Twelve days rest in Port Barton

Sometimes when you’re travelling it’s easy to get swept up in the feeling that you need to be on the move experiencing new things constantly. Our stop in Port Barton however, reminded us how good it feels to just enjoy one place for a while and completely switch off.

After a shaky start in The Philippines we were a little worried that the whole two weeks were going to be horrible. Unsurprisingly everyone we’ve spoken to about the country has told us to get out of the capital city and head somewhere else, so that’s exactly what we did. Thanks to a tip from an Australian girl we met in Sri Lanka, we decided that Port Barton sounded perfect to begin with.

Following a rubbish night’s sleep in Puerto Princesa, we were pretty tired when we got in the minibus bound for Port Barton. The journey was going to take around 3 hours and thanks to my drowsy travel sickness tablets I was asleep on the window pretty soon after leaving. Along the way I caught glimpses of the island, but it wasn’t until the turbulence of the dirt roads that I started waking up.

Port Barton is a small town with a beautiful beach which hasn’t been overrun by tour buses just yet, probably because the road through Palawan to the town is mostly mud and rocks which take forever to navigate. The final part of our journey into town was pretty bumpy and took almost as long as the 86km we travelled to get to the road. I said goodbye to my napping as we wobbled into town.

When we arrived our minibus parked up within view of the sea so we ran over to take some photos, not knowing that we were going to be staying in a villa overlooking it for the next few days. Once we’d found the owners at their restaurant nearby we were escorted back along the beach and up the steep steps to the villa. We stood at the top overlooking the beach, slightly regretting declining the offer of someone else taking our bags, and feeling good for the first time about stopping in The Philippines. Before we were even in the building we knew we were going to want to stay longer.

Eventually we ended up booking 12 days total in Port Barton, choosing to stay in the quiet town and relax rather than keep moving and cramming in experiences. It’s been a long time since we’ve stayed anywhere more than a few nights and it allowed us to just reset and recharge. It was interesting adapting to the limited power supply and cooking with head torches on because of the brownouts.

Every morning I sat in front of the house with a coffee, drawing the plant life around me and saying hello to Casper, an adorable dog who came up with Walter the owner. In the afternoons we wandered into town, checking out local restaurants and enjoying the beautiful beaches. When it eventually came time to leave we were ready to go, feeling eager to explore another country and grateful for getting the chance to switch off.

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