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Palawan is a must destination for both locals and foreigners, especially during the summer season. It is known as the home of the world-renowned and one of the Seven Wonders of Nature, the Puerto Princesa Underground River. The picturesque limestone cliff of El Nido giving you a stunning view from atop. But wait! There's more to discover in Palawan, one of which is the Onuk Island/ Roughton Island.
Located in the southwestern part of Palawan, this private island owned by the mayor of Balabac has a sharp reputation of being the crown jewel of Palawan. Despite being a private property, visitors are welcome and has few rooms to accommodate guests/visitors. With its calm crystal clear water and a powdery white sand, Onuk island is now slowly taking the spotlight as it's now a popular tourist destination.
Since the island is privately-owned, we asked permission first from the local office of the Mayor in Balabac town. They granted us a permission to get to the island. There's also a satellite office in Pajara, Puerto Princesa City where you can get a permission. You can contact Ms. Lorna, the in-charge here thru 09175532845/ 09217776645.
HOW TO GET HERE
From Puerto Princesa City , go to San Jose Terminal and ride a van going to Rio Tuba. It takes 4-5 hours of travel from the city to Rio Tuba. Just make sure to be there before 10 in the morning. The fare is 450.00. Once you're at Rio Tuba Port, ride a boat going to Balabac mainland which takes approximately 3 hours. The only boat to Balabac leaves at 12 noon, but could be earlier depending on the headcount of passengers going to the island. The fare is 250.00.
You have to detached yourself from gadgets. There's no internet connection, cellphone signal is limited, and no karaoke and television sets. Electricity in the island is turned off at midnight. Yes, there's no wifi connection but I'm sure you'll find a good connection with Onuk Island.
THINGS TO ENJOY
-You can rent a smaller boat and paddle it for some water sports/adventures.
-Go on snorkeling and you'll see giant clams and corals. What's best is that you don't need to have a googles because the water is crystal clear.
-You can also sleep on a hammock tied on a tree.
- There's a sandbar during low tide season,and around this time, you'll see hermit crabs and turtles.
-Be a Barat-Packer like me. DIY is not advisable. It's best to join in a group tour for you to save money. In addition, since the island is private, proper coordination is very important.
- Bring Power banks. You absolutely need it for you to charge your gadgets and camera to capture your moments here.
-Make sure to waterproof everything! Use a waterproof camera like gopro.
-Bring flashlight, insect repellant lotion, sunblock and just enough set of clothes
-Don't go there if you're not into camping, can't survive a day without internet connection,and not used to simple life.
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My first ever trip to Palawan was not in El Nido nor in Coron. It was in the farthest and southern most part of Palawan, in Balabac. "What? Balabac? Where is that? What are we going to find there?" exactly my thoughts when my friend told me we were going there. Our target destination? Onuk Island/Onok Island. This is the first time that I didn't make any search or plans for this trip. I just let my friend surprise me, and she did, in so many ways (haha).
Going to Onok Island was not easy but it was one of my favorite experiences. From Puerto Princessa, we took the 9PM last trip of the bus and traveled for 6 hours going to the Port of Rio Tuba. We arrived there at 3AM and since there's only 1 schedule of pumpboat going to Balabac which is at 12 noon, we checked in at a nearby lodge (White Heaven Lodging). We woke up at 10AM for brunch and to get enlisted for the pumpboat going to Balabac. The pumpboat ride took 4 hours before it reached the town of Balabac. We were supposed to go directly to Onok Island once we arrived in Balabac but unfortunately for some reasons, we weren't able to. We had to spend a night in Balabac and went to the island the next day. From Balabac Island, it took us an hour to get to Onok Island.
On our way to the island, we enjoyed the scenic ocean view and its clear blue water and the view of each islands that we passed by. When we were almost near, we saw all the beautiful and lively corals around the island which made me want to jump and see them closer. My first step on the island was surreal! The sand was so white and so fine that you can compare it with a powdered milk haha atleast that's what I thought that time LOL. Even finer and whiter than Boracay's I think. I even slept on the sandbar haha. The water is so clear! I even saw some pawikans nearby and some eagles resting. And there's even a rainbow on the other side. The sunset was also magnificent. It was just me and my friend on the island, aside from the caretakers (they left in the afternoon to catch some fish). We owned the island that day. There was that time where I was on the other side frolicking and my friend is on the other side doing her thing. We were on paradise! We didn't want to leave. I wish we could've stayed longer but I'll definitely go back soon! I shall return, Onuk!
For some of the photos that I took, you can check my Instagram Gallery: @whereisG
For the rest of the itinerary, you can read my friend's blog: http://www.jenneverblogs.com/2015/09/onok-island-sample-itinerary.html
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