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TRAVEL | PHILIPPINES | PUERTO PRINCESA

Afternoon Chilling at Nagtabon Beach

We heard from the locals that the Nagtabon Beach is the best beach to be found in Puerto Princesa. It is located about 33km away from our hotel, Floral Villarosa, or about an hour ride on the road. You can hail for a tricycle to take you there on a round trip around P700 (depends on how good your negotiation skill is!) or rent a scooter and drive there yourself.

We wanted to explore and see the sights along the way as well, so we knew renting a scooter would be best for us. We rented a scooter for a day for P400 from a shop near Isabel’s Store. We couldn’t help but smile big to each other when driving away towards Nagtabon, as other shops quoted us up to P650!

You can rent a bike online as well, www.rent-a-bike.ph, and they can send it to your desired location and pick it up from there as well. If convenience is a factor to you, it is worth checking out!

Nagtabon Beach

We relied on Google Maps to get to Nagtabon Beach. The road was fine, with not much of traffic other than in Puerto Princesa. We could see typical local small shops selling snacks and canned drinks along the way. We took a couple of wrong turns but managed to fix that before we went too far! After about an hour and a half of riding, with the last bits of roads being full-on gravel, complete with potholes, we reached our destination! As it is a public beach, everyone is welcome and there is no entrance fee to enter the beach.

From our research, there is very little you can expect at Nagtabon. However, we were pleasantly surprised to find a few shack shops set up by the locals, selling beers, fruit shakes, grilled fresh seafood, barbequed chicken legs and burgers.

There are no proper restaurants there, but man, the wafting scents of grilled food was so enticing, we knew we would be well taken care of for lunch!

As we went on a Monday, there were very few people around by the time we got there, at around 11 am. Probably just about 10-15 tourists scattered around, so it felt like we were by ourselves enjoying the vastness of the beach! There are a few huts available for rental for P200 each, big enough to fit 8 people. Otherwise, people were just relaxing with beach towels on the beach.

Not much of amenities were available. No jet skis, surf boards and kayaks for rental, no kite surfing, nothing of that sort – AWESOME! The only toilet around the beach is located about 5 minutes walk away, and it was gross, so avoid coming here if you have an upset stomach! There is no WiFi nor phone signal, so it is an ideal beach for those who wants to disconnect, and still be ‘close’ to the town.

With very little development around the beach, it is perfect for some of us who just want to escape the hustle and bustle of the city, and dive into the quiet and slow beach life.

We couldn’t resist jumping in and swim in the clean, turquoise water. The water was nice and peaceful with small waves.We loved the fact that we could just swim and stroll around the beach as we pleased, with close to no one else there to bother us.

However, later we were told that Nagtabon can see thousands of people during the weekend. We would highly recommend to check Nagtabon out during a weekday if possible.

While we were wading and swimming in the water, we noticed that some people were setting up the net for a game of beach volleyball. This was pretty much the only activity that was offered at the beach, other than eating and drinking.
While the sea was mild while we were there, we later read that on occasion there are strong riptides that can pull a person far out into the sea. It’s always better to be safe than sorry, so do take caution when swimming at this beach.

Be careful when swimming as there are no lifeguards on duty, so it is advisable not to swim alone, in case of emergency.

After enjoying the sun and the beach for a while, we decided to have lunch. This was a simple BBQ grilled seafood by the beach. After choosing a freshly caught grouper (P250) and squid (P150) for our meal, we headed back to our rented hut (P200), to dry ourselves off and watch the world go by, with ice cold San Miguels.

It took about an hour before our food got served, and wow, it was a meal not to be forgotten! The grouper meat was tender and perfectly grilled, served with piping hot white rice. We devoured our meal – and after a first bite, we immediately ordered a second round!

After enjoying the sun and the beach for a while, we decided to have lunch. This was a simple BBQ grilled seafood by the beach. After choosing a freshly caught grouper (P250) and squid (P150) for our meal, we headed back to our rented hut (P200), to dry ourselves off and watch the world go by, with ice cold San Miguels.

It took about an hour before our food got served, and wow, it was a meal not to be forgotten! The grouper meat was tender and perfectly grilled, served with piping hot white rice. We devoured our meal – and after a first bite, we immediately ordered a second round!

Unfortunately, it started to rain around 3 pm. Not much to do when the weather got bad, so we just relaxed and watched the world go by. Once the rain got lighter, we thought it was time for us to head back to our hotel. We thought of exploring the other beaches near Nagtabon but the heavy rain stopped us in our tracks. We didn’t feel too comfortable to go down the rough dirt roads to get to the other beaches.

Hopefully, the next time when we are in Puerto Princesa, the weather would be better with more sun and less rain. However, we were glad we didn’t get sunburnt throughout our experience in Puerto Princesa so far.

Recommendations 

1) Go on a weekday when there are fewer people around. Weekends could get very crowded, according to locals.

2) Bring a book or company along as there is no Internet and cell phone connectivity, and very little to do aside from beach bumming, relaxing by the water and swimming.

3) Take some money along to purchase some drinks and food at the local shacks here. No credit card payments nor ATM can be found here.

4) No good clean toilet is available. ‘Nuff said…

5) Be careful when getting here with a rented bike. The gravel road towards to the beach is full of potholes.

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