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3 Days in Eden: the Mangrove Resort in Langogan, Palawan

Langogan River, Mangrove Resort in Langogan, Palawan, Philippines, Uncontained Life

You see that face? That, my friends, is the face I make (apparently) when I have been shipwrecked–or rather, canoe-wrecked in the middle of a river in the tiny Filipino village of Langogan (while this crab fisherman watches).

Crab Fisherman Langogan River Philippines, Uncontained Life

How exactly did we end up swimming in our clothes in the middle of a tropical river? It all started when we were in El Nido having our island hopping adventures and trying to decide what else we might want to see before heading back to Puerto Princesa. That’s when we made the spur-of-the-moment choice to spend a couple of nights in a spot that’s way off of most tourist’s radars...

Day 1: Welcome to the Mangrove Resort in Langogan!

Mangrove Resort Sign, Langogan, Philippines, Uncontained LifeMangrove Resort, Langogan, Philippines, Uncontained LifeMangrove Resort, Langogan, Philippines, Uncontained LifeLocated just a couple of hours from Puerto Princesa city, the Mangrove Resort in Langogan is, for most tourists, just a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it part of any bus ride to or from El Nido. But, for those in-the-know, it is the place to escape the mass tourism crowd and appreciate Palawan’s traditional village culture and lesser-known natural wonders.

Langogan Forest, Philippines, Uncontained LifeLangogan Forest, Philippines, Uncontained Life

After a 4 hour ride south from El Nido, Justin and I stepped off of the Cherry Bus in front of the 3 Sisters store in Langogan and followed the dirt road through town toward the Mangrove Resort.

Local Store, Mangrove Resort in Langogan, Palawan, Philippines, Uncontained Life

Mangrove Resort Sign, Langogan, Philippines, Uncontained LifeMangrove Resort Sign, Langogan, Philippines, Uncontained Life

At the resort, we were greeted by its nature-loving owner, Claude, who introduced us to some adorable furry friends and gave us the grand tour of the resort’s grounds. 

Mangrove Resort, Langogan, Philippines, Uncontained Life

Cat, Mangrove Resort in Langogan, Palawan, Philippines, Uncontained Life

Dog, Mangrove Resort in Langogan, Palawan, Philippines, Uncontained Life

Surrounding the resort’s accommodations, there is a beautiful garden boasting a rich variety of plant and butterfly life.

Butterfly, Mangrove Resort in Langogan, Palawan, Philippines, Uncontained Life

Flowers, Mangrove Resort, Langogan, Philippines, Uncontained Life

Mangrove Resort in Langogan, Palawan, Philippines, Uncontained Life

Butterfly, Mangrove Resort, Langogan, Philippines, Uncontained Life

Tropical Flower, Mangrove Resort in Langogan, Palawan, Philippines, Uncontained Life

Prehistoric Spiked Tree, Mangrove Resort, Langogan, Philippines, Uncontained Life

Most of the food served at the resort is grown (or raised) in the gardens themselves or bought from the local fishing village. 

Bananas, Mangrove Resort in Langogan, Palawan, Philippines, Uncontained Life

This includes coconuts…

Coconuts, Mangrove Resort in Langogan, Palawan, Philippines, Uncontained Life

…which (in case you were wondering) are skillfully retrieved in this gravity-defying manner:

Coconut Climber, Mangrove Resort in Langogan, Palawan, Philippines, Uncontained Life

Climb Coconut Tree, Mangrove Resort in Langogan, Palawan, Philippines, Uncontained Life

Coconut Tree, Mangrove Resort in Langogan, Palawan, Philippines, Uncontained Life

(Of course, Justin had to try a bit of the climb himself…)

Mangrove Resort in Langogan, Palawan, Philippines, Uncontained Life

Beyond the resort garden lies the mangrove forest itself, bordering the Langogan river. Part of the resort’s mission is to protect the forests, which, like the mangroves in the Gulf of Thailand, have been dangerously diminished in recent decades.

Mangrove, Mangrove Resort, Langogan, Philippines, Uncontained LifeMangroves, Mangrove Resort, Langogan, Philippines, Uncontained LifeRiver, Mangrove Resort in Langogan, Palawan, Philippines, Uncontained Life

After exploring the mangroves, we decided to tag along with one of the resort staff who was headed to the fishing village to purchase a Dorado (also known as Mahi-mahi) for dinner. 

Dorado Fish, Langogan, Philippines, Uncontained Life

Our first stop was the beach where the fishermen (and women) were bringing in the day’s catch. 

Fisherman, Langogan, Philippines, Uncontained LifeFisherwoman, Langogan, Philippines, Uncontained LifeFisherman, Langogan Fishing Village, Philippines, Uncontained LifeFlying Fish, Langogan, Philippines, Uncontained LifeFlying Fish, Langogan, Philippines, Uncontained Life
Afterward, we walked back through the village itself, where we were greeted with a loud, friendly chorus of “hellos” from the local children, and smiles from their parents.

Fishing Village, Langogan, Philippines, Uncontained Life

Fishing Village, Langogan, Philippines, Uncontained Life

Local Basketball, Mangrove Resort in Langogan, Palawan, Philippines, Uncontained Life

And this friendliness isn’t without reason. Because of how the Mangrove Resort has integrated itself into the life of the village (Clause and his wife hire local staff, buy local goods and have made it their priority to give back to the community in a number of tangible ways) guests to the resort are embraced by the local people as friends rather than tourists. Case in point, later that evening, we were invited to sing karaoke with a couple of the staff and some other local folks—an experience which was both hilarious and a ton of fun; exhibit A: Justin singing Hotel California—our hosts’ choice—whilst in the background, an early 90’s  Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue “behind the scenes” video plays on repeat.

Karaoke, Langogan, Philippines, Uncontained Life

Day 2: Trekking to the Olanguan Waterfalls

The next morning, well-rested and ready for adventure, Justin and I headed off to hike to the Olanguan Waterfalls, accompanied by another of the resort’s residents, Quentin, a young man from France who came to work for a few months at the resort and decided to make it permanent. We hopped on a local bus and headed down the road approximately ten minutes to mile marker 72.

Mile Marker 72, Philippines, Uncontained Life

And then…we headed off into the forest!

Olanguan Waterfalls Trail, Philippines, Uncontained Life

The trail to the Olanguan Waterfalls is simple to follow, initially. There’s wildlife a-plenty…

Frog Olanguan Waterfalls Trail, Philippines, Uncontained Life

…and a number of nice spots to stop along the way, including a great swimming area.

Swimming Hole, Olanguan Waterfalls Trail, Philippines, Uncontained Life

But it’s easy to understand why most trekkers choose to do the hike with a guide once you reach the final leg of the trek.

Olanguan Falls Trail, Mangrove Resort in Langogan, Palawan, Philippines, Uncontained Life

A clear-cut trail gives way to a series of river-crossing/ boulder-climbing experiences as you wend your way, slowly, toward the head of the falls. 

Olanguan Falls Trail, Mangrove Resort in Langogan, Palawan, Philippines, Uncontained LifeOlanguan Waterfalls Trail, Langogan, Palawan, Philippines, Uncontained Life

For a couple of not-so-in-shape folks, the 1.5 hour hike was moderately strenuous, but the sweat was totally worth it when, upon arrival at our final destination, we were greeted by our own private waterfall and swimming area.

Olanguan Falls, Mangrove Resort in Langogan, Palawan, Philippines, Uncontained LifeOlanguan Falls, Mangrove Resort in Langogan, Palawan, Philippines, Uncontained LifeOlanguan Falls, Mangrove Resort in Langogan, Palawan, Philippines, Uncontained Life

After a couple of hours at the waterfall, we trekked back to the resort for another fantastic meal…

Local Pig, Mangrove Resort in Langogan, Palawan, Philippines, Uncontained Life

…joke! (This pink dude was just a neighbor…we ate more fresh-caught fish!)

Day 3: Gone Swimming…

Our last day at the resort was relaxed. Claude and a couple of locals showed us how to make outdoor furniture with nothing but a coconut tree-stump and a chainsaw… 

Chainsaw, Mangrove Resort in Langogan, Palawan, Philippines, Uncontained Life

Handcrafted Furniture, Mangrove Resort in Langogan, Palawan, Philippines, Uncontained LifeMangrove Resort, Langogan, Philippines, Uncontained Life

And then the suggestion was made that we try a quick paddle on the river on a traditional outrigger canoe before catching our bus. Sounded great to us! 

Outrigger Canoes, Mangrove Resort in Langogan, Palawan, Philippines, Uncontained Life

After getting a couple of paddles and a push-off the bank from one of the the resort staff-members, we were on our way! We paddled up-bank and down, feeling like total outrigger pros, and trying to spot monitor lizards.

Mangrove Resort in Langogan, Palawan, Philippines, Uncontained Life

Mangrove Resort in Langogan, Palawan, Philippines, Uncontained Life

Mangrove Resort in Langogan, Palawan, Philippines, Uncontained Life

We waved hello to a crab fisherman who was setting out his nets and started to paddle back to the bank. And then…as if on cue like some cosmic joke…10 feet from the shore…and in less time than it takes to say “there’s a hole in the hull”…our canoe went from being unsinkable to fully submerged!

Mangrove Resort in Langogan, Palawan, Philippines, Uncontained Life

Lucky for us, the kind (and amused) fisherman came to our aid, retrieved the seats, and helped us pull the canoe on to the shore. One drained canoe later, we found the culprit: Justin had inadvertently kicked the drainage plug free from it’s drain.  

Needless to say, we ended up needing to unpack (and repack) again before saying goodbye to Claude and the Mangrove Resort, and heading back to Puerto Princesa. But wet or dry, our consensus on Langogan: yes, yes, and yes!

Mangrove Resort in Langogan, Palawan, Philippines, Uncontained Life


 

Many thanks to the Mangrove Resort for hosting us on this trip. As always, all opinions are our own! 

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Mangrove Resort in Langogan, Palawan, Philippines, Uncontained Life

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