Onuk is a privately owned island that's one of about 30 islands in Balabac at the southern tip of Palawan. Its impossibly clear waters and milky white sand keep the island a dream destination even for Palawan regulars who haven't gone beyond the usual tourist circuit in Puerto Princesa, El Nido and Coron. The sea offers the best swimming conditions and visitors can even get a glimpse of wild sea turtles underwater from the island and on the boat. Best of all, the beautiful beach is devoid of other tourists. A few cottages are available for those who want to spend the night in this tropical oasis.
How to get there
Philippine Airlines flies from Manila to Puerto Princesa. From the airport in Puerto Princesa, hire a tricycle to take you to San Jose Terminal, where you can get on a bus or van bound for Rio Tuba. There are departures from 4am to 9pm daily. Travel time is about five to six hours. In Rio Tuba, head to the Rio Tuba port as early as 6am to have your name registered on the passengers' boat list for Balabac. The boat usually leaves at about 10am and it takes about four to five hours to reach Balabac. From Balabac port, it's still an hour-long boat ride to Onuk Island.
Onuk Island is owned by Balabac mayor Shuaib Astami, so securing a permit from the owner prior to visiting the island is rquired. Contact Lorna Gapilango at +63917 553 2845. For more inquiries, contact the Provincial Tourism Office of Palawan at +6348 434 9845 or +6348 433 2968.
Watch this travel video of Balabac Island, Palawan.
Cover photo is a screengrab from @youroyalty on Instagram.
By Celia Nachura
Published September 2016