Port Barton is slowly becoming a destination more and more travelers are heading to. I hadn’t heard of it until I arrived in Puerto Princesa and someone told me about it. It’s unique in the fact that the road to get there is not fully developed, and there’s limited electricity in most of the town from sundown to about 10pm or so. It’s truly a place to disconnect and be with oneself.
After spending a few days in touristy El Nido, I was excited to really disconnect and get away from my fellow tourists and travelers.
I arrived to the El Nido bus terminal just before 7 o’clock. From my search online, buses/vans, run every couple of hours taking this route. The terminal itself is a bit hidden from the main road but you’ll find it pretty easily, especially if that’s how you arrived.
Just like Puerto Princesa’s bus terminal, everyone will begin fighting for you to take their bus. I had a couple guys up front, near the street, tell me there was no direct way to Port Barton and it was impossible to get a direct route. They said I could take their van to Roxas, and transfer to a jeepney. I said, “No thanks,” knowing from my research that there was a van to Port Barton. The second guy knew which van was going straight there.
I was expecting to pay about $800 PHP from what I read online, but I somehow was quoted $600 PHP. I’m not sure if it was the time of day, or just because it’s low season, but just know you can get it for $600 PHP.
Like other van services, they likely won’t go until the van is full. While I got there at 7, we sat at the terminal for about an hour and a half. We then stopped in an area 5 minutes away from the terminal, in the opposite direction to pick up more “tourists.” We sat on the side of the road for about 40 minutes before those “tourists” showed up.
We then went back to the terminal to pick up someone else. So we really didn’t leave until almost 9:30. I’ve learned it’s island time in the Philippines, so whatever time something says it’s going to leave, add some time to it.
In all the ride lasts just over 3 hours, including a stop half way through.
As I mentioned before, the road to Port Barton isn't fully developed. The last hour of the bus ride is on and off again dirt road, so it can get very rocky. But that's part of the adventure. The locals are currently working on building a road that will go there, but it's being built in sections, and is coming together quite nicely.
When you arrive into Port Barton, you’ll be dropped off at a tourist information center where anyone visiting has to pay a $50 PHP environmental fee, which helps cover taxes for anything you do while in Port Barton.
From there, the adventure of solitude begins.