Tao Philippines introduces Balatik for islands expedition, outrigger voyage around the Palawan islands

Tao Philippines introduces the Balatik, a traditional boat that embraces simplicity and the charm of old ways. It gently navigates between islands, carrying not just passengers but the simplicity found in the old ways

In the scenic archipelago of El Nido, Palawan, a unique adventure unfolds as Tao Philippines introduces the Balatik, a traditional boat that embraces simplicity and the charm of old ways. The Balatik, one of the largest traditional vessels in the Philippines, offers a distinctive experience where the waves remain uncut by a propeller, and outriggers bend gracefully, working in harmony with nature instead of attempting to tame the ebb and flow of the sea.

The Balatik’s essence allure lies in the absence of the typical hiss of white foam crashing on a beach. Instead, passengers aboard this vessel are treated to a rolling, surging silence, a stark contrast to the white noise generated by conventional engines. This indigenous sailing boat represents a departure from modernity, providing an opportunity to connect with nature on a more profound level.

Tao Philippines, the company behind this unique venture, positions the Balatik as the cornerstone of their island tours in El Nido. The pre-trip briefing guides the tone, making it clear that the Balatik experience is not for everyone. Potential adventurers are forewarned: there’s no air conditioning, no hot showers, and certainly no phone service. It is precisely this lack of modern amenities that categorizes these journeys as “expeditions.”

From bow to stern, the Balatik is around 74ft (22.5 meters). The Balatik becomes a vessel not just for transportation but a conduit for a unique, authentic experience, harkening back to a time when the rhythm of the sea dictated the pace of life. The Balatik is the type of craft that the first people to ever lay eyes on the jagged cliffs of Palawan may have used. Her outriggers are way thicker than balance beams, standing tall with two masts and four tan-coloured sails.

Participants in these expeditions find themselves part of a journey where the focus shifts from digital connectivity to a more tangible connection with the environment. On each of its mini voyages, the Paraw takes up to 12 guests and the first stop is at one of the dozens of base camps of Tao.

Tao Philippines’ bold approach to tourism invites a select group of adventurers to set aside modern comforts in exchange for a deeper closeness with nature. As the Balatik gently navigates between islands, it carries not just passengers but simplicity found in the old ways, reminding all on board of the magic that unfolds when the noise of engines is replaced by the symphony of the sea.