The Ride of a Lifetime: Chapter 7
After exploring Duli and Diapila Beaches on my motorcycle, I continued north east up and around the top of Palawan island. I was heading somewhere I’d never
been, to Sibaltan and the more remote eastern side of the island.
My destination was Tapik Beach Park and Resort, which had extended a generous offer to host me. Travelers are starting to explore this side of the island, in hopes of escaping the more crowded spots like El Nido.
When I arrived, I could see the appeal–this is the backpacking beach-mecca many dream of! A rustic native-styled property right on the water, with tent sites, huts and bungalows climbing up the side of a hill overlooking the sea.
The owner is named Voltaire, and yes, if you think you have an idea where the name came from, you are right. His brother’s name is Rudyard:) Hats off to this well-read father of theirs.
Voltaire is a great guy, and he quickly showed me to my room up on the hill. There was much to love about it…first, the elevated location ensures a nice breeze, which is much welcomed in beach cottages without aircon (there is a fan, though…and that’s what I actually prefer). The natural aircon up here is amazing!
Second, it feels somewhat private, with other bungalows being up or down the path in other directions.
Third, a mosquito net is provided, and even though I didn’t see any up on the hill, travelers love to have peace of mind. Especially in countries with a (very tiny) risk of malaria or dengue.
Finally, fourth, there is a great view of sunrise directly out the window, and right over the water. Can’t beat that!
There was even a proper bathroom and shower in my room...with nice tiling and everything.
Send load to friends and family in the Philippines!
In photos: 1. Bamboo / driftwood native styling 2. Tapik Beach Park logo & graffiti wall 3. Mai Tai cocktail
4. Ocean view from my cottage up on the hill 5. Adobo (Filipino Dish) for dinner
Check Tapik Beach Park rates HERE
You can meet backpackers and travelers from all over the world at Tapik, and the kind of people who end up there really seem to be genuine, quality people. Dinner and drinks at
the bar is usually a lively affair, and there is a local version of a billiard table, along with darts and DJ / Music station on the side. The staff is highly entertaining and personable. They
make you feel comfortable right away.
The beach at Tapik is pretty nice, and I definitely recommend waking up for sunrise. If you really want to be “wowed”, consider taking an incredible island hopping / snorkeling tour! When I say “incredible”, it’s kind of an understatement. This place is unreal–without a doubt, the best corals and undersea life I have experienced in the Philippines (and I have been all over the islands for many years documenting the reefs).
I joined 2 very friendly German and Spanish groups for this tour. We had lunch on the beach in Pical, part of Iloc island. As crazy as my life is, I should not have been surprised to see actual TURKEYS in the village–and on Thanksgiving, no less! What are the chances? I've never seen a turkey in 4 years exploring the Philippines.
Anyway, this is an absolutely stunning beach, and if you walk north a little ways, you can find a picturesque grove of coconut trees (see below), and also some friendly local kids (it helps if you try to learn and speak some Filipino with them).
In photos: 1. German tourists walking on Pical beach, Iloc Island 2. Having lunch under the shade of a beach hut 3. Glass bottle found
on the beach
4. Fishing / tourist boat out at sea with island landscapes 5. Perfect paradise of beach of Pical, with white sand & coconut trees
Unforgettable! Make sure the boat drops you off in deep water so you don't risk puncturing your feet (or damaging the coral). Contact with human skin can cause coral infections, so it's best to wear a life vest so you never have to touch your feet on the bottom. This is a unique and delicate ecosystem that needs to be preserved.
In photos: 1. Tourist snorkeling above coral formations 2. Hard & Soft coral landscapes underwater
Speaking of which, studies show that much of our sunblock maybe be killing the coral reefs. Just make sure you wear “reef safe” sunblock in the water (I think the harmful ingredients are “oxybenzone”…often the “kid-safe” sunblock is actually better for the reefs as well. Put it on before you go out in hot weather, otherwise you might sweat it all off…or lose it in the water. It’s best to apply it in front of the fan and let it absorb for at least 10 minutes. Anyway, you'll burn if you don't!
By the way, I took the photos above with my Olympus TG-4 underwater camera, which I highly recommend.
Voltaire also offers unique local experiences like waterfall trekking and fishing. On the latter trip, our boatman’s name was Benji, and being from Mactan, Cebu, he was happy I could speak a tiny bit of his local language, Cebuano.
We didn’t catch any fish (I swear I am not good luck when fishing), but we had a great time out on the water just the same. We ended up exploring some rugged, remote coastline where we saw a giant sea turtle, and even stopped in Benji’s more recent hometown of San Miguel. Being invited into his home to meet his grandmother and have coffee + “pan de sal” bread was a unique experience I’ll never forget.
I'll save that trip (along with stunning Linapacan Island) for another post...
Anyhow, Tapik is highly recommended. It may not be the cheapest no-frills backpacking place you can find in Palawan (though it probably is on this side of the island), but it is super affordable,
especially considering the experience you get. I really love the staff, and the fact that it’s 100% Filipino owned and operated - something that is unfortunately not too common in
Palawan. Enjoy this unique experience!
Check Tapik Beach Park rates HERE
How to get to and around the Philippines? My flight scanner of choice can be found HERE.
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Like my page to follow along with me:) - Nathan
Related blog: Goodbye, Gopro...I Finally Review the TG-4 Underwater Camera
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