Balabac Island in Palawan, Philippines is often referred to as the “Maldives of the Philippines” due to its stunning white sand beaches, crystal-clear waters, and rich marine life. The island boasts a diverse range of flora and fauna, including some endangered species, and is home to numerous natural attractions such as waterfalls and caves. However, it is important to note that Balabac Island has its own unique beauty and character, and should be appreciated on its own terms rather than simply compared to another destination.
History of Balabac Island
Balabac Island has a rich history that dates back to pre-colonial times. The island was home to the Balabac tribe, one of the original tribes of Palawan, and was ruled by a Datu or chieftain. The Balabac tribe practiced a form of animism and had a deep respect for nature, which is reflected in their customs and traditions.
In the 16th century, the island was visited by Spanish explorers and was later colonized by Spain in the 17th century. During the Spanish colonial period, Balabac Island was used as a trading post and was known for its pearls and marine resources. The island was also used as a military outpost to protect against pirates and other invaders.
In the 20th century, Balabac Island became a part of the Philippines under American rule. The island played a strategic role during World War II and was used as a base by Japanese forces. The island was liberated by American forces in 1945.
Today, Balabac Island is known for its natural beauty and is a popular destination for eco-tourism. The island is home to a diverse range of flora and fauna, including some endangered species such as the Philippine mouse-deer and the Palawan bearcat. The island is also known for its pristine beaches, clear waters, and rich marine life.
How to get to Balabac island
Balabac Island is located in the southernmost part of Palawan province, Philippines. To get there, you need to take a combination of land, sea, and air transportation.
- Fly to Puerto Princesa: The nearest major city to Balabac Island is Puerto Princesa. You can fly to Puerto Princesa International Airport from Manila or other major cities in the Philippines.
- Take a van or bus to Rio Tuba: From Puerto Princesa, you can take a van or bus to Rio Tuba, which is about a 5-6 hour journey.
- Take a boat from Rio Tuba to Balabac: From Rio Tuba, you can take a boat to Balabac Island. The boat ride takes about 4-6 hours depending on sea conditions. There are also fast craft options that can take around 3 hours.
It is important to note that travel to Balabac Island requires careful planning and coordination with a reputable travel agency or tour operator. The island is a remote destination and facilities such as accommodations and medical facilities are limited. It is also recommended to check the travel advisories and safety precautions before going to Balabac Island.
Islands to visit around Balabac island
Balabac Island is a paradise for island hopping enthusiasts, with its crystal-clear waters, white sand beaches, and rich marine life. Here are some of the top places to visit for island hopping in Balabac:
1. Onok/Onuk island in Balabac
This small island is known for its white sand beaches, clear waters, and colorful marine life. Visitors can enjoy swimming, snorkeling, and diving in the island’s pristine waters.
Onuk, an uninhabited island located off the southern coast of Balabac Island in the province of Palawan in the Philippines. The island is known for its pristine white sand beach, clear turquoise waters, and diverse marine life.
Onuk Island is a popular destination for island-hopping tours in Balabac island. Many tour operators offer day trips to the island from Balabac, which typically include a stop at nearby islands such as Candaraman and Patawan Island. Visitors can enjoy snorkeling and swimming in the crystal-clear waters surrounding the island, as well as sunbathing and relaxing on the beach.
One of the unique features of Onuk Island is its sandbar, which is exposed during low tide and connects the island to a nearby rocky outcrop. Visitors can walk along the sandbar and explore the tidal pools and small caves that dot the area.
It’s important to note that Onuk Island is a protected area, and visitors are required to obtain a permit from the local government before visiting. The island is also a nesting site for sea turtles, so visitors are asked to be respectful of the wildlife and avoid disturbing any nests or hatchlings.
Overall, Onuk Island is a beautiful and peaceful destination for those looking to escape the crowds and enjoy the natural beauty of Palawan.
2. Candaraman Island
This island boasts of a stunning sandbar that connects two smaller islets. It is a popular spot for swimming, snorkeling, and picnicking. Moreover, you may be able to watch an insanely stunning sunset from the west-facing beach.
3. Canimeran island, Balabac
Canimeran Island is another popular destination in Balabac, Palawan, located south of the main island of Balabac. Like Onuk Island, Canimeran is known for its pristine white sand beaches and clear turquoise waters, making it a popular spot for swimming, snorkeling, and sunbathing.
This island has flourishing coconut trees and often called by the locals “Patongong Dos” due to its neighboring island, Patongong.
It’s unique feature is that, due to the red corals, the white sand has slightly pink-tinted color.
4. Melville Lighthouse
This historic lighthouse is located on a small island off the coast of Balabac Island. Visitors can climb to the top of the lighthouse for stunning views of the surrounding islands and waters.
5. Patawan Island
Patawan Island is a beautiful and secluded dolphin-shaped island located in the municipality of Balabac in the southernmost part of Palawan, Philippines. It is known for its stunning beaches, crystal-clear waters, and vibrant coral reefs, making it a popular destination for snorkeling, diving, and beach-hopping.
The island is relatively small, with a land area of about 3.5 square kilometers and a population of only around 700 people. The main livelihood of the locals is fishing and farming, and the island has a laid-back, rural vibe.
One of the main attractions of Patawan Island is its beaches, particularly the Patawan Beach and the nearby Candaraman Island. Both beaches have fine white sand and are surrounded by turquoise waters, making them perfect for swimming, sunbathing, and snorkeling. Visitors can also rent a boat to explore the nearby islands and beaches, including the nearby Onuk Island and Melville Island.
Another highlight of Patawan Island is its rich marine life. The waters around the island are home to a diverse array of fish, coral, and other marine creatures, including sea turtles and dugongs. Visitors can go snorkeling or scuba diving to explore the colorful coral reefs and encounter the abundant marine life.
To get to Patawan Island, visitors need to take a boat from the mainland town of Rio Tuba in Bataraza, which is about a three-hour drive from Puerto Princesa, the capital of Palawan. It is advisable to hire a local guide to navigate the island and ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.
6. Ramos Island
This island is home to a small fishing village and is known for its stunning rock formations and pristine beaches. Visitors can enjoy snorkeling, swimming, and exploring the island’s natural attractions.
It is important to note that some of these islands may have limited facilities, so visitors are advised to bring their own food, water, and other necessities. Visitors are also reminded to observe responsible tourism practices and respect the natural environment and the local communities.
7. Punta Sebaring (Bugsuk island)
Punta Sebaring is a small village located on Bugsuk Island, which is part of the municipality of Balabac in the province of Palawan, Philippines. The village is situated on the eastern coast of Bugsuk Island and is known for its beautiful beaches, crystal-clear waters, and stunning natural scenery.
The village of Punta Sebaring in Balabac is home to a small community of residents who make a living through fishing and agriculture. Visitors to the village can learn about the traditional ways of life of the locals, including their fishing techniques and agricultural practices.
One of the popular attractions near Punta Sebaring is the Bugsuk Island Mangrove Forest, which is home to a variety of wildlife, including a number of bird species. Visitors can take a boat tour through the mangroves to explore the area and observe the flora and fauna.
Another popular activity in Punta Sebaring is island hopping, where visitors can explore nearby islands such as Candaraman and Onuk Island. These islands are known for their beautiful beaches and crystal-clear waters, making them ideal for swimming, snorkeling, and sunbathing.
It’s worth noting that tourism in Punta Sebaring and the surrounding area is still relatively undeveloped, so visitors should not expect the same level of amenities and facilities as more established tourist destinations. However, for those looking for an authentic and off-the-beaten-path experience, Punta Sebaring and Bugsuk Island offer a unique opportunity to explore the natural beauty and cultural heritage of Palawan.
Balabac Private Island Hopping Boat Itinerary 4Days/3Nights
This is the only tour available because the islands are so far apart. For two people a private tour would cost 77,500p – for a different number of people or to join a group tour, please contact us. If you are coming from El Nido there are many vans departing throughout the day for 5-600p/pax. Because it is a 6-8 hour trip, you should plan on staying overnight in Puerto Princesa, as the van taking you to Balabac leaves at 4:00am in the morning.
🌴 Day 1
4:00 AM pick up from PPs-Buliluyan.5-6hours travel.
5:00 Camp at Sicsican. Dinner and rest.
🌴 Day 2 (Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner)
5:00 PM Back to Basekamp. Dinner and rest.
🌴 Day 3 (Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner)
5:00 PM back to Basekamp. Dinner and rest.
🌴 Day 4 (Light Breakfast) Travel Back to Buliluyan Port (6AM)
* Travel to PPS.
☝️ in case you want to cancel your tour schedule, early communication must be done!
🖐️ Things to bring:
Do you want a hassle-free vacation? Click the photo below for more information and get a quote. We also offer private island hopping day tours in Coron and in El Nido. Our most popular tour is our multi-day tour between El Nido and Coron or Coron to El a nido which you can customize depending on your liking.
Experience the thrill of island hopping in the Philippines.
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