The abundance and diversity of your flora and fauna,
Give me a relaxation like from a sauna,
Your sparkling city lights at night,
Give me a power like might,
Your pristine white sands and vast blue seas,
Give me translucent way to see,
The beauty hailed by me.
-November 6, 2016 –
The day I arrived on the island, tagged by one magazine as “The Best Island of the World”, intensified my desire to navigate the famous tourist attraction which is very “PALAWAN”, the Puerto Princesa Underground River. I was very excited about the fact that I am closer to my dream to see in reality that wonder of the world found in the Philippines. But, before I get too much excited I put myself back to reality which is to get outside from Puerto Princesa International Airport to head to the hotel. I was actually with my two sisters in this travel which I believed made the whole trip much funnier and goofier.
The outside view of Puerto Princesa International Airport I saw upon arrival.
Before getting down to the details of this trip, let me give you first a glance of this province.
Palawan, a province found in Region IV-B/MIMAROPA (Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon, and Palawan). Region IV-B is part of Luzon. The capital city of Palawan is Puerto Princesa City. The language used to communicate in the province is Tagalog. Though some people in Palawan still communicate using their local dialects such as Cuyunon, Palawanun, Batak and Tausug however, only the native locals use them. And just recently, Palawan is tagged by an international magazine Travel & Leisure as “The Best Island in the World”. On the other hand, this island is famous for producing cashew nuts. These nuts are the province’ delicacies which come in a variety.
When we got out from the airport, we were directly looking for transportation which can bring us to our hotel. Airport transfer is not a big deal in the city for there are a lot of options that you can choose from. They got vans, taxi cabs, and tricycles waiting outside the airport. We chose to take a tricycle going to our hotel. The tricycle charges all tourists a regular fare of 60 pesos during daytime and 80 pesos during night-time. You’ll pay 60 or 80 pesos for the whole trip. It’s not per person which makes the standard fare reasonable. The more you are on the trip the lesser you’ll pay each for the airport transfer going to your hotel.
The front view of the tricycle we rode on that day.
The side view of the tricycle
Tricycles in Puerto Princesa have only two colors, the white and the blue. On this day, the white tricycles were bound to pick up passengers. The next day will be the blue tricycles. That’s how it works here in Puerto Princesa city, it’s a literal color coding of tricycles.
We took a groupie while riding in the tricycle. With my eldest sister, Grace…
Our trip going to the resort took us around 15 minutes. It didn’t tire us because the resort was pretty near from the airport. By the way, we checked in at Deep Forest Garden Resort. The entrance of Deep Forest Garden Resort brings me to another dimension of the world because of its unique landscape and decor. The entrance has a cool pond where lots of fishes are swimming and splashing on the freshwater.
This scene gave me a cool mood as I entered the resort.
The welcome signage of the resort
Another pleasing man-made creation going to the resort’s entrance
Bigger than me… I captured them!!!
My effortless pose at the entrance of the resort! Welcome to Deep Forest Garden Resort!!!
The reception area of the resort
The waiting area for the guests
The lobby going inside and outside the reception area
The resort’s rate is not really expensive. We paid around 5,000 pesos for three days two nights’ accommodation with an extra bed (standard room). So, it is good for three persons. The room is spacious and clean and the hotel staffs are also very accommodating.
The bed inside the room which is good for two persons.
The view fronting the bed…
So, the room got a mini fridge, a television and an air-conditioning unit. There was a large fan on the ceiling as well. Thus, the room is well-ventilated. And if you’re planning your trip to Palawan you may try checking in at this resort. For inquiries here’s the resort’s mobile number, 09052823129 or you may visit their website, http://deepforestinn.com/.
This is the restroom inside the room. It has a ‘conch’ lavatory.
The hot and cold shower
After we settled our things in the room we decided to go out for dinner. Looking for restaurants or food stalls was a piece of cake since few minutes’ drive from the resort we already saw lots of restos inviting local or foreign tourists through their pleasing logos or signs. Just in case you don’t want to go far. However, in our case, we decided to check the city’s Robinsons Place which is quite far from the resort to take our dinner there. Robinsons Place Palawan is 4 kilometers away from Deep Forest Garden Resort and it took us around 35 minutes to reach the mall. The city’s traffic isn’t heavy unlike other big cities in the Philippines. By the way, we took a tricycle again but this time the driver asked for 250-peso-fare for the whole trip (going forth and back). The best part of this night trip is that Kuya (the way I called the driver) brought us to different souvenir shops and waited patiently for us to finish. The name of his tricycle is Papa Ken and in case you want to do the same with what we did you can reach him through his number, 09354266669.
Robinsons Place Palawan at night
The front view of Robinsons Place Palawan at daytime… The photo was taken on the second day of our trip on our way back to the resort from Barangay Sabang.
We bought our key chains which come in different sizes, shapes, and designs from this souvenir shop.
Got lucky to buy affordable tee-shirts from Islands Souvenirs 🙂
-November 7, 2016-
Our second day,
Was absolutely gay,
We traveled far,
Reached that wonder,
Which made us wonder?
Yes! Finally, we indisputably saw that nature’s jaw-dropper.
This is it! The second day of our Palawan trip was filled with excitement because we visited Philippine’s wonder on the day. Before we went there, we had to settle the tour’s fee first. Yeah! Tourists need an agency in order to avail the Puerto Princesa Underground River (PPUR) Tour. Good thing we booked the tour a week before we went to Palawan. By the way, we booked our tour through Tourister Agency (the resort’s agency where we stayed at). The package tour fee for PPUR tour is 1840 per person. For inquiries, here’s the agency’s mobile number, 09151263144. The inclusions of the tour package are the following: van transfer (from hotel to Sabang Wharf and vice versa), boat transfer (from Sabang Wharf to Underground River and vice versa), boat (from the shore going to the Subterranean River) entrance fee, environmental fee, life vest for protection, licensed tour guide, buffet lunch at the restaurant near the wharf.
Our picked up time on this day was 6:30 A.M. We took our very early breakfast to our room and prepared for the whole day tour. We were not the only tourists who were picked up on that day because there were 12 of us in the van excluding the licensed tour guide Ma’am Weng and the driver Sir Ambet. From the resort, it took us 3 hours traveling to Sabang Wharf. On our way to Sabang wharf were very countryside attractions such as mountains, rock formations, various flora, and fauna. Likewise, our tour guide Ma’am Weng started to share with us the exquisite wonder we’ll see when we reached the place.
My incredible stolen shot on our way to Barangay Sabang.
The magnificent view of Sabang Wharf
The waves which made way to kiss the concrete brought melody and tune to this photograph.
We were off to take the boat going to the PPUR location.
Navigating the West Philippine Sea to see the Philippine’s wonder
It took us 20 minutes to travel by sea. There were six of us on the boat excluding the boatmen. Through this tour, we met new friends from Cavite and General Santos City. Meet our new-found friends from Cavite who were sitting on the left side of the boat.
The jaw-dropping scenery we saw.
My sister, Mae, who was glancing at the forest from the left.
I wasn’t prepared for this take?! Such an awkward pose 🙂 LOL!
My eldest sister, Grace, who happily took a pose at the entrance of PPUR for a picture.
Yours truly, who still couldn’t believe at that time that I was finally at Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park.
Just the three of us 🙂
We were fascinated by the view we saw as well as the fact that the Local Government Unit of Palawan really preserved the area since nobody is allowed to go beaching and swimming there. In addition, the well-preserved flora and fauna of the place made me realized how important nature is to humanity. Local and foreign tourists were taught to be responsible travelers. To reach the river, we still need to walk inside a forest, we do not worry about it since the forest we’re taking isn’t scary and it isn’t a long walk either. When we reached the river, we have to ride on a small boat to reach the cave and eventually explore the underground river inside the sophisticated cave with numerous rock formations. It is wondrous! It is natural! Inside the cave, we saw lots of stalagmites and stalactites. They were awesome! By the way, inside the cave, we were not allowed to talk or create any clatter in order not to disturb the species. We were also warned by our tour guide to cover our mouth if, we couldn’t control saying WOW coz we might swallow a falling bat’s shit if we wouldn’t cover our mouths with our hands. Just a friendly reminder! 🙂
The registration area of PPUR site
This harmless iguana welcomed the tourists.
They’re ready to navigate the river and discover the mystical view inside.
An obligatory groupie with the river as the background
Because of that real marvel, I saw inside the cave, I am convinced that Palawan is the best island in the world. I never imagined that nature could be really surprising to the human race. First, the cave that we voyaged is amazingly huge. In fact, it took us 50 minutes to rove inside. Technically, the cave is really pitch black but because the boatman has a flashlight on his head so, we saw the different awesome rock formations inside. Some were formed like vegetables, others were formed like religious representations such as a face of Jesus Christ, The Last Supper, and some rock posts which resemble the ones found in the cathedral. There is a portion of the cave where lots of bats can be found. That portion really stinks because of the bats’ shits which fell down and mixed up with the water. Total care must be observed in order for the traveler not to swallow the shit. Perhaps, the different rock formations inside is one of the reasons why I was left in awe after the voyage.
All travelers must observe silence inside. So, if we were all silent then, how did we understand the story behind this wonder? Well, there was an audio material given to us. Every traveler received the material and a headset must be connected to, one could listen to the narration from the audio. The narration comes in different languages. All you have to do is tell the in-charge who will assist you before you navigate to set it to a language you know. You can listen to the narration in English, Spanish, Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Filipino, etc. Thus, there’s no need for a human tourist guide in this navigation.
The heart of the forest
Photo by Ma’am Tin. A groupie before we navigated the subterranean river with our beautiful friends from GenSan
The implausible rock formations inside the cave
We finished navigating the subterranean river around one in the afternoon. Yep! Everyone was really starving after the activity. Yet, we were not worried because a lunch buffet was part of the package. We took our heavy lunch at a restaurant very close to Sabang Wharf.
The restaurant near the wharf
After we took our scrumptious lunch, we were off to go back to Puerto Princesa City. However, our tour guide recommended that it would be practical if we dropped by at Ugong Rock Adventures to try their activities. Why is it called Ugong Rock? It is called ugong rock on the ground that when someone bangs the rocks with a small one it will produce a gong sound. Our tour guide from the site told us about that. She also became our official photographer for this adventure. Of course, I’m very thankful to our new-found friend from General Santos City (who’s already based in Kuwait) for the beautiful pictures. Through her (Ma’am Tin), this gest was properly documented.
Photos by Ma’am Tin. Our unforgettable memories of Ugong Rock Adventures
The struggle was real to make it to the top of the cave. We faced lots of difficulties yet, when we reached above it was worth it. The view we saw above was magnificent and very picturesque.
Photos by Ma’am Tin. Our group pictures of success
Photos by Ma’am Tin. Yay!!! We survived!!!!
After which, we all assembled inside the van to go back to the city. Before Sir Ambet brought us back to our hotels, we dropped by at the souvenir market. We took our time choosing souvenirs for family, friends, and loved ones. Indeed, we had a fun and big day!!!
Since we were dead tired we decided to take a short nap in our room. We took one hour for a power nap and got up for dinner. My sisters and I agreed to take our dinner at the resort’s restaurant. The food at Deep Forest Resort was quite pricey. It wasn’t really friendly for local tourists like us. Though their food was also delish however, it would be great to at least lower their price. I believe there’s a way for that.
The food we ordered at the resort. It’s a platter which is good for 3-4 persons.
Our planned groupie before taking our dinner
The relaxing ambiance of the restaurant
Wow!!! I appreciated this “light reflection” at night. Such an amazing idea!
-November 8, 2016-
Here comes the last day of our Palawan trip! We had a city tour on this day. Our picked up time for our city tour was 7:30 A.M., not so early for early persons like me. This city tour package is worth 600 pesos per pax. We booked this city tour through Tourister Agency a week before our trip. By the way, I forgot to mention that we were given discounts on our tours. How lucky we are?!
The city tour package includes the following: van transfer (from the different locations to the hotel), licensed tour guide, snack, entrance fee. The following places to visit are the following: Puerto Princesa’s Baywalk, Plaza Cuartel, Puerto Princesa’s Cathedral, Crocodile Farm or Butterfly Garden, Mitra’s Ranch, Baker’s Hill Palawan.
In this tour, we first went to the Baywalk area (Seaside). We witnessed big ships docking at the port and that fresh breeze coming from the sea enveloped my being with freshness and comeliness. Though we only passed through the area it gave me incredible thoughts when I saw it. What is good about this tour is that there’s always a tour guide who explained to us the history, etymology, and/or reasons behind the places’ existence.
Our tour guide of the day, Ms. Shy, informed us why Puerto Princesa is called “Puerto Princesa”. The reason can be traced when the Spaniards occupied the country. The mammoth Baywalk area (Port), accommodated numerous big ships and is considered to be the largest in the Philippines. Thus, the Spaniards called the place “Puerto Princesa”, Spanish terms which are port and princess in English. I couldn’t imagine how busy and noisy the area was during the Spanish Era.
Our next stop were the Plaza Cuartel and the city’s Cathedral. Plaza Cuartel is really rich in historical explanation due to the different events that happened here during World War II. Aside from that, the place will also give lots of good sites. Yes! Not only it is educational but also beautiful because one can see the blue ocean since the Palawan’s wharf is near to the Plaza. We also saw the bronze marker in the place where the names of the eleven survivors during the massacre that happened in the area was engraved. Such a dramatic tale of the place!
Our tour guide was explaining to us about the bronze marker.
Inside view of Plaza Cuartel
Opposite to Plaza Cuartel is the city Cathedral. We dropped by at the Cathedral and took photos. We decided not to get inside the Cathedral because there was burial mass to be held that time. I just took photos from a distance to document what is inside the church.
The Puerto Princesa City Cathedral
Next, we checked the city’s Butterfly Garden. We’re supposed to go to the Crocodile Farm but our tour guide suggested that we would rather visit the Butterfly Garden coz more stuff can be done there. Well, aside from butterfly watching we also had an actual interaction with the natives, the Palaw’an. And, it was an extraordinary experience to get acquainted with the native’s way of living. It was very primitive! The garden wasn’t very large though, but the lovely butterflies and other species I watched inside gave me a therapy. It was very cool and refreshing! How I wish I could have one at home!!!
The butterfly garden
Amazing interaction with the Palaw’an tribe
Our next stopover after the butterfly garden was Mitra’s Ranch. The ranch was filled with green grasses and a number of horses somehow welcomed us. One naughty horse who welcomed us with a pee. The place is really refreshing. There is a zip-line in the area too. However, due to the very limited time, we only took selfies and groupies.
Our Mitra’s Ranch photographs
Our final destination of this city tour was Baker’s Hill Palawan before we headed to souvenir market. When I reached the place, I was really amazed by its landscape. It seemed like I was in a kiddie land. How cool was that? Baker’s Hill Palawan is the place where one can taste very tasty bread and pastries. Well, the price of their cookies, bread, pizzas, etc. was very affordable. It wouldn’t empty one’s pocket at all.
Welcome to Baker’s Hill!!!!
My kiddie-experience-fixation was achieved!!!
Our city tour experience was incredible but due to the limited time given in every tourist destination, I couldn’t stop telling myself that I could have gone to that part if it weren’t the time. Well, time issues! The good thing is that we spent each minute wisely.
In a nutshell, this trip is the best by far. We visited all the places we planned to visit. Not only that, we also learned a lot from this travel. Above all, our time wasn’t wasted. Just a friendly reminder!
“Time is the most important element on earth. We can never bring back what we have wasted!” – Mars
Every minute I spent in Palawan was worth it. Perhaps, I can never forget this EPOCH OF FUN IN PALAWAN with my sisters. IT’S TRULY FUN IN PALAWAN!