Cast off remote but beautiful Palaui Island

Categories outdoors
Palaui Island

The rush of waves abated as our boat entered the cove at Cape Engano, the northeastern part of Palaui Island facing the Pacific. I collected myself from the rather wild boat ride earlier en route to Anguib Beach as the amihan, northeast monsoon, blew strong, riling the seas. But unlike my first visit several years ago, the same month as now, February, it was a bright and sunny day with picturesque blue skies. I’m back! I said to myself as I went down from the outrigger boat that brought our party of travel media into this rugged piece of land.

Protected area

Palaui Island is remote that is just around 7,400 hectares but its distance is its asset that its one perfect for adventure and getting into the wild. It has been proclaimed in 1994 as a protected landscape and seascape, thus ensuring its raw beauty. It has been the setting of some episodes of the Survivor reality TV series. There are also two ways to better enjoy the island. First, a 3-4 hour trek starting from from Puerto Verde at the southeastern point to the lighthouse ruins at Cape Engano. Second, sail to Engano Cove and from there, a shorter trek to a dirt path and 229 steps to the lighthouse ruins.

The lighthouse ruins and Dos Hermanos

Nothing has changed in the trail to the lighthouse ruins except for some few structures built at the base and briefing area where visitors can freshen up. The 229 steps are still there. Midway, the sweeping Palaui Island landscape captivates but a few more minutes climb up and you will be rewarded with an even more breathtaking scene.

The Palaui Island lighthouse was built during the last decade of Spanish colonial rule, between 1888-1892. It follows the plans of similar lighthouse structures built in Cape Bojeador (Ilocos Norte), Capones (Zambales) and Cabra Island (Batangas). Its now in ruins and most of the buildings, except the tower are now roofless. But it affords a great view of the Dos Hermanos islands, the two brothers, rugged, always pounded by the waves and wind. Although the sunny makes it just another sea battered islets, inclement weather can heighten the scenery and just makes the view more dramatic.

Palaui Island
The ruined lighthouse is one of several built by the Spanish colonizers across the country
Palaui Island
Panoramic view of the island as seen from the top of Cape Engano
Palaui Island
Panoramic view of Islas Dos Hermanos off Cape Engano
Palaui Island
A glimpse of the vegetation of Palaui Island
Palaui Island
Cliffs from a distance
Palaui Island
Visitors briefing area at the base of the hill where guests can buy some snacks and use the toilet
Palaui Island
View of the beach and hill at Cape Engano
Palaui Island
Siwangag Cove with its cool beach
Palaui Island
Our bangkero with the mountains of Palaui in the background
Palaui Island
Seaside mountains and cliffs as seen enroute to Cape Engano. Notice the cave.
Palaui Island
Bangkero and outrigger boats at the wharf of San Vicente in Sta Ana
Palaui Island
Islas Dos Hermanos. Pin this!

This trip was part of Lakbay Norte 6, made possible by North Philippines Visitors Bureau (NPVB) which promotes travel and destinations in North Luzon. Images were taken in 2011 and 2017.

Estan Cabigas is freelance photographer, blogger and writer based in Makati City, the Philippines. A true blue Cebuano, he makes stunning images and meaningful photo stories. His work has been published in local and international publications including National Geographic Magazine, Geo (Germany), Sunday Times Magazine (London).

He is also a peripatetic traveler and has traveled to all 81 Philippines provinces. Open for work, collaborations and inquiries for site features.

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