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Southwest Palawan

Southwest Palawan

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.

Mount Mantalingajan, Southern Palawan
Mount Mantalingajan, Southern Palawan
  • A

BALABAC ISLAND

BALABAC ISLAND. 7°59.528N, 117°4.169E

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.

Click to view Philippines photo gallery.

Travel to Balabac used to be hazardous, with twice-monthly trips by small boat from Puerto Princesa | Photo by Palawan BlogOn, Department of Education Division of Palawan
Travel to Balabac used to be hazardous, with twice-monthly trips by small boat from Puerto Princesa | Photo by Palawan BlogOn, Department of Education Division of Palawan
  • B

CANDARAMAN ISLAND

5 miles from Balabac Island, Anchorage ‘A’

CANDARAMAN ISLAND. 8° 4.714N, 117° 5.845E

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.


Candabungan Island-to-Dalihican Island, Southwest Palawan
  • C

CANDABUNGAN ISLAND

10 miles from Balabac Island, Anchorage ‘A’

CANDABUNGAN ISLAND. 8°7.655N, 117°9.822E

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.

Click to view Philippines photo gallery.

  • D

BYAN ISLAND

14 miles from Balabac Island, Anchorage ‘A’

BYAN ISLAND. 8°9.519N, 117°13.048E

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.

Click to view Philippines photo gallery.

  • E

DALIHICAN ISLAND

22 miles from Balabac Island, Anchorage ‘A’

DALIHICAN ISLAND. 8°18.550N, 117°11.295E

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.

Click to view Philippines photo gallery.


Cabugan Islands to Marasai Bay, Southwest Palawan
  • F

CABUGAN ISLANDS

29 miles from Balabac Island, Anchorage ‘A’

CABUGAN ISLANDS. 8°23.799N, 117°15.809E

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.

Click to view Philippines photo gallery.

  • G

TAGUGSOM BAY, BONBON POINT

47 miles from Balabac Island, Anchorage ‘A’

TAGUGSOM BAY. 8°36.098N, 117°15.915E

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.

Click to view Philippines photo gallery.

  • H

MARASI BAY & BUCID ISLAND

60 miles from Balabac Island, Anchorage ‘A’

MARASI BAY. 8°45.398N, 117°22.957E

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.

Click to view Philippines photo gallery.

Tranquil lagoon (somewhere) in Palawan | Photo by commons.wikimedia.org
Tranquil lagoon (somewhere) in Palawan | Photo by commons.wikimedia.org

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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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