Kat in Patawan Island, Balabac
Guides and Itineraries,  Philippines

9 Reasons why I love visiting Balabac via Gala PH Tours

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I’d been to Balabac, Palawan, twice and still couldn’t get over it. Here are the reasons why I love going back to Balabac!

P.S. Don’t forget to read our Travel Guide to Balabac and Island Hopping Guide to Balabac.

1. Beautiful beaches

I’m a professed beach lover and, if you take a look at our blog, you’ll notice that most of our destinations include beaches. I hold myself to high standards and believe me I was blown away by the islands in Balabac, Palawan.

Island hopping in Balabac, Palawan
Island hopping.

The islands here have fine, white sand that can easily compete with that in Boracay. Even its “ordinary” islands are better than most island hopping destinations I’ve been accustomed to.

Patawan Island in Balabac, Palawan
World-class beach in Patawan Island.
Kat in Patawan Island, Balabac
Enjoying the beach.

My faves: Patawan Island, Candaraman Island/Starfish Sandbar, Mansalangan Sandbar, and Onuk Island.

2. Onuk Island

Onuk Island is one of the highlights of a Balabac tour. It’s a private property so public access is subject to change, but if you’ve been given permission to visit here, consider yourself incredibly lucky.

Onuk Island in Balabac, Palawan
Drone shot of Onuk Island.
Kat in Onuk Island, Balabac
Hanging out in one of the stilt cottages.

When you visit Onuk Island, you’ll pass by a shallow part of the ocean that is so clear it looks like a giant swimming pool. Your boat will dock in a shore of fine, white sand (if it’s low tide) or in the wooden stilts over chest-high water (if it’s high tide). Here in the island, you can explore the forest/camping ground, swim in the amazingly blue beach, snorkel with fishes, giant clams, and turtles, or simply relax and appreciate the good life.

Onuk Island during high tide
Before leaving the island.
Onuk Island in Balabac, Palawan

To be honest, Onuk Island is so amazing that it’s hard to put into words. You really have to experience it for yourself.

3. Fine sand in Punta Sebaring

If you want to see the finest sand in Balabac, head over to Punta Sebaring in Bugsuk Island. It’s a long beach with white, polvoron-like sand. Your foot will sink a foot in every step as you walk — it’s that fine and soft!

Punta Sebaring in Bugsuk Island, Balabac
Fine white sand in Punta Sebaring.

Just make sure to wear insect lotion because as beautiful as this place is, it’s also home to niknik or sand flies.

4. Clusters of sandfishes in a sandbar

There are few places in the Philippines where you can naturally see clusters of starfishes. Often, they come in ones or twos or located deep in the ocean. In Balabac, there’s a place called Starfish Sandbar/Starfish Alley where dozens of starfishes can be seen especially during amihan season.

Starfish sandbar in Candaraman Island
Starfish sandbar in Candaraman Island.

It’s the perfect IG spot! But most importantly, it’s a touching moment as you realize that you’re witnessing one of the wonders of nature.

5. Encounters with wildlife

If you’re a freediver or snorkeling enthusiast, you’ll enjoy island hopping in Balabac, Palawan. There are lots of snorkeling areas here, but the best are the ones in Sicsican Island and Pulao Bato (located at Nasubata Reef).

If you’re visiting Onuk Island, you can also snorkel in Roughton Reef or the surrounding area where you can see corals, fishes, and giant clams. Sea turtles are also known to stop by Onuk Island to feed.

Giant clam in Onuk Island
Giant clam in Onuk Island.

However, by far, the most interesting wildlife encounter I experienced in Balabac is seeing bioluminiscent planktons in the sand in Onuk Island — shimmering, glowing light-blue dots which I’d only previously seen in photos!

Glowing planktons in Onuk Island
Bioluminiscent planktons.

6. Fresh seafood for all

Seafood is abundant in Balabac. During my first visit here, our boatmen would do the fishing themselves and we’d wait for them to grill or cook what they caught.

Similarly, on my tour here with Gala PH, I was stuffed with plenty of fish, squid, and crabs. Hey, I’m not complaining. I live in Manila so fresh seafood is always welcome – and I know you’re thinking the same too! By the end of our 2-3 island hopping tour, all of us gained a few pounds.

Seafood in Balabac, Palawan
Large prawns. Brought this during our first visit. (Photo by Hali Navarro)

7. Malaysian products

Did you know that Balabac is such in close proximity to Sabah, Malaysia, that they use and sell Malaysian products here? Yes! You can buy cheap chocolates, kari maggi, teh tarik instant packets, and more! I bought a coca cola from a store in Sitio Marabun (a stilt community in Balabac) and even this drink is from Malaysia (it’s less sweet than ours).

If you have checked-in baggage allowance on your flight back, you can hoard on these items for personal use or pasalubong!

8. Great bonding experience

It’s impossible to spend days experiencing everything that Balabac has to offer without forming bonds with the rest of the people in your joiner tour. I’d been here twice with 2 different groups of people and I loved both experiences!

9. Best tour experience with Gala PH

I’d been on tours with Gala PH a handful of times now. I joined their 5 days trip to Isabela Province prior to this trip. I can say that Jan Vincent is one of the best tour organizers out there. He’s a veteran backpacker and he knows everything about the places he covers in his tours. He also creates great itineraries for each tour so, as a joiner, you can visit the best spots even on a limited schedule. This is why I don’t hesitate recommending his tour group Gala PH to people I know.

Balabac writing in the sand
Balabac formation
Joiners in Gala PH. Photo by Trip ni Mariane.
Balabac tour via Gala PH
(Photo by Jan Vincent Francisco)

Book your tour via Gala PH

My 2019 trip to Balabac was made possible by Gala PH travel and tours! I highly recommend them for easy, enjoyable trip to Balabac, Palawan.

Book your Balabac tour (joiner or exclusive tour) via Gala PH. You can contact them at: Gala PH – Facebook.

What to read next:

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

Puerto Princesa:


El Nido:


Port Barton:

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