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“Camping in Palawan”

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Thelma and Toby's Island Camping Adventure
Certificate of Excellence
Regina, Canada
Level Contributor
25 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
“Camping in Palawan”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 3, 2014

We were really excited about this part of our trip. We left home telling everyone we were campjng on Palawan. I guess it would have been easy to disappoint. We arrived and were met with set your
things here and sit down and have a bite and relax. We were starving. Wow a great start. Next we were shown our accommodations and shown around the site. We have to say thanks Thelma we enjoyed your place with great pleasure. Your meals were great and all the people there were friendly and helpful. Our picture speaks for every thing else.

  • Stayed January 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank JBrett555
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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96 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (18)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Spanish first
  • Swedish first
  • Any
English first
Dublin, Ireland
Level Contributor
8 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 18, 2014

This place made our trip in the Philippines. Very friendly hosts, the best food prepared by Thelma. Delicious array of dishes everyday. Lovely kayaking, and perfect swimming right f the beach. The natural spring shower, a refreshing au natural outdoor shower, looking out over the beach is a very special experience. A really gorgeous location and beautiful experience. Wish we had stayed here for the two weeks of our trip in the Philippines, instead of just 4 days! Thanks Toby and Thelma

  • Stayed December 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank noctonthedot
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Perth, Australia
Level Contributor
48 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 49 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 14, 2014

Well where do I start.
Firstly this place is an experience to get to, but incredibly worth the journey. We choose the option of a public bus from Puerto Princessa to Port Barton. Warning this can be a hellish route after bad weather. With the bus packed to the rafters going through the dense jungles, getting stuck in mud, going over deteriorating roads and dropping off and picking up locals..... Once we got to Port Barton we then got on a little boat and took the 30 min journey to the camp site.
Port Barton itself is beautiful and worth the crazy trip. The jungle drops into the ocean and there is a peaceful lazy feel to the town. All of a sudden you feel relaxed and then in the distance you spot a beach with some huts and smoke bellowing out of the kitchen. Then you think..... oh my lord we have just found heaven.
As soon as we got off the boat we were greeted by Toby and his wife Thelma. The bags were taken and you were shown straight to the camping area! Firstly wow! Glamping would be more of an appropriate term. The tent is large and was more than comfortable for the two of us! there was a table and chairs out front, our own fire pit (which was lit every night) and our hammock.
Ok, i have to stop jabbering on. I could go on all day. This place was amazing!! i'll try and bullet point everything for you!
Dinner: Each night you meet up with all the other campers over dinner cooked by Thelma (which may i add she is amazing. Lots of fresh produce and choice and enough for seconds)
The Beach: WOW. its you and the guests only and is simply perfect. Great sunsets and each day it just looked even more amazing. There are kyaks free of charge you can use during the day.
The staff: Super friendly, assertive and helpful. You would think you just paid for a five star holiday with the service. Toby and Thelma employ local children to help which we loved. Toby is a great story teller and really helps make everyone feel at home and gets all the guest talking to each other with a cold beer around the open fire. We had some great discussions with Toby on his future vision of the camp. He wants to keep the camp the size it is and wishes not to develop it further. Which in our opinion is PERFECT.
The balance is amazing and you feel like your with your own tribe. All the people we met where on the same mind frame, wanting something unique and off the beaten track. All in all I will be re-visiting. I would say there are many tourist traps in the philippines, especially Palawan and Toby and Thelma's is not one of them. Its simply a perfect get away and the value for money is exceptional. I cant wait to return and have a cold beer with Toby again. AMAZING!

Room Tip: 1:Use the bamboo shower. We used it every night AMAZING 2:Also ask to go and see the waterfalls too...
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  • Stayed December 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank sophiecbowman1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Calgary, Canada
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 10, 2014

Greatest camping experience ever. Staff were excellent. The food was well prepared and quite good. There was kayaking, swimming and snorkeling, and the Philippine shower with the fresh spring water was clean and cool.

  • Stayed January 2014, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
Thank Paul F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Prague, Czech Republic
Level Contributor
105 reviews
82 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 128 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 6, 2014

We were lucky to come across Thelma herself at the San Vicente port while we were looking for a boat to Port Barton. Her boat would drop us off there at a decent fee, but we would have to stop at her bay first to offload some of the groceries she had done. Once we saw the bay, it's spacious tents covered by wooden roofs, the white beach, the green forest behind it and the bright-blue sea we had no choice but to stay. We were lucky as there was a tent available for the 3 nights we wanted to stay as this place seems to be getting popular.

You pay an all-in price per person that gives you a mosquito-netted tent (most with double beds but with an option of adding a mat on the ground), 3 meals a day and free water straight from the spring. Expect to pay for the pick-up/drop-off from/to Port Barton or San Vicente Showering is done with small buckets of cold water or even better in the 'natural' shower further down the beach or in the waterfall a 30-40 min kayak-ride away. Food was good (buffet in the evening), beers well-priced, rum-and-cokes very well-priced and if you ask one of the staff will climb up a tree to get you a coconut. Drinks are obviously paid for.

You can borrow a kayak, a fishing-rod and snorkelling-gear for free and Toby will take you out for some nice snorkelling spots with his boat if you're willing to pay the fuel. Although there should be wifi, don't count on it in the main bay, but who needs wifi when you're in paradise. If you're desperate you can paddle or swim to a nearby island where the reception is better.

If you don't like the sound of waves close to your tent, don't go here

Great place, nice people, exactly what the pictures of Palawan promise you.

Room Tip: All tents seemed to be the same, all good
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  • Stayed January 2014, traveled with family
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank MarkManama
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Osaka
Level Contributor
23 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 35 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 1, 2014

I really enjoyed my stay at Toby and Thelma's and would love to return. However, I'm a little confused at some of the hyperbole flowing from the other reviews! Yes, the place is really nice but I can only imagine some of the more outlandish claims (heaven on Earth etc) are from people who are either inexperienced campers or have limited travelling experience to draw from.

Pros
Very comfortable bed/good food (vegetarians and vegans catered for)/lovely hosts (Thelma and her youngest daughter are really charming and if you are an outdoorsy type, you'll get on well with Toby)/the "living room" outside of your tent is a great touch/food is included in the price and drinks are priced sensibly/walk down the beach for a "natural shower" - water spurting from a bamboo pipe/ snorkelling trips arranged/the hosts are happy to share a beer but encourage early nights: lovely and quiet.

Cons
The cons were things that didn't involve the hosts but perhaps they should be aware of:
You are encouraged to eat on one table with other guests so it's hit or miss as to whether this is fun or a trial with only 5-10 guests at a time! Another guest issue: the beach is small and a spoilt little girl who shrieked "No! Don't want to! Don't like it!" from dawn to dusk spoiled three days of the stay for me and four other unhappy guests (ironically, the family have reviewed on here - glad you enjoyed yourselves so much!) I'm a teacher so have experienced my fair share of spoilt brats but not being able to walk to another beach to escape that shrieking was very frustrating.

A couple of staff members - surly young girls who were not part of the family - didn't react very well when asked for drinks; "Could I have a sprite, please?" seemed like such an imposition! We turned it into a game, "Go on, it's your turn to ask and be glared at!"
The young man who took us snorkelling didn't seem so happy to do so. We were told by Toby we'd visit two sites and after the first he said, "Do you want to go back?" Errr...hardly! At the second site, when we were all in the water he said, "The reef is over there" with a casual brush of his hand and then turned away. It took five of us over five minutes to actually locate the reef!

There was toilet roll the first two days and it was never replaced so it must have been left by a guest: although the toilet hut is clean, be aware that if you are not prepared this is a soap and left hand operation!

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled solo
    • Value
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Helpful?
4 Thank omae
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
california
Level Contributor
54 reviews
20 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 61 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 26, 2013 via mobile

We spent two weeks here
Paradise
Our tent was at the end of the beach
We swam, kayaked, ate Thelma and Baby,s yummy food
We have been traveling to Asia since 1981 best camping ever
Barbecued fish, marriage proposals catered for guest on the island off of the beach
Staff lovely
Great shower, gorgeous kingfishers and sea eagles
Toby and Thelma are kind and helpful hosts and we will be back next year
My husband and my only regret is we could not stay longer

  • Stayed December 2013
    • Value
    • Location
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    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank freespirittraveller
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Thelma and Toby's Island Camping Adventure

Property: Thelma and Toby's Island Camping Adventure
Address: Tandan Beach, Port Barton, Palawan Island, Philippines
Location: Philippines > Mimaropa > Palawan Province > Palawan Island > Port Barton
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 19 Specialty Lodging in Port Barton
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 5
Also Known As:
Thelma And Toby's Island Camping Adventure Port Barton, Palawan Island

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