Sat

18

Feb

2017

Palawan By Motorcycle - Pt.4: Insane Trip to Long Beach, San Vicente

Motorcycle Trip to Long Beach - San Vicente, Palawan - Philippines  © Nathan Allen via @idreamedofthis
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The Ride of a Lifetime: Chapter 4

 

My next stop was San Vicente’s “Long Beach” to the north–the longest stretch of white-sand beach in the Philippines. 14kms, I believe. However, getting there would be a real challenge. This time there WAS a dirt road connecting Port Barton and San Vicente, but it is quite long, and very rough.

 

Much of it was muddy after the recent rains, so that made things even more challenging, especially on a street bike with slick tires. I just took my time and rode cautiously.

 

Bigaho Falls

About 30 minutes outside of Port Barton, I came into a small village and noticed a sign for “Bigaho Falls”. I like to "leave no stone unturned”, so of course I stopped to check it out. Very rewarding! There is a short hike through a beautiful and rustic community.

 

(Click photos for more info)

 

The waterfall is quite beautiful in my opinion, and the pool at the base is nice and refreshing. It's a cool, shady area with a few large boulders you can climb around on. Nice place for photos. The rocks are a bit slippery, so be careful. You can take a refreshing swim here, but prepare yourself for the cold!

 

Nipa hut house in Bigaho Village  © Nathan Allen via @idreamedofthis
A "bahay kubo", or traditional Filipino house - Taken with my Sony RX100III

 

I was fortunate to have such nice weather here. This really was one of the most friendly and picturesque areas I have visited in the Philippines. I believe you can also take a boat tour here from Port Barton–it's only about a 20 minute ride (and a 15 minute hike). Anyhow, it was a rewarding stop, but I had much more ground to cover. I hopped back on the bike, and soon all signs of life had faded from view.





Letting My Instincts Guide Me...

I had assumed there was only one road, so it should be easy to navigate all the way to San Vicente. However, it was very remote out there, and the dirt road split off quite a few times. There are no people and no signs, so I really had to use my intuition.

 

I ended up studying the tire tracks in the dirt, to see which direction the majority of traffic was heading. I assumed that must be the way to San Vicente. In the end….whew. I was right.

 

Motorcycle overlooking the sea  © Nathan Allen via @idreamedofthis
A view of the sea was a welcomed sight at last

Untouched, Remote Beaches

Being deep in the jungle for some time, I was relieved to catch a glimpse of the sea finally. As long as the coast was on the left, I knew I was going the right way. Haha. I was treated to some incredible views out here. Being so isolated on rough, dirt roads, I doubt many people have even seen some of these beaches.  What a feeling it was to be there…just my bike and I–not a soul around.

 

(Click photos for more info)

 

Thankfully the nice weather continued, so I wasn’t hit with any rain to further muddy up there roads. A couple times snakes, lizards, and even turtles scurried across my path…that was a first for me in the Philippines. I loved seeing all the wildlife. For many more hours in the hot, tropical sun, I carefully negotiated the rocky (and sometimes muddy) dirt road.

 

Crossing Rivers & Bridges

 

There were a few sections of road that were completely flooded. I really wasn't sure how to get across–I had to get off the bike and really study the situation. I didn't know how deep and soft the mud was. My bike wasn't exactly designed for situations like this. Haha.

 

(Click photos for more info)

 

I ended up slowly skirting the muddy edge of the pool, and somehow avoid dropping the bike and all my gear. I guess all my trail riding in California paid off. I found a picturesque wooden bridge and figured it's a good place for a motorcycle photo shoot...

 

Signs of Civilization–Finally!

After what seemed like forever, I was dumped into a decent-sized town, and that was a welcomed sight. I was mentally and physically exhausted after such a long, technical ride. My shoulders ached. You can imagine how much sun I had been getting riding the past few days, too.

 

 

It wasn’t clear which direction Long Beach was, so I stopped and asked directions. Turned out I was just a few kms away. When I finally joined the road alongside the famous beach, I could hardly contain my excitement. It really is almost completely undeveloped.

 

(Click photos for more info)

 

I followed one of the only signs I could find, one pointing to “Turublien Resort”. The groves of coconut trees and perfect beach to my right was just too much ignore. I had to get of the bike and take some photos.

It Takes a (Fishing) Village...

Further up the trail I spotted two local fishermen pulling a net onto the shore. Soon many villagers joined in to help. I had witnessed this previously in Antique province, it was called “sahid fishing”. The locals (including children sometimes) work together to pull a heavy catch in from the sea. Sometimes it takes up to 2 hours, but then they all split the catch afterward.

 

Local community pulling in a net from the sea © Nathan Allen via @idreamedofthis
Locals helping to pull in the catch

(Continued below...but I'd be honored if you follow along with me on FB)

 

Nathan Allen Bio via @idreamedofthis
Fishing boat loaded with baskets on the beach © Nathan Allen via @idreamedofthis

This fishing boat was captured with my Canon Powershot G3x <-Amazon (In the PHL or SG you can find it HERE)

 

Just before I reached the resort, I came across hundreds of fish drying on trays in the sun. When I noticed a few dogs playing by the water, I really had to do a double take. They weren’t dogs at all–they were pigs! These happy pigs roam one of the most beautiful beaches in the world, rolling around in the sand and cooling off in the sea.

(Click photos for more info)

 

Another interesting things about this beach is that the locals ride their motorbikes right alongside the water. I suppose it really is the fastest way to get from point A to point B on a vast stretch of beach like this.

 

Turublien Long Beach Inn & Bar

 

When I finally arrived at the resort, you can imagine how exhausted I was. I was hot, dusty, sunburned, and covered in sweat. Alex, the owner of the simple place, was very helpful. He quickly brought me some cold water and cooked an excellent meal.

 

Turublien is one of very few lodging options on Long Beach. This is by far the more rustic and affordable option. The other is a very fancy resort called “Club Agutaya”. I hear it’s owned by the Governor of Palawan.

 

(Click photos of Turublien for more info)

 

Sharing the place with me was a French/American couple, and 2 women from Denmark. Being the only people for quite a distance in any direction, the 5 of us quickly bonded, discussing my Danish heritage, travel blogging, and newly elected President Trump, among other things.

 

Also pictured are some friendly locals who were in Palawan for work. They stopped by for dinner and we had a great time hanging out.

 

Moonglow

What a view we had. As the sun began to set, the sky lit up with fiery sunset hues. We noticed giant bats, known as “flying foxes”, making their nightly pilgrimages in search of fruit. Alex mentioned that we could go for a night swim and see the glowing plankton in the water.

 

How surreal it was to be out there in the warm, tropical sea…with each movement creating a glowing, phosphorescent trail through the water. I looked up in the fading light and saw a full, yellow moon rising from the coconut trees. I’ll never forget the magic of that moment.

 

Golden beach sunset @ Turublien - San Vicente, Palawan © Nathan Allen via @idreamedofthis
Mesmerizing beach sunset

 *If you're wondering, I took this shot with my Sony RX100III. <--Amazon, but in the PHL or SG you can find it here.

 

Turublien is a simple place, and the beach front section is only the restaurant / bar area.

 

The actual lodging is unique, because to get to your room, you literally  have to take a paddle boat across a lagoon. The staff will assist you in this. The rooms have air-conditioning, but are quite spartan otherwise. If you want to get away from it all and have a very unique island experience, this is the place for you. The Tripadvisor reviews are fantastic, and after meeting Alex you'll see why.

So Happy To Meet You, Long Beach

Long Beach is just stunning. Fine, powdery white sand as far as the eye can see–and the water’s perfect for swimming. One for the memory books. Thanks, Alex and friends!

 

By the way, if you take a bus or van here, it's a much more pleasant experience. Haha. I just love to push myself and explore backroads. Next episode will take us through the stunning beach town of El Nido, and on to the relatively unexplored northern tip of Palawan. Stay tuned!

 

You can check Turublien rates and reviews HERE

 

Check out other Palawan hotels HERE

 

Wondering how much flights to and around the Philippines might cost?

 

 

 Pt 1.Pt 2.Pt 3. <  Pt 4.  > Pt.5 > Pt 6. > Pt 7. > Pt 8.

 

*Motorbike for this trip was graciously provided by www.rent-a-bike.ph.

If you notice any misinformation or something that needs correcting, please don’t hesitate to let me know!

 

 

- Nathan Allen

www.idreamedofthis.com

 

Thanks for reading, and feel free to share!

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 Related blog: Goodbye, Gopro...I Finally Review the TG-4 Underwater Camera

TG-4 Underwater Camera Review via @idreamedofthis

 

 

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Nathan Allen has spent 6 years taking photos and documenting life in Asia.  A long-term traveler, he lives by the motto "spend less, see more".  Follow him HERE.

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