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My stay in Onuk Island is not all roses

I've said a few posts ago, that I fell in love in Onuk Island. That orange sky that welcomed me was a sight I can never forget. The lazy afternoons and moonlit nights, the first time I sleep on the sound of waves rather than music. And the best of all, staying in an island like my own house. But as with any adventures, my stay in Onuk Island is not all roses.

Here's why:

1. Travel time

It took me five different rides from P.P. to reach Onuk Island - that's one way. 

It consists of 
  • Tricycle ride from Aiport to San Jose Terminal
  • Van Ride going to Rio Tuba
  • Tricycle ride going to Rio Tuba Port
  • Boat ride going to Balabac
  • Boat ride going to Onuk Island

The longest so far. It's more than 12 hours and I have not included my stopover at Rio Tuba. I skipped a couple of meals and hours of sleep just to catch the trip and let's not talk about comfort - wooden seats and seatmate B.O. - we know it isn't.

Related: Journey to Balabac 10 hrs Road + Sea

2. Fighting boredom

I'll tell it right now, the truth is you can't do anything more in Onuk Island besides swimming, picture taking and beach bumming. No beach volleyball, no board games not even a guitar! I can keep out of the cyberspace for days, but I can't sleep the whole day just because I can't do anything. So there are days when I just stared out of the window and watch a bird catch his food for hours. 

Onuk Island, Palawan

There are failed attempts of sketching the view and there are times when I can't even play with my camera because I can't charge it! Not to add it in this listing, but the generator malfunctioned for 2 consecutive nights - and that affected my island hopping documentation.

3. Lack of good food when the owner is not around

So I was really happy when the owner served lobsters on my first night. It went on to lobster again on the second, shrimps, some chicken, kinilaw, sweet and sour and fried fish. No vegetables for the 5D4N that I stayed. Sometimes there's coke or juice, snacks, and coffee is consistent in the morning. 

Onuk Island, Balabac, Palawan
Food cooked by the owner

However, when the owner went to Balabac for a day and a half to cook for their foundation day, his people served me less. They served a spicy instant noodles which I suspected expired and a cheap meatloaf for breakfast, and 1-2 pcs of fried fish for the rest of the meals. I felt lucky when they served corn beef and I knew when they served again my leftovers. I just told myself it's better than nothing and it's only temporary. I know I paid for my stay, pero chu-choosy pa ba?!

4. The fear of sexual assaults and when it happens. 

I already have inconveniences when it comes to men on my trip going to Onuk. Being a meek-looking girl, solo at worst, made me vulnerable in the eyes of perverted men. I safely made it to Onuk but I was cautious when I knew I was the ONLY girl around in the island. 

There are around 7 men in the island including the owner. There are a lot of times when I was the only guest and sexual assault is not impossible. For the first time in my life, it happened, which goes down to the reason why I left Onuk earlier than planned.

Let's not disclose who did it and how. What's important is for people, especially for solo women, to always stay cautious. That's how I became after. Do not be always complacent to your surroundings. 

Going to Onuk is still safe. Just always be ready and do everything with your safety in mind. Of course it it'll be a lot safer to go with a group.

5. Swimmers Itch - the marks it left behind

I was happily taking pictures under the iconic stilts in Onuk Island when I notice something is falling from the stilts. I thought those are rocks that I accidentally scraped off whenever I lean on the wood, but on a closer look they are hermit crabs! No problem with it, even though it hurts my feet whenever I stepped on them. The problem came out later on when I get back to Manila.

Onuk Island, Balabac, Palawan

I notice I had small wounds that looked like pimples or insect bites at first. They're spread out from my shoulders to legs, those open areas only. It gave me sleepless nights because of the itchy feeling and worst it wouldn't heal until after a week. 

I then searched for google and though it's not a doctor, the symptoms came close to the scenario. Long story short, the hermit crabs and possibly - a chicken or dog or cat previously living in the island, gave birth to the bacteria that caused this reaction from the water. Now, I can only use kojic soap to take out the white marks it left behind.

Amidst all those thorns that I experienced, it's still experience and my learning curve. I don't have regrets that I went to Onuk Island and I don't even blame myself for going there solo. The feast in the eyes compensated the inconveniences and I learned a lot about 'taking care' of myself. There's no perfect trip and what I have experienced is not the worst. 

In any way, the most important of all these is learning something. Two things:
1. Be cautious
2. Accept the fact that some things happen!



Glens is a full time Systems Developer and part time wanderer. On weekends she's mostly at home watching series, anime or anything of her interest. Sometimes, she can be seen backpacking or hiking. But she can ditch that over comfort food and bed weather.


  1. Omg... number 4 sounds scaryyy... I hope whoever did it got in trouble/punished...

    1. Don't worry it's not too bad. I'm sure nakonsensya si Kuya. ;-)


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