Balabac, Palawan may be known for its beautiful islands, but you don’t need to brave the sea to see something beautiful. A couple of sights are in Balabac Island itself and all you need is a motorcycle.
Yes guys, I’m back on the road again for half a day to check out Melville Lighthouse and Indalawan Falls, some of the inland tours in Balabac Island. Both are located on the northern part of the island. I’m lucky to have the accommodation take care of everything. I was completely delighted to have stayed with Kuya Johnny‘s JD Lodging. The rooms are new, clean, not too small and worth the price. The bathrooms are small and shared, but it’s completely fine for a budget stay. Electricity also runs for 24 hours which is so convenient for an island with limited electricity.
|At my room at JD Lodging|
After my stay in Onok Island, I went to Balabac Island to spend the last 2 days of my vacation. The travel took 1.5 hours in the sea. We were facing the sunset and the water is gently bringing us closer to Balabac.
When you get to Balabac, expect the attention that you’ll get from the residents, to be specific, their glaring eyes. The place is not yet known to people so having some unknown face with a big backpack walking on the streets will frown their foreheads. It’s a bit awkward on my part but I was surprised to have met some very nice Muslims. One was when I bought barbecue and asked where I can buy rice. One woman went to me and handed me a cup of rice, for free! That’s Php 15.00 less of expense. 🙂
Moving on, I woke up early to buy some bread and coffee. Small stores are available everywhere you can even buy lotion and moisturizer. This will make your pasalubong shopping easy, thanks to Muslim’s business oriented nature.
STARTING THE INLAND TOUR
The habal-habal (motorcycle) is set to pick me up at 9 in the morning. It is important to note that when you visit the falls or the lighthouse using a habal-habal, be sure to wear pants or bottoms that will cover your legs. You’ll go inside narrow hiking trails and spiky plants will be on your way.
CAPE MELVILLE LIGHTHOUSE
The habal habal ride can be as long as 2.5 hours going to the lighthouse. What can you expect, lighthouses are usually at the tip of an island! So, we passed by beautiful shoreline lined up with coconut trees, a brown-close-to-dirty beach, two elementary schools and a winding mountain road. At one point should be the trekking to the lighthouse which my driver ridiculously passed by with the motorcycle. Imagine the bumpy and sloppy ride!
Then, the lighthouse. Cape Melville is a Spanish Lighthouse built as part of their extensive lighting plan for the archipelago. It is located at the southernmost point of Palawan to light Balabac Strait. First lit on August 30, 1982, some parts of it are now stolen except the original lights and lenses. It was later declared as a National Historical Landmark.
A tall man welcomed me in the area. He was a Philippine Coast Guard living for 6 months already in that station. As Malaysia is a close neighbor from Balabac, resident coast guard monitors all boats running on the border and asked them to report. There’s even a time we talked about the Spratly Islands and the Chinese. Haha After the chitchat I learned how lonely their job was, imagine a place with no cellphone signal! They have to go far just to make calls.
The lighthouse was still intact despite the age, looking at it give me the creeps. There are a couple of empty offices, dusty, rusty and dark. Vandalism emphasized the feels and silence is just at the back of my head. I admit I didn’t let myself away from my guide, baka kung ano makita ko. Hahaha
INSIDE THE LIGHTHOUSE
The square yard inside is small and litter free. The tower which lies in the center has a spooky entrance. Something that will make you think twice on entering. It looks like a portal that will take you to the past. (See photo above) Err! Haha
But of course I cannot let fear ruin my experience, so I went up and just looked straight. Deep inside I’m afraid of this place. I’m the only tourist and there’s just two of us in the tower. I’m more afraid of ghosts than the man behind me, anyway he looked harmless.
Though I’m a little bit anxious, I was excited when I heard Malaysia and the Kota Kinabalu are visible from the tower. Unfortunately, it’s not visible all the time. You’ll only see the sea and clouds, not even a shadow of Malaysia, but I’m not frustrated at all. Look:
Amazing isn’t it?
The next stop of the inland tour was Indalawan Falls which is 1.5 hours from Melville. The road is thankfully good, my butt may have prayed for it. Along the way I had problems on where to get bottled water, lucky if cold, but there’s none! I got soda instead.
Getting to the falls will require you to pass by residential areas. You’ll need to sign on a log book, pay Php 10.00 and start the trek.
As with every other secluded falls, you’ll need to trek to get to Indalawan Falls. You’ll often see residents gather and have picnics here. The trek would take 20mins or less for healthy and fit people, but that’s not the case with mine. Since we’re trekking inside tall trees, the air had a hard time getting in, and it slowed me down. Well yeah, I’m just not fit. Hahaha
I don’t remember much of the view along the way except the tiny green snake we came across a tree root which I’m too afraid to take a picture.
Reaching the falls will put you to rocky and slippery trail. We had to go up to see the falls under. Big boulders of rock lined up the stream, while tall trees provide side-cover.
The falls is tall and thin. Maybe it’s summer that’s why the flow of water is still weak. The residents though are happily splashing and enjoying the falls with their family. Not to note their body is so muscular I pitied guys in Manila who needed a gym just to get those. 😛
Even though I didn’t came in contact with water, I’m already contented taking pictures and resting on one place. We didn’t stay for long because we’re hungry. Came afternoon and we’re still on the road and I can’t help but think of Jollibee. HAHA It’s funny that I’m craving for Jollibee whenever I’m outside Manila. HAHAHA
ENDING MY DAY
After the tour, I shopped for pasalubong, slept and ate (bummer). I watched TV while getting mosquito bites and I stayed even if some party is making its noise on the first floor. I bought a sim card in light of getting connected to the internet but yeah, I have to save my Instagram posts for later. Nothing much happen that night.
I will then end this post with the following tours that you can also try in Balabac Island. All of this can be done in one day.
- Wear light pants or cover your legs – Your shield from spiky plants and insect bites.
- Bring water, it’s hard to find portable one in other barangay.
- Sunglasses is important to protect your eyes from sand, dust and harsh sunlight along the road.
OTHER INLAND TOURS IN BALABAC PALAWAN
- Indalawan White Beach
- Fort Culina
- Pilandok viewing – Pilandok also known as the Balabac chevrotain, is a small, nocturnal ruminant, which is endemic to Balabac and nearby smaller islands.
Come and enjoy Balabac!
Have a nice day!😉