Philippines // Palawan //

Brooke’s Point and Mount Mantalingajan

Deep in the southern half of Palawan, 192km from Puerto Princesa, the town of BROOKE’S POINT is flanked by the sea on one side and formidable mountains on the other. The town was named after the eccentric nineteenth-century British adventurer James Brooke, who became the Rajah of Sarawak (now Malaysia), after helping a local chieftain suppress a revolt. From Borneo he travelled north to Palawan, landing at what is now Brooke’s Point and building an imposing watchtower there, the remains of which stand next to a newer lighthouse. Accommodation in Brooke’s Point includes the functional Silayan Lodge (t0928/347-0075; P499 and under) in the plaza opposite the town hall. There’s not much to do in town, though if you’re looking for adventure you can hire a guide at the town hall to climb nearby Mount Mantalingajan, at 2086m the highest peak in Palawan. This is a tough climb that can take up to five days, so make sure you come well prepared; there’s no equipment for hire locally. The usual route actually starts on the west coast from the barangay of Ransang near Rizal (6hr from Princesa by Charing Bus Lines). In Rizal you can stay at the Castelar Lodge (t0921/504-4108; P499 and under).