The Great Escape

Rediscovering life in Palawan Philippines

ABANDON PARADISE: Camping in Palawan

Luke emerged from the darkness. He was excited. “You’ve got to see this.” We put down our glasses of ‘Filipino style’ pina coladas and followed him to the edge of the water giddy with excitement. To put it politely, he had been making a golden arch to the sea when he got something more than he bargained for. He kicked sand into the water and the sea lit up with a subdued neon glow. “Wow!” Everyone’s inner child came out and soon everyone was kicking sand to activate the water’s bioluminescence.

Our Bangka

Our Bangka. Let’s Get This Trip Started.

We were on the last night of our 3 day, 2 night island hopping expedition with Don the owner of Abandon Paradise. Three of our friends from Canada and two of Don’s friends joined us on this adventure. With only our small knapsacks, snorkelling gear and sense of wonder, we left the town of Coron and made our way to the western side of Busuanga passing beautiful scenery along the way.

Coral Garden. Time to Snorkel.

Our first stop was an amazing coral garden.

I’m floating on the sea with the sun on my back letting the current take me slowly back towards the bangka. Below the surface of the water, my ears fill with the sounds of crackles and pops. My eyes focus down and I spy multi-coloured parrot fish zigzagging between the coral. As I look up I gasp with surprise. Small needle nosed fish are inches from my mask. I’m in a joyful place and tingling with anticipation of what I’ll see next.

The Sun Sets on Tear Drop Island

The Sun Sets on Tear Drop Island

I’ve seen the sun set on the Himalayas, watched a dramatic display play out over the Arabian Sea, sat on the edge of Lake Superior as an orange hue took over the sky but I hadn’t experienced a sunset quite like the one on Tear Drop Island. As the sun began it’s daily decent the light had an extraordinary, almost enchanted quality. This sunset, this island and all it’s beauty was ours. Four tents. One bonfire. Seven happy campers.

Hiking Through the Fields

Hiking Through the Fields

The following days we visited a picturesque fishermen’s village, hiked through tall grasses and derelict ruins to get a scenic view of Black Island, failed hilariously at skim boarding and cruised through breathtaking lagoons of Coron Island. We even managed to chase down the illusive dugong.


Just Chilling.

“The Chef” and I had been in Coron for four weeks on a fact-finding, research mission to see if we really want to move here. We thought it would be prudent to end our trip doing something we love to do. There’s nothing better than the wind in your hair, the sun on your face wandering  the sea without a care in the world. One day we hope this will be our backyard.

Don. A Man and His Guitar

Don. A Man and His Guitar

If you are looking for a real “Robinson Crusoe” adventure and want to learn more about Abandon Paradise Expeditions you can visit their website at or Facebook Page.

Just a note:

If you intend to do a lot of snorkelling in Palawan I recommend bringing your own snorkel, mask and fins. We weren’t keen on using a snorkel that everybody else puts in their mouths (even though they are cleaned). We found the best travel snorkel sets are made by U.S. Divers. Be aware they are made for the recreational, novice snorkelers. You can find travel snorkel sets at Take a look at our ‘Recommended Travel Accessories for Palawan.’

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12 thoughts on “ABANDON PARADISE: Camping in Palawan

  1. The water is so clear.

  2. What a great place–you make me feel like I am there with you. Thanks for stopping by my blog since your visit led me back to you!

  3. Camping…I want to be warm and I want to be camping.

  4. This looks like such a beautiful place. thanks for sharing your experience.

    • It is a beautiful place and one that my hubby and I fell in complete love with. Hopefully, we’ll be going back this May.

      • joan on said:


        My bf and I are going to Palawan in may and would love to do the expedition. Is it possible for us to join other people’s group or we need to book it for ourselves? ( we don’t really want to go alone, the more the merrier. Lol)

        Please advise and thanks. Great post btw!

        • Hi Joan. You can absolutely join a trip with other people on the open expeditions. Just check out Don’s website at and contact him. He is very good with emails and communication. At first we had booked a private expedition but Don asked if we would mind if two other people joined and like you we said ‘the more the merrier.’ We all had a great time and got to know Don and two other great people who happened to work for resorts in Coron.

          We were in Palawan during rainy season and weren’t sure if we would be able to go but Don was very accomodating and he let us play it by ear. If you love the outdoors, water, adventure and camping you’ll love this trip.

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