The Space Go for adventure in southern Palawan. This part of the island, off the beaten path, has retained its authentisme, traditional lifestyle and exuberant nature.
On the threshold of the country's largest protected natural park, Palawan Ecolodge in sitio Malakibay (Rizal Town) is an ecological and social project whose goal is a very small scale tourism in harmony with local life.
To enjoy this place, very isolated and difficult to reach, with limited solar power (without air conditioning or hot showers) and meals according to market arrivals it's better to be a bit adventurer, nature and authenticity lover.
The Habagat house has three bedrooms with double bed. One bedroom has a very large bed (2,50 m wide) made for jetlagged babies who wants to sleep with their parents.
220V solar electricity, particularly limited during cloudy weather.
Cold ice box.
Beach beds and hammocks.
Bath & beach towels, bed sheets, cleaning and laundry service are included (free laundry for your clothes every 5 days).
Amihan and Habagat houses are beachfront and separated by 90m of vegetation. In the middle you have the kid’s play house. We are close enough to the sea to have permanent light winds, cool nights and less insects. We highly recommend to sleep with open shutters to benefit the night freshness, our natural "aircon".
Note that our solar panels provide enough power for lightning and charging few cameras, cellphones, laptop... but not for air conditionned, fans or hot water.
Our shower are local "tabo style" with a big drum and a small "tabo" (recipient) to shower you.
Visit Amihan house with other pictures of our surroudings here :
All inclusive means three meals. A drink (beer or soda) per person per meal is included, additional drinks can be purchased for 30 pesos.
Coconut juice when available (if it's very windy, we don't climb the trees).
Breakfast consist of (on order) : coffee, tea, hot chocolate, pancakes (plain or with fruits), toast, fresh fruit salad, eggs.
Meals depends on the «catches of the day» and daily fresh market products.
During bad weather we may not find seafood during several days.
Local dishes are : vegetable salad with fresh palm vinegar and olive oil, fish or seafood (crab, shrimp, squid), meat : bbq, curry, stewed with palm vinegar and soy sauce (adobo), local noodles with vegetables and meat (pancit), meat or vegetable fried rolls (lumpia), fruits (mango, pineapple, banana, jackfruit ...), rice and coconut milk cakes (ibus or bibingka), casava cakes...
We can adapt ourself to special diets : vegan, gluten free...
The water comes from our wells, filtered by a traditional charcoal system. We manually pump it into a tank without the use of a generator. Tap water is drinkable but we also provide you with purified water jerrycans.
The phone signal is good. You can get pre-paid internet with a local sim card available in Puerto Princesa (choose Smart operator for our place). The internet connexion however is quite weak, just enough for apps like messenger, airbnb, not for internet browsing. Guest Access You have free access to : snorkel, fins, surfboards, bodyboards, sea kayaks, SUP and life jackets which allow you to play in the waves, go diving on coral reefs or explore the mangrove with its monkeys and colorful birds.
You can also have a walk on the beach with our ponies Tala and Ulan. Only kids and teenagers can ride Tala. We provide regular or kids saddles, riding helmet...(kids saddle up to 8 years old)
If you are too heavy for our ponies you can ride our carabao (buffalo). Interaction with Guests You will be greeted by Mommy Sally whose house is 80 meters back from your house. Mommy, well known for her kindness and generosity, was for ten years the "official" cook for festive meals in Rizal. She retired on the seashore and will have only you to take care. She will be assisted in her task by her neighbors and relatives Cheche, Baning, Vick, Cesar, Vicente, Marvin, Mario... This happy team will guide you and satisfy your needs even if their english may be «colourful».
Our incomes are partly used for local community projects. For 2017-2018 it helped to open a new school in the bay for kids aged from 3 to 6 by paying the teacher's salary and by providing equipments. The Municipality will be able to hire the teacher in June 2018.
Any school material you could bring would be welcome : notebooks, pencils, pens, erasers, rulers, water color, english or tagalog kids books (you can find it in Puerto Princesa : National Bookstore), educative games (puzzles, construction games...), posters (maps, ABC-posters...). Please don't bring individual non educational gifts, the idea is to equip them and the school with educational material. And please avoid also candies, chips... we prefer not to promote junk food whish is already a problem in the Philippines even in remote and modest areas.
And if you whish, you will be more than welcome in the 17 kids class to talk a bit about your country (in english), permit the kids to listen to your language or share any of your specialty with them... The Neighborhood Ideal for lounging as for immersion in local life, Palawan Ecolodge is also a perfect place for water sports and mountain treks.
At high tide or low tide, swimming is perfect as there is only sand without stones or reefs in front of the houses and enough depth which is not always the case in Palawan.
At both ends of the bay and especially on the north side, there is immense coral reefs with a wide variety of species that you can easily reach by kayak.
At the north end of the beach you can go up a river for 300 meters before reaching a beautiful mangrove. You can explore the maze and land near the house of our friend Santi who is friends with a bunch of monkeys.
Depending on the season you may have nice waves: A shorebreak on sandy bottom or bigger waves on the reefs.
For kitesurfing or windsurfing, both Amihan and Habagat prevailing winds fit well and are side shore. The first waves outside the reef are safe with 2 meters of depth.
Palawan Ecolodge is at the entrance of Mount Mantalingahan Protected Landscape (the culminant point of Palawan), which won in 2013 the first national competition of protected areas.
Although the specifications of the park plans to encourage ecotourism, it is still a very little visited area where new species of fauna and flora are still discovered.
We can help you with authorizations and fees asked for those sites : Mt Mantalingahan, Tao't bato tribe, Mantayob falls which range from few hours to several days expeditions.
We are establishing partnership with the protected area administration to facilitate your visit and bring benefits to the local communities with a limited and respectful impact.
And if you want to trek without a challenging expedition on the Mantalingahan there are also very nice walks around the house. You can for exemple reach the Rizal market with a 45mn walk along the sea, hiking small forested hills.
Another very interesting trek is to walk to Tubo, a Palawan tribe village and then to continue to the Turbong falls through the jungle. From home, Tubo is a 2h walk, very easy at any age. It can also be a 30mn tricycle drive to Calupisan and then a 30mn walk. From tabo you can hire guides (500 pesos in total) to walk to the Turbong falls. It's a 2h very nice walk, quite steep with a thick vegetation. Ask the guide to cut for you walking sticks. We recommend light hiking shoes for the trek and plastic sandals to cross the rivers. Bring insect repellent, antisepctic and tweezers for thorns. No major difficulty, just watch what kind of tree you can grab (they are some thorny liana). However we would not recommend it for kids under 8 except is they are already used to this kind of trek. Getting Around From Manila, take a flight to Puerto Princesa, Palawan’s capitale (1h). We recommend to get tickets on Cebu Pacific website. Combined tickets with international flight from foreign agencies often propose only the national Philippines Airlines company with less schedule, higher prices and more delayed flights.
In Palawan, transport generally require some patience but you have opportunity to enjoy the view and taste the local life.
The road from Puerto Princesa to Rizal is a real trip where rice fields alternate with mountains. You will notice houses becoming more and more traditional.
To join Palawan Ecolodge from Puerto Princesa it takes around 5 hours (including a quick lunch stop). We propose you 3 options. Tell us which one you prefer, we will book it for you and you will pay directly the driver (if the road is very muddy, your driver may contact us to come to pick you up for the last 3km) :
1 - Private van with driver :
5,000 pesos one way for 1 to 5 people. 6,000 pesos one way for 6 to 10 people.
Pick up anywhere in Puerto Princesa and it's suburb (hotels, airport...) from 4 am to 4pm.
The most comfortable and fastest option.
2 - Public van with pick up :
700 pesos per person.
Pick up in northern Puerto Princesa and it's suburb (hotels close to the bus terminal, airport...) from 4am to 1pm. The public vans leave from the bus terminal in San Jose, it would be difficult for them to pick you up in the busy Puerto Princesa center (Rizal av...). If the pick up is at the airport, the driver will find you and you will have to pay a tricycle to reach his van with him (70 pesos).
After the pick up, the van may return to the bus terminal to wait for other passengers. It will also get more passengers on the way and it may be very crowded. The driver brings you to our house.
The "theorical" van schedule is from Puerto Princesa : 4 am, 5, 8, 10, 12 and 2pm. From Rizal 4 am, 5, 8, 10 and 1 pm. If their is few passengers, the van may wait 30mn before to leave.
Cheaper and local style.
3 - Public van without pick up.
300 pesos per person + 1 seat (300 pesos) for large bags (2 bags per seat).
Get in Puerto Princesa a taxi or a tricycle to the city bus terminal (New public Market, San Jose). Additional fees if the taxi or tricycle is hired in the airport. Ask to be dropped at the Leonard company for Rizal. In Rizal's market get a tricycle (20 mn. and 300 pesos per tricycle for 2 to 3 persons). Ask "sitio Malakibay, Aplaya, Kay Mommy Sally Bolagao".
We don't recommend to rent a car or a motorcycle. Companies in Puerto Princesa are small and have no solution to give you assistance in case of problems, particularly if you are driving in the south of Palawan. Vehicules are not always in good conditions, particularly the tires. Several of our guest had problems.
And beside technical problems, the road is long and rough, particularly between Quezon and Rizal.
South Palawan van companies with drivers have many vehicules on the way and can rescue each other quickly in case of problem.
In Rizal you can rent a motorcycle for local drives. You can also join us for free in our daily van rides to the market.
If despite our recommendation you are driving yourself, here are the guidelines to reach us :
In Puerto Princesa take the "South Highway" direction Narra. After Narra continue straight to Abo abo. In Abo abo turn right direction Quezon (a gaz station in the corner). Cross Quezon and continue to Rizal.
In Rizal main rundabout, turn left direction Municipal Hall. After the Municipal Hall continue straight for 3km. Then turn right direction Malakibay. You have 3km of rough road. After a small ascent turn right and go down to the coconut area. Continue straight to the mark Palawan Ecolodge. Other Things to Note Children from 0 to 2 years old are free of charge.
- Bring a good tropical mosquitoes repellent. Clothes spray is also usefull.
All beds are equiped with impregnated nets.
- For tropical weather beginners, it's a good idea to carry beside basic medicine : ears drops, eyes drops, antibiotic cream, antimycosis cream.
- But first of all, be careful with the sun. Wear hats, sunblock, swimming shirts... Particularly if you are just arriving from colder countries.
We didn't face any health problem with our guests except several overheats and sunburns.
- There are doctors in Rizal and a small health center. An hospital is under construction.
If you want to go on tour with one of the local folks (for fishing, planting or harvesting rice, meeting the monkeys in the mangrove) or if you want to have a treatment by the local healer, it is usual to give them directly a tip. We can inform you of an order of price.
There is no ATM in Rizal. The best is to bring cash and to change it Manila Airport. Then to withdraw in Puerto Princesa if needed. Inform your bank that you will withdraw in the Philippines. The country is blacklisted and companies like Visa are limiting withdrawals at 10000 pesos per day if they are not informed in advance, whatever the card limits.
We have a dry and a rainy season but we may have nice weather during the rainy season and rain during the dry season... Weather may change a lot from one year to another, particularly with phenomenon like El Niño.
The best is to be inspired by Filipino people and take things with philosophy.
Every season as its advantages, wind & waves or flat & clear water...
Temperatures are not changing much within the year (25 to 30°c) but the air is more or less humid regarding seasons.
Philippines has different climates. In the south of Palawan, the major trends are :
- January to March is Amihan season, a North-East wind going down Palawan. Formed above the continent (China, Mongolia, Siberia) it's a dry wind. It usually brings dry weather, small waves and very nice light wind. The sea is usually quite clear.
In Malakibay, this wind usually starts around 11 am and dies around 5 pm. It's perfect for kitebording and windsurfing with 10 to 18 knots.
It's one of the best season.
- Avril to May is the heart of the dry season. Usually there is no wind and no waves. The sea is very clear.
It's suppose to be the best season (but not for sailing or surfing)
- June is a transition month between dry and rainy season.
- July to September is Habagat season, the turbulent South-West wind. Not like Amihan, it's not a regular wind. It may be absent during few days and then quite violent (15-25 knots) with many gales. Waves may be quite high with strong currents. If it's the case we highly recommend to kids and even to some adults to wear life jackets (different sizes provided : baby, kid, teenager and adult). Habagat usually brings rains early afternoon with nice mornings and evenings. The sea is usually not very clear but a wonderful playground for water sports.
With El Niño phenomenon, 2014 and 2015 are having wonderful weather during this July-August period. Almost all our pictures were taken at this period. Weather was only troubled for few days when a typhoon was passing in the north of the country.
- October - November : Hagabat is lower but there there is a little bit more chance to have a tropical storm or a typhoon passing somewhere in the country.
- December is like June a transition month.
There is an average of 10 tropical storms or typhoons a year passing over or near the country. They are usually arriving East from the Pacific and are going North toward China. Being in the South West tip of the country we are well protected but even being far we have some consequences : 2 to 5 days of wind, rain and waves. They may come anytime of the year but are more frequent and stronger during Oct-Nov. ...