Long overdue post (my hair is still long and curly here XD) but this place is worth the effort. Palaui Island is located in the northern most part of the Philippines (literally).
To give you an idea just how north Palaui is, take a look at the map below:
To reach Palaui, you have to:
1. Take a 9 hour bus ride or a 1 hour plane ride to Tuguegarao.
2. Take a 3 hour van to Sta Ana Cagayan
3. Ride a tricycle to San Vicente Port
4. Ride a 20 minute boat (included in the package) to Palaui Island
Sample ItineraryDay 1: We arrived at Palaui Island after lunch so we just settled in and decided to take the tour the next day. We were asleep by 8PM which was way too early for someone who normally sleeps at 3AM.
Day 2: We originally planned to just tour 2 destinations per day for 2 days but we finished all 4 destinations in a day. And no we weren't in a rush or anything.
Day 3: We decided to go back to Tuguegarao a day before our flight back to Manila. We visited Callao Cave and tried their famous Pancit Batil Patong.
Day 4: Our Flight Back to Manila
Sample computation of how much we spent for this trip
Here's a list of tour packages and fees for Palaui
The first thing I noticed was that the tours are pretty costly. The rate per destination is around PHP500-1500. We opted to get the Special Trip Package which costs PHP3500. It already includes 4 destinations, Punta Verde, Cape Engaño, Anguib Beach and Crocodile Island.
But the Special Trip rate is only for day tour. Since we'll be staying at Punta Verde (this is where the homestays are located) for 3 nights, we had to add PHP300 per night (overnight fee). So that's already PHP3500 + PHP900 = PHP4400. Aside from this, you'll also have to pay entrance fees and tour guides at the falls, Cape Engano and at Anguib Beach. You'll also have to pay PHP20 Eco Fee and PHP50 Environmental Fee per person. It feels like every move you make here has an equivalent additional payment. But then again this is probably their only livelihood aside from fishing.
Here's a map of the tourist spots in Palaui
We met Tita Jo when we were arranging our Package Tour at San Vicente Port. She also stayed at the same homestay so we had a lot of girl talk. She gave us a lot of travel tips and she was the one who suggested for us to go back to Tuguegarao earlier to visit Callao Cave and try Pancit Batil Patong. She even gave us advice on where we can stay and where to eat Pancit.
We stayed at a homestay located at Punta Verde.
We rented the whole room with a private bathroom which costs PHP1200 per night. A bed in a shared room costs PHP250 per night.
This is Ate Elsa. In almost every blog I've read, and people I know who have been to Palaui knows Ate Elsa. You can contact her to arrange your homestay, transport, and food. She doesn't reply much and doesn't smile much hehe. She was even featured at Kapuso Mo Jessica Soho. That's why I'm giving you Kuya Fernando's number instead ;p Apparently there are other home stays aside from Ate Elsa's. Kuya Fernando reserved our seats at the van from Airport to San Vicente Port. Normally you'll have to take a tricycle from the Airport to the van terminal and from the van terminal to San Vicente Port but the van already picked us up at the airport and dropped us off at San Vicente port. He can also arrange your stay, tour and food for you.
Kuya Fernando: +63 935 996 6744
Sunrise at Punta Verde
Punta Verde is the first island you'll go to because this is where you'll stay (homestays). The beach is rocky so not ideal for swimming. They say there's a good snorkeling spot here but there's an additional fee.
On the way to the falls
mini falls. there's not much water so you can't swim here
mini bag made out of shells PHP50
Our Tour Guide on the way to the falls
Our Tour Guide on the way to Cape Engaño
view on the way to the light house
Los Hermanos Island at the back
Cape Engano Light House
lots of photo ops at the light house
This is probably my favorite place in Palaui
the view was really nice from here and it's a good place to relax until a bunch of noisy tourist arrived.
We were the only souls in the island for a while. We had the beach to ourselves.
Cottage at Anguib Beach
Crocodile Island. An island shaped like a crocodile (period)
nothing to do but take pictures. The shore is rocky so you can't swim here as well.
there's no electricity in the island so there's nothing much to do but eat. But then there's only a limited choice of food so we were craving for something cold and tada!
on the way to the falls there's this little store which sells halo halo and pancit canton ^_^
Instead of leche flan they put yema in their halo halo and it's delicious!
Beware! They have huge lizards here!
Sample meal (breakfast) for 3 persons PHP150 per person
Food tastes okay if not bland. One time I asked if they have patis (fish sauce) and they said they don't have any so they just gave me suka (vinegar) XD
there's no electricity in the island so they just charge a car battery using solar panels to power light bulbs at night. There's barely any phone/data signal here. Globe has better coverage. I use Smart and had to go to the shore to get coverage.
Students on the way to school. I can only imagine what these kids go through just to be able to study.
Room Rates at Balai Bed and Breakfast where we stayed for a night at Tuguegarao
Welcome to Callao Cave!
We just haggled with a tricycle driver to take us. PHP600 roundtrip for 3 persons
Chapel inside Callao Cave
And of course the famous Pancit Batil Patong. MUST TRY!!!
So I feel like my thoughts are all over the place when I blogged this. I had to remember the details because it's been a while but I tried as much as possible to write the things I remember.
If I knew any better what would I have changed? Well a lot.
1. Stay at Sta. Ana Cagayan where there's electricity.
2. Just take the special trip for a day tour at Palaui.
3. Maybe visit a beach at Sta Ana Cagayan Area.
4. Visit Callao Cave at Tuguegarao.
5. Try Pancit Bati Patong at Tuguegarao.
Luckily, we were able to do no. 4 and 5 thanks to Tita Jo. It was a good decision to visit Palaui on a weekday because there were barely any tourists. I'll probably update this once I remember more ;p