How I Got My SUV Stuck On A Remote Beach In The Philippines

So we got the SUV stuck – bad & here’s the story…

I am back in the Philippines and I arrived in Puerto Princessa to meet an old friend with the idea of renting a car and road tripping the island of Palawan. The goal was to rent a car to try and get into some of the lesser known places and hard to reach beaches through regular local transportation.

So we rented this beauty, a 2011 Toyota Avenza. It had 130k km, a bit of a weird wine in first gear and almost no power in 3rd gear, but it would do for a week. At $20/day we rented it for less than half the rate of a new car, and it had the clearance of a 4×4 that was 4x the daily rate but this baby was 100 horsepower of pure rear wheel drive bliss.

After being joined last minute by a few new friends, the 4 of us were off to explore Palawan.

First stop, Sabang.

Known for the Underground River, a vast cave that you can paddle into by canoe. Sabang also boasts a beautiful beach in town and what we were really after, the waterfall that flowed out into the sea.

The Hike took about an hour but it was worth it. I sent my new DJI drone up to get some aerial shots of the waterfall.

sabang falls Palawan

Sadly, when landing it after a flight it decided to disconnect from the controller, fly straight up, hit some trees and came crashing down.

After assessing the damage, and changing 2 propellers, the drone appear to be flight worthy and the camera still worked. Sadly, the gimble (The thing that stabilizes the camera) was completely fubar’d. So the rest of the trip would only get aerial photos and silky smooth video would have to wait for another trip.

Next stop on the list, Port Barton.

Or so we thought….

After about 2 hours of driving we turn off the main highway and took the road to Port Barton.

After a few km, we hit a mud pach and a larger, 4×4 van that looked very stuck, so we decided to move on to San Vicente.

On the San Vicente road we encounter an obstacle that I’ve only had the pleasure to drive through a few times in a vehicle.


The bridge was out, so there was a make shift road through the river.

Crossing The River To San Vicente

After spending the night in town, and being quoted crazy rates for island hopping in town we diced that we would take the cheap option and hit up Long beach.

Long Beach San Vicente Palawan

I was certainly glad we did. What we found was a pristine 12km long beach all to ourselves.


Total cost P20/each ($0.40)

The surf was great, and we got to play for a few hours in the waves take in the amazing surroundings.

We jumped back into the car and made the rest of the drive to to El Nido. The new tourist hot spot in the Philippines.

Know for its unique island and rock formations, island hopping, remote beaches and great diving El Nido had developed a lot since my visit here in mid 2015.

It felt more like a backpackers in most other tropical countries, something that you dont find all that often here in the Philippines, which is one of the reasons I like it here.

What El Nido did have, was great food options and some epic day trip options available.

On day 2, we decided to go an explore some of the more remote beaches north of town.

Stop #1 was Nacpan beach. A Beautiful double beach with a fishing village attached. It had a great white sand beach and no rocks to speak of in the water (Unlike the beaches in town where you have to climb over a layer of rocks to reach the sandy water in places.

Nacpan Beach El Nido Palawan

After a brief swim and some pictures we headed in search of a more remote, harder to get to beach.

driving the crazy road

road to the 3 beaches

After about 30-40 min of driving we reached the remote beach we were seeking, sadly within the last 100m from the beach, I got a the SUV stuck, bad.

I enlisted the help of the owner of a resport nearby (Who had a big pickup truck parked in his driveway) but told me he didn’t have any tow cables or chains around.

After messing around with just the 2 of us for a little while, we decided I should walk to town and enlist the help of some of the villagers to see if we can get it out.

After about 10 minutes, I had 4 willing pushers to help get the SUV moving again.

We rocked, we rolled, went forward, and backward and finally, by some miracle we got it out of the mud and up the hill it hung up on.

Finally reaching the beach, we saw that the surf was big, I went for a swim but quickly discovered an undertow that would tow even the best swimmer out, so no playing in the waves here sadly.


I did however show some of the local kids my drone and took a few pictures of the property as a thank you for the owners help with the mud situation.

I spent the next few days, relaxing and diving in the area and then made the trip back to Puerto Pricnessa to drop off the rental.


A successful and eventful week to say the least.

And that’s what happens when you rent a car in Palawan.