Port Barton: It’s All About the People
Our journey from Sabang to Port Barton was via another minivan. We joined one minivan for an hour and then were dropped off to wait for our next one. The journey took about 3 ½ hours including around 25 minutes waiting time.
The minivan experience isn’t that great. If you suffer from motion sickness I would highly recommend taking travel sickness pills beforehand. If you are tall, by Filipino standards this is over 5 ft 5 inches, then be prepared for an uncomfortable ride. The roads are sometimes unsealed with many bends. On top of this, people are squeezed into the van so you will not have the luxury of space.
We arrived safe and sound though. Our drop off point was at the Coast Guard office, where we paid PHP 50 each in environmental taxes. The card evidence of this is needed if you take any boat rides. Our home for the night is Deep Moon Resort, which was a 5-minute walk away.
Why Visit Port Barton
Our decision to go to Port Barton was based on a few blogs that we had read including Home is Where your Bag Is. It sounded like a little piece of paradise. A small place with just one or two places to stay with stunning beaches. I guess, this is where we are reminded of our age verses that of our fellow bloggers.
The blogs we read are usually twenty-something backpackers, looking for budget travel. We on the other hand are a couple of forty-something flashpackers, looking for value travel. There is a huge difference and Port Barton, however lovely is more suited to our fellow bloggers than us. The reason we started this blog was that we struggled to find similar aged bloggers out there!
Port Barton Accommodation
So, Greg booked Deep Moon Resort. He told me that there was free yoga twice a day – fabulous. The reviews on Tripadvisor looked good. You know it’s coming don’t you………It wasn’t pleasant! We were in a cottage with no electricity during the evening (not unusual for Port Barton) meaning it was stifling hot. The clincher for me was the Reggae Bar next door. This is the Port Barton party bar, open until 4am. I have never hated Bob Marley or the digeri-fing-doo so much in my entire life!
The clincher for Greg was……..yup you guessed it, creepy crawlies. After seeing a “killer” millipede Deep Moon’s days were numbered!
After meeting Natalie and David on the island-hopping tour (see below) we moved to the Sunset Beach Resort. This was much, much nicer and our last few days were much more peaceful, with less bugs and great company.
In and Around Port Barton
As with El Nido, Port Barton has a number of island tours. We chose Santa Cool’s tour, based on reviews and the free beer that they offered.
The tour started from Santa Cool’s bar with 8 other people. Greg and I were significantly older than the rest of the guys and “hilariously” sat in the seats reserved for Senior Citizens by accident! (Thanks David for pointing this out!). This tour was for the beautiful people, with our fellow island hoppers being absolutely gorgeous inside and out. We had such a lovely bunch of people with Barbara and Lukas from Austria and Natalie and David from USA / Germany (see Natalieraeny.com) being such interesting, friendly and beautiful people.
The tour went to 5 islands: Reef No 5; Twin Reef; Paradise Island; Fantastic Reef and Starfish Island. The islands were truly beautiful. We stopped for an amazing lunch, which included a bit of a hike where we found a secluded beach.
The Big Blue
The snorkelling was incredible, we saw loads of turtles and beautiful fish. At Starfish Island, I wasn’t too happy with the treatment of the Starfish with people picking them up, throwing them and posing with them. It’s just wrong that people continue to take the environment and other living creatures for granted. I was quite cross so Greg took me elsewhere to show me how he could walk on water – clever boy!
The journey back was a little chilly, with us trying to shelter ourselves with our life jackets. So, time for a beer at Santa Cools! We all had more catch ups, posed for photos and generally had a great day. Thanks to Santa Cools, I’d recommend!
As I’m sure that I mentioned in our Siquijor blog about the wondrous sunsets of the Philippines, but seriously Port Barton has this nailed.
On our first night before a lovely meal with Nadine and Fabian (who we met on the way to Sabang), the four of us sat in front of Deep Moon and watched local guys skimboarding in front of a beautiful setting sun. It really was a beautiful sight. Greg and Fabian tried to take the perfect shot, and they didn’t do bad!
A couple nights later, Greg, David Natalie and I sat having a romantic meal on the beach! Now that was some sunset, just stunning. We were then joined by a tiny pup and its Mom. I wanted to take them home, such a cutie. So many cute dogs around the world with no-one to love them. I really am going to have to do something that helps ……..
Food and Drink (and animals)
After the long van journey we headed to Mabuti for lunch. This is a really nice vegetarian restaurant owned by a Polish chap. We ate here a few times and the food was delicious. We would recommend all of it!
Our first evening was spent at Bamboo restaurant with Nadine and Fabian (Sabang). The food was ok, nothing very special. We were followed to dinner by Deep Moon’s resident dog. She is clearly very clever as she hung around until we finished our food, had the scraps and then left us! There was also a very cheeky little cat who jumped on the table and ran off with a chicken leg from Greg’s plate!
Natalie and David (I know they are quite the theme in this blog!) recommended the best pizza place Gorgonzola, I cannot recommend enough, particularly when you are craving food that you are more used to at home. Delicious, Italian, Wood Burning Stove, Pizzas…….mmmmmmmm.
Greg decided (note to self never listen to Greg!) that it would be a great idea for us to rent a moped and explore local “hidden” beaches. We did this, despite meeting Jen and Josh (a Notts / Brummie couple like ourselves – see our99days on Instagram), who told us about another chap they’d met who had really hurt himself on a moped there and said that the roads were really dangerous. What could go wrong!?!?!
Along the high street we went and hired our moped. We then set off for Pamuayan Falls. The roads were non-existent with massive pot holes everywhere. It was really quite scary and very slow going. We got lost several times, as per the usual with Greg and I. We did make it to the Falls though. At the Falls, you need to pay a small entrance fee and then walk a little way to the Falls. On the way, we bumped into the Deep Moon receptionist, and managed not to be too embarrassed about our check out. The Falls were nice enough, pretty cold and just not as secluded and special as the ones we’d fallen across on Siquijor.
After a little while chilling here we headed out to White Beach. Again, the journey was a little scary, but we managed it. Along the way local children asked for sweets and I really wished that I had some, but not being a good girl scout I was ill-prepared (as usual). White Beach was nice and is home to the Deep Moon secluded annex. Nice enough I imagine if your fellow guests are fun, but could be a little lonesome and dull I imagine.
We relaxed on some hammocks until a storm came in, so we hot (or cold and wet) footed it back to Port Barton.
Our next stop is El Nido, which we’ve heard very mixed reports about. Some say it’s paradise, some say it’s a sewer! I guess we’ll find out. We’ll miss David and Natalie, and I hope we’ll stay in touch as they have been awesome company over the week. El Nido then Coron for more diving beckons!
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