Sunday, October 14, 2012

How to get to the Batak Tribe | Puerto Princesa

It’s a 4-hour journey to see the Batak tribea journey that involves crossing 12 rivers over a two-hour trek. If you're looking for something offbeat in Puerto Princesa, this is it.

At 6:30 AM, I left the hotel and started the solo journey. I was up for something different and challenging. Fortunately, I met new friends from Palawan State University that day who were going up with a guide. Without them, I wouldn’t have pushed through.

With new friends from Palawan State University

Getting there:

1. Tricycle from hotel to San Jose Terminal. 

Duration: 20 minutes
Cost: Php 60

2. Ride bus bound for Roxas. 

Buses bound for Roxas leave every hour. Check schedules here!
These buses are beside the Charing terminal. (Charing!)

The bus can be super packed! Pretty scary, too, because Globe's signal was really weak.
Remind the conductor to let you off at the Batak Visitor Center in Sitio Tanabag.

Duration: 1 hour and 45 minutes
Cost: Php 60

"C" is more or less where the Batak Visitor Center is.

3. Get off at the Batak Visitor Center. Tour the place, too!

This will be your ultimate landmark. 

Mini cultural village

Visit the mini museum and buy some souvenirs!

You can request for the Batak to perform traditional dances. Inform Irene days in advance (0908-6719699).
Minimum donation is Php 1,000 

From there, you can trek for an hour and a half to see the Batak tribe members. Read Journeying James’ experience here! Unfortunately, rivers were impassable that day due to the recent rains. 

Irene recommended that I go to another Batak settlement. I was about to give up because I was afraid of going up the mountains by myself. That’s when I met my new friends, including Noni, our guide.

4. Meet up with tour guide Noni.

A few days before your trip, call Noni Santos (0929-3966044). 

Inform him of how long you plan to stay with the Batak—whether for a few hours or a few days. He’ll be the one to coordinate with the tribe members so they’ll expect you. Make sure you get a confirmation!

Guide fee: Php 500 per group for a day trip. Don’t go without him!

If you can’t contact Noni, contact Irene (0908-6719699).

5. Ride bus from Batak Center to the starting point of trek. 10 minutes. Php 10.

6. Trek up to the Batak Village. 2 hours! Have lunch on the way.

Scenic view! Look how small we are.

The trek wasn’t very challenging. It just seemed like a long walk. The challenging part was crossing the rivers. Some were calm but others were rocky, deep, and had strong currents.

Holding hands because the current was very strong.

You know you're near when you start seeing huts and Batak tribe members walking around.

Spot the kalabaw!

7. Arrival!

Typical scene at the Batak tribe

1. Don't go alone. Go with a guide!
2. Bring packed lunch with water. Or buy crackers from sari-sari store before trek.
3. Wear shorts and sandals. Don't wear flipflops. You might lose them while crossing the river. 
4. Waterproof belongings, especially camera. These may get wet while crossing the river. 
5. Bring food items for tribe as courtesy. Ex. Candies, coffee, sugar. Avoid heavy canned goods.
6. Don't forget to pay Php 50 "entrance" fee upon arrival at Batak tribe.
7. Bring extra clothes to change after a sweaty trek. 

Oh, let's be mindful of the code of conduct for visiting ethnic villages!

Lastly, freshen up at the sari-sari store across the starting point of the trek while waiting for incoming buses to bring you back to the San Jose terminal.

Have fun!


  1. hi! is it possible to go to batak village from sabang beach/underground river without going back to puerto princesa?

    1. Hello!

      If you have the luxury of renting a private van for the day, you can try being driven to the Batak Visitor Center from the port area (start-off point to go to Underground River).

      But if you're considering taking the public transpo, you'll just need to find a way to get back on the major highway from the port area(which is a pretty long and winding road) and hitch on a bus headed towards Roxas.