Thursday, April 18, 2013

[Throwback (Travel) Thursday 04.18.2013] Puerto Princesa's Sabang Beach a decade ago

Everyone seems to be so familiar with Palawan's Underground River, thanks to Puerto Princesa's massive campaign for its inclusion in that 7 Wonders of the Natural World thing. Sadly, people are also quick to overlook the gorgeous beach right there at the jump-off, which, in itself, deserves some respect. This is Sabang Beach.

2013 04 18_sabang beach 02
Happy me on Sabang Beach.

I first fell in love with the beach ten years ago when I went to see the famed Underground River in one of those side trips I make when I'm out doing field work. Sabang is a long and wide beach with cream-colored sand that's very fine and foot-friendly. It has a gradual sloping seabed that's perfect for swimming although there was nary a soul in sight.

At the time the place had an innate charm that was still untouched by commercialism. There was already a minimum number of cottages then but none like the gargantuan ones like Sheridan Beach Resort & Spa today. Not even close, as everything was pretty basic back then. With no restaurants whatsoever, we ate at a carinderia (local eatery). There was no electricity and the only power source came from a generator set that allowed distribution from 6:30 to 9:00 in the evening.

2013 04 18_sabang beach 01
Really quiet beach back in November 2002.

I only had a few hours to spend there then because we had to catch the last jeepney trip at 2pm going back to Puerto Princesa. And I always thought of coming back someday, this time to enjoy the beach. Ten years later I made it back but the place has drastically changed, with resorts big and small everywhere. There's still no real electricity but more generators have mushroomed, most of which are owned by the resorts. The beach is still nice (see here) although I wasn't able to swim because of the huge waves at the time. I guess my timing was ill. Nonetheless, I'd still love to go back.

2013 04 18_sabang beach 03
Me at the start of our trek to the Underground River 10 years ago.


Puerto Princesa, the capital, is served by multiple daily flights from Manila by Philippine Airlines/PAL ExpressCebu Pacific, and Zest Air. Tiger Airways also flies to Puerto Princesa but not daily.

Flights are also available from Cebu, with Cebu Pacific offering daily flights and PAL Express 3X a week.

PAL Express also flies from Busuanga (Coron) 2X a week while SkyPasada serves the El Nido-Puerto Princesa and Taytay (Palawan)-Puerto Princesa routes, though I'm not sure of the frequency.

Flight schedules may change, so check with the airline beforehand.

The convenient way
You can arrange for your own transportation at the airport. A one-way trip in a private van can cost around Php 3,000 or more. It's a 1.5 to 2-hour drive to Sabang. Needless to say, this option is best suited for groups and for those with whom money is not a problem.

The hard way
If, however, you're on a budget, from the airport, take a tricycle to the public bus terminal in San Jose. It's best to be there early and catch either the 7am jeepney or the 9am bus. Nevertheless, trips are available until 3pm. Please take note that because several stops are expected, travel time may take longer than two hours, around three perhaps.


Sheridan Beach Resort and Spa, the biggest resort in the area with around 90 guest rooms, and where I stayed in February 2012. It has a huge pool, a restaurant, spa, and other facilities. It's just a short walk away from the port area but far enough from the commotion. (You can check out my full review here.) 

Daluyon Beach & Mountain Resort, a smaller resort but with air-conditioned rooms, a pool, and a restaurant as well. It's located further away from the pier.


  1. Wow, it looks so raw so natural! Is it right now fullfilled with hotels? I like spaces like this, they make you feel completely in peace, isn't it?

    Wherever the Sunset is

    1. there are a number of resorts already but it's not too crowded yet -- even after 10 years.

  2. This is crazy, it looks beautiful.
    I live right next to the beach and take it for granted.

  3. It is really funny, cause here in November we seat near the fire to get warm. You, on the other hand, are going swimming....
    Best Regards
    Miss Margaret Cruzemark

    1. haha! the benefits of living in a tropical country :)

  4. Awesome pictures!

  5. Aww i soo wanna get to know puerto princesa! and coron islands as well. are you phpino?

    check out the post I did for you guys and leave your opinion!


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