Boat Operator – Benji

His primary source of income by profession, Benji also runs a regular schedule to Coron on Fridays, 2 days, with a one day trip back leaving on Sundays.

Every operator has their own contacts or relatives who have islands you can explore or people to meet and stay at on different islands, making tours by each operator special. But what makes Benji’s tours extra special is his particular love for Emperador, a local brandy, with the contagiously jovial mood it brings with it once you settle down for the evening.

Keep in mind though that he manages several boats and crews, so it might be just the luck of the draw which boat he actually captains. But if you like to party, send him a special request and try to work out a deal!

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The master captain himself.
Below: Takling, island owned by his father-in-law
and where he often likes to camp overnight on his tours.

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Below, entertainment hut on Calacala,
another island owned by one of his relatives and an exclusive to his tours. 

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Yours truly celebrating his son’s birthday with them.

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Below: more pics from his camera, this time of the local Eli caves.

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His new boat:

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He wrote: We serve towels also to my guest all in white color with the beddings.

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Mango swans.

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You can join or book one of our private custom Palawan boat tours between El Nido and Coron. Tons of paradise beach islands to see along the way, excellent snorkeling in crystal clear waters, caves to explore, Spanish fortress and much more. Completely off the beaten path!

Palawan-boat-tours

Back to our boat sizes and list of boat operators.

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Benji boatman
Average rating:  
 36 reviews
by Rob Humphries on Benji boatman
Nice and chill off the beaten path.

Had a great time thank you. First night was a bit noisy because we shared Arew Beach with a big group. Once we completely got away from the crowds it was very relaxing. Maileen and the crew did a great job and we really enjoyed their company.

by Brigitta Cazzola on Benji boatman
wonderful!

Hi Karel, it was great! The crew was amazing, but also the food and places we visited! It has been the highlight of our holiday in the philippines!!! We literally loved it!!!

by Kamil Kloch on Benji boatman
Flawless

we arrived in Sibaltan yesterday afternoon, the trip was flawless. Benjie and his crew are fantastic. We spent 4 nights in CalaCala.
Thank you very much, Karel. We hope to come back in the future. All the best for your wedding in April! 🙂

by Alison on Benji boatman
What a great time

Thank you so much. We had a great time and really enjoyed the tour. Benjie, Sunny and his cousins help us a lot, no matter on the tour guidance or accommodation arrangement. The food was great as well! We were happy to have some times to interact or play basketball with local people.
Those islands and beaches were amazing! We really love this experience and hope to come back again:)

by RC Aspan on Benji boatman
Wonderful

It was wonderful. Coron-el Nido is amazing. Everyone in the crew were very helpful and attentive to our needs. We also enjoyed our every meal.

by Potier Bruno on Benji boatman
Really nice crew and food was delicious

Everything went very well, benji and his boat boys we really nice to us, food was delicious and places we stayed at were good. We’ll surely leave a comment on their online page when back home.
Just a personal note to you: your website, although being easily reachable online, does not pay tribute to the real beauty of the landscapes and sceneries as they really are, a little time could be taken here to better push forward beautiful pictures 🙂 #justsaying

yah, hard to capture all that and have been told this several times. I've been buying better equipment, such as a drone as well, but still hard to capture it justly.

by Gillian Scarborough on Benji boatman
Truly an amazing trip

The trip was amazing!! Linapacan is insanely beautiful and Kendall and I think it was one of the highlights of our time in Palawan.

If I had to give feedback, I think the only things that could be improved were a bigger focus on being environmentally friendly and more communication. We saw trash thrown into the ocean and it'd be nice to have a refillable water station so we didn't have to use so much plastic.

Overall, it was a truly amazing trip. Thanks for helping us book it!

yah, it can be a problem with the locals, but also it is possible that a certain amount of it comes out of the major river in China, where everyone throws plastic into it and produces a lot of the ocean's garbage. But people are slowly learning and improving.

by Sirena Varma on Benji boatman
We had such a great time

It was an amazing experience, we had such a good time!

by Daniel Martinez on Benji boatman
Food and crew were wonderful

I have to tell you that we had a great trip!! We really enjoyed it very very much. The kids and I had a lot of fun. The crew from the boat were also very very nice with
the children took them on a cano guarded them constantly, they were just amazing!. The food that our cook prepared on the small stove at the back of the boat, was really amazing too. The only thing that
I would like to point out to you is the drinking habit of the capitain, Benji - a bit too much for our tastes. Benji was really a very nice and experienced captain, but at night when we were installed, the tents were ready and after we had dinner.
The next morning he was always in normal state again and pilot the boat without any problem.
Like I said this is really the only negative point of the whole trip, as for the rest everything went very well and we really liked the entire trip and the crew very much. Thank you for everything we really had a great time!

Yes, Benji does like to drink in the evenings, and I think it helps him fall asleep. For many years he was the basketball star of San Miguel and is in great physical shape, so he can handle it. This is explained on his profile. Some guests prefer that and to party with the locals, but I did inform him that he should be more sensitive in the future when children are among the guests, or I could have simply chosen another boatman for you.

by Mark Biscoe on Benji boatman
Very accommodating crew and amazing places

Everything was great! Benji and crew (Miliene, Victor, Sonny, Darwin) were very accommodating. They provided great suggestions of where to visit once outside the general Coron area. The places that they brought us were amazing!

by Tom Oliveri on Benji boatman
We felt part of a loving family

We had a fantastic time, Benji and the crew took great care of us throughout the trip.

We were taken to some truly breathtaking snorkeling spots. A real highlight was being taken to Benjis home town - there was a 7th birthday down the road. They had pork leftover from the celebration which was in turn shared with us. (Although this was after we had eaten dinner so we were pretty full). But in that moment we really felt part of the community, as I know roast pig is a Filipino traditon.

We did have some rough weather with the typhoon which was unfortunate but we felt safe and in good hands throughout the trip.

A true ‘above and beyond’ moment was that Benjis wife despite being super tired, stayed up to ensure we were all safe while we drank and partied on the beach at night.
She clearly cared for our safety.

The cook was spectacular and we enjoyed the meals provided.
However we did have a particularly fussy group of eaters, including people allergic to seafood and vegetarians.
The main feedback I have on the trip as a whole is that it would have been great to have a pre-made PDF checklist of what meals we choose to have and what quantity. I wish I had communicated the food preferences of our group more carefully.
The fried chicken and chicken curries were so good they got eaten in seconds flat, while sometimes we would have leftover fish as we as a group weren’t really big seafood eaters.
I love seafood personally - and assumed my friends did too.
Having a form to fill out would have forced me to question the group and provide more accurate information.

I’d do it all again in a heartbeat and will be reccomending your tour with Benji and his wife (we called her Mum, because she took such good care of us) to family and friends.

All guests are informed to instruct the boatman in advance if they have any dietary preferences. I know I send a lot of info, but it is all pertinent and important, and best is to read it so that your trip is top notch excellent.

by Martina Matulic on Benji boatman
Wish we could have stayed longer!

The Boattrip with Benji and his familiy was amazing. We had a wonderfull experience and regret, that we did not had more time on the boat cause we liked it that much, se could have stayed longer. We enjoyed the lonley beaches and the beatiful places we have been. Maileen did everything for us and was super attentive by providing everything for us!

by Rob Thompson on Benji boatman
What an amazing time

We had an amazing time!!! Have already recommended to our friends. Thank you very much for organising!!!

by André Mardoñal on Benji boatman
We had a great time

It was super nice! Benjie and Maileen and the Rest of the crew are amazing and we had a great time!!!

by amira zemmoura on Benji boatman
Everything was great

Everything was great, we had an amazing experience full of good memories with Benjie and his crew.
We will definitely come back with friends and family.

Thanks for your assistance and advice.

by Justin Brouwer on Benji boatman
Benji was a good guide

It was great! Everything worked out well and we had a really good time. The food from Larry was especially good. Enjoyed the local accommodation. Benji was a good guide.

by si ni tay on Benji boatman
Definitely a memorable experience

Our experience was great! Benjie and the crew took care of us when we had to stay at an island for an extra night due to the typhoon. They took the effort to dish up delicious local food for my partner and I which we thoroughly enjoyed.

They made the island hopping experience for us memorable and would totally recommend them to friends visiting El Nido/ Coron on an island tour 🙂

by Freddie Instone on Benji boatman
Such a good trip

it was great thanks! Such a good trip. We will certainly be recommending to friends. Thanks for all your help.

by Corina Martinez on Benji boatman
The only downside is that the tour is over!

Everything was excellent! The only downside is that the tour is over! Hahaha The crew was amazing and gave us the best service!
Thank you for everything!!

by Aleksandra Lorek on Benji boatman
We felt really cared for

The trip was amazing, food was delicious, staff was friendly and helpful, sites where beautiful. The only thing we found missing was rental of snorkeling gear. Even though, there was no snorkeling gear for rent the guys managed to arrange some extra masks for us from a different boat.
We found the crew was amazing and very accommodating. We felt really cared for.

Yah, the Christmas holiday season was very busy and our resources stretched somewhat thin. Glad it worked out and we continue to invest into more equipment.

by Maria Singian on Benji boatman
The crew was really respectful and super nice

I’ll start by saying that the crew was really respectful and super nice! I didn’t care much for Ozone beach. Felt like they had their own itinerary and since we’re not familiar with the islands, we just went with the flow.

You can see photos of our excursion and the crew on FB (Maria Singian)

by Stephanie Ellis on Benji boatman
One of our most special experiences

It was one of the most special things my husband and I have done. Thank you so much!! We will definitely return!!!

by kristian steffensen on Benji boatman
Food was very decent and crew was always very helpful

trip went very well thanks!

We made some really nice stops along the way and camped overnight on an island just north of Linapacan. Food was very decent and crew was always very helpful.

by Aaron on Benji boatman
amazing experience

What an amazing experience....that was like 7 star service. The experience was just incredible. So beautiful and so much fun. Benji and Maileen are just amazing hosts. Thx a lot!!

by Todd on Benji boatman
lovely experience

We toured with benji one day and his crews the other 2 days as he was entertaining multiple tour bookings. Drop off to flower island in taytay went smoothly as well. Was tons of fun! Really got a good saturation dosage of the linapacan area. Lovely experience and felt like we were in a very remote area.
Little rough not showering for days but my girlfriend handled it better than i expected her to!

All the places where people live in larger communities there is fresh water, but if you prefer camping, a few of the places don't have any. But roughing can be fun for a few days and glad you enjoyed it!

by Josie on Benji boatman
fantastic

Absolutely fantastic!

by Joseph on Benji boatman
perfect

It went perfectly well.
Benj ans crew are great and places are spectacular.
Thank you !

by Beri on Benji boatman
wonderful experience

It was SUCH a wonderful experience. Dick and the crew took such great care of us. Thanks again!

by Max on Benji boatman
Lots of fun

It was great! Maileen and Benjie were both very generous and knowledgeable. Had lots of fun

by Sarah on Benji boatman
wonderful tour, aside from the rough weather

All in all it was a really great experience. We were not so lucky with the wind and waves so we couldn't do all the stops we wanted to and we also had a rough first night with lots of wind. Somehow though I managed to not get too sick on the boat and fought off my tiredness from only 2 hours of sleep 🙂

Benji and his family though were really nice and did everything they could. He does really get heavy on the rum at night but it was still to a point where its alright. The food was amazing - always way too much. However it would have been nice if they would have eaten with us sometimes. We always asked them to but they never did. I am sure they thought it's impolite or something?! But we were only 2 and it was a bit wired eating alone and knowing they would hide and eat our leftovers later. But maybe it's just the culture?

There was a bit of a miscommunication on the food being included and paying on top of the 47000 was really a lot in the end all in all. But OK its done now, but maybe you could have communicated the packages better via email or on your website.

Another feedback I have concerning the size of the boat. I don't think it is sufficient for more than 4 people. If the weather is like it was these days, you always have to sit on top and it was already a little squeezy with us 2 and 5 boat people. So I guess 4 guests can be fine but more than that won't have the space unless they stand on the boat (like the boatman) and get completely wet and freezing. You might need to rethink that and state it on your website also. Benjis boat and motor also seems to be pretty old and might need some service at some point because the engine was dying and not working a lot.

This might just be some helpful feedback. But other than that it was really worth it and we got to see so many great beaches and reefs which we could have never been able to visit without the tour.

Yah, the swells can get high sometimes and the weather a bit rough. In the info I send out and also on my website you can find weather predictions, and I believe I mention somewhere to wear a snorkel mask, as the constant salt water in the eyes can get annoying. But I'm glad that overall you enjoyed the experience. Most of the year the water is quite flat and clear.

I did clearly state in emails and on the website that food and accommodation is not included if you did not choose the all-inclusive package (price basically turns out the same anyway).

Concerning the engine, Benji explained to me that his boat is newly renovated and engine new, just that it simply ran out of diesel briefly and something about an airlock or air bubble, which he said he quickly resolved.

I have passed on the message about eating together. I think they assume you are on a romantic honeymoon and want to respect your privacy. Locals also tend to be shy with foreigners.

There are various sized boats and each boatman has several boats and crew under their command, so they choose based on the number of guests. A new policy is to allow the guests to choose boatman and/or boat, based on availability. 
https://www.islandhoppinginthephilippines.com/palawan/v/sizes-of-boats/

But I'm glad you enjoyed your trip!

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MickKurtz

Looks great will try to get there in 2016.

Lory

Hi SailorSam!

How can I book a guided tour around Linapacan thru Benji? We’re visiting Coron end of the month and Linapacan is high on our list.

Thanks!

Mark Haan

Hi again, you emailed me sometime ago.
I would like to hire a boat, we didnt want to share, its me and my family..total 4. My kids are 11 and 13.
The boat we wish to hire must have some shade like Benjis boat. We are interested in a 4 night excursion, we can camp ideally. Arriving around the 1st November. So what do we do from here, how do we book and confirm. Do we contact Benji directly with a phone number? Do we need to bring a tent ? Get back to me when you can, regards, Mark Haan

Alice

Hi so u have any boat trips from 8 Feb till 11/12? From coron to el nido?

And how much? Thabk you

Alice

Emma

Hi
Hope your well.
How many people can your boat take? Do you have availability from 16th February for 4 days?
Thank you!
Emma