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. As I was on a mission to take photos along the way anyhow, I just took my time and rode cautiously.
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.
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!
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).
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.
(Click photos for more info)
In Order: 1. Trail passing through native huts in Bigaho village 2. Colorful clothes drying in the jungle
A native house in the Philippines is called a "bahay kubo", and they are often made of bamboo and nipa materials. This is one of the most beautiful examples I have ever come across!
It was a rewarding stop with plenty of good pictures, but I had much more ground to cover. I hopped back on the bike, and soon all signs of life had faded from view.
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.
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.
In photos: Some of the untouched virgin beaches around Port Barton...at most, a few have simple bungalows for shade
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.
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.
In photos: My motorbike confronted by a flooded section of road, and other shots crossing a river on a wooden bridge
I ended up slowly skirting the muddy edge of the pool, and somehow avoided 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...
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.
It's easy to see how Long Beach is the "longest stretch of white sand" in the Philippines....if you catch it at the right angle, you can see that the beach goes on for miles and miles. I'd love to see it from a plane someday!
You really can have the beach to yourself...there's hardly any development, but I doubt this will last long. Be wary of sand fleas, depending on the season.
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.
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.
(Continued below...but I'd be honored if you follow along with me on FB)
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.
More Long Beach photos: Thousands of fish drying on racks under the sun, while pigs roam the beach and locals ride through the sand on motorbikes
Another interesting things about Long 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.
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 beachfront and lagoon 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.
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.
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.
This place 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?
*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
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