Mon

06

Feb

2017

Summer Homes Palawan - Laid Back, Affordable...Just Right.

Summer Homes Palawan Resort - Port Barton - Philippines  © Nathan Allen via @idreamedofthis
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After a long, adventurous ride from the enchanting jungles of Sabang, I ended up in the small, scenic beach town of Port Barton. Here you can find just about everything available in farther flung locations like El Nido, but with less travel time, and certainly less crowds. The paved road to Port Barton is being built now, but for now there is a dirt road you can take (by motorbike or public transportation).

Port Barton Beach and tourists - Philippines  © Nathan Allen via @idreamedofthis
Port Barton Beach at the end of the road

 

Once I was in town, eventually the road came to a dead end at the sea. I must have looked a bit disoriented, because a local boatman named Jensen approached me and asked if I needed directions. Great timing and I was very thankful, because I was trying to get to Summer Homes Palawan, where I could park my bike and settle in for the night. I was so tired.

 

Chicken Soup & Reggae Music to the Rescue

Tiki Hut Beach Bar  © Nathan Allen via @idreamedofthis
Humble tiki hut

I wasn’t able to see much of the resort’s character in the night, but the staff was quite helpful showing me to my room and getting me situated. The first order of business was getting some food, and for some reason I wandered right down to the small tiki bar by the beach. I guess it was the reggae music playing that got my attention, and the music just got better and better. The girl behind the counter at the bar told me I could order my food there. Perfect! I ordered my favorite Filipino chicken soup, called tinola. It was excellent.

I stuck around after dinner to keep enjoying the music and good vibes. That's when I started to realize just how laid back Summer Homes really is. Not many people know how important music is in my life, and as the playlist continued, I really started to wonder who created it. They seemed like my long lost twin! It was as if they put my own iPod on random at the bar. It’s rare to find a place in the Philippines where I instantly feel so at home, music-wise.

 

After some investigating as the night went on, I learned that the playlist was created by the British owner, who was close to my age and owns the place along with his wife, who is Filipino. Too bad they weren’t around while I was there, because I got the feeling we would have gotten along great.

 

The next morning I woke up to some great weather, and I realized just how colorful the place is!

View of Port Barton Beach from Summer Homes Palawan © Nathan Allen via @idreamedofthis
View of the beach from the resort restaurant

 

Summer Homes is a good value, not really dirt-cheap like a backpacking hostel, but not wildly pricey like most seaside resorts, either.

 

Room & Mosquito Net Covering the Bed © Nathan Allen via @idreamedofthis
Room was bright, clean, and mosquito net-protected.

My room was simple, and very clean + well lit.

 

Essentials like soap, shampoo, and toilet paper are provided, and importantly, so is a mosquito net. To be honest, I never even saw a mosquito in the 5 days I was there, but it was nice to know I had a net if I needed it.

 

Many of the more affordable options in the Philippines don’t provide screens on the windows, and that is the biggest problem when it comes to mosquitoes. Summer Homes had it all, and with a friendly staff and great location right on the beach.

 

Someday I hope to create a checklist / guide for people considering starting businesses like this. If you want to offer relatively affordable options for backpackers and long term travelers, you could use Summer Homes as a stellar example!

 
I loved seeing how diverse the guests were in terms of age and nationality. Most seemed to be European, but there were definitely Australians, North Americans and locals as well. Nice mix, and a great energy.
 

Restaurant With Fresh Ingredients

I must say, I was quite impressed by the food they serve! The restaurant is perfect for those with western tastes. You can enjoy versions of Filipino food that aren’t quite as sweet, salty, or heavy, which many westerners prefer. You can find many familiar western options as well. They even bake their own bread, and that certainly made my eggs and toast breakfast memorable! Instant coffee is provided free of charge, too.

 

(Click for more info)

 

Summer Homes also gives the option of eating dinner directly on the beach if you'd like, and even has the occasional bonfire! Here I'm enjoying a meal of chicken, rice, and fresh vegetables by candlelight.

 

Candlelight Beach Dinner By the Bonfire © Nathan Allen via @idreamedofthis
Beach Dinner By the Bonfire

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Beach on Exotic Island - Port Barton, Palawan  © Nathan Allen via @idreamedofthis
Beach on Exotic Island

The resort offers plenty of tour options for adventure seekers, you can inquire at the front desk. The first tour I took was island hopping, which included snorkeling with sea turtles and then lunch on beautiful “Exotic Island” afterward. Before we headed home we stopped to check out more snorkeling, and some of the most spectacular corals I have seen anywhere in the Philippines.

 

A Note About Snorkeling / Swimming:

 

Make sure you bring “reef safe” sunblock if you go in the water. I think “oxybenzone” is the ingredient you want to avoid. Many of the brands that are safe for kids are actually better for the coral reefs as well. Anyhow, afterward, we stopped by a sandbar and spotted some starfish to wrap up an absolutely perfect day.

 

Another tour I took was a quiet paddle boat through the mangrove forest. If you’re observant, you can find many species of colorful birds, including beautiful kingfishers. Also present are highly poisonous mangrove snakes, which pose no threat because they sleep coiled up high in the branches during the day. Your boatman will point them out to you if he sees any. This was a beautiful and fascinating tour for me.

 

Mangrove Forest Tour in Port Barton, Palawan  © Nathan Allen via @idreamedofthis
Mangrove Forest Tour by boat

 

The last one is a short trek to Pamuayan Falls, which can be arranged through the resort, or accomplished on foot 3 or 4 kms from town if you’re feeling a bit adventurous. Just make sure you get proper directions, because there are a few unmarked turns along the way. I loved seeing the “trashcans” along the trail, which were actually just burlap sacks tied to the trees. It is a very rustic and untouched place, so it’s nice that the locals are taking these steps to keep it clean. You can take a shallow swim or bring some food to have a picnic in the large hut by the falls.

 

Pamuayan Falls in Port Barton, Palawan  © Nathan Allen via @idreamedofthis
Pamuayan Falls

(Continued below)

 

Nathan Allen Bio via @idreamedofthis

 

As of now there is a “Full Moon Party” that takes place each month at the end of the beach. The night I went, there was a large diverse crowd with a live DJ and some fire dancers. There were even some people playing the Australian Aboriginal instrument known as a “didgeridoo”. Everybody was having a great time.

 

Contact Info, Reviews & Rates

 

Anyhow, I highly recommend staying at Summer Homes, especially if you want a pretty affordable place without sacrificing too much quality. I honestly doubt you’ll get more value anywhere else. They even shared some of their music playlist with me before I left, and that inspired me to share some of my own with them! So when you’re there, you might even hear some songs handpicked by me:)

I would like to thank them for the opportunity to share this experience with you, and for taking such good care of me while I was there. You’re welcome to read more reviews and see why people love it so much!

More contact and booking info HERE

 

- Nathan Allen

www.idreamedofthis.com

 

Thanks for reading, and feel free to share!

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Nathan Allen has spent 3 years taking photos and documenting the Philippines.  A long-term traveler, he lives by the motto "spend less, see more".  Follow him HERE.

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