Guide to Balabac, Palawan
Guides and Itineraries,  Philippines

Ultimate Travel Guide to Balabac, Palawan: The Last Paradise

Share this:

Here’s your ultimate travel guide to Balabac, Palawan! Including a sample 5 days itinerary you can follow for your trip.

Last 2015, Hali and I were exchanging stories with a 60-year-old fellow traveler who then told us about Balabac. For the uninitiated, Balabac group of islands is a relatively unknown summer haven for backpackers seeking unspoilt beaches and preserved local culture. In my opinion, it has the best beaches you can find in the Philippines.

Balabac is located at the southernmost tip of Palawan in the Philippines and is just a few hours away from Sabbah, Malaysia.

Along with five other friends, Hali and I ventured here on the first week of March 2016 for our first summer escapade (and also Hali’s birthday celebration — he said age isn’t important). It was a bit challenging to arrange a DIY vacation to Balabac. At the time of our trip, there was very little material in the internet especially with regards to island hopping prices and contact details.

Hali in Punta Sebaring, Balabac, Palawan
Hali on this birthday trip to Balabac, Palawan.
Candaraman island in Balabac, Palawan
Summer is made for beaches and friendships. (Photo by Hali)
Punta Sebaring in Bugsuk Island, Balabac, Palawan
The powdery-white sand in Punta Sebaring. (Photo by Hali)

So much has changed since our last visit. We’ve updated this post with the latest information, including info on packaged tours to Balabac so you’ll have a hassle-free travel. Enjoy!

P.S. Traveling to Balabac, soon? I also recommend reading our Guide to Island Hopping in Balabac, Palawan.

How to get to Balabac, Palawan

The closest airport to Balabac is Puerto Princesa Airport. From there, you need to travel to either Rio Tuba port or Buliluyan port and then ride a boat to Balabac. It will take you at least a day to get to Balabac.

Option 1: Via Rio Tuba

In Puerto Princesa, ride a trike or jeep to San Jose Terminal. Tricycle fare from the airport is P120. If you walk outside the airport to the main road, tricycle fare is P70-100 per ride and jeepney fare is P12-15 per person.

From San Jose Terminal, ride either a bus or van going to Rio Tuba. Travel time is 4-5 hours. Commuting via van is faster since there are lesser stopovers, although you will still need to wait for other passengers to fill up all the seats. Fare for the van is P300 per person.

Van Schedules:

  • Puerto Princesa to Rio Tuba: 4AM to 5PM
  • Rio Tuba to Puerto Princesa: 4AM to 3PM

Bus Schedules:

  • Puerto Prinesa to Rio Tuba: Up to 7PM

Regardless of which transport you choose, it’s safe to be at the terminal at around 5-6PM to make sure you won’t miss a ride to Rio Tuba.

From Rio Tuba, ride a passenger boat to Balabac.

Travel time is 4 hours, boat fare is P370. Normally, there is only one schedule for the boat via Rio Tuba-Balabac route, which is anywhere from 9AM to 12 noon. The boat leaves immediately once all seats are taken. A boatman told us they make a second trip depending on the number of passengers, but I get the impression that this rarely happens.

If you arrive at night in Rio Tuba, you can sleepover at the nearby White Heaven Lodging which is just near the port. From there, take a tricycle to the port (P20 per person).

The passenger boat makes a few stops. You’re about an hour away from mainland Balabac after you pass by Bancalan Port.

Bancalan Port in Palawan
Bancalan Port. (Photo by Hali)
Bangkalaan Island, Balabac

Similarly, there is also one schedule for the boat from Balabac to Rio Tuba: at 6AM in the morning. The boat is either docked in the unloading pier or VCI, depending on the sea level.

Option 2: Via Buliluyan Port

Depending on your itinerary, you can also opt to travel from Puerto Princesa to Buliluyan Port instead of Rio Tuba. There are no passenger boats in Buliluyan Port. Instead, your boat operator for island hopping will have to fetch you from here to Balabac. This port is closer to some islands in Balabac, including Patunggong Island and Tangkahan Island. If you want to go straight to island hopping, this is a better choice.

Same as above: In Puerto Princesa, ride a trike or jeep to San Jose Terminal.

Then ride a van to Buliluyan Port. Fare is P600 per person. Travel time is 5 hours.

When is the best time to visit

Summer is the best time to visit Balabac. As per Anj of Kilometer Zero PH, ber-months are still okay but during the amihan season (from December to February) the waves can get particularly rough.

Islands to visit in Balabac, Palawan

There are different islands you can visit in Balabac. These are:

  • Bancalaan Island
  • Camiaran Island (Pink Sand Beach)
  • Onuk Island (also called Onok Island)
  • Candaraman Island (Starfish Sandbar)
  • Sicsican Island
  • Ramos Island
  • Canabungan Island
  • Nasubata Island
  • Punta Sebaring
  • Patunggong Island
  • Patawan Island
  • Mansalangan sandbar
  • Matangule sandbar
  • Bobby’s Island
  • Secam Island
  • Cabcabun Island
  • Tangkahan Island
  • Timbayan Island (rock formation)
  • Balabac Island – Melville Lighthouse

In my opinion, the best islands to visit are: Camiaran Island, Onuk Island/Onok Island, Patawan Island, Candaraman Island, Mansalangan sandbar, Punta Sebaring and Tangkahan Island.

To know more about the islands in Balabac, read our Guide to Island Hopping in Balabac, Palawan. We also have a separate feature on Onuk Island.

Camiaran Island's pink beach
Camiaran Island aka Pink Beach. (Photo by Hali)
Onuk Island in Balabac, Palawan
Drone shot of Onuk Island.
Onuk Island/Onok Island in Balabac, Palawan
Onuk Island.
Punta Sebaring in Bugsuk Island
Punta Sebaring, Bugsuk Island. (Photo by Hali)
Mansalangan sandbar in Balabac, Palawan
Mansalangan sandbar.
Patawan Island in Balabac, Palawan
World-class beach in Patawan Island.
Candaraman Island, Balabac, Palawan
Candaraman Island. (Photo by Hali)
Candaraman Island, Balabac
Starfish sandbar in Candaraman Island. Photo by Lets GoWander.

Take note that the islands in Balabac are mostly privately owned, so public access may change.

As of 2019, visiting Melville Lighthouse in no longer allowed. Candaraman Island is also closed but it is still possible to visit the sandbar.

5 Days Itinerary to Balabac, Palawan

Here’s a sample 5 days itinerary to Balabac, Palawan. You can use it as a rough guide when you visit Balabac.

Coordinate with your boatmen since they know which are the best hours to visit the islands. For instance, places such as Punta Sebaring, Onuk Island/Onok Island and the sandbars need to be visited during low tide, which changes per season.

Day 1 Arrival in Puerto Princesa (PPS), buy food/goods
Overnight travel from PPS to Buliluyan Port
Day 2 6-7AM Arrival in Buliluyan Port
Start of island hopping – Patunggong Island, Patawan Island, Starfish Island, Candaraman Island
Overnight camping at Candaraman Island
Day 3 Island hopping – Sicsican Island, Onuk Island
Overnight camping at Onuk Island
Day 4 Island hopping – Mansalangan Sandbar, Braggie Mangrove, Punta Sebaring
Overnight at mainland Balabac
Day 5 Travel back to PPS

Due to the long commute time, it’s recommended to stay 5-7 days in Balabac, Palawan.

Where to book your tours in Balabac

You can book your island hopping tour directly with the local boat operators in Balabac. There are also travel agencies offering full packaged tours to Balabac, which is convenient especially if you’re a solo or couple joiner.

Also included are the current island hopping rates (Updated as of 2022).

Island hopping tours only

Kuya Boboy and Kuya Onyok were our guides and we highly recommend them. If you decide to hire them via this blog, please tell them that we (Katherine and Hali) say Hi! Ate Lorna is a relative of them and she also arranges tours to Balabac.

Here is their contact:

  • Kuya Onyok: 09123993543 / Kuya Boboy: 09309822412 | Facebook
  • Ate Lorna: 09066909547 / 09465576503

Their rates are 4-6 people: P1500 per head/day, 7-10 people: P1200 per head/day.

These prices include the island hopping tour and meals. Accommodation can be booked in the mainland or islands separately.

Full packaged tours

For complete packaged tours, I recommend Gala PH by JV Francisco. I went with them on my second visit in Balabac. I had a blast, the food was overwhelming and overall I highly recommend their services.

Gala PH arranges joiner tours to Balabac, including transfer from PPS to Balabac and vice versa, island hopping, accommodation and meals.

Here is their contact: Gala PH – Facebook

Their rate is P9500 per person for a 3-day tour, including transfer from Puerto Princesa and vice versa, island hopping tour, meals, and accommodation (tent only).

Where to stay

Staying overnight in Puerto Princesa? You can check out discounted inns/hotels in PPS here.

Here are the main accommodations you can book for your trip to Balabac, Palawan.

Where to stay in Rio Tuba

  • White Heaven Lodging. Rates: Room for 2 pax – P250
  • Dewelyn Lodging House. Contact: 0999034854
  • Pring Pension House. Rates: Fan room with common CR – P300 / AC room w/o breakfast – P700 or with breakfast – P900. Contact: 09265844805

White Heaven Lodging is near the port of Rio Tuba so it’s the recommended to stay here.

Where to stay in Balabac

Here are the places you can stay at in mainland Balabac.

  • JD lodging (Sing and Swing lodge). Rates: Fan room with common CR for 2 pax – P500 / AC room for 2 pax – P1000. Contact: 09106620073
  • MLK lodging. Rates: Room for 2 pax – P500. Contact: 09395176169
  • Mely Bechayda Pension House. Rates: Fan room with common CR – P500 / Shared big room with own CR – P250 per person. Contact: 09264049171
  • Biga-Biga Beach Resort. (No info)

We stayed at JD lodging for the duration of our trip. The rooms are surprisingly spacious. The restrooms and shower stalls are for common sharing but clean and regularly maintained. The electricity in the whole Balabac group of islands is up until midnight only, but you can request for the generator to be turned on during the night in JD Lodging for P300 per night (all rooms covered).

There are also islands where you can find resorts/camping grounds. Some of these are:

  • Candaraman Island
  • Canibungan Island
  • Matangule Island
  • Punta Sebaring (Bugsuk Island)
  • Onuk Island/Onok Island

If you’re availing of a packaged tour, accommodation is already taken cared of.

Things to know before you go

Here are the things you should know about before you go:

  • Bring all the cash that you need; there is no ATM or bank in Balabac. The nearest one is located in Rio Tuba.
  • Be prepared to go on rough backpacking, i.e., camping on islands. You can also stay in mainland Balabac, but going to/from here when you island hop might be time consuming, which is why the usual itinerary includes staying overnight in islands.
  • Mobile signal is non-existent or weak in most places in Balabac.
Sitio Marabun in Balabac, Palawan
Sitio Marabun.
  • You can buy Malaysian goods such as mi goreng noodles as pasalubong in mainland Balabac or Sitio Marabun, a local community on stilts which you’ll pass by going back to Buliluyan Port.

Things to bring on your trip

  • Insect repellent
  • Dry bag
  • For camping: Tent/hammock, flashlight and powerbank
  • Snorkel set/fins

There are islands in Balabac that are home to sand flies (or niknik), such as Punta Sebaring. Make sure to bring insect repellent and balm for insect bites.

There’s a lot of snorkeling/freediving sites in Balabac. However, there are no rental stores in this area so you should bring your own equipment.

Contact Details

Here are other contact details you may need:

  • Kuya Jerry, shuttle service Puerto Princesa City – Rio Tuba: 0927 705 5910/0946 260 6260

Update as of January 2018: Ate Bebeth is no longer part of the tourism office, and I’ve removed her contact detail above.

Budget and expenses

Budget depends on the package you choose. For 5-6 days stay good for 4 people, a safe budget would be P9000-10,000 per person.

Additional: FAQ Section

Camiaran Island in Balabac, Palawan
Me and Hali at Palawan’s pink beach. (Photo by Hali)

I’ve added this section as an update. Ever since posting this Balabac Palawan itinerary and other features, we’ve been drowning in inquiries, and though the attention is flattering, sadly I can’t keep up with all the messages.

Is it safe to visit Balabac?

When we visited in 2016, we found out thru inquiries in our blog that there are security issues in Balabac. However, it is our personal experience that Balabac is safe for foreign and local tourists.

As of 2019, tourism in Balabac is expanding and there are currently no security concerns about visiting here.

Which places are similar to Balabac?

There are other places you can visit in Palawan. The unique thing about Balabac is it’s the most remote and possibly the least commercialized as of yet.

Puerto Princesa offers its own island hopping and scuba diving adventures, not to mention the world-renown Puerto Princesa Underground RiverEl Nido and Coron are world-known vacation spots, famous for limestone karsts and clean lagoons. There are also low-key destinations in Palawan that offer a quiet time off, such as Port Barton.

If you’re looking for off-beaten beaches, we recommend:

If you want to get an idea of other great attractions, here’s a list of the best places to visit in the Philippines.

Thank you to everyone who helped me in creating this guide! If you have updated information, please let us know thru comments/email so we can update this post as well.

Watch our video here

Don’t forget to watch our summer experience in Balabac, Palawan, in this video:

Has this Balabac Palawan itinerary and travel guide been helpful to you? Feel free to like and share. Oh and post your comments below! 🙂

What to read next:

Visiting Palawan? Check out the rest of our guides in Palawan:

Puerto Princesa:


El Nido:


Port Barton:

If you liked this post, feel free to share it in Pinterest!

Travel guide to Balabac islands in Palawan, Philippines

Get discounts on your travels!

Klook logo

Enjoy discounts with KLOOK using our promo code: TARALETSANYWHERE

Share this:


  • Irena Filipovic Dimitrijevic

    Anybody wants to go with us and share expenses, in 3 days to Balabac? So, the dates are Februaru 20th- night in Rio Tuba, and after that 3 nights on Balabac. Johannes and Irena

  • Rose

    Hello, do you have a scheduled boat trip from Buliluyan Port to Balabac? Or we have to rent a private boat for that? would you know hm?


    • Katherine Cortes

      Hello. There are no passenger ferries from Buliluyan Port. You have to rent a private boat. Usually it’s included in island hopping rates, as today most tourists go this route.

  • Ron Orlovsky

    Hi there!
    Katherine! This is soooooo helpful!
    A friend and I are looking to travel Balabac during Christmas break. Anytime between 24th-29th of December, 2019.
    We are looking for joiner to share the “burden” 🙂
    Feel free to email:

  • Carl

    Hello, I will fly to Puerto Princesa on January 26 and will stay in Palawan till mid of February (single traveller). Do you think, it is possible, to organize joining a Balabac-Island-hopping-tour just after arrival in Puerto Princesa on January 27 or 28? Since I don’t want to rush, I would reserve up to 7 days for such a tour if it is necessary.
    But I am a foreigner (Europe). From the videos on Youtube it seems, that there have been some foreigners doing such tours in 2019. Is it possible, to join a tour being the only foreigner? Or is a foreigner still a risk for the whole group, like Bryan mentioned in his comment from February 2018?

    • Katherine Cortes

      Hi Carl, you’ll probably be fine. Also Balabac is more open to visitors now compared to the past years since word about it is slowly getting out.

      Not sure how you’re going to organize a tour after arrival unless you already have/will meet other companions there. Why don’t you post in FB groups to see who’d also like to go or you can contact Ate Lorna to ask if she has scheduled guests on those dates. You can also go solo but it’s more expensive.

  • tim

    hi guys. my friend and i will be in balabac from nov 18 to 20. if theres anyone who we can join with the tours kindly send me an email please, mys sister in laws brother lives in rio tube and owns a boat so maybe we can get a discount for the trips. tia.

  • Jared dela Cruz

    Your post and your pictures are truly inspiring, thank you so much. I have never heard of Balabac until recently. But from then on, I’ve been dreaming of going there, the last paradise in the Philippines’ last frontier.

  • Harihar

    Blog is very nice and details. Ilm planning in May 2019. Can i get WhatsApp no. Of some tour operator?

    • Katherine Cortes

      Hi! Better contact their mobile numbers directly because whatsapp isn’t used much here in the ph.

  • Nicole P

    Hi there!

    Seemed like an awesome experience you had. Was this a DIY trip that you planned yourselves or did you purchase a full package with a tour company beforehand? Very helpful post.


    • Katherine Cortes

      Hi Nicole. As said in the blog post, we did it DIY. Nowadays there are tours in Balabac which we’d recommend you do instead. 🙂

  • Ren

    Hi! Pwede pong pakiconfirm if that is still the number of kuya onyok? I texted the number and inquired about rates. He asked for a downpayment and gave a different name (might be his real name?) But since malaki ung downlayment na hinihingi niya, medyo worried lang ako.

    • Katherine Cortes

      Hi Ren, sorry for the late reply. The number was still working a few months back, but we got the updated numbers here: Kuya Onyok – 09123993543, Kuya Boboy – 09073892313. 🙂 We also updated the guide.

  • Sarah L. Grageda

    Hi Katherine! In Balabac or Rio Tuba, is there any available motorcycle that is for rent? If there is, I’d like to know the average price of the rent per day. Thanks!

  • Gina

    We live in Palawan (in Brooke’s Pt.) but when I told him I want to visit Balabac, he said no:( Want to visit the island badly :((

  • Mae

    Hellow po.

    Bout dun sa 1,2 and 3days package tour in onok island?

    May i know what is included on that packages?

  • Krista Matias

    Palawan is really such a beautiful island, and I am planning to go there this year. I am glad I have read this blog, I am really looking forward to trying out these exciting activities in there. Thank you for sharing the beauty of Palawan.

  • Mhat Hidalgo

    Hello! We’re actually heading rio tuba now with friend. Ask ko Lang yung tour package na 4500 per head for two 3d2n San ang pick up point? Thanks . Any joiners? Please pm me

  • Tons

    I’ve heard about the “niknik” during the night, how bad is it? is OFF Lotion not enough to drive them away?

  • Mitch

    I’m planning to go on my own this June or end of may who wants to Join me, so we can save more money I’ll bring my own tent as well

  • Jay Sebastian

    Hi. I am planning to go to Balabac second week of August (9th).

    Are there any of you here travelling around this time? If I can join your team that would be very nice.

    Please give the contact number of tourism officer if you have.

    • Belle

      Hi, we’re planning to go to Balabac on June 13-17. Hope we can find a group of travellers to whom we can join, so it will lessen our tight budget.

      • George Gaskell

        hello, here. George for short. A friend and I plan to go round about the same time; June 13-17. 2019. Please email your details if interested to join up and cut costs. And a million thanks too Katherine & Hali for this wonderful bit of info.

        • Eejay Corceles

          Hi belle, my girlfriend and i are actually scheduled to tour balabac on june 13-17, 2019. DM me on instagram @eejayboang

  • Mac

    Hi! I’ll be in Balabac from May 10 to 15. I hope I can join other groups to save money for the island hopping. Mac

  • Madelyn

    Hello! We’re going to Balabac this coming June 2018? Anyone who wants to join us during our island hopping from June 8 to 10?

    • Monica

      Hi! Are you still looking for travel buddies? My two friends and I will be in Palawan from June 6-11 and we’re planning to go to Balabac.

      • George Gaskell

        June 6 to 11 might work for me and a friend. Please email just in case we are able to manage these dates, so as to enable us to cut costs. Thanks and thanks again to Katherine and Hali for sharing.

    • George Gaskell

      June 8 to 10 might work for me and a friend. Please email just in case we are able to manage these dates, so as to enable us to cut costs. Thanks and thanks again to Katherine and Hali for sharing.

  • Judy

    i and my husband were able to go march 19-21 and i would say this is by far my best beach experience ever in my many years of traveling to different beach locations in the country. we had such a great time. we met new friends during our island hopping. six of those who were featured in KMJS last sunday were with us in onuk island which we enjoyed the most. those who are going, please do not miss onuk. the hefty entrance fee is so worth it. i have so many stories to tell, good and not so good about this trip but i will need to write a blog about it. 🙂

  • Sunshine

    Hi! We are planning to go to balabac this may 29 (departure from manila). Any group interested to join para makamura tayo? PM me on FB- Sunshine Cervantes

  • Bryan

    I went down to Rio Tuba in Mid February and was told it is not safe for foreign guests (non-filipino) to go there at the time being. I had a very nice lady at the docks of Rio Tuba calling around to numerous numbers I gave her and some family that she has down there. The same response from all, they strongly discouraged foreign tourists from visiting at the moment. They are still operating boats (quite expesive – 6-7,000php for 3 day trips) for Filipinos though.

    If boat operators that make money from tourism are encouraging foreign guests to stay away, it’s probably for a reason. To the foreign tourists, is it really worth putting yourself in danger or the other people with you as well?

    • Katherine

      Thanks for the update Bryan! Did they say why? (My friends had just gotten back from Balabac including Onuk this month, but then they are locals.)

      • Bryan

        I guess that the terrorists in the area will target foreign travelers specifically in the area. Just in the past year there was a foreign couple killed on a boat down there, along with a Filipino woman and her child according to what I was told. I’m quite sure they wouldn’t just be making that up. They didn’t say I couldn’t go, but just strongly advised against it.

        As a foreign tourist, of course you shouldn’t put yourself in a potentially dangerous situation along with putting any Filipinos you would be with in dangers as well.

        Hopefully one day things will get better down there!

        • Katherine

          I see. Thanks for this info! We were not aware of the news abt the foreign couple. 🙂 When we went tho I did mention (in another post) that I do not think Balabac is stable yet, hopefully it will be in the coming years.

          • Bryan

            Not a problem. And like you say, hopefully things get better in the future there! I would love to see it for myself one day.

  • judy

    di kami natuloy ng husband ko last year sa balabac due to time and money constraints but hopefully next month at nakabooked na kami. kaso ang mahal ng singil sa min nun nakausap ko. 3nights tig P10k each kami, island hopping lang un and food. kung 7k each kaya pa sa budge. but 10k each mukhang hindi na. sana meron pa akong mahanap na mas cheaper sa 10k at makasabay na mga grp. we will arrive puerto on march 17 and 26 is our flight back.

    • Katherine

      Hi Judy, sinong kausap niyo? Try contacting Kuya Boboy and Ate Lorna. My friends are going there also this summer, maayos naman yung quote sa kanila.

  • Edz

    Hi po. I am planning to visit Balabac at baka aku lang mag-isa. I only want to visit Candaraman at Punta Sebaring. Side trip lang sa Candaraman and I’ll spend 2 nights sa Punta Sebaring. Do you have any idea how much it would cost me for the boat?

    • anne

      sir anung date ang punta nyo ng balabac? kc kmi ng sister q..since dalawa lng kmi we’re planning to visit punta sebaring and another island malapit lng sa sebaring kc btin un araw namin? bka pd pd tyo tatlo kung same date lng un pgbisita mo para mas cheaper.. thanks

      • Judy

        kelan kayo nasa puerto? baka pwede tayo mag joint forces para mas makatipid. 2 lang kami ng husband ko. dating namin ng puerto march 17. 25 ang balik. plan namin mag pa rio tuba the same day kung maabutan namin ang last trip. then pa bangkalan on the 18th kung saan kami ppick upin ni fidel (contact boatman ko)
        let me know guys. thanks

    • Gabor

      ALL the island-hopping BOAT TRIPS are CANCELED on Balabac! You can go there with public boat but NOONE will TAKE you any of the tourist DESTINATIONS since there are many discussions between island, boat owners, coast guards and tourism office of Balabac.

      We ve just came back from Balabac.

      This blog shoud be updated, before anyone effort to go there.

      • Katherine

        Hi Gabor, sorry to hear abt your experience and thanks for the heads up! Yes we’ve heard about on-going talks particularly about standardization of rates. Hope they come to an agreement soon. 🙂 If you have more updates, feel free to comment or message us so we can add it to the post.

      • Katherine

        It seems that island hopping tours are temporarily suspended. But my friends who’d been there this week were able to go island hopping. Guess there’s nothing else to do but wait until matters get resolved. 🙂

  • Lee

    Thanks for the tips! I’m going to Balabac in April! Did you have problems sa source ng drinking water in Balabac? Kasi parang hindi practical magdala ng maraming bottled water. hehe Thank you!

  • Bryan

    I wanted to let you know that Ate Bebeth, (Balabac assistant tourism officer: 0949 424 1605) no longer works with the tourism office.

    Would anyone by chance know a different contact number to the tourism office there?

    • Katherine

      Hi Bryan, thanks for the update! I’ll go ask my friends if they have a contact number. 🙂 Please do inform us here if you get the new contact person also.

      • Bryan

        You can see my new response I made about my trip. Right now, I think it’s okay for Filipino tourists to visit but it was highly recommended that, I as a foreign tourist, didn’t visit due to concerns for the safety of foreign tourists in the area currently.

  • jasmine

    i see…i’ll bring my 7yr old girl and little bit worried when it comes to camping for 2-3 nights(as offered by tour companies) your blog/article really help me to decide to do balabac on our own instead of getting a tour … thank you so much

  • Jasmin joy Villalobos Taneza

    Hello Ms Kath.. fellow traveler here, enlighten me please, you don’t need to camp on those islands you mentioned,? on your day 2-4 you stay in balabac and do the boating every day from thereon?

    • Katherine

      Yep. At the end of the day, we’d go back to the inn in mainland Balabac. I think it’s possible to camp in some of the islands but ask your boatmen to be sure.

  • Joan

    Hi! My friend and I are planning to visit Balabac this March. More specifically, Onok Island is on the top of our list. However we were astounded to find out that they now charge 5000 pesos per head (entrance fee and meals included) just to visit this island. And that’s on top of the usual rate of 2000 per person per day Island hopping (3 islands per day). We tried to call diff boat operators and all have the same rates. Umm do you think it’s worth the price to still visit onok?

    • Katherine

      Waaa? Who are you referring to, exactly? Last time we were there, there was no entrance fee to Onuk Island. It’s a private property of the mayor and he used to just let visitors see the island. Did the mayor impose the new rate?

    • Katherine

      I just got an update and included it in the guide. Yes, the rate is now P5000 per head for a day tour in Onuk Island including lunch. Really pricey. I think I’ll skip on that. It’s not a 5-star hotel. But still depends on you.

  • Fred

    Hi Kat,

    Thanks for this detailed post. I just bookmarked this page for our future trip.

    Quick question though: how the network coverage? Is there at least 3G?



    • Katherine

      Yep, but signal was intermittent so most of the time we just didn’t bother with our phones. Not sure how it is now. 🙂

  • Judy

    hub and i are planning (well, im the one planning actually.he simply tags along 🙂 ) to go to balabac before end of january(20-24) from our northern palawan trip. considering the cost to get there and get back to puerto, kailangang magtipid…i really hope we may makasabay kami para mas mraming maka share sa island hopping. thank you so much for all the infos. they are a huge help.

    • Katherine

      If you’re on a budget I suggest just limiting your island hopping to the nearby islands – Onuk, Candaraman and Siksikan. It will cost you about P1500. Punta Sebaring is 3 hours away from mainland Balabac, for an additional P500.

  • Ana

    We will be in Palawan again in April and we have already been to El Nido & Coron , we want do this area now. We’re foreigners so hope its not difficult to organise by ourselves

    • Katherine

      Hi Ana. We’ll probably go back next year, too. I hope you’d drop by again after your visit and let us know how it went. We get a lot of messages from foreign tourists asking the same thing and it’ll be a big help. 🙂

  • kapampangantraveller

    Thank you for sharing your Balabac experience. Would explore on November and cross fingers for good weather.

    Cheers for more travels!

  • Zaida


    I will travel novermeber 18-28th to Palawan. I plan to fly into Manila and then el Nido as the flight is one hour ish. Stay there for 3-4 days to island hop. From there fly back to Manila and then fly into Puerto princess and see if for a day if that. Then head to a tour to hit balabac island and island hope there to onuk and candarman. Is this enough time is there anything you can suggest. I may do a 5 day info you provided. Do I need the mayors signature to visit onuk? Thanks!

    • Katherine

      Hi Zaida, you can ask your boatmen to assist you in asking the mayor’s permission personally or you can send an email at least a month before. Contact the tourism office for more info on this.

  • Eli

    Wow… Way back I was only allowed to stay in Rio Tuba. If I was just stubborn enough I would’ve discovered the place as well! Nice post and beautiful pics, Kat and Hali 😀

  • She

    Hi! May I know if the rates of the tour are per boat or per person? There might be just two of us so I wanna know if it is still affordable.

    • Kat

      Hi She. The rate is per boat. If you read the costing I clearly stated that with a rate of P8000, 2 people will have to spend P4000 each. 🙂 I hope that clears up any confusion.

  • Anonymous

    hi kat.. is it possible to tour Balabac with my 3yrs old? and balak din kc namin mag el nido eh doable ba ang balabac and el nido for 8days?

    • Kat

      Hi, I guess it’s okay if you’ll only island hop in nearby islands like Onuk and Candaraman and if you’ll manage to get a boat with proper roofing. Some islands are too distant kase. For example, from mainland it will take you 3 hours to reach Balabac island where the lighthouse is located.

      Balabac and El Nido is doable in 8 days, but take note that El Nido and Balabac are on opposite sides of Palawan. It’s separated by at least 10 hours of land travel and another 4 hours of sea travel.

  • Backpacking Geek

    Wow! Thanks for dropping by my space recently!

    It was really hard to look for good references for a DIY sa Balabac! Kinilig ako because yours gave a great deal of info! Now I can start planning… 🙂 thanks again!

    • Kat

      Oh, thanks for dropping by as well and you’re welcome!

      I’d love to leave a comment in your site but there isn’t a comment option when opened in the WP reader. 🙂

      • Backpacking Geek

        Yeah… you will need to open the page to leave a comment. I’ll need to look for the settings in WP Reader to allow comments.

  • Isla

    Thank you So much for this! I just want to ask kung dun na kayo sa balabac kumuha ng island hopping tour? Me and my boyfriend are planning to go there this August 2016 and we would like to backpack lang 🙂 Joiners are welcome!

    • Kat

      Hi Isla! I already contacted Kuya Boboy weeks before our actual travel date. It’s okay if you’ll go there without an arranged tour yet. Just go directly to the tourism office for assistance. I have friends who went in Balabac without contacts and they encountered no problem naman.

      • ivy

        hi Isla! we’re also planning to go to balabac on aug. 27-29. have you already booked a package tour? pls reply 🙂

    • ivy

      hi isla! we wanna join for aug 27-29, 2016. do you still need joiners? we are a couple and we’re also in need of at least 3 joiners 🙂 pls pm me if interested. thanks! 🙂

  • Kat

    Thanks for dropping by, Milet! Yep, better wait until election season is over. 🙂 I hope the newly elected officials do something to boost the tourism in Balabac as well as guarantee safety for tourists.

  • Roxane de Jesus

    Hi, my cousin and I are planning to go on an April 16-17, 2016 trip to Balabac. Anyone interested to do a DIY with us to lessen the cost of fixed expenses like island hopping? The more, the lesser.

  • Roselle C Toledo

    I’ve been wanting to go to Palawan. I find Boracay too crowded. I was not aware about Balabac. It’s so prinstine! Thanks for this article I also had an idea how much to save up.

  • Joy Perito-Priginal

    The place really looks beautiful!Hubby and I will be travelling to palawan this october. I hope we can include it in our itinerary. Thank you for breaking down the expenses it will be really helpful as we always go on a budgeted trip!

  • Milton Coyne

    I really want to visit the unspoiled beauty of Palawan .. this place has always been on my bucket list and your pictures make me so eager to push my plans this year!

  • kath

    Thanks for sharing your unbiased review on this place! I have been hearing my grandpa mention this place (Balabac) for so long since I was a kid. I didn’t know how beautiful this place was! I am going to Palawan this summer vacation and I am definitely am wanting to include this as my side trip with my family!

    • Kat

      You’re welcome namesake! 🙂 I’ll consider other places though if you’re with a kid, since the boat rides during island hopping take hours and the motorized boats often used don’t have any overhead tarp to protect the boat passengers from the sun.

  • Aika Loraine

    Last time, Air Asia had again their Piso Sale, I actually want to book for Palawan however, the fairs are too expensive so I decided to book for Kalibo instead. Reading this made me again think of booking a Palawan flight. I like it that you provided itinerary for this. I am a DIY traveller also. Uhum. Thanks to this blog entry as it will be a great addition to the very little material in the Internet about Balabac as you have mentioned.

  • Awesome

    I’m so glad i found this post. My friend and i are going to balabac in june so i need all the help i can get to prepare our itinerary. 🙂
    Btw, you mentioned you werent able to go to Onuk? May i know why?
    Were you able to get the permit to visit the island?
    This is our main target location kasi so i would like to know if we need to get the permit before arrival sa palawan para sure and kung sino best contact person.
    Thanks in advance 🙂

    • Kat

      Hi Awesome! You have to personally ask current Mayor Shuaib because it is his private property. So it depends if papayag siya. There are times he even lets visitors use his boat to go to Onuk Island.

      Meron rin kasing security issue ngayon since election season (e.g., risk of kidnappings in the area etc.). This is what we were told by the asst. tourism officer.

      When you arrive in Balabac, go to municipal hall to log your names in the local tourism register and also ask if Mayor is there. Seek assistance from your boatman, alam na nila yun. 🙂

  • Kit

    Kat! You’ve captured our trip right on point. And I am also glad to see our beach conversation here. hehe

    I think it also calls for everyone disposing their garbage properly – travellers and locals alike. Some of the trash seemed to have washed off from the shore and in the end it all comes back to us. Garbage is a big issue I think not only for Balabac but for other places as well. Though I am also hopeful that pretty soon the local tourism office will push for efforts to preserve the beaches since they are really that stunning. 🙂

    ’till our next adventure together! 🙂

    • Kat

      Kelangan talaga more awareness and discipline regarding garbage disposal. Palaging yan ang problema sa local tourism e.

      Yep, yep. See you soon! 😀

  • Ranran

    Hi Kath.. Good to see that you’re writing “again..” Hehe.. Refer ako dito sakaling mapadpad ako ng Palawan ha.. ; )

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.