In a quiet corner of Palawan — recently hailed the third Best Island in Asia in Conde Nast Traveler's annual Reader's Choice Awards 2021— lies a haven for those seeking a slow-paced, tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. Home to one of the Philippines' longest white sand beaches, crystal blue waters, rich marine life, and other stunning natural wonders is the sleepy town of San Vicente.
While most tourists flock to San Vicente's more popular neighbors, El Nido in the north and Puerto Princesa in the south, some choose to take the off-the-beaten path by taking a trip to this scenic beach town and are rewarded by sights and sounds that can only be found there.
Make San Vicente part of your post-crisis travel plans and include this list of must-try activities to your itinerary for a memorable trip.
1. Spend a day at Long Beach
In San Vicente, you cannot miss paying a visit to its most famous landmark: the 14-kilometer-long Long Beach, which spans three villages and is said to be three times longer than Boracay's White Beach.
Take your pick from the many things you can do at Long Beach: swim, walk, sunbathe, watch the sunrise and sunset, and take photos for posterity, just to name a few.
2. Go island-hopping
As one of the most popular activities here, island-hopping offers visitors even more exotic places to visit, most of them still untouched. Book a boat tour in advance with the help of your chosen accommodation or by visiting the booking office near the public market at Brgy. Poblacion.
Be explorers for the day and take a walk on the islands, dig into a full lunch spread, take a dip in the waters, or catch the sun while you are there. You can also go snorkeling to see beautiful coral reefs and colorful tropical fishes. If you are lucky, you might even see a pawikan. Do not forget to tip your hardworking boatmen after.
3. Take a mangrove river cruise
Aside from beautiful beaches, mangrove forests are another of San Vicente's tourist draws. Mangroves are essential to the ecosystem as they serve as habitat for many different species, help prevent erosion, and more.
So, do not miss the opportunity to see fascinating, dense mangrove forests (and even a wild animal or two) and learn more about them when you kayak through the Inandeng River for a mangrove river cruise.
4. Check out the beautiful waterfalls
The town is home to two waterfalls, the Pamuayan Waterfalls and Bigaho Falls. Marvel at the falls' height (Pamuayan features a 30-meter drop while Bigaho, 50 meters) and unique water cascades while also treating your eyes and ears to the sound of water splashing in chorus with the natural sounds of the surrounding lush forest.
5. Try exotic local fare
Of course, a trip to San Vicente—or anywhere, for that matter—would not be complete without trying a meal or two featuring exotic local food. Sample raw tamilok or fresh lato salad, for starters. For the less adventurous, traditional Pinoy fare like grilled seafood and meat are also available.
Enjoy the best of sustainable tourism and green living in San Vicente
With its rustic beach vibe and remote location, San Vicente makes for the ideal place where one—whether as a tourist or a homeowner—can pursue a slow, mindful, and eco-friendly lifestyle while living out sustainability in all aspects.
And soon, San Vicente's guests and residents can experience the seamless convergence of sustainable tourism and green living in new and exciting ways, as Megaworld announces its plans to develop a portion of the island into a world-class sustainable 'eco-tourism' community.
To be called Paragua Coastown after Palawan's old name in the early 1900s, the planned 462-hectare community aims to highlight the natural beauty of San Vicente through facilities that aim to encourage such a holistic lifestyle: health and wellness sanctuaries, a cultural center, and even a mangrove reserve park, just to name a few.
''While we transform San Vicente into a world-class development, we also commit to the preservation of the island's biodiversity,'' said Megaworld chief strategy officer Kevin Tan.
''More than just sustainable tourism, our vision for this expansive Palawan property is to provide an opportunity to those who want the island-life to live and even raise their families here. Aside from the preserved natural surroundings of the beach, mountains, and cliffs of San Vicente, we will also provide the facilities and amenities for the holistic wellness of our future residents,'' he added.
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