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Accommodation Philippines Travel

Tapik Beach Park Guesthouse

Somewhere in the eastern tip part of Palawan, in the sleepy town of Sibaltan, time seems to stand still. There lies a concealed paradise only known to a select few. There, you can behold the most beautiful sunrise as it slowly breaks into the horizon. There you can walk barefoot on the sand filled with holes created by the tiny and almost translucent crabs. There you own the sea, the air, and the quiet. Somewhere in El Nido there is an isolated paradise and it’s called Tapik Beach Park Guesthouse.

Discovering Tapik

My search for accommodation in El Nido led me to Trip Advisor. There’s one place that reviewers are calling as a hidden paradise, out of way, and breathtakingly beautiful. They say if you are looking for something peaceful and offbeat, this is the place to be. Not only is it beautiful they say, accommodation is also cheap. The words were enough to pick my curiosity, but it’s the photos that I saw from their website that sealed the deal. I didn’t even care anymore how I would get myself to the place, I just knew in my heart I should go there so I booked in heartbeat.

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Getting There

Service Van

The biggest challenge you will encounter is to find a means to get there. Sibaltan is about one a half hour away from Corong Corong. Tapik offers a service to their guests but only until 4:00 p.m. Beyond this time, you can request them to come pick you up from Corong Corong terminal but it will cost you PHP 1,500 (USD 32.54). This may not be a big deal if you came in groups, but in my case, that amount is a dent in my pocket. Good thing, I was able to get in Corong Corong in time for their service. Because I missed their service the day before, they were kind enough to wait for me this time even when I reached Corong Corong Terminal at 4:40PM.

Motorcycle

You can also hire or rent a motorcycle to get to Sibaltan. In fact, this is the preferred method of most foreign tourists. According to a local, you can rent a motorcycle, which you can use to drive around for PHP 800 (USD 17.36) per day.

Click here to get $24 off your first airbnb booking

Bus

Bus ride is another option but it only travels twice a day. From Sibaltan you have to be up as early as 4:00 a.m. to catch this bus back to Corong Corong. According to some people travel time also takes a bit long, about 2-3 hours.

The road to Sibaltan is long and at times, rough. This is true of the entire El Nido. Some roads are paved, some are coarse and muddy. The ride was too long, I found myself having a little game of “are we there yet?” in my head. When at last the van has stopped and parked on a clearing, I followed the driver to a narrow path that leads to the resort. The walk took about 5 minutes.

Accommodation

The rooms in Tapik look like the traditional houses or what we call locally as bahay kubo. They are scattered about the land, on top of the plateau facing the beach. Some rooms have their own toilet and bath, they cost PHP 1,600 (USD 34.71) per night. The cheapest room goes for PHP 800 (USD 17.36) per night but without its own bathroom.

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Down the elevated ground, just in front of the beach is the in-house restaurant. Round the back are the shared bathrooms with toilets.

I stayed in a beach hut, PHP 800 (USD 17.36) per night. It has a double bed, enclosed in a mosquito net, and an electric fan.

Book this room via Agoda

This place is all about the peace and quiet, the answer to a person’s hope to be alone with his thoughts. Lounge chairs, small cottages, and some hammocks are strewn about the beach. No noise save for the calming sound of the waves hitting the shore and the cawing of birds flying over the horizon.

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The Night

I was not prepared for the creepy crawly things that disturbed the peace of night. My bed is covered by a mosquito net because Tapik is very much a province, insects of different variety are common. I can’t tell you how thankful I am for that mosquito net because of the animals that hang out inside my room for the whole night. There are slats that connect the roof and the upper wall, which made it easy for these animals to come into my room. I figured they were attracted to the light because I didn’t turn it off due to my paranoia that those creepy crawly things would somehow find their way inside the net.

Booking.com

When I returned to my room after taking a shower, I was appalled to see that there were two bats flying in circles inside my room. I called for help and one of the staff, Mabel, immediately responded. Armed with a long stick, she shooed the bats away from my room. One bat returned when I was about to sleep, though it did nothing but hang upside down on the ceiling.

The creature that really made this experience a thing for nightmares is a gecko. I am no stranger to the sounds they make, I heard them when I stayed in the house of a friend in Batangas, also in a resort in Laguna, but this is the first time I saw one in the flesh. This is coming from a woman who is also afraid of frogs and snakes, so imagine my horror when I saw this thing on the ceiling that looks like a big house lizard with a head bigger than its body; I was beyond petrified. For the whole night, he was busy chasing this black bug that kept falling off on my mosquito net.

The only thing that kept me inside the net is the fear that the gecko would somehow fall and attach itself on me. Despite knowing that the chance of this happening is next to none, I wasn’t pacified. This is the only time in this whole trip that I hated being alone. The scenario led to what I view to be the most restive sleep I’ve ever had in my life.

The Restaurant

Tapik has it own restaurant. On the menu, they offer an extensive selection of Filipino and International cuisine. When I had dinner the night of my arrival, I noticed that I was the only Filipino guest. There’s a French couple, two men from Australia, a white guy who was also in his lonesome, and a younger couple whose nationality I wasn’t able to find out.

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Tapik’s source of electricity at night is a generator, which they turn off at 4:00 a.m. In the morning, they use solar energy to power up the place. I’m not sure if this is the reason the light was dim in the restaurant at night. Each table though has a candle. The entire setup is romantic, really, like I needed to be reminded that I am single still.

Upon the recommendation of one of the staff, I ordered Chicken Adobo (PHP 250 – USD 5.42) for dinner on my first night on the island. As she promised, this adobo is unlike anything I’ve ever tried before. The sauce is of deep dark orange instead of brown, which I think comes from tomato sauce, though I am not quite sure. The chicken was sliced into small pieces and they were wonderfully tender.

The afternoon before I left the place, I had Pancit Mami (PHP 180 – USD 3.90). The serving was big, but something seems to be lacking with the taste.

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The Morning

As soon as I saw the light, I got up and roamed my eyes about the room. There was no sign of the gecko so I carefully raised the mosquito net, let myself out, took some things from my bag, then went out of the room; it was 5:00 a.m.

It was too early, not a soul can be seen in the property. I took the time to roam about to truly appreciate the beauty of the place. As I was sitting on a chair by the beach, I noticed this faint light breaking through the clouds. To my utter delight, I realized I was about to witness a sunrise. I’ve seen so many sunsets in my life, but sunrise, this is something rare. In fact, I don’t even remember the first time I saw one. The spectacle had me so overwhelmed I wanted to cry that I couldn’t capture it on camera because my phone is dead. Now, some of you may say that some beautiful moments are best appreciated without technology and I respect that. But for me, I’d rather have a solid remembrance of some memories.

Around 8:00 a.m, the staff started coming in. Thanks to the solar power, I was able to recharge my phone and to my relief, it turned on. As soon as it had enough juice, I wasted no time photographing the place.

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Activities

Tapik arranges their own island hopping tour on the islands that are not included in the famed Tours A to D of El Nido. They also have what they call, a Castaway Tour, which means they will take you to an island and then come back for you later in the day, or if you want, the next morning. The island they say is so private, you’d feel like you have been castaway, hence the name. I was trying to go easy on my expenses, I decided not take any of these tours and just spend the whole day beach bumming.

Because there were only a few guests in the resort—some didn’t get up until around 8 to 9 in the morning—I had a chance to feel like I was alone on the island for a few hours. It felt so good to breathe in the fresh air and be in a serene place with the magnificent view of the beach. I lead a pretty stressful life back in the city so I appreciate having this opportunity to be away from all those things.

There is a tiny uninhabited island nearby, which the guests are also free to visit. It is so near it can be reached by kayaking. One of the staff offered to take me there by a boat for PHP 300 (USD 6.51). I almost said yes but when he told me that the place has water snakes I was like, hmm… no. He assured me that water snakes only come out at night but after that restless night in the company of a bat and gecko, he couldn’t change my mind.

In my wandering, I discovered that there is another resort beside Tapik. I’m not sure if the place had any guests but apart from this local woman with a baby, the beach area is deserted. According to Mabel, the owner of the other resort is a relative of the one who owns Tapik.

In the remainder of my stay, I tried to finish a Sidney Sheldon novel, played a guitar, talked with the staff, sipped my coffee, and napped in one of the lounging chairs by the beach.

The Staff

I have nothing but kind words for the staff of Tapik. From their manager, Kuya Randy, to the crew, Mabel and Shailene, the van driver, and the old guy who mans the beach area at night, everyone treated me with respect and courtesy. They were very warm and friendly, always with a smile on their faces, and they tried their best to make sure that my stay in their place is comfortable.

They are also good conversationalists that I found myself enjoying those little… okay, long chats that I had with them.

From talking with them I learned that the word “tapik,” refers to a kind of stone that can be found in the place, and not to the Tagalog word that means “a tap on someone’s shoulder.” The owner, they say is a Filipino who lives in abroad.

Tips

If you too want to experience this relaxing getaway, here’s a few tips:

  1. Be in Corong Corong Terminal before 6:00 p.m so you can ride their service van free of charge.
  2. Tapik gives their guests a small sachet of insect repellent, but if you are staying longer, this will not be enough so I suggest that you bring your own.
  3. Bring a budget for their tours. Not taking their tour is one of the things that I am truly sorry for. I didn’t have enough money anymore so if you’re going there make sure you have extra moolah.
  4. If you’re also afraid of gecko and the likes, I suggest you book the rooms with their own bathrooms. According to Mabel, those kinds of rooms are more enclosed compared with the one that I had.
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Leaving Tapik

I regret that my stay at Tapik is rather brief. On June 12, at 4:00 p.m., I decided to go back to Corong Corong where a Lexxus van was waiting for me to take me back to Puerto Princesa. There are buses that leave Sibaltan to Corong Corong at 4:00 a.m., but since it’s too early for me, I just availed of the transfer service of Tapik for PHP 1,500.

If you are feeling adventurous, searching for something different, and in want of a serene place with a stunning view of the beach, I highly recommend you include Tapik in your El Nido trip. I assure you that it’s worth that extra one and half hour trip.


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Comments (41)

  1. Marlon
    Marlon

    Can you describe the beach in Tapik? I read in some blogs that it is too shallow? hows the quality of sand? Is it a rocky beach? Are there adjacent beach where the water is not too shallow?

    Thanks!

    Reply
  2. Nimi Popat
    Nimi Popat

    The place looks marvellous especially the huts. I have been to a beach side huts they are so much fun specialy during nights. Looks like you had fun.. 🙂

    Reply
  3. Georgia
    Georgia

    What a paradise!! I would love to spend a few days here alone and just enjoy the calming atmosphere! And I too hate bugs, snakes and other creepy things but I could deal with that to enjoy time here!

    I would love to be able to see a bat up close though, in the UK we don’t see them often unless you live near the forest!

    Reply
  4. Me-An Clemente
    Me-An Clemente

    I’ve never heard of this guesthouse. The place looks lovely and peaceful. However, if I were in your place, I’m sure I will feel restless too. I can’t fathom having bats and geckos inside my room. Thank you for your suggesting the rooms with own T&B. I’ll totally book that if ever I visit it in the future.

    Reply
  5. Rachel Arandilla
    Rachel Arandilla

    What an incredible back-to-basics trip. You feel isolated and stranded on an island! I would really turn off my wifi here and get one with nature.

    Reply
  6. Sonnie
    Sonnie

    More than sunrise, I would love to have you take a picture of the gecko and the bat, that was the fun part of this journey, and I would love to see and play with any of the two if ever I will encounter one 🙂

    Reply
  7. Style With Tina
    Style With Tina

    Beautiful pictures. I love the way you write. I love how you travel to different places. What’s your favorite place so far?

    Reply
  8. Dorothy Mae C. Torretijo
    Dorothy Mae C. Torretijo

    Wow!! All photos are amazing. Are think you enjoyed your stay here. Hope I could also visit this soon.

    Reply
  9. Kat
    Kat

    I was excited to see this post! I’d read about Sibaltan very recently and thought I’d make an itinerary in case we’ll be able to squeeze it in our coming trip to PPS or perhaps for another trip this year. I’ll take note of the Castaway Tour. 🙂

    Reply
    • Marjorie Gavan
      Marjorie Gavan

      When you do try the Castaway Tour, let me know!

      Reply
  10. ROBERT LEE
    ROBERT LEE

    You know how I feel about this place? I like being in secluded or off the beaten destinations. Certainly Tapik is a place I could imagine myself going to. It’s just that I don’t feel the prices they charge is tourist friendly for the quality you get. Adobo dish for 250? A room with mosquito nets and no aircon for 800? I have been to so many places and prices were more reasonable.

    Having said that, it does not take away the fact that Tapik offers a nice place for people who wants to stay away from the crowd.

    Reply
    • Marjorie Gavan
      Marjorie Gavan

      Believe me 800 is actually cheap when you talk about El Nido. Also the view and the feeling of being in a secluded island are worth the price.

      Reply
  11. Sabine - SofarsoSabine
    Sabine - SofarsoSabine

    Really great and very detailed blog post about how to travel there. I am so frightened about the part where you tell us about the bats that came in your room. As well as the gecko and all the musquito’s. Weren’t you not going crazy from it? I think I would run out and scream haha. No, I think it’s a beautiful place to stay and the views and pictures are just fabulous. Must be so worth it to deal with a minor disturbance of a bat. Or two ha ha. http://www.sofarsosabine.com

    Reply
  12. melody pittman
    melody pittman

    First of all, I am totally with you. I would have selected the room with the fan an mosquito net, too. I, too, am terrified of geckos and they are so freaking loud! Since I had a good laugh at your experience, I wanted to share mine with you. My husband and i were at this nice hotel at Boca Chica, Panama and the rooms/cottages are down 140 stairs from the main lobby/restaurant. One night it rained horribly so we sloshed through the rain to get up the hill for dinner. We were the only ones there so we sat at a huge round table for 12 with an enormous ceiling fan over it. I happen to glance at the wall (the restaurant had no windows, just open to the outdoors) and saw what was literally about 1000 ALBINO geckos plastered all over the walls and ceiling. The only saving grace was that I was under the ceiling fan and they didn’t come near it. I crossed my feet under me in the chair and watched, tick tock, every second until our food came just scared to death that one was going to fall on me or come near me. The 20 min it took for our food to come seemed like an eternity and I could not stop staring at them, like a freaking train wreck or something. (that is an American phrase so if you don’t understand it, never mind). Anyway, I have never been back to that area and never will because there were just too many creepy crawlies for me!

    Reply
    • Marjorie Gavan
      Marjorie Gavan

      Hahaha… That must have been really scary! So many geckos! Oh my god, I wouldn’t last another minute haha… Thanks so much for sharing Melody!

      Reply
  13. Alexandrea
    Alexandrea

    This place looks so beautiful I probably could ignore all the scary bugs!

    Reply
  14. Divina CA
    Divina CA

    Love the rawness and simplicity of this place! Great snippet!

    Reply
  15. Svet Dimitrov
    Svet Dimitrov

    Wow, you write so beautifully I got myself on the place immediately.

    The mosquito nets are so nice. Hehe, looks like a Survivor, but in a very charming way!

    Reply
  16. Jessica
    Jessica

    Perfect place for a ‘me-time’ but maybe good as well for teambuilding to try that castaway tour.
    Okay, gecko is also not my thing. Thanks for that tip! 🙂

    Reply
    • Marjorie Gavan
      Marjorie Gavan

      That’s a perfect idea actually but only for companies with a budget haha…

      Reply
  17. Himanshu
    Himanshu

    Hii Marjorie,
    Good to have found this blog.
    I loooove such raw, virgin and off beat places. Theyhave different charm and you feel like staying there , never to come back. You have captured the essence of the place very well.
    Thanks for shraing this hidden paradise called Tapik Beach Park Guesthouse.

    Reply
  18. Nic from Roaming Renegades
    Nic from Roaming Renegades

    Thanks for all this information, we are hoping to visit this region so we are keen to find some good quality but affordable accommodation with great access to beautiful adventures!

    Reply
    • Marjorie Gavan
      Marjorie Gavan

      Glad to be of service. I hope you get to visit Tapik.

      Reply
    • Marjorie Gavan
      Marjorie Gavan

      It’s perfect indeed. If you are into the peace and quiet and rugged, this is the place. 🙂

      Reply
  19. Sue @NoFixedAbodeForSue
    Sue @NoFixedAbodeForSue

    This looks like a great place to stay for those a little more adventurous than I am as you lost me when you started talking about the bats in your room 🙂

    Reply
    • Marjorie Gavan
      Marjorie Gavan

      Hahaha… The bat and the gecko made this stay extra memorable!

      Reply
  20. Grietje from TravelGretl
    Grietje from TravelGretl

    Yeah, Tapik Beach 😀
    We fell in love with this place 🙂 Ended up there the same way you did!
    I still have the hat we got from the little girl here, Merichelle. Made a video about it.
    Great you write about this place! And good to hear the same great experience!

    Reply
    • Marjorie Gavan
      Marjorie Gavan

      I wish I met Merichelle too. I would love to see your video Grietje. 🙂

      Reply
  21. Cai
    Cai

    Thanks for sharing this article. I read a lot of good reviews about this place. Truly, a place to beat in El nido. More landscaping pa siguro. Perfect place to stay na sya. 🙂 I love the hammock….. O.O its like I can stay there for loooonnnggg 🙂

    Reply
    • Marjorie Gavan
      Marjorie Gavan

      I really wante to stay there for long. Punta tayo teh! Let’s try their tours.

      Reply
  22. Zai Salonga
    Zai Salonga

    The gecko is may favorite part of this post Marge, as I recall how you told us about the ordeal with the creepy crawly haha 🙂

    I would love to visit Tapik beach! I wouldn’t mind the bats and geckos as long as they don’t make an appearance lol

    Reply
    • Marjorie Gavan
      Marjorie Gavan

      Naku sis they will make an appearance, for sure!

      Reply
  23. Jherson P. Jaya
    Jherson P. Jaya

    Wow P250 Adobo! hehe…Anyway, there is a community based tourism in SIbaltan. Locals accept homestay for those who wants to experience their culture.

    Reply
    • Marjorie Gavan
      Marjorie Gavan

      I didn’t know that. I want to try that next time, I’m planning to go back to Sibaltan, this time to get to know the locals.

      Reply
  24. Franc Ramon
    Franc Ramon

    The ghecko and the bat must have been scary. It’s a simple setup but it’s a really exciting experience.

    Reply
    • Marjorie Gavan
      Marjorie Gavan

      The gecko encounter made it more memorable for me hahaha… But yeah, it was terrifying.

      Reply
  25. Justine Chantelle
    Justine Chantelle

    I love how bare and simple this place is. So beautiful! Would love to visit one day 😀

    Reply
  26. deneve
    deneve

    omg bats are so appalling! i don’t like them too. good thing the staff are nice. and the resort looks really good for some quality r&r. how much are the tours offered in the resort?

    Reply
    • Marjorie Gavan
      Marjorie Gavan

      Hi Deneve, tour rates start with PHP1,500. 🙂

      Reply

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