A lot of Palawan’s famed beauty is hidden — beaches, caves, lagoons.
A charming town in the northern part of the island is another slice of paradise waiting to be explored.
Ladies and gentlemen, meet San Vicente. It might not ring a bell unlike its long-developed neighbors El Nido and Puerto Princesa but that's precisely the reason to go.
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Unexplored beaches mean rich marine biodiversity, less crowds to navigate, and a chance to practice — really practice — eco-friendly tourism.
Getting there isn’t hard. The town has its own airport which now has direct flights from Clark. From the airport, visitors can take a 15-minute e-trike ride to the main town or a 20-minute e-trike ride to the San Vicente Long Beach, which at 14.7 kilometers long, is the longest white sand beach in the Philippines.
On the breezy e-trike ride from the airport, it was hard to look away from the glorious tree cover of San Vicente. Later, we learned that more than 86% of the municipality’s forested area remains intact.
San Vicente oozes charm from its romantic relationship with the environment; it serves as habitat for 23 out of 25 wildlife species endemic to Palawan.
Remarkable encounters with vibrant coral reefs and marine life is more than possible, with tour guides always pointing out that sea turtles should be treated more like co-inhabitants than attractions with which to snorkel.
Even the boatmen implement a “clean as you go” policy wherein they bring back the trash that guests carry on their island-hopping trips.
Meanwhile, melodious bird chirping can be heard outside room accommodations of resorts like Club Agutaya and Farm Belle, which both provide comfort through nature and the sustainable.
But it's not just romance San Vicente offers. Tourists who want to take it to the extreme can enjoy the view from 10,000 feet as local tour operators arrange skydiving activities with the help of licensed instructors.
San Vicente is projected to attract as many as 50,000 tourist arrivals by 2020. But, according to San Vicente’s tourism office, stakeholders have a mission not to let the growth of the town’s tourism industry take its toll on the environment.
“As much as possible, if you plan to invest in San Vicente, you have to follow our regulations,” municipal tourism officer Lucy Panagsagan says.
“And then we continuously educate our community (to) please help us sustain our environment, not only the community but also our guests.” — LA, GMA News
This story was produced through a trip sponsored by the 30th Philippine Travel Mart happening on August 30 to September 1, 2019 at SMX Convention Center Manila, Mall of Asia Complex, Pasay City - Presented by Philippine Tour Operators Association (PHILTOA) www.philtoa.com
For inquiries about island-hopping and skydiving activities, contact Aivan Abao (firstname.lastname@example.org), manager, St. Vincent Travel and Tours, Barangay Poblacion