Just two weeks ago I had my new open water student Paul Brisco from Australia in Beautiful Port Barton Palawan.
Paul asked me a question I have often been asked, Martyn why did you choose to teach Scuba diving in Port Barton and not the more popular tourist destination of El Nido? I said simple Paul, a Spanish student of mine summed it up like this recently ,in Port Barton we were made to feel like visitors and but in El Nido you are made to feel like a tourist. Just thousands of tourists everywhere. Port Barton Is just that little bit special and as somebody on Trip Advisor summed it up beautifully as “The town that tourism forgot”.
Nobody can deny that El Nido is still worth “diving” for, BUT for those that want to feel that maybe they are the only visitors there then Port Barton wins hands down. At the moment the way to get there is by jeepney, bike or private vehicle and it is the last 22 kms of road into Port Barton which keeps this quiet village pretty much untouched. There are sections after the rains which remind me of parts of an Indiana Jones movie as you bump and grind yourself through the mud and clay. But look at the views as you thread yourself through untouched rain forest. Get your camera ready! But back to the diving, diving tuition is pretty much one to one or max 2 students and although there in just one other operator in Port Barton, I have never seen them at the same dive site as us, not once. In El Nido there are often many dive operators at the same site and it’s easy to get back on the wrong boat!
There many beautiful dive sites in Palawan but make sure the company you dive is both professional and reputable as I believe Aquaholics are. Meanwhile I put Paul through the various exercises of the SSI Open Water Course, a talented and willing student he proved to be.
First dive was off German Island where we often see many large hawk billed turtles…we were not to be disappointed as there, amongst the corals was the biggest turtle I have ever seen. It reminded me of a small car reminiscent of a Fiat Panda for some unearthly reason. Its head must have been almost twice the size of a male human head. It looked at us and then slowly majestically rose from within the corals and then like something out of Startreck it shot off at warp speed. I estimated that the turtle must have been at least 80 years old. A great day of diving and exercises and I know Paul is already hooked on diving as he wanted details of the next course!
Happy diving days and thanks for being a great student Paul! Martyn Ps check out the waterfalls when visiting Port Barton