Discover the best of Northern Busuanga, a raw and beautiful corner of sparsely populated Palawan, that is off the tourist track.
Three adventure-filled days have you paddling mangrove estuaries, snorkeling over coral and dugong, dropping paddle at idyllic palm-fringing islands, two of which will be your camp sites for the two nights out under the stars in a makeshift, serviced tented camp.
Culture is at the core of the expedition, with a Tagbanua elder having two hats — one as resource person, the other as camp manager and assistant kayak guide.
He’s joined by a lead guide, a cook and boat crew — all local fun-loving Filipinos — who will make you feel at home, comfortable and well-fed with three meals a day, two meriendas and a sundowner.
We take a walk through a sanctuary occupying a huge 3,700 hectare island where giraffes and zebra?
Why? The park does have the only large herd of endangered Calamian deer. But, more to the point is the story of its origin — the greed and absolute power of the dictator who sent the inhabitants of Calauit Island packing and took over the island for a safari plaything. He and a crony business associate did it because they could!
But the story takes a turn, and the latest is that displaced Tagbanua tribal claimants re-settling on the shore of Calauit have set up a business that lets visitors interact with dugong. Before we had a 20% chance at best of seeing a dugong let alone getting in the water and snorkelling with one. Now its over 90%. Why? You can find out from the Tagbanua guide yourself, or Sinok.
Campsites on this expedition are typically at Black Island and Dibuyuyan. Black Island is limestone like Coron and Sangat, but it’s geological structure is more solid, the cliff faces of the island solid like granite. There’s a wreck of a boat close to shore; there’s pretty coral to snorkel over and there’s a wonderful wide beach that’s a pleasure to set up tent on. And also you’ll be escorted into a cave with an underground pool and stream: A dip is always in order. Like Coron, Black Island is Indigenous-owned. Dibuyuyan, on the other hand, is privately-controlled and rarely gets tourists. It is fringed with coconut palms, has an awesome reef: Spot the black tip reef sharks and the giant groupers!
The itinerary of the Northern Busuanga Explorer is not set in stone: wind direction and strength makes for changes, often sudden. But which ever direction we go there’s always more and varied places to explore, and local people untouched by tourism to connect with. That’s the appeal with a genuine exploratory tour, especially of a rarely-visited, remote corner of the Palawan archipelago.
The day-to-day itinerary featured has the expedition starting in Maricaban Bay. Should weather conditions be conducive to starting in expedition base SandCastles it will, avoiding land transport for those commencing from or staying at SandCastles.
And, if you’re just one, two or three persons and our catamaran is available we can operate the same general itinerary and have you live aboard the cat instead. Email on firstname.lastname@example.org if that prospect whets your appetite. There’s no extra cost, so it’s extraordinary value. (If three persons, two would need to share a double bed in a cabin; the third person would have a small single cabin).
|DEPARTURE/RETURN LOCATION||Palawan SandCastles or Coron town|
|DEPARTURE TIME||8:30 AM|
Day 1: Paddling Mangroves and Northeastern Busuanga
Day 2: Calauit Wildlife Encounter & Black Island
Day 3: Dugong Spotting
3-day, 2-night Northern Busuanga Explorer staying tented camps
|COST PER PERSON|
|4+ PERSONS||PHP 20,250|
|3 PERSONS||PHP 21,563|
|2 PERSONS||PHP 22,918|
|1 PERSONS||PHP 24,306|