If you’ve been meaning to get away from the frenzied Manila but want to skip Boracay mainly because of the influx of Chinese tourist and workers, or to make a pass on El Nido because of the huge crowd, then head to the north-western side of the main island of Palawan for a more laid-back and stress-free vacation.
There’s a buzz that San Vicente, Palawan is being eyed to be the next Boracay because of its famous 14km Long Beach. Long Beach, San Vicente Palawan is regarded as the longest white beach in the Philippines, hence the name. To be honest, the sand is not really as white as Boracay’s, more like beige, but it sure is fine like the former.
That being said, now is the best time to visit the sleepy town of San Vicente when it’s not yet too commercialized. And if I were to decide, I just hope the place will just stay the same – untouched. However, I also recognize that tourism will be a great livelihood for the people of San Vicente, I just hope that tourists would be more responsible in keeping the rustic feel of this island.
Fly from Clark to San Vicente, Palawan via Philippine Airlines or Manila to San Vicente via Sky Jet Air. Club Agutaya’s service will pick you up at the airport, free of charge.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
Accommodation: You can book a room in Club Agutaya via Booking.com since it’s sometimes easier to book here especially if you are a frequent Booking.com user.
There are different types of rooms to choose from depending on your budget. Lowest price of room, which is the Standard Twin Room, is Php4,000+ while their most expensive one are their Villa Rooms with sea view, with a hefty price of Php14,000+. Their rooms are expensive I know, but you are actually paying for their services and the view. The seclusion you will feel when you are in Club Agutaya is already enough to compensate for the pricey rooms. In fact, most of the time you will feel that the you have the island all by yourself.
They do have guests but I’m not sure where they really are. We just saw some guests when we released sea turtles in the afternoon. Yes, SEA TURTLES!
Meal: I’d say aside from the view, the food in Club Agutaya compensates for their room rates. Breakfast is free plus they have a generous amount of food serving despite its very affordable price. We stayed for 4D and 3N and total damage for food was only Php2,000+. Not bad, right? I especially love their complimentary soft bread and garlic oil.
Tour: If I were to choose, I’d just stay in the hammock by the beach side all day, but if you want to go to nearby sites, like Bato ni Ningning (cliff overlooking the long beach), or ride a habal-habal (motor) along the long beach during sunset, then you can hire a habal-habal to take you to these sites for less than P1,000 only.
If you want to visit Port Barton, another paradise in San Vicente, Palawan, which is very famous among foreigners, you can inquire at Club Agutaya’s reception area for possible touring. May I suggest Inalandelan Island?
IMPORTANT THINGS YOU NEED
Insect Repellent Lotion. I underestimated the Sand Flea of San Vicente. I thought they were surprisingly ignoring me that time, but lo and behold! When we arrived in Manila, few days after our trip, Sand Flea bites started appearing in my legs and arms. You can tell the difference of mosquito bites from San Flea bites. They are very small bumps with little black dot in the center.
As much as possible, stay away from the sand when it just rained or when it’s already dark. These Sand Flea love the cold weather or environment.
Sun block. Protect your skin. Need I say more?
Shades. Protect your eyes.
Camera/Smart phones with high resolution cameras. The place, especially their glorious sunset, is amazing. Eventhough it rained the whole day, you can still expect a breathtaking sunset at the end of the day.
Enough Cash. No ATM machines in San Vicente although Club Agutaya accept credit card payments. If you want to experience food outside, hire a habal-habal to take you to the eateries near the port.
Good book. Club Agutaya has lots of hammocks by the beach which are perfect reading nooks.
Good for 2 persons (4D and 3N via Clark Airport)
Airfare: Php11, 182
P2p Bus (Trinoma-Clark Airport-Trinoma): Php1,120
Room: Php13, 259 (Standard Twin Room)
You need to have: Php30,000 for two persons is a very safe budget especially if you won’t go to Port Barton. This rate is exclusive of the island tour so this price can go up if you plan to visit nearby islands.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
Sea Turtles. We were very fortunate to be able to see newly-hatched Sea Turtles and participate in releasing them in the ocean during the sunset. Club Agutaya runs a small turtle sanctuary operation and they always release baby turtles if it’s nesting season.
Sand Flea. As I mentioned, there are lots of Sand Flea in San Vicente, Palawan. Maybe you won’t immediately notice them, even their bites, but they are just there, believe me. To err on the side of caution, always make sure to put on Off Lotion or any insect repellent, especially in the late afternoon.
Small Caves. When you walk few kilometers on the right side of the long beach, you will find few small caves where you can actually take a rest after a very long walk. Just be wary again of the Sand Flea, don’t stay too long, especially if it’s nearing high tide already.
WHAT I LOVE:
Seclusion. If you don’t want to be bothered, this is the place to be! No clubs, no rowdy crowd, just you, the crickets and awesome night sky for star gazing.
Hammocks. I love hammocks. I even want one in the house, all the more when in the beach.
Laidback Life. San Vicente is a very laidback province. You can rarely hail a tricycle anywhere to get you to places so your best bet is the habal-habal. It’s so quiet in the early evening so no choice but to sleep early.
Sunset. Club Agutaya faces the west so you can be sure of an amazing sunset in the afternoon. San Vicente can give Boracay a run for its money because of its breathtaking sunset. It drizzled in the afternoon when we were there but despite of the not so perfect weather, we were still able to witness a majestic sunset.
Food. Owner of Club Agutaya is Chef Maria so you can be sure that all the food tastes great and sold at a reasonable price. And did I mention their complimentary bread is so good?
Releasing of Sea Turtles. This does not happen regularly but last time we were there (May 2019), we were able to release 16 sea turtles. Staff told us that next releasing would be on October already. It’s actually seasonal so if you really want to witness cute sea turtles going out to the sea for the very first time, you may inquire first at the resort for the best months to visit.
Staff. Their staff is very friendly. Never have I encountered one staff that forgets to greet their visitors “Good morning”, “Good afternoon” or “Good evening”. One of the assets of Club Agutaya I must say.