Puerto Princesa, Palawan, Philippines, May 2016. There are a couple of beach options within stomping distance of the city according to google maps: Kalayaan Beach by the airport runway and Hartman Beach 1/2 a mile further North. As Kalayaan is the closest i’ll head there first and see how the beach shapes up. Its another hot day, actually its getting a little too hot I have to admit, but the thought of a cooling sea breeze later keeps the stomping spirit going full force!
That stomping spirit i mentioned earlier is beginning to wain. Google maps is out of date – the road I need has a new airport being built across it. A detour then leads to a military gatehouse where the guard kindly explains that Kalayaan Beach is a ‘No Go’ area – period. I didn’t argue and somewhat frustrated stomped off in quite a bad mood, I will admit. Oh well, a little more stomping required to find the next beach – hopefully!
Quite a nice walk as it happens along stony little lanes in a rather picturesque little village called ‘San Miguel’. Wooden houses, palm thatched dotted among the coconut trees. Splendid villas with a distinct continental design and numerous grocery shops along the main street where kids are running around playing games – yes, even in this heat. A look at Filipino village life, the real Philippines I suspect.
Hartman Beach isn’t going to win best Asian beach award, that’s pretty obvious with washed up garbage littering the place. There’s also a carpet of brown weed type vegetation – but underneath it all there is actually white sand! Hike away from the village and the place becomes more sand and less weeds and its deserted, surprising given the place is so close to the city! not a tourist in sight, not even a shack or a beach seller. With the shallow waters reflecting blues and greens, with the coconut palms swaying in the breeze and with the little boats sitting peacefully in the calm its a truly tropical scene. Well worth the long hard hike to get here. Solitude – its just me and the beach, oh and some local kids who want to say hi and pose for photos.
The real Philippines – turquoise sea, beach with some garbage, coconut palms and fishing boats. Oh, and kids playing with their homemade toys, Hartman Beach, San Miguel, Philippines. Google Map.