Linapacan Island, Palawan Philippines
Replies: 11 - Last Post: Mar 13, 2012 7:23 PM Last Post By: edwinic
Jan 29, 2012 2:01 AM
Jan 29, 2012 2:18 AM
1Linapacan is a medium - sized island in the Calamianes group, located between Coron to the north and the Palawan mainland to the south. It’s one of those islands which rarely sees a tourist, as there’s no public ferry or air travel. Getting there can be a bit hit-and-miss, particularly if the weather is bad. In the six days I was in San Miguel, the main town, in January, there wasn’t another tourist in town.
The snorkelling, just off the shore. Some good corals, and the marine life was spectacular.
The friendly people. There was no, “Hi Joe”, it was more, “Hello, po!”. I was invited to several social gatherings, from a church gathering to a New Year’s Eve party.
Great Island hopping, including a trip to the ruins of an old Spanish fort, good beaches, some caves to explore.
Very cheap living expenses – fan rooms 400 pesos a night, excellent seafood meals for less than 100 pesos, which included a beer or bottle of mineral water.
There is a marine reserve just off the pier at San Miguel, the main town on Linapacan. There is no beach to talk of in the town, and the reef is about 150 metres from the pier. Very shallow at first, with sea grass and small coral growth, starfish, etc, then an area of dead coral, then you reach the drop-off which has some good coral formations. But it is the marine life which makes this place special. Eels, large barracuda-like fish, pipe fish, plenty of colourful tropical fish, including schools of batfish, ribbon fish.
At one stage I came across a school of several thousand white mullet, about 6 – 8 inches long, which swam in a solid circular wall around me for about 15 minutes, until I eventually swam away. Videos of some of the fish here and here ; sorry about the poor quality of the videos, a first attempt with a small underwater camera.
It’s easy to hire a banca to go island hopping. Costs vary depending on the size of the boat and distance travelled. The main expense is the fuel, which sells for 240 pesos a gallon. You could easily use 5 – 10 gallons in a day, so the cost depends on the distance you want to travel. A rough estimate would be 1,500 to 2,500 pesos for a day.
There are ruins of an old 18th century Spanish fort at Caseledan on Linapacan Island, very much overgrown by vines, with only the walls and a well remaining. It is near a pearl farm. The water was so clear we were able to catch a large crayfish by hand, which we noticed when walking the boat over shallow sand near the shore.
From there we went to Elli Island. Some OK snorkelling there, good coral but only small fish. Visited the Elli Caves, but my torch was so weak I didn’t get to explore them.
The snorkelling off the pier at San Miguel was so good I didn’t bother looking for other spots, but there are plenty of interesting looking islands around.
There is a long white sandy beach on Patao Island, less than a kilometre across from San Miguel. You can arrange for a banca to drop you off there in the morning and collect you in the afternoon but you have to take your own food and water. There are some reports of good snorkelling off this beach.
Dory Store and Lodging is the only accommodation in San Miguel. A clean single fan room with a chair and table and share bathroom cost 400 pesos a night. There is a large balcony with tables and chairs overlooking the water, and a common room with driftwood furniture, a bar and TV (but not cable TV). There are also air conditioned rooms, but electricity is only available from noon to midnight.
Food and Drink
As there are no restaurants or carinderias in San Miguel (I didn’t even see a karaoke bar) Dory did all the cooking. Her meals were a great example of just how good home-cooked Pilipino food can be. Some examples of meals and their costs:
Breakfast – a plate of rice (plain or garlic) with eggs and a choice of meat (longganisa, tocino, hot dog, etc) plus 3-in-1 coffee, 45 pesos in total;
Rice (plain or garlic) 10 pesos
Whole fried fish 25 pesos
Whole sweet and sour fish 35 pesos
Whole steamed lapu lapu fish 55 pesos
Plate of mixed veges 25 pesos
Fried chicken 60 pesos
Cold beer (SMB) 30 pesos
There are no regular ferries to Linapacan. However, there are banca boats from Linapacan which regularly go to Coron (Busuanga)and Taytay (Palawan mainland) for supplies. In Coron, if you ask around at the banca boats at the reclamation area you may be able to find a boat going to Linapacan. The first day I tried, there were no boats from Linapacan; the second day, there were three.
The trip from Coron took about 3.5 hours and cost 300 pesos. It took about 6.5 hours from Linapacan to Taytay, and cost 500 pesos. The weather was good for both trips and they were smooth rides. You can check forecasted weather conditions with the Coast Guard in San Miguel before leaving, and the Coast Guard inspected the boat before it left for Taytay.
There are two boats which regularly go to Manila, taking live fish from Linapacan and bringing back dry goods, but the boats didn’t look as if they were built for comfort.
In a nutshell
An island completely off the tourist radar, with excellent snorkelling at your doorstep, good, cheap accommodation and seafood and the ruins of an old Spanish fort to explore. Plenty of nearby islands for island hopping, a short boat ride away from a long sandy beach which also has good snorkelling.
Some photos here.
Jan 29, 2012 3:52 AM
Jan 29, 2012 8:04 AM
3Great post Trota1!
So many other places to "discover" in the Philippines ...
Jan 29, 2012 8:29 AM
Jan 29, 2012 10:04 PM
Jan 30, 2012 12:48 AM
Linapacan is also one of my favourite islands in the Philippines, i been there 2 years
ago and it seems, it is just like before.
At Patoyo island you can find some good snorkel spots at the beaches and bays
at the southern coastline.
Awesome beaches are at Inapupan island, good snorkeling and plenty of fishes would
be also at Ariara island, but there opens now a "high end" privat resort and maybe it is not
possible to go there for snorkeling again.
Some pictures about Linapacan and the surrounding islands you can find also here:
Mar 12, 2012 6:01 PM
Mar 12, 2012 6:22 PM
Mar 13, 2012 2:02 AM
There was no regular day for boats from Coron to Linapacan. I was advised to just go to the reclaimation area behind the Coron markets and ask around. The first day I tried, no boats at all. Second day there were several boats. I had to wait around for an hour or so until the boat owner arrived, as the other passengers weren't sure if he would take a tourist along. But no problem when he arrived, he said OK and waited while I raced back to the hotel to get my bags and check out.
It seems there are boats at least every few days, weather permitting.
Taytay isn't the only connection to Palawan, there's also a boat which goes from San Miguel to the north tip of Palawan, and I think another to a place near El Nido. Dory could give you the details or find out for you. There may also be boats from other places in Linapacan to Palawan, but I didn't check these.
Dory Store and Lodging
San Miguel, Linapacan
- 0921 5511 476 or
Mar 13, 2012 2:15 AM
Mar 13, 2012 7:23 PM
11Trota1 I was able to call Dory & you were right ; she's very helpful.
She said the route Coron SanMiguel is frequent. Waves are calm Apr May Jun.
She ask me how I got her number, I pointed to a recent foreign visitor who I met in internet & she's amused
The line was erratic from Mideast where I am calling from.
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