches and they described Palaui as “Glorious white sands meet volcanic rocks and blue-green waters topside, while coral gardens and a rich marine reserve meet divers under the surface. Palaui is all about raw beauty. Treks to get there require battling thorny grass, muddy ground and a mangrove forest.”

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Early Morning Shot of Cape Engaño

Getting There

There are two ways on how to reach the Island.

By air

Cebu Pacific and PAL offer a direct flight from Manila to Tuguegarao. From the airport take a tricycle going to the terminal of van/bus bound to Sta. Ana. Prepare at least 180 pesos for another 3-hour ride. Tricycle from Sta. Ana to San Vicente Port will cost you at least 15 pesos each for a group of 4-5 persons.

By land

If you choose to travel by land, Florida Bus Line is the only bus company offering adirect trip from Manila to Sta. Ana. Their terminal is located in Lacson Ave.,Sampaloc Manila. Better book your ticket ahead of time for the seats are just limited to a certain number of people. Fare would be 700 pesos for Regular Bus and 750 for Deluxe for a total of 15-16 hour bus drive.

Bus schedule:

·     12:00nn

·     3:00pm (Last Trip)

Alternatively, you can also take the Victory Liner bus bound to Tuguegarao. Travel time would be 12 hours. Fare is 750 for deluxe. Just contact them or check their website for other price information.

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Cape Engaño Lighthouse
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Cape Engaño Lighthouse

Boat Rental

            The ecotourism office in Sta.Ana offers a fixed boat rental rate. Price depends on the islands you want tocover on your trip. Their regular boat rate is usually good for only 6 hours and there will be an additional charge for every extra hour you might incur.  Kindly refer on thepinaysolobackpacker’s guide on Palaui for a more detailed list of boat trips and their corresponding prices.

However, to maximize your experience of the island, we recommend you take advantage of their ‘Special Trip’.  This already covers Punta Verde, Anguib Cove, Cape Engaño, and Crocodile Island. Rate wouldbe 3500 for a whole day tour plus 300 pesos if you wish to stay overnight in PuntaVerde.

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San Vicente Port

Once you reach San Vicente Port, there will be some porters who will ask you for your contact person/bangkero. Although this ‘contact person policy’ has been recently prohibited by the LGU, we still recommend Kuya Danny. Originally, Kuya Danny was not our contact person for the island hopping for we had contacted another boatman weeks prior to our departure. But since the LGU has already been implementing decking of the boats, Kuya Danny happened to be the assigned boatman for the day. He was kind, informative and efficient and we were happy to have him as our boatman.

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**I forgot Kuya Danny’s surname but you may contact him through this number, 09358944860. He was very informative and enthusiastic throughout thewhole trip. You can even ask him to prepare lunch on boat for the whole group. He can also arrange accommodations for a very reasonable price. Just ask him andhe will assist you. ****

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Anguib Beach
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Anguib Beach (other side)

Accommodation

            There are several places you can stay at San Vicente or Sta. Ana but they are usually expensive. If you happen to contact Kuya Danny, he can give you a good deal at Costales. However, if you’re planning to stay overnight in Punta Verde, you may contact Ma’am Elsa Lagdaran of Palaui Homestay at 09052832559. Her house has two rooms, which can be rented for 250/person for an overnight stay. You can also pitch a tent outside her house for the same rate of 250. Do not expect too much, though. The island is relying solely on solar power as their source of energy so electricity only runs at night. Also, their batteries can only sustain lights and fan so charging of gadgets and other electrical devices was one of our greatest dilemmas at that time. Better have your power banks ready.

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Cape Engaño
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Dos Hermanos

Food 

There’s not much of a place to eat in San Vicente especially during the early hours. So if you’re coming from a direct trip to Sta. Ana and will be arriving early, expect that there are almost no stores open nearby. I suggest you grab some food fromthe bus stopover for your breakfast. If in case, you can still try Ate Elvie’s Sari-Sari Store (in front of the port) and ask her to cook eggs or pancit canton or fried rice for you. Canned goods, noodles and biscuits are also available in her store. As for the lunch and dinner, you can ask your boatman to arrange it for you. Just tell him ahead of time so he can prepare. Ate Elsa of Palaui Homestay also caters ‘paluto’: 150 pesos/person for a rice meal with fish and vegetables including a bottle of water/soda. Just add 100 pesos if you would like to have some lobster. Buy all your necessary stuff while you are still in the port because there will be no store available in the island.

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Crocodile Island

Activities 

·     swimming, snorkeling, beach bumming and playing volleyball at Anguib Beach

·     lunch/picnic at Cape Engaño; trek to thelighthouse and see the panoramic view of the island including the Dos Hermanas

·     swim in the nearby waterfalls at Cape Engaño

·     swimming and beach bumming on top of CrocodileIsland’s Rock Formation

·     sunset, dinner, camping/bonfire at Punta Verde

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Cape Engaño
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Cape Engaño

Notes

·     There are cottages available in Anguib Beach and they are free of charge.

·     There are two ways on how to reach the Cape Engaño Lighthouse. You can do it by land and trek your way up for 2-3 hours. Just make sure to get a Local Guide (although I think this is already mandatory). Their standard fee is 300/guide for a maximum of 4 persons. You can choose from an easier trail of Lagunzad or the more challenging one of Leonardo. Travel Bloggers mostly suggest trekking the lighthouse by land asthis is a must when visiting the island but since our time was very limited, we opted to go to the island by the boat and do the 15 minute trail instead. The same rate of Local Guide applies. 

·     Ask your guide to drop you at a small falls nearby (I forgot the name). The water is very refreshing. 

·     There are mini store selling cold drinks,halo-halo, mais con yelo etc. at Cape Engaño.

·     The earliest trip of Florida, from Sta. Anagoing to Manila is 1PM for the same rate posted above. If you wish to leave the island early, you can alternatively take a van bound to Tuguegarao and hop on abus bound to Manila. The earliest trip of the van going to Tuguegarao is at 3am and leaves every 30 minutes. On the other hand, Victory Liner buses going to Manila depart almost every hour. 

·     If you wish to visit nearby islands of Babuyan,there is a public ferry (Eagle Ferry) that plies the route of Camiguin and Calayan. According to our boatman, Camiguin Island is 3-hour away from Sta. Anaand the latter would be 6 hours of boat trip. However, schedule varies as it depends on the condition of the sea. Just contact the ferry operator for their schedule confirmation. 

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Punta Verde
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Palaui Island

Expenses
Roundtrip Bus Fare: 1500php/head
Roundtrip Tricycle Fare: 30php/head
Environmental Fee (Port): 70php/head
Boat Rental: 3800php/5pax = 760php/head
Entrance Fee (Anguib Cove): 30php/head
Tour guide Fee (Cape Engaño):(300php/1-4pax) 600php/5-8pax =120php/head
Homestay: 250php/head
Food B,L,D for 2 days (Snacks at bus stopover and baon included): 740php/head
TOTAL: 3,500php/head

Early Morning Shot of Palaui (GoPro) #NoFilter

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Thank you, PALAUI!

IG: tsesteflying

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