“If given a chance to travel around the world, where would you go?” A question oftenly asked to travelers like me. I still choose to explore the Philippines, my home and where my heart belongs. Aside from breathtaking views at the peak of its mountains, the majestic waterfalls, the calm and relaxing beaches, what more could you ask for? It is a great opportunity to visit our islands and get to know different cultures. Let me share my 10-day experience traveling across the three main lands of the Pearl of the Orient Seas.
A friend if mine owns a travel agency in Palawan. She arranged my Puerto Princesa tour and offered me a free stay at their house, a perk of being a solo traveller. I paid Php1,500 for Underground River experience. This included land and boat transfer with buffet lunch.
The Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park is a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage Site. It was chosen as one of the New Seven Wonders of Nature.
What to expect inside? Well, I was so amazed by God’s hands as none of the rock formations we saw are man-made. This fact made me appreciate the cave’s beauty. Some of the rock formations I remembered were ‘The Market’, ‘The Cathedral’, ‘Holy Family’, and the ‘Giant Candle’.
Bats are everywhere so beware of falling excretions, don’t look up with your mouth wide open. Snakes are also present, ‘andun si Bes‘. We were bidding the boats whom we came across ‘good evening’ as there was total darkness inside. During lunch, I got the chance to taste the famous ‘tamilok’ of the island. It was very slimy and you really need to dip it on vinegar to neutralize the taste. The tour ended as scheduled and I still have time to visit some tourist spots nearby. Ate Marielle let me use her motorbike to explore the city, again, another perk of being a solo traveller.
Here are some of the places I visited:
•Plaza Cuartel – this historical place served as a garrison of American and Filipino soldiers during World War II, while being invaded by the Japanese. It was almost as if you were at the past. Feeling the sacrifices of our ancestors upon seeing the old walls and remnants brought by the war.
•Butterfly Eco Garden – one of the most popular tourist destinations in the city. At the entrance, you will see the life cycle of a butterfly. But aside from butterflies there are lots of species in the garden, like walking sticks, scorpions, lizards, wild boars, and crocodiles. Also, the tourists are given a chance to get to know one of the indigenous people of Palawan – the Pal’Awan Tribe.
•Baker’s Hill – started as a simple bakery, now it has a wide theme park with establishments like the baker’s kitchen, hula shake, pizza house, and souvenir shop. There are also large cartoon displays like Donald Duck, Shrek, and Snow White. It would be unreasonable not to buy Hopia from this bakery, especially those people na laging umaasa.
Before the day ends, I went to Kinabuchs Grill and Bar to check their famous crocodile sisig. Well, it tasted like chicken, but hey, it’s a crocodile. It is suggested to travel from Puerto Princesa to El Nido at night so you can do more activities during the day. You can also take some rest since it is a five-hour ride.
Fortunately, I won an El Nido Tour thru Baratilyong Gala facebook page. This included round-trip transfer from Puerto Princesa, accommodation for two nights and island hopping. Palawan was blessed with so many beautiful islands and the tourism grouped these islands into five tour packages. Each package ranged from Php1,200 to Php1,500, in which you can ask the tour agency for a combination of two packages.
Tour A – Small Lagoon, Big Lagoon, Secret Lagoon, Simizu Island, and the Seven Commandos Beach.
Tour B – Entalula Island, Snake Island, Pinagbuyutan Island, Pinasil Island & Cathedral and Cadugnon Cave.
Tour C – Helicopter Island, Secret Beach, Hidden Beach, Star Beach and Matinloc Shrine.
Tour D – Bukal Island, Cadlao Lagoon, Ipil Beach, Nat-nat Beach and Paradise Beach.
Tour E (land tour) – Nacpan and Calitang Twin Beach, Marimegmeg Beach, Las Cabanas Beach and Nagkalit-kalit Falls.
Since I only had limited time for this trip, I chose the combination of Tour A and C. I was so amazed by the crystal clear water of El Nido and I can’t help myself but to take a picture wearing Poseidon costume.
Before heading back to PPS for my flight going to Manila, I still had time to check the famous Nacpan and Calitang Twin Beaches. I rented a habal-habal to bring me to the twin beaches, it was an hour ride on a very rocky and muddy road.
Upon arriving, I headed immediately to the hill top. This spot gives a picturesque view, giving a blissful experience with the serenity of the place. I didn’t bother to go to the beach and play with the waves because I don’t know how to swim.
Before leaving El Nido, my habal-habal driver suggested to visit the Las Cabanas beach. I walked along the seashore and saw lots for foreigners relaxing and sunbathing, the sea was calm yet you could really feel the breeze. There were many perfect spots to take a picture and one was this view with the island on my background. One of the locals said that Manny Pacquiao owns it.
I had a van transfer to catch so I needed to cut short exploring the resort. I headed back to PPS and flew back to Manila, dropped my small bag at home and grabbed my backpack, ready for the next seven days traveling to Visayas and Mindanao.
(for a hassle free tour in Palawan, you may contact Marielle Jaranilla – 09398842402)