Our first stop in the Philippines was the island of Palawan. Here we decided our first stay would be at the lovely Mangrove Resort. The resort is situated in the quiet fishing of Langogan right on the Langogan river roughly two hours by bus from Puerto Princesa. As its name suggests, mangrove trees are plentiful along the shoreline of the. As we entered the grounds of the resort we were warmly greeted by the staff and the owner, Claude. A refreshing welcome beverage cooled us and quenched our thirst. There are several common areas for the guest to lounge and visit with each other as well as the staff. Each has its own unique tropical view of the surrounding garden areas. In the distance, mountains and coconut trees line the horizon. The short walk to the river pier gives way to an amazing scene of tranquility along the river. We partook in a short canoe trip upriver our first evening. We were also treated to a freshly caught Mahi Mahi for dinner that evening. Speaking of cuisine, the food at Mangrove Resort was simply amazing. From traditional Filipino to European inspired dishes, anything placed in front of us was quickly devoured. There are numerous activities one can partake in at the resort. Claude arranges everything and provides the guides directly from his staff. Of all the activities offered, we decided on a fishing trip with a local boatman and fishermen and two hikes to nearby waterfalls. The fishing excursion was a memory that will never be forgotten. We set out early in the morning from the river pier at the resort and were in deeper waters in no time ready to catch one of the staples of the local diet - flying fish. After setting out a kilometer of net we did what every fisherman does - wait. And, after the wait, we pulled our catch in. With the bounty from the sea we headed to a private beach for a wonderful shore lunch with the crew. Merriment was had all around and soon we found ourselves becoming quick friends with everyone. We were even invited to play basketball (and did the next day) with the young men from the village. The waterfall adventures were likewise amazing. The large waterfall is a must. The hike there is slightly arduous and can be daunting, but the final reward is amazing. The waterfall runs into a very deep pool which in the midday heat is refreshing and cool. At the shore of the pool you can sit still in the water and enjoy a spa treatment courtesy of the small fish living there. The fish will come right up to you and eat the dead skin off of your feet, hands, and other parts of your body that need exfoliation. Yes, it does feel odd at first, but with time you grow used to it and even enjoy it. If you are tired of the laid back tropical life and need a dose of nightlife, head down to the John Eric store for a helluva time belting out hit after hit in the videoke (video karaoke) bar. The staff and other guests joined us for two nights of hilarity and fun. For sun worshippers, the beach is a short walk from the resort and is private and peaceful. You’ll see local children splashing in the water as fishing boats sail by in the distance. At night don’t forget to look up in the sky to see the wonderment of the Milky Way unobstructed from any light pollution whatsoever. Overall the best part of the Mangrove Resort and Langogan is the people there. You will quickly fall in love with them and their way of life. Walking through town you’re always met with a smile and a friendly “hello.” Everyone exudes kindness and we’ve never felt safer strolling around. The staff of the Mangrove are amazing and went from being friends to being family in no time. Claude is always quick to share a story from his travels and keeps you entertained. We loved our stay at Mangrove and the people we met on the first leg of our Philippine journey. Thank you Claude, Marichu, Quentin, Victoria, and Mark for making us feel like family and giving us a home away from home.
Cost: Affordable, though slightly above extreme budget travelers. Rooms are private and there are also private bungalows though at a slightly higher cost.
Accessibility: Right on the main highway that connects Puerto Princesa with Roxas and El Nido. Take the open air bus from the San Jose terminal. Look for an El Nido or Roxas bus and tell the bus porter your stop is Langogan. It has to stop in Langogan for a mango check - Dept of Agriculture is trying to stop the spread of the Mango Weevil and this is the check point. Cost of the open air bus is around 80-100 pisos depending on the bus. The ride is smooth and is roughly 1.5 to 2 hours. Avoid private vans. You will end up paying 500+ pisos for a longer ride. Van drivers, if not hired exclusively, will try to maximize profits by loading up the van with as many people as possible. We made this mistake and waited an hour before leaving Puerto Princesa. Also avoid the airconditioned buses. They are also pricey (around 350) and circulate stale air. On a short bus hop to a trail head we had to catch one for 15 minutes. It smelled as if someone had vomited on the bus and it wasn’t cleaned up properly. The open air buses are cool and you get to meet a myriad of people you may have not if you went with a more expensive option.
Activities: Numerous and all arranged by the owner if you so desire. The fishing trip, for flying fish not the deep sea trip, gives you a taste of a tradition of the Langogan people.
Food: All of our meals were at the Resort since the food was extremely good. The staff will recommend dishes and there are nightly specials depending on the season and what may be caught or even killed that day (native Inatu - chicken).