Your Ultimate Guide to Taytay: Top Attractions Revealed
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Taytay, Palawan, known as “The Star of the North,” was founded in 1623 and served as Palawan’s first capital. Its name comes from the native word for bridge, as it was a transportation hub for traders.
Though it was held captive by Magellan’s crew, it remains one of Palawan’s oldest municipalities and boasts a rich cultural history, including an old church located in the Taytay fort. While no longer the capital, it is still a must-visit for travelers seeking untouched nature and cultural experiences.
Must See Attractions in Taytay:
Fort Santa Isabel
Fort Santa Isabel is a significant historical site situated in Taytay, a municipality in Palawan, Philippines. Originally built in 1667 as a wooden palisade by the Augustinian Recollect Fathers, it was later replaced with a formidable stone fort in 1738, under the leadership of Governor General Fernando Manuel de Bustillo, to protect against the attacks of Sulu Muslim warriors.
Constructed with coral stone blocks and egg white mortar, the quadrangular fort has bastions and garitas on its corners, named after San Toribio, Santa Isabel, San Juan, and San Manuel. The fortress, which is a lasting symbol of a rich historical heritage, is carved out of a massive rock and is home to a small chapel and cannons that remain intact.
The fort has a fascinating story, including a local legend that recounts how during a siege by pirates, the holy patron saint of Taytay, Santa Monica, advised local soldiers to pour boiling water and animal fat on the climbing pirates, making the walls slippery and scalding the raiders, which caused them to surrender. They re-embarked and sailed back to Jolo, never to bother the Taytayanos again.
The National Museum supervises Fort Santa Isabel, which is open daily from 9.00 am to 5.00 pm. Visitors are charged an entrance fee of PHP 50 per person, and it is recommended that they spend about an hour exploring the site. With its rich history and stunning architecture, Fort Santa Isabel is a must-visit attraction in Palawan, Philippines.
Taytay municipality in Palawan is a hidden gem that not only boasts of its rich historical significance but also its abundant natural resources. Despite not receiving as much attention as popular tourist destinations like El Nido and the Underground River, Taytay has plenty to offer visitors.
The area is home to diverse marine life, including sea turtles, fishes, and corals, making it an excellent spot for snorkeling and diving enthusiasts. Moreover, Malampaya Sound is a must-visit destination for tourists who want to go on an Irrawaddy Dolphin Watching tour. These dolphins are a rare and endangered species that are endemic to the Malampaya Sound. Unlike other dolphins, they resemble sea cows (dugongs) and have a shorter snout, slightly paler underparts, and smaller dorsal fins on their backs. They have a slaty blue to gray color, making them a fascinating sight to behold.
For those interested in dolphin watching, it is recommended to set aside about two hours for the tour, with costs ranging from PHP 1,500-2,500 for the boat. Overall, Taytay is a must-visit destination for nature enthusiasts and those seeking to discover Palawan’s hidden gems.
Cuyawyaw Falls, also known as Kuyawyaw Falls, is a hidden gem in Taytay that offers a relaxing escape into nature at its purest. Nestled within the dense tropical forest, these three magnificent waterfalls drop from a height of approximately 25 meters, creating a serene and picturesque atmosphere.
Visitors can indulge in various activities, such as swimming in the cool waters, jungle trekking, and enjoying a picnic amidst the beautiful surroundings. The waterfalls are accessible via a 45-minute drive from Taytay town, followed by a 30-minute hike from the jump-off point.
A visit to Kuyawyaw Falls is highly recommended and should take approximately four hours to fully appreciate and enjoy the natural beauty of the area. The cost for the experience is around PHP 1,000 per person, making it an affordable and worthwhile excursion for nature lovers and adventure seekers alike.
Danao Lake, also referred to as Manguao Lake, is the largest freshwater lake in Palawan and a must-visit destination in Taytay. This massive body of water is home to over 124 different species of birds, making it a paradise for birdwatchers.
A 15-minute drive from Taytay town proper takes visitors through rural landscapes and quaint villages to reach Lake Danao. Upon arrival, visitors can choose to camp, take a nature hike through the trail path, or even fish and cook their catch in the picnic area.
While exploring Lake Danao, visitors can also embark on a relaxing lake cruise or enjoy jungle trekking. However, please note that this lake may be inaccessible during the rainy season due to the muddy and impassable road.
A visit to Danao Lake is recommended for a two-hour excursion, and the cost of a boat ride is around PHP 1,500- PHP 2,500 per boat. With its breathtaking scenery and abundance of wildlife, Danao Lake is a perfect spot for nature enthusiasts and anyone seeking a peaceful escape.
The Pabellon Islands are a group of limestone islands that are famous for producing top-quality edible bird’s nests. The islands include the stunning Elephant Island and Castle Island, which both offer breathtaking scenery.
Elephant Island is known for its hidden lagoon inside a cave, as well as its white sandy beaches and dramatic limestone cliffs.
To get to the Pabellon Islands, you can rent a boat from Taytay port, and the journey takes around an hour.
The caves and caverns where the birds’ nests are found are strictly guarded to protect the Balinsasayaw nests in the area.
Visitors can enjoy snorkeling and exploring the lagoon while taking in the magnificent views of the limestone formations.
Isla Blanca is an exceptional destination for island-hopping and snorkeling in Taytay. This stunning island boasts a vast coral garden and an expansive coral sandbar that is simply breathtaking. Since Taytay is not yet a mainstream tourist destination, you may be lucky to have the entire island to yourself.
The crystal-clear waters surrounding Isla Blanca are home to a variety of corals and marine life, making it an ideal spot for snorkeling. The reef is particularly impressive, with a drop of about 40 meters.
To fully experience Isla Blanca, it is recommended to include it in your Taytay Island Hopping tour. Spend a few hours snorkeling, swimming, and lounging at the beach to appreciate the island’s beauty.
Dinamayan Island is a true gem with its stunning white sand beach and thriving underwater world. A short boat ride from Taytay port, it is privately owned by the same owner of Casa Rosa Pension in Taytay, so arranging your trip to Dinamayan Island through Casa Rosa is easy and convenient.
The island is perfect for swimming, snorkeling, and simply relaxing on the beach. The waters around Dinamayan Island are home to a vibrant array of marine life, making it an ideal spot for underwater exploration.
Nabat Island is a must-visit destination for snorkeling enthusiasts, offering rich coral reefs and a diverse array of tropical fish. The island is also home to caves that are inhabited by Balinsasayaw birds, which build their nests with their own solidified saliva. Edible bird’s nests are one of the most expensive delicacies in the world and are highly prized, particularly in Asia, for their purported health benefits.
In addition to the stunning marine life, Nabat Island also boasts a beautiful white sand beach. Note that the beach is only accessible during low tide.
To get to Nabat Island, you can rent a boat from Taytay port and arrange for a tour that includes snorkeling and beach lounging. Make sure to bring your own snorkeling gear for an unforgettable underwater experience.
Malutamban Island is a true gem in Taytay Bay, perfect for a relaxing picnic on the beach. This unspoiled island is blessed with stunning views of a pristine white sand beach and crystal-clear turquoise waters, making it an ideal spot for taking breathtaking photos and landscape photography. So, whether you’re looking to unwind and soak up the sun or capture some amazing shots, Malutamban Island is definitely worth a visit.
The remote and serene Flower Island can be escaped to, where the tranquility of nature can be basked in. A perfect sanctuary for those seeking seclusion and privacy is offered by this tropical island retreat. With only 20 bungalows set amidst lush gardens, white sand beaches, and crystal-clear waters abundant with marine life, the resort is the ultimate tropical getaway.
Harmoniously blending with the natural surroundings, the bungalows are exclusively built with local materials and recycled wood. A breathtaking backdrop for a truly memorable vacation is provided by the unspoiled white sand beach, surrounded by thick green jungle and crystal blue sea.
Noa Noa Island
Noa Noa Island is the ultimate destination for those seeking complete seclusion and exclusivity. This luxurious private island, located in Taytay Bay, can be rented entirely for your tropical getaway.
Surrounded by a tropical coral reef teeming with marine life, Noa Noa Island is a dream come true for those seeking a truly private island experience with their friends or loved ones.
During your stay, you can explore the surrounding area with island hopping, snorkeling, diving, and kayaking. For accommodation, Noa Noa Island Resort offers a luxurious and comfortable stay, ensuring a memorable and relaxing tropical vacation.
Apulit Island, located in Taytay Bay, is a perfect tropical island getaway for those seeking relaxation and indulgence. The island is home to the stunning Apulit Island Resort, nestled in a pristine cove with a wide expanse of white sand beach lined with swaying coconut palm trees. The resort’s unspoiled location offers a wealth of colorful tropical fishes and scenic landscapes, making it an ideal destination for nature lovers.
For a truly memorable vacation, we recommend a stay of 3-4 days at the Apulit Island Resort. Activities such as island hopping, exploring the caves, and diving are popular among tourists. The resort provides luxurious accommodation and exceptional service to its guests.
Lover’s Cave is a hidden gem in Apulit Island, accessible only by dipping underwater to enter an arch that leads to the coves. Once inside, you will be amazed by the dramatic limestone scenery. Tabonito Cave serves as a refuge for the endangered Tabon Scrubfowl and Balinsasayaw. North Cave, on the other hand, is a unique function hall set within nature where private lunches and dinners are usually held. To access the area, tourists will have to cross a small lagoon. Finally, St. Joseph’s Cave is the largest cave on Apulit Island, characterized by a rock formation at its entrance shaped like a saint. Inside, visitors will discover seven chambers and other interesting rock formations.
Make the most of your tropical island getaway by visiting Apulit Island and experiencing its natural beauty and stunning attractions.
The Pasinggatan Festival is an annual ten-day event in Taytay, Palawan, showcasing the rich cultural heritage of the region through ethnic dances, songs, and local cuisine. Held from April 25 to May 4, the festival’s name is derived from the Cuyuno term for “luster” or “glimmer,” reflecting Taytay’s moniker as the “Estrella Del Norte” or “Star of the North” of Palawan.
The festival’s highlight is the Street Dance Competition, where different regional dance groups perform alongside locals and tourists. Another way to enjoy the festival is through “Paguetekan,” a local term for indulging in eating, where visitors can sample various local delicacies from different provinces at food booths in the municipal complex.
At Kampo Natin, a cultural campsite, visitors can purchase souvenirs and local handicrafts. The most anticipated event is the Cultural Night, where pageants from each cultural group compete to be crowned Miss Taytay, who will represent the municipality in the annual Provincial Baragatan Festival held in Puerto Princesa.
Discovering Taytay in 4 days
Day 1: Arrive Puerto Princesa – Taytay
Your journey begins as you arrive at Puerto Princesa airport and embark on a scenic transfer to Taytay. Settle into your luxurious home for the next 3 nights at The Dream Wellness Resort, where paradise awaits.
Day 2: Leisure
Wake up to the gentle sound of waves and indulge in a tranquil yoga session at our oceanfront pavilion. Whether you’re an experienced yogi or a beginner, our serene setting is the perfect backdrop for inner peace and rejuvenation.
Day 3: Island Hopping
Get ready for an adventure-filled day as you explore the stunning islands of Taytay Bay. Swim in crystal-clear waters, sunbathe on white sand beaches, and discover hidden lagoons on a thrilling island-hopping excursion.
Day 4: Depart Taytay – El Nido
As your stay at The Dream Wellness Resort comes to an end, depart for El Nido and bid farewell to the beauty of Taytay