By Carlos Pala
As borders around the country continue to open to domestic tourists, many are already hard at work planning their first big outdoor adventure after more than a year of being cooped up at home due to the pandemic.
A quick look around travel groups on social media can easily give you this idea: that a lot of Pinoys are looking for destinations where they can bask under the sun, sand, and sea—a refreshing, more exciting change from stuffy rooms and offices.
In the Philippines, it’s not a tall order to pick out a beach to visit. What’s trickier is discovering a new place—a hidden gem, so to speak—where there are not only relatively fewer tourists (a must for many, for social distancing, health, and safety reasons) but also offer new sights, sounds, and even tastes to enjoy.
Here’s a suggestion: Head to the town of San Vicente on the northwest side of Palawan, recently hailed as one of the world’s best islands at Conde Nast Traveler’s annual Reader’s Choice Awards 2021. It’s strategically located just a few minutes away from the San Vicente Airport, which hosts regular flights to and from Manila and Clark.
Charming and laidback, San Vicente rivals its more popular neighbors through its breathtaking vistas and abundant natural resources—minus the seemingly endless trickle of crowds. It is for travelers who wish to live the island life, and seek a slow, more mindful, and eco-friendly way of living and unwinding close to nature.
What to do in San Vicente
San Vicente is home to several iconic, must-visit attractions. First is Long Beach which, at 14.7 kilometers long, is three times the length of Boracay’s White Beach. It also holds the distinction as the Philippines’ longest coastline, while also ranking second in the entire Southeast Asia.
Next is Port Barton, a village by the sea from which tourists usually go off for island hopping tours. Port Barton’s reach extends to several islands, which tourists can explore and do fun activities like snorkeling and swimming.
There’s also the so-called Bato Ni Ninging, a huge rock perched atop a hill. From here, visitors can enjoy and take photos of majestic views of the Sto. Niño Beach, Mount Capuas, Imuruan Island, and the blue sea and verdant mountains.
Going inland, tourists can go on a mangrove river cruise along the Inandeng River aboard a kayak to see and learn more about these essential habitats that serve as home to many different species, help prevent erosion, and more.
San Vicente is home to two waterfalls, too: the Pamuayan Waterfalls and Bigaho Falls. Take a dip into their cool waters as you marvel at the waterfalls’ height and listen to the sounds of the surrounding lush forests.
Enjoy the best of sustainable tourism and green living in San Vicente
With its rustic beach vibe and remote location, San Vicente makes for an ideal place where one—whether as a tourist or a future homeowner—can pursue the island life they’ve always dreamed of.
And soon, San Vicente’s guests and residents can experience the seamless convergence of sustainable tourism and green living in new and exciting ways, as Megaworld will soon transform a portion of the island into a world-class, sustainable, and cross-generational ‘eco-tourism’ community.
To be called Paragua Coastown after Palawan’s old name in the early 1900s, the planned 462-hectare community will highlight the natural beauty of San Vicente through facilities inspired by sustainable architecture while encouraging a holistic lifestyle: health and wellness sanctuaries, a cultural center, and even a mangrove reserve park, just to name a few.
“While we transform San Vicente into a world-class development, we also commit to the preservation of the island’s biodiversity. Aside from the preserved natural surroundings of the beach, mountains, and cliffs of San Vicente, we will also provide the facilities and amenities for holistic wellness for our future residents. More than just sustainable tourism, our vision for Paragua Coastown is to provide an opportunity to those who want to live the island life and even raise their families on this side of Palawan,” said Kevin L. Tan, chief strategy officer, Megaworld.
So, if you’re looking to escape from the hustle and bustle of the city, albeit momentarily, you can look forward to visiting or even settling down at San Vicente in Palawan—the closest you can get to enjoying nature’s best right at your doorsteps.