Port Barton. An absolutely non-touristic pearl on the island of Palawan. It is a small fishing village situated on a secluded bay on the west coast. It is untouched and almost inaccessible, but well worth the journey.
After a long local bus trip from Puerto Princesa (take enough cash with you when you travel through Palawan, Puerto Princesa is the only place with an ATM) in which we are cramped between rice bags, pigs, kids and locals and about fifty man climbing on the roof, we arrive at ‘the junction’. A kind of intersection with a typical Asian stall, a few motorcycles and tricycles who are waiting until they get a ride. We are the only ones who are there, and the drivers race toward us. We know it’s a heavy journey to Port Barton (right through the jungle) but they are asking way too much. We refuse, walk the sandy path towards Port Barton and pretend that we are going to walk all the way. When we disappear in the horizon, we hear a tricycle behind us that takes us anyway but for the amount that locals pay as well. Well done.
An hour and a half later I’m glad I’m alive. The jungle journey is terrible with such a weak tricycle and the ravine keeps laughing mean at me. We finally arrive in Port Barton, and immediately I realize that this is worth the misery. It’s as if the rest herself is hugging me, while whispering soft and sweet words in my ear and she has no intention to let go of my hand. And heart. Port Barton consists of a deserted beach in a bay full of fishing boats, surrounded by jungle and palm trees. The only way to get here is through this jungle. The small village consists of shacks, dirt roads and some rice fields. Pineapples grow everywhere, snakes cross the road and the jungle is trying to overgrow the village. A place that has actually nothing but where people are open and happy, where children transport themselves on a wooden shot pulled by their water buffalo, where you just can be yourself – and be nothing more than that. There is no internet and if you are lucky, sometimes there is electricity but in fact you don’t need it. No tourists in sight. The jungle embraces the beach and rises to high altitude and it feels like I’ve ended up in a secret oasis that doesn’t belong here, but just is.
We find a little shack on the beach and stay more days than planned. I am doing nothing more than walking, seeking shells and reading on the beach. My love surprises me and hid pearls in an oyster in the water, I find the most beautiful shells and I realize that here, we are exactly who we are. It is not a tropical paradise as in the books, here the water is less blue than the sea that we have come to know in the Philippines and because of the many jellyfish we can not swim. The beach is also less white than in other corners of Palawan, but it’s just…perfect. For us, this is happiness. There are no people. There is rest and she is still holding my hand. It is a pure paradise, a local haven with beautiful sunsets. And puppies. Puppies too.
I’m glad I have been able to experience this place in all its peace. They are busy trying to turn the dirt and successive jungle trail into a normal road. Too bad though. Well, I keep on searching for new undiscovered paradises.