Is this the Philippines’ best beach?

Welcome to the Philippines’ best beach…

Or as I remember it, the week I simply stopped. I’m usually an active traveller; checking out the newest restaurants or trekking out of big cities to discover local landscapes. Partying it up in the coolest clubs in town, or visiting local places of historic or religious significance. But what if you can’t? What if there are no such activities nearby? I travelled to arguably the best beach in the Philippines where I was forced (such is life) to find out if such a holiday would suit an active person like myself.

the Philippines best beach

Palawan beaches

The Philippines is known for its beautiful beaches, and Palawan is no exception. Many tourists travel to the Palawan beaches for beauty, peace, rest and relaxation. The most popular Palawan resorts are in the north of Palawan, El Nido, for example. But Southern Palawan? That’s a different story….

Southern Palawan

Southern Palawan is a place not many tourists have visited. Certainly in all my years working as a travel journalist, I’d never net anyone who had been, or even anyone who had discussed it with me. Northern Palawan, yes. But Southern, no. But, in search of the Philippines’ best beach – I was game.

As I found out – it’s not easy to reach. I’d discovered a shack on the beach via Airbnb and had taken an 8 hour flight Manila, followed by a 1 hour flight to Puerto Princessa then, finally, a five hour drive south, to an area called Rizal.

On the drive as we wound our way through the thick forests, seeing barely another soul aside from at occasional roadside shacks serving water or noodles (to who, I don’t know). I wondered about our destination. Questions ran through my mind. Where were we heading? What might somewhere so remote look like? Who we might meet? How did such a remote location come to be rented out to tourists? Who visited?

Top of my question list though, of course, was just what would I do with my time?

Where to stay in Southern Palawan

Having long wanted to visit the Philippines, we booked Mommy Sally’s guesthouse via Airbnb. On her host page, she states that she runs a “secluded eco house on a deserted beach”, which sold it to us. Let’s be honest, that along with the images of the location:

the Philippines best beach

Just wow.

Arriving at our destination in the dark, we were greeted by ‘Mommy Sally’. Ownder of the beach shack. She hugged us warmly, introduced us to the local (friendly!) stray dogs, and assured us that we would be greeted with the most spectacular view of ‘the best beach in the Philippines’ when we awoke the next morning.

Mommy Sally, as we later found out, had grown up on this plot of land. A Filipino native, she married a Frenchman with whom she had children, one of who ended up working in the French film industry. It was he, who on a visit back home from France, suggested this secluded plot of land might be somewhere to rent out. It was he who helped build the beach shacks and ensure they had some modern amenities, and it was he who provided the drone camera to take such breathtaking photos that are now displayed proudly on their Airbnb booking page.

And I’m so thankful he did. Without him, this small corner of the Philippines would still be undiscovered by anyone except the locals.

Certainly not by me.

Rizal, The Philippines

Mommy Sally still lives on this plot of land, slightly inland from her rented beach huts. Her home is a more modest affair, in keeping with the lifestyle she’s been accustomed to since childhood.

And ours?

After our night arrival where we saw nothing of the local habitat besides the glittering stars – and despite our long journey here – we awoke at 6AM, bright and breezy, feeling naturally energised by the morning light pouring in through the white muslin curtains.

One peek out of these curtains, and just as Mommy Sally had promised, our breath was quite literally taken away.

Beaches in Southern Palawan

Aerial view of a beach

In view; five sandy metres from our front door stretched a row of palm trees. In front of them a wider stretch of pristine white sand, not a foot print on it, tumbled its way down to a transparent-blue flat sea, stretching out to the horizon. The calmest, flattest, sea I’ve ever seen. And it kept its calm right out to the horizon.

Thanks to the lack of tourists, we quickly realised we had this entire beautiful beach cove to ourselves for the week. Not another soul to share it with, aside from the occasional fisherman making his way home.

A week here is a week in paradise indeed.

It’s a time I’ve come to remember as, the week I simply stopped.

My days went something like this: wake up, take a coffee down to our hammock on the beach. Dip my toes in the ocean. Don my bikini and dip my whole body into the ocean. Head back to the hut where Mommy Sally has brought a fresh breakfast to the table. Eat breakfast and head back to the ocean. Sunbathe. Seabathe. Read. Hear Mommy Sally come back with lunch. The same again in the afternoon.… You get the idea.

There’s not many attractions. But that’s the beauty of the area. Aside from one trip to the local market, and an afternoon of snorkelling – it was eat, sleep, relax, repeat. In the truest sense of the terms.

And, despite all preconceptions of my lack of ability to do nothing – I loved it.

Sunset in Rizal, Palawan, The Philippines
Katie Silcox in Rizal, Palawan, The Philippines

Where to stay in South Palawan

Mommy Sally’s huts are wooden stilt houses; be prepared for an eco-friendly living standard, in keeping with the local environment. You’ll have a love/hate relationship with the local cockerel who decides to crow through the walls every morning around 3AM, and you may have to make your peace with the gekkos. However, depending on your idea of luxury – this might be exactly what you’re looking for – a home on this piece of Philippines paradise, and fresh crab and prawns for lunch on a regular basis. If food is as important to you as it is to me, then this is living the life of luxury indeed!

Visit Mommy Sally’s Airbnb linkto book. Her English is limited but she has family around her who will be happy to assist with booking accommodation and transport from Puerto Princesca airport, Palawan.

 – By Katie Silcox

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Visiting the Philippines’ best beach. What you need to know:

How to get to Palawan

The best way to get to Palawan in the Philippines is via a flight connecting in Manila (the capital of the Philippines). From Manila is it a one hour flight to Palawan’s Puerto Princesa Airport. Airlines flying from Manila to Puerta Princesa include Cebu Pacific, Philippine Airlines and Philippines Air Asia.

Weather in Palawan

The weather in Palawan follows two seasons. Dry (October to May) and rainy season (June to October). Temperatures generally stay between 24C – 29C in both seasons, but early mornings and evenings can become cooler.

Best time to visit Palawan

The best time to visit Palawan is in the months of February and March. The weather in Palawan at this time is dry, with average temperatures of 27C. However, dry season begins towards the end of October and ends in May.

Best time to visit the Philippines

The best time to visit the Philippines is between December and February. These months fall in the middle of the Philippines dry season and on the whole means access to all islands is easy.

Southern Palawan Safety

Find out more about the safety of Southern Palawan, here.

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