By Keith Anthony S. Fabro
White sandbar surrounded by crystal-clear turquoise waters: sounds like the idyllic northern Palawan escape, right? Actually, there’s also an underrated one in southern Palawan (hint: it’s not in Balabac) you should check out soon before it gets crowded.
I and my high school friends first saw its striking photo on Facebook. And we’re totally blown away! So on a group chat we agreed to go there on Black Saturday last April when most of us were free.
But the problem was we actually didn’t know its exact location.
There’s little information on the Facebook post itself, which was shared more than a hundred times. Scouring through the long comment thread, there you go — the owner of the photo said it’s somewhere on the boundary of Narra and Sofronio Española towns.
Next task: finding a boat that brought us there. As the self-proclaimed tour organizer whenever we plan to go places, I took on the responsibility of looking for a fishing boat that can be hired for a day.
Luckily, my father has a fisherman friend in Calategas, a coastal village in Narra. After 20 to 30 minutes of van ride from the town proper and another 5 minutes of tricycle ride from national highway to our jump-off, we met the very accommodating boat owner.
My girly friends had changed clothes for our DIY photo shoot later that day. Because, why not? For summery OOTDs, they pulled off floral dresses, while I donned my Bohemian-inspired polo. Of course, we didn’t forget to slather on sunscreen to protect our skin from the daylong exposure to the harsh sun.
In a snap, we all found ourselves leaving the coast, sitting relaxed on an outrigger boat and taking in the refreshing sea breeze from the Sulu Sea.
As the motorized boat glided through the waves, I gazed back and was treated to nature’s grandeur. Picture this: mangrove-fringed coast with a backdrop of rolling mountains blanketed by billowing clouds. Ah, I couldn’t ask for more!
On our journey, we passed by islands and islets — most of which were uninhabited. It left me amazed. Actually, I was born and raised in Narra but little did I know of these, more so the presence of a sandbar here.
After a 30-minute boat ride from Calategas, we reached the sandbar at around 11 a.m. It was high tide, so it’s totally submerged when we arrived. Our boatman suggested to have our lunch on the nearby Banking Island, which was 10 to 15 minutes away from the sandbar. And we agreed.
The island is privately owned, so we first asked permission from its caretakers before we settled in. There we also chanced upon a group of local excursionists. We didn’t prepare much for lunch. What we had were rice, salted eggs and tomatoes, canned food, watermelons, and pineapples.
It was past noon when we returned to the sandbar, which was the size of around three basketball courts combined. Buddy, it’s jaw-dropping! Who would’ve thought there’s a tiny stretch of white sand set in this portion of the sea? And it’s surrounded by crystal-clear waters!
The best thing about it? No other visitors were there, so we had it all to ourselves!
(That afternoon, we also chanced upon there the bantay dagat or sea guards of Sofronio Española town. And with that, I assume the sandbar is covered by their municipal waters.)
The powdery sand, the azure skies kissing the navy blue seas, the islands not far away— it’s heaven at every turn! Before anything else, we snapped lots of selfies and groupies. With such irresistible views, I bet that’s the first thing you’d do, too.
As a talossophile, being in the sea makes me feel blissful and free. And that’s exactly I experienced as I found myself chilling out in its mesmerizing waters. It was really soothing. The longer I spent time communing with the sea, the more I felt my worries floating away.
It was 4 p.m. when we bade goodbye. On our way back, I realized how blessed we are, because wherever we live in this province, we don’t have to go far to find a piece of paradise we could come back to anytime.
How to get there: If you’re coming from Puerto Princesa City, the van fare from San Jose terminal to Calategas, Narra is around P190. If you’re from Narra town proper, that’s only P40. Tricycle fare from the national highway in Calategas to its coastal area is P10. For boat rental (P1500 for up to 15 persons), contact Mr. Dudoy Guyod at +639091941507.