Few visit the southern region of Palawan by land as the roads are poor and there are few tourist friendly resorts. For the moment backpackers are, as always, blazing the trail. There are local basic airports at Rizal, Rio Tuba and on Bugsuk Island.
Yachts heading north from Malaysia and the rest of Southeast Asia have the option of stopping over in a few good anchorages in the southwest amongst the off-lying islands.
This section covers about 70 miles of the islands in the south and the west coast up to nine degrees north.
The main village is in a deep bay on the east side of the island. The bay shelves up and it is possible to get quite close to the village with care.
Anchor on a muddy bottom in 5 metres. There are isolated coral heads close inshore. It is a quaint ramshackle village built along the shoreline and out on stilts over the water.
Some basic provisions can be obtained from the friendly villagers here, including Philippines SIM cards for Globe and Smart.
5 miles from Balabac Island, Anchorage ‘A’
Anchorage can be found on sand in 12 metres on the west side of the island in the shallow bay.
Follow the reef in crystal clear water into the bay where there is good anchorage close to the rocks in the centre of the bay.
10 miles from Balabac Island, Anchorage ‘A’
This anchorage is between Mantangule and Candabungan islands in the channel.
Coming from the south, pass the outer reef and aim for the large tree in the centre of Mantangule Island before turning east and finding an anchorage. The anchorage shown is on a sandy shallow patch of 6 -13 metres and should be easy to find in any conditions. With good light conditions, work your way in and find a place closer inshore.
14 miles from Balabac Island, Anchorage ‘A’
An idyllic spot with a small settlement on the beach and friendly locals. Anchor close to the reef and beach in 12 metres on sand. Sheltered in most conditions except from the north/northwest.
22 miles from Balabac Island, Anchorage ‘A’
The water is deep close to shore by the village but it is possible anchor in sand to the northeast by the small fishing hut which is on the edge of the reef. The reef dries so this is sheltered in most conditions.
29 miles from Balabac Island, Anchorage ‘A’
A hideaway for a good night’s rest. Tucked between small islets the location offers excellent protection for all conditions. Choose your own preferred depth and anchor in mud.
47 miles from Balabac Island, Anchorage ‘A’
This mangrove lined cove is a handy little bolt hole tucked less than a mile behind Bonbon Point. Anchor in sand and mud. Actual depths appear to be slightly shallower than chartered depths and it may be susceptible to swell from the west.
Enter closer to Bonbon point to avoid the reefs and work your way in until you find a suitable depth. Fishing stakes are in the shallows on either side. Surprisingly it is sparsely populated given its good shelter and easy access.
60 miles from Balabac Island, Anchorage ‘A’
A long line of rocks run from the eastern end of Bucid Island across the bay to form a lagoon. There is a narrow pass between the two sets of rocks at approximately 08°45.6N, 117°23.5E. Great care should be taken to find this gap as the water is not clear and the bottom shoals quickly from around 20-23 metres in the pass itself.
Once inside, the depth decreases when turning west to follow south of the rocks back towards the island. Anchor in 7 metres in front of the village in sand and avoid the reef to the south and west. It is well worth the effort to stop in this very picturesque anchorage. The village of around 20 families is very traditional and the people are shy and not very outgoing.
While every effort has been made to ensure that the information contained in this book is accurate, the charts of anchorages are based on personal experience and satellite imagery and are intended as a guide only. They should not be used for navigation. Please refer to Official Hydrographic Charts of the respective countries.
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