Balabac Island, Palawan – Island Hopping Boat Tour Guide

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 Balabac Island

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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.

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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

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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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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:

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1. Onok/Onuk island in Balabac

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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This island has flourishing coconut trees and often called by the locals “Patongong Dos” due to its neighboring island, Patongong.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.
* start of island hopping.

Destinations:

📍Tangkahan Island
📍Patawan Island
📍Sicsican Island(basekamp)

5:00 Camp at Sicsican. Dinner and rest.

🌴 Day 2 (Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner)

Destinations:

📍Starfish sandbar
📍Candaraman
📍Onok Island
📍Nasubata Reef(snorkeling)

5:00 PM Back to Basekamp. Dinner and rest.

🌴 Day 3 (Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner)

Destinations:

📍Mansalangan sandbar
📍Bragi Island
📍Punta Sebaring
📍Canibungan

5:00 PM back to Basekamp. Dinner and rest.

🌴 Day 4 (Light Breakfast) Travel Back to Buliluyan Port (6AM)

* Travel to PPS.
2-3PM ETA Puerto Princesa City.

Inclusions:

  • RT AC Van transfer(shared) PPs-Buliluyan
  • RT boat transfer
  • fullboard meals (Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner)
  • all entrance fees
  • Onok island daytour
  • accomodation:
    – fanroom (islandkamp)
    – Tent/kubo (islandkamp)
    – AC room (town) add 200/pax per night.
  • tour insurance
  • Environmental fee
  • life vest
  • local tour guide.

Note 👨‍🏫:
* You can stay overnight in ONOK island, but there is an additional fee.
🛫  Take a flight a day before the scheduled tour and exit flight must be a day after the last day of tour.
🏖️  All islands to be visited will depend upon the weather for your safety. We will discuss it upon meet ups.
🏖️  We require 70%  deposit. It will be deducted on total payment.

☝️ in case you want to cancel your tour schedule, early communication must be done!
☝️ Additional 200/pax per night if you prefer AC room in  town.
☝️ Inform us early if you are allergic to seafood or if there are food that you are not allowed to eat(e.g pork&crabs/shrimp)

🖐️ Things to bring:

  • Towel and toiletries
  • Sunblock/sunscreen
  • Personal Medicine if any
  • Cash (no ATM Machine in Island)

Exclusions:

❎  Airfare
❎  Hotel in Puerto Princesa
❎  Day1 breakfast (guest may eat on stopovers during travel Pps-Buliluyan)
❎  Day4 Dinner
❎  Personal expenses

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.

boat tours ultimate-adventure-expedition-excursion plankton stars

Experience the thrill of island hopping in the Philippines.


Home » Palawan » Boat Tours » Balabac Island, Palawan – Island Hopping Boat Tour Guide

C RC R
05:51 03 Apr 24
I give 5 stars because they actually helped me to arrange the tour to Balabac in last minute. However, because the money wired through the local bank in my country took time to be processed, so i missed the boat due to peak season as many people paid before my money was received by the tour guide.As most of people usually feel, once your money has been transferred out to someone you do not know, you probably frustrated that your money would not be able to be refunded.But not in my experience. I dont need to be worry, the owner refunded me the money he has received (minus the bank fees). He promised to refund me and he did it. It was around 18.700 Pesos.So, eventhough i didn't manage to go with the tour, but i am really satisfied with their legitimate and great business practice. Hopefully, people will try their services and not worry about their legit business!Thanks a lot!
Chloe BlanchardChloe Blanchard
13:38 27 Mar 24
The most wonderful experience from booking to beach! Karel and Mel were so fast and responsive to my very last minute trip over the holidays. We booked a private boat for two and could not have been happier with our four day trip! We didn’t think about anything other than snorkeling the entire time. Linda, our captain, cooked wonderful meals and took us to totally empty beautiful beaches. We loved staying the night in Pical especially! Wonderful to experience the Philippines this way! Will come back again and would recommend to anyone!
hotel luci del farohotel luci del faro
08:13 31 Jan 24
We booked the 3 day 2 night expedition, from Coron to Sibaltan.First of all the booking part was really simple. I organized this trip to the Philippines last minute for my family (my parents and my uncles) but Karel answered all my questions very quickly and really made everything easier for me. It was an incredible experience. Albert, our tour leader, is a wonderful guy, always smiling and ready to help us. They assisted us in everything and really took care of making everything go smoothly. The accommodation on the islands is as spartan as you expect but the location of each hut alone is worth the trip. The wonder of nature was then added to the goodness of cuisine. It's really difficult to argue how you can cook all that goodness on a boat.If you are looking for an authentic experience, in contact with nature, off the beaten track, this company's private expedition is certainly for you.
Kate BrownKate Brown
00:22 27 Oct 23
What an unforgettable experience! We did a two night (3 day) island hopping tour from Sibaltan to Coron. Everything was so well organized and the boat crew were amazing and really made sure we had a great time. The accommodation was rustic, but added to the authentic experience of the Philippines. Karel always responded to any queries we had promptly. Our boatman, Albert, was the most amazing chef and we enjoyed every meal. The crew taught the kids how to fish with a line which was their highlight of the trip. They took us to the most unbelievable snorkelling spots along the way. Would highly recommend this trip.
Ian PascualIan Pascual
02:43 10 Aug 23
One of the most amazing, unforgettable things you can do in your life
Lou PrataliLou Pratali
11:04 25 Jul 23
This is a must to do!!Super ultimate tour is the best with Kayangan and barracuda lake, twin lagoons (my favorite), coral garden (blue fabulous coral) were the best. It’s really worth it to pay for private tour (3500 to 4000 PHP). You will also have to pay for entrance fees (150 to 200PHP by location) and eventually shopping at the market - must do (count 300 for 2 for fish, pork, fruits and vegetables, water).
Gérard BENOITGérard BENOIT
16:11 07 Feb 23
I was looking for a personalized excursion to the stunning Bacuit Gulf.Based on the comments, I contacted Mel.Very responsive, very efficient and perfect organization.The on-board staff were very friendly and very helpful.And I'm not even talking about the meal on board...a marvel.In all fairness, this excursion will remain an excellent memory and I cannot recommend Mel and his team highly enough.A big thank-you.
Alyse TarbottonAlyse Tarbotton
23:48 30 Aug 22
This tour went well above all our expectations! I couldn't recommend this enough! The boat crew, captain and tour guide were nothing but amazing, everyone was so kind, helpful and friendly. The crew knew the best spots to visit that weren't overcrowded with tourists, 3 times we were lucky enough to have whole islands to ourselves! It was my partner's birthday while away and everything went above and beyond, bonfire, cake, birthday card, singing and celebrating with us.If you love camping this is definitely a tout you should do, it has been the highlight of our trip!!
Danish KayaniDanish Kayani
10:24 31 Oct 19
Coron is the best place i have ever seen.. picturesque. Beautiful. Peaceful
We booked a 4 days/3 nights private boat trip from Coron to Sibaltan. The organization went very well from the beginning, the owner answered to all my questions, and we were able to choose which islands to visit and where to sleep. The first night we slept in a bungalow in Banana Island, the second we camped in Araw beach and the last we slept in a seafront bungalow builded on a tree in Pical on Iloc Island.The islands in that area are the most beautiful islands I have ever seen, with clear water, lots of coral reef and fishes to see, white sand and almost deserted. The crew was very friendly and polite and they organize every single meal and for camping they give you a tent which was just perfect! This was our highlight in our 2 weeks in the Philippines and I wish I had booked a longer trip. A private trip gives you the freedom to decide where and when to go.
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Gérard Benoit
Gérard Benoit
2023-02-08
recommends
I was looking for a personalized excursion to the beautiful bay of Bacuit. Seeing the comments, I contacted Mel. Very responsive, very efficient and perfect organization. The crew were very friendly and very helpful. And I'm not even talking about the meal on board...a marvel. In all fairness, this excursion will remain an excellent memory and I can recommend Mel and his team highly enough. A big thank-you.
André Mardoñal
André Mardoñal
2019-10-22
recommends
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ The island world of Linapacan between Coron and El Nido with the clearest waters in the world is truly a dream for itself! Without a boat you won't be able to see it! But what this boat trips makes so amazing is the crew! Once you come on board they might be shy in the beginning but will make you feel welcome and home from the first moment. Not only that they are looking that you sit comfortable all the time, they will prepare fresh and delicious food what the buy from local markets. They know the best spots and most beautiful islands and will bring you to places where you get this "Robinson Cruisoe feeling". Every day you visit 3 to 5 spots for snorkeling, enjoying a beach or exploring a little island. The accommodation we had was good and simple. We slept in bungalows and tents right at the beach. Sheets and towels were always provided and sometimes towels. After a while you feel like a family on board. We loved living the boat life didn't wanna leave! If you doubt take a longer than shorter trip! For any questions please message me.
Sarah Uhan
Sarah Uhan
2019-01-31
recommends
All in all it was a really great experience. It's a once in a lifetime thing to do and you won't get more authentic and basic Philippino experiences anywhere else. We were not so lucky with the wind and waves so we couldn't do all the stops we wanted to unfortunately. So be aware that especially the months from January to May can be very rough on water. But we still saw some great places Benji took us. Benji and his family was very nice and they did everything they could. The food was amazing - always freshly made in authentic Philippino style and way too much for the 2 of us. Make sure to bring enough cash - many of the islands cost extra (entrance fee) and be aware that any kind of accommodation and food (200php per meal) is not included in the boat fee. Also the deposit and commission fee for the agency are a little over the top, especially since the crew does not get any of it. The costs all in all are rather high for phillipino circumstances especially given the basicness of it all. However if you think about that all 5 boat people (in our case) live off of the boat fee alone, you spent the money willingly. Be aware though that accommodation and sanataries are very basic if even existant. So you gotta have the right mindset. Bring tissue, sanatiszer and earplugs to get some better sleep. Another feedback I have concerning the size of the boat. I don't think it is sufficient for more than 4 people. If the weather is like it was these days, you always have to sit on top and it was already a little squeezy with us 2 and 5 boat people. So I guess 4 guests can be fine but more than that won't have the space. There is different boat sizes but make sure to talk about that with Karel in advance. Other than that it was really worth it and we got to see so many great beaches and reefs which we could have never been able to visit without the tour.
Eric Liu
Eric Liu
2018-03-15
recommends
It was scary to book a 5 day trip with no places to stay confirmed or a strong itinerary. And in the Philippines, communication is difficult. But that is part of changing mindsets to a rural island mindset. In the end, everything worked out. We had some tough moments with bugs. But we also had some amazingly beautiful secluded beaches, the best snorkeling in the world, relaxing on the beach, and freshly made food on the boat while docked at beautiful places (better than being on land). Note, we went with Benji. Recommendations: - you must get a local SIM when you arrive to make sure pickup and everything works out - some islands have bugs - use bug spray! Pros: - a fraction of the cost - away from the crowds - can customize what you want - just ask! - a truly local experience - saw a REAL rural town Cons: - locals aren't really polished tour guides - if you don't ask for it, you won't get it, need to be pretty proactive - pretty simple "activities" - no frills like bathrooms or kayaks etc.
Ángela Deand
Ángela Deand
2017-04-26
recommends
We can't be more grateful to have had the opportunity of experience the peace in Patoyo Kitesurfing Camping! Spending two weeks in Dimancal Island, gave us the chance to experiment the rural and traditional way of life, in touch with the nature and people. We have learnt how to cook with fire, how to open a coconut and how to survive in an environment where for a time we forget about unnecessary needs, just to focus on enjoy the small details and pleasures of life. Mentioning too the amazing snorkeling and beautiful islands around this place, which make it unique​ and special. It is a lovely option if you are running away from tourists and overcrowded places in the Philippines. You will find yourself in the middle of virgin beaches and nature, surrounding​ by charming people. We will definitely come back!
Caroline Danielle
Caroline Danielle
2017-02-13
recommends
We haven't done a Tao tour, but I would suspect that this is a cheaper version of the same thing. Our boat operator (Benji) and the entire crew were were fun, friendly and made an effort to ensure we had a good time. If you get a large group of people together it can be a really inexpensive alternative to other Coron-El Nino and vice versa island hopping tours. The food was good, but more expensive than as advertised by Karl. The price quote we got was 100 php a meal, but the boat charged us 200. Since the food was good we didn't mind the extra expense, but it is important to keep in mind if you're on a budget. Definitely plan for some incidental spending. Our boat did have some mechanical issues and as a result we ended up being stuck in the same place for longer than we wanted to be. That being said, little could have been done about it and the trip was fun nonetheless.
Hauk Are Fjeld
Hauk Are Fjeld
2017-01-01
recommends
If you believe that doing the touristic tours in El Nido and going to "The hidden beach" takes you off the beaten path, you are wrong. There are lots of beautiful places in Palawan, but few of these places are without any other tourists. If you want to spend some extra effort on getting away from the tourist places, and don't mind a little "primitive" living, Island Hopping in the Philippines is definitely something you should check out
Arnold Cabiguen
Arnold Cabiguen
2015-05-08
recommends
The snorkeling in this area is phenomenal. Clearest waters in the world. I guess it's because there is relatively such lower tourist traffic through here, and the locals really protect the reefs!
Karel Kosman
Karel Kosman
2015-05-08
recommends
Love it so much, just had to say it twice!
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A wife and a mother of one with a small family business operation. We love to travel so we know what you need. In our family, I’m the one who loves organizing romantic wedding proposals and El Nido and Coron private day tours.

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Balabac Island
Average rating:  
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 by Karel
wow

If you are into white sand beaches, you'll get your fill here!

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