The film That Thing Called Tadhana has pegged Sagada as the place where broken hearts go, but with over 7,107 islands, there are so many other places in the Philippines where you can temporarily run away from it all.
One such spot is Inaladelan, an island located between Port Barton and El Nido in Palawan. Surrounded by clear blue shores and bordered by white sand and greenery, Inaladelan is a small but cozy paradise for those thinking of leaving creature comforts behind and roughing it out in a camp by the sea.
How to get there
Be prepared for a bit of a journey. You can fly directly from Manila to Puerto Princesa, or you can catch an Air Asia flight from Clark to Puerto Princesa. (A one-way trip from Clark would cost an average of P3,000.) If you’re looking for a bit of a side adventure, hop on a P2P bus to Clark, Pampanga (one ride from specific points in Metro Manila will cost you anywhere between P250 to P350) and spend a day there to explore the museums and go-kart tracks.
Once you reach Puerto Princesa, it’s highly suggested that you book accommodations you can spend the night in and contact the folks at Inaladelan or Amika Travel and Tours to arrange your stay (of course, you can do this prior to heading to Palawan). Getting to Inaladelan can and will take an entire morning, so best to rest up the evening before.
The trip to the island is almost a pilgrimage in itself. You’ll need to either rent your own vehicle (which Amika Travel and Tours can do for you) or commute (there are public jeeps vans at San Jose New Market that charge anywhere between P200 to P500) from the heart of Puerto Princesa to Barangay San Vicente, where Port Barton is located. It’s a three-hour trip punctuated by rough and roadless terrain, so be ready for a bumpy trip. Mid-way, you’ll find a traveler’s stop which is a small sari-sari store with clean restrooms and everything you’ll need to stock up on before you continue your journey—water, tissue paper, and yes, even meds for headaches and tummy aches. You’ll have another stop upon entering San Vicente where you’ll have to sign a tourists’ manifest before moving on.
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Once you reach Port Barton, you’ll be greeted by a small seaside town that’s teeming with tourists who seem to have stayed longer in Palawan than their hometowns. You can arrange for a boat then and there, or if you’ve contacted Inaladelan prior to your trip, you’ll have a boat waiting for you. You’ll reach the island after a 20- to 30-minute ride.
The Inaladelan life
The first thing you should do once you get there is to congratulate yourself. It’s not easy getting to that beautiful locale, after all. Next on the agenda is to change into your bathing suit (if you haven’t yet) and chill. There are spartan, public restrooms and shower stalls on the island that you can use.