I stumbled upon Port Barton while I was researching about places to visit for my first solo trip to Palawan. Just the name “Port Barton” instantly got me curious since it sounds very “British,” which is highly unusual in the Philippines. I wanted to know what’s there to see in Port Barton, which often described as an excellent backpackers’ hangout in Palawan. Barangay Port Barton is located in the town of San Vicente, which is situated between two destinations I also wanted to visit. Although it was not right along the highway, I hoped to do a quick overnight sidetrip on my way to the Sabang, Puerto Princesa City from El Nido, Palawan.

Locals on a carabao (water buffalo) drawn carroza along the white sand beachfront of Port Barton in San Vicente, Palawan

Arrival in Port Barton

The jeepney from Roxas Terminal, dropped us off at a quiet road right at the village center of Port Barton at around 1PM. Port Barton seemed more like a typical small coastal community, which felt very homey and laidback unlike the more resort town feel of El Nido. I walked around town a bit and conveniently stumbled upon Princesa Michealla’s Beach Resort, which was located a block away from the beachfront. I wanted to dropby at Princesa Michaela first since it was one of the cheapest resorts in Port Barton. I was greeted by Lola (“Grandma”) Lucy, who runs the joint.

Overnight at Princesa Michaela Beach Resort

Lola Lucy charged me P200 for my overnight stay at Princesa Michaela. It was a spacious fan-cooled room, which could fit 2-3 people, and had a private TB. Great thing that they also charge on a per person basis, which is perfect for solo travelers like me. If traveling with a group of 2 people (or more), the cost of renting out a whole room would be cheaper at just P150 per person. Lola Lucy was very friendly and did not hesitate to converse about the resort and Port Barton. Lola Lucy shared how proud she was that a growing number of tourists (of various nationalities) had stayed in Princesa Michaela since it opened. Even if she hadn’t told me this, I could sense how the “homey” atmosphere and the friendly reception of Lola Lucy could entice any tourist to stay at her charming resort.

Lovely garden area personally tended by Lola Lucy at Princesa Michaela Beach Resort

Rooms at Princesa Michaela Resort

Failed trek to Pamuayan Falls

I told Lola Lucy that I wanted to visit Pamuayan Falls and asked for directions to go there by foot. She told me Pamuayan Falls was a one hour and thirty minute trek from Port Barton Proper and I could either follow the inland road to the small village of Sitio Pamuayan or take the faster way along the beach coast. Strolling along the beach coves of Port Barton and finishing it off with a refreshing dip at the waterfalls seemed like a great idea so I went to the beach and followed the coast northwards.

Long White Sand Beachfront of Port Barton

Wooden bridge crossing a fresh water stream at the northern end of the beach

El Dorado Resort, located at the far north end of Port Barton Beach

Greenviews Resort and Restaurant located further away 

Gorgeous view of the whole beach and the lush hills of Port Barton

At the northernmost end of the beach cove was a cluster of nipa houses. Asked the locals once more for directions to Pamuayan Falls.

Continued my walk along the coast, which led me to secluded beach pockets and rocky areas. 

Got to a really scenic spot where a mangrove forest intersected with the shoreline and the serene waters in Port Barton. The inland part was closed off by a barbed wire fence with a sign saying that it was “private property”

I eventually reached a dead end after walking for around 45 minutes. There was a trail, which led into the private property. I cautiously followed the trail passing through the muddy paths of the mangrove area. Another 20 minute walk inland and I eventually felt lost … grr! not again. Playing it safe this time, I walked back and spotted a local at the beach (midway from Port Barton proper). Turns out he was the caretaker of the property. If only I wasn’t running out of daylight, I would’ve pursued the trek to Pamuayan falls, which the caretaker told me was still a long way from where I was at. I should have taken the longer but easier inland road from Port Barton or tagged along a guide with me. Fail!

Wanderings at Port Barton

Back at Port Barton proper, I went around the village to pass the time. Just like El Nido, there are many off-shore islands and islets accessible from Port Barton. The area is called the “Port Barton Marine Conservation Area / Marine Park”  and is a popular island hopping destination.

Informational Signages of Port Barton Marine Park at the waiting sheds along the beach

 Beautiful beachfront of Port Barton proper. The sand had an off-white color and and coarse consistency. Although not “Boracay-esque,” its a decent and clean beach.

Ayette’s Bamboo Cottages

Bamboo House Restaurant

Cabungan Beach Cottages

Sunset and Dusk in Port Barton

Facing the west, Port Barton had a great sunset view. I took a spot at the beach and watched the blue sky turned to the warm red and orange colors of the sunset and then to the cool purplish blue colors of dusk before finally retiring to the star-studded midnight blue evening sky. Sunsets in Palawan are just so amazing, it always made me feel rejuvenated, especially after a tiring day on my usual walking marathons.

Dinner at Jambalaya Cafe

Ate dinner at this place called Jambalaya Cafe located just along the beachfront in Port Barton. Jambalaya is a Louisiana Creole dish of Spanish and French influence similar to the Spanish Paella. The closest local dish in the Philippines would probably be the valenciana … it only looks similar since it’s mixed with rice but the taste is very different.

I ordered their specialty, Jambalaya (P180), and mango juice (in can; P60). I managed to finish my plate, so I guess it was good enough. The Jambalaya had a mix of spicy rice, fresh fish and vegetables, served in large portions (good enough for a meal). It liked at it was mildly spicy but it was so hot and humid at the time, which made the dining experience a bit uncomfy.

Retired to my room at Princesa Michaela Resort and slept early so I could get a good rest. One night was definitely not enough to fully appreciate Port Barton. There’s a lot to see and do in this place … I wished I could have extended my stay at Port Barton but it was already my 8th day (out of 12 days) in Palawan and I had just enough time for the other destinations in my itinerary.

My rushed experience in Port Barton definitely made me think about how I would go about with my future trips. It’s great to cover a larger area … visiting more towns/cities whenever traveling but, because of time constraint, it’s sometimes at the expense of not spending enough time in one place to fully appreciate what it has to offer.

Yah, I could now say that I’ve been to Port Barton … but I haven’t really experienced enough of it … haven’t seen Pamuayan Falls, haven’t gone to the islands, haven’t spent enough time to appreciate its laid-back charm, etc… I’ve learned that it’s better to limit my itinerary to fewer places but spending more quality time at each destination. That way, I could get a better grasp of each place I visit and not just storm through them like a frantic tourist.

Port Barton Travel Notes

  • Port Barton Travel Guide: How to Get to Port Barton from Puerto Princesa City / El Nido.
  • San Vicente Town Proper to Port Barton – although Port Barton is a barangay of San Vicente, there is no direct coastal road link. Traveling by land, you’d have to do a double back at the main highway in Roxas. There’s also the option of renting a pumpboat for P1,200 (1 hour approx. travel time). The tourism officer in San Vicente told me there’s no regular passenger boat service between the town proper and Port Barton.
  • Trek to Pamuayan Falls – approximately 1 hour and a half; taking the easier but longer way via the inland road from Port Barton proper is recommended since its hard for first timers to find the waterfalls without a guide.
  • Overnight at Princesa Michaela Resort – P200 / person / night
  • Dinner at Jambalaya Cafe – Jambalaya (P180); mango juice (P60)