What keeps me busy lately is my fitness goal. I just woke up one morning and I realized I wanted to lose my excess fats. So ayun, I've been doing suspension and body weight training, running, yoga, and swimming. I started to eat clean too, with cheat days on weekends of course. No drugs, no slimming pills, and magic coffee shit. All natural way to a long term reward. It trained my mind to stay focused and disciplined. Oha, pang miss universe answer! Seriously, it's so nice to live strong and healthy.
So anyway, for my birthday I invited my friends for a south Palawan adventure. I ticked another item off my bucket list. And FYI, that epic trip was ended but my heart is still pounding each time I browse our travel photos.
my summer story in Onuk, Balabac, Palawan
First Things First...
I'm writing this entry NOT to encourage you to go. I wrote this entry for the sake of documenting this experience in my online diary since. For the record, I think I might not get lucky to experience Onuk again.
○ Why not?
Onuk is a privately-owned island in Balabac group of islands. As of this writing, the current mayor owns the island. You don't have to pay anything but you need to secure a permit from them before you can go.
○ So why not?
Not everyone gets an approval. It depends on the current situation, mood, and other factors which only them know.
○ OK, so I will ask permission in advance?
In reality, that's not how it works. In our case, and most of the time, you will know the final decision a day before your Onuk trip. Ganito, may barkada ka. Meron silang resort at gusto nyo mag overnight dun. Matutuloy lang kayo pag walang biglaang event or inuman ang tatay ng barkada mo. Gets?
○ So why did we still go?
Because there are still a lot of jaw-dropping beaches in Balabac group of islands which are open to the public. Our hearts desire for one thing, that is Onuk, but we managed our expectations in case things won't go our way.
...and yes, it was all worth it! I've never seen anything like this before.
atoll - a ring-shaped coral reef
ecstatic to see this body of water, in 360 degrees!
this even looks better in person
one extra fine summer day in Onuk
meet and greet with mr. sea turtle
kaya pala naka collar ang mga kasama ko! haha
It's like Palawan, but South!
I learned about Onuk thru Carla. According to her, scrap all the other beaches in Balabac because the only beach you need to see is Onuk. Well that's according to her and I'm not a fan of hearsay. I always want a first hand experience before comparing, so obviously I didn't take Carla seriously. Haha Sorry na teh.
So when we reached Onuk, I just have to agree that Carla was right. Before, I used to have my list of best beaches in Pinas. I would carefully deliberate to pick the best before I decide. But after I see this Onuk, I was in complete shock. There's no contest. This is indeed the best beach in Pinas.
jaw dropping backdrop from Onuk
abundant supply of seafood
that's Penggay smiling excitedly when we reached Onuk
gorgeous wooden walkway added more charm to this place
Based from the pictures on the blogs, we expected Onuk to be gorgeous. To our surprise, Onuk is even more stunning upclose. The place is so serene and charming and has a different vibe. We are just so lucky for the sunny weather, the opportunity to go here, and the privilege to be the only guest that time. Happy birthday to me!
feel na feel ko lang ang haciendera hat at round towel
Balabac buddies Rod and Ray
"May all beings everywhere be happy and free, and may the thoughts, words, and actions of my own life contribute in some way to that happiness and to that freedom for all." ♥
Must Know, Tips, Realizations, and More
If your heart is pounding and you cannot control your wanderlust anymore, then just remember these things prior to your Balabac trip:
○ Two words: Manage expectations. This is very vital for this trip.
○ Educate yourself. Balabac is in the southernmost tip of Palawan. Don't ask stupid questions like an itinerary which includes a day trip to El Nido or Coron after your Balabac escapade.
location of Coron, El Nido, Puerto Princesa, and Balabac, fyi
○ From Puerto Princesa, take a van going to Rio Tuba. Last trip is 9PM. Trip takes 4 hours and fare is P350. From Rio Tuba, take the passenger boat to Balabac. The only trip is set at 9AM. Be at the port as early as you can. If you miss this one, you need to wait for the next day. Going back, the only passenger boat that leaves from Balabac to Rio Tuba is set at 6AM. Fare is P350. Travel time is 4 hours.
○ Balabac town is not ready yet for flock of tourists so please don't ask for hotels in the area. Only pension houses are available, with limited supply of electricity. We stayed at MLK lodge - 0939.517.6169. Rate is 400 per night, for 2 pax. I assume it won't be a problem sleeping in the bare sands of the island as well. You want adventure, don't ask for comfort.
○ Electricity only runs from 4PM to 6AM. Enough time to charge your gadgets and arrange your things for the next day. Bring cash. Self explanatory.
○ The most important thing you need to secure is your permit to Onuk. You need to coordinate with the LGU of Balabac.The key person changes from time to time so naming the person which helped us got a permit is not worth mentioning anymore.
○ Our trusted boatmen is kuya Fidel. Boat rental rate is 4,000 per day, boat capacity is 6 pax. This rate includes basic food, but you can give extra money for him to prepare the food of your choice. Just so you know, P100 lang ang kilo ng crab sa Balabac. P5 ang isang piling ng saging. OMG!
Balabac boatman, sir Fidel - 0999.561.4998
○ Balabac town to Onuk island takes around 2.5hours of travel time. Expect heavy waves or if you get lucky, you will experience a calm sea.
the breathtaking ocean view to Onuk
○ Our group asked for the prohibited things in Onuk and the LGU officer just answered - pork. Caretakers and owners are Muslims. In everything else that you know is prohibited, please leave a comment.
○ Some guests get luckier to be allowed to stay overnight. Again, don't look for an accommodation and prepare to sleep in any available dry area you see.
○ As for our group, we were already extremely grateful for the privilege of having a day trip to Onuk. We stayed from 9AM to 6.30PM. The caretakers are all nice and friendly. We were the only guests at that time.
my summer story in Onuk, Balabac, Palawan
the sea turtle roams around the island
a long stretch of white pristine sandbar
○ Aside from Onuk, there are also other islands which we visited on a different day. Punta Sebaring and Candaraman are also breath taking!
endless and clear water of Punta Sebaring
back in Balabac
irresistible waters of Candaraman island
one giant swimming pool of Candaraman
my swimming pool of the day
○ Among the many island hopping trips I had in the past, this is the only time I swam in all the stopovers. The water is just so irresistible. It's like an endless swimming pool! As expected, the underwater world is so awesome too! Sayang lang, my underwater camera got drained.
another endless and clear water of Punta Sebaring
chill in Punta Sebaring
○ If you are able to swim, you will really enjoy this Balabac adventure even more. The underwater world showcases a rich coral garden and giant clams sanctuary. You can swim with the sea turtle and huge fish too. Bring your own snorkel and mask if you must. If you don't know how to swim, bring your own life vest.
○ In our case, we choose to be picked up by kuya Fidel from Rio Tuba and went straight to Punta Sebaring. We enjoyed 3 whole days of island hopping. Sulit!
Onuk, Balabac Itinerary
Day 1 - Fly to Puerto Princesa and take 9PM van to Rio Tuba
Day 2 - Arrive in Rio Tuba around 2AM. Meet kuya Fidel. Sail at 5AM to Punta Sebaring. Travel time is 3-4 hours. Overnight in Sebaring island. No accommdation. Just basic open cottage. Restroom is available.
Day 3 - Island hopping. Candaraman, Punta Sebaring, Mansalangan Sandbar. Overnight in Balabac town.
Day 4 - Onuk
Day 5 - Take passenger boat by 5AM. Depart Balabac. Arrive in Puerto Princesa at late afternoon.
Day 6 - Fly to Manila
It was a very memorable summer getaway in the southernmost tip of Palawan. If you think you've seen the best of Palawan, then think again. Balabac now tops my list of best beaches in the Philippines.
Hope your summer story is as awesome as mine.
Stay healthy, happy, and free! ♥