I was looking at my list of resolutions for the year and I crossed 2 items. I've went to the dentist (and had my tooth extracted) and I've traveled enough to appreciate the Philippines more than I ever did. Good job!
I recently went to Puerto Princesa, Palawan, and everything about it is just amazing as I expected. From the flight to the food, I had a great time.
Boarding a plane was first time thing. Although, I was told that I've flown before, I was too young to appreciate the experience. So when I did it this time, the moment the plane lift off the ground, it was a wow moment! Seeing the world from the top makes me realize how small I am in a big, big world. Amazing! As I watch the Philippines from atop, I am reminded of the fact that we have 7107 islands, amazing islands. It's true when they say we have a lot of beaches and I never realized until then. I saw abundant beaches and coral reefs that seemed to have not been reached by anyone yet. I hope so. There are places and creatures that we should just leave alone.
I travelled with my friends Che and Cha who are experienced travellers. You don't wanna travel with anyone who doesn't know a thing about places do you? Hehehe. I am thankful for these two girls, they made my life away from home easier.
We started our 3 day stay with a city tour. We contracted a trike driver to take us to popular tourist spots in the city. We went to Butterfly Garden, Crocodile Farm, Immaculate Conception Cathedral, Plaza Cuartel, Tiange Tiange, Mitra's Ranch, Baker's Hill, Bay Walk. The city's tag line is "the city in the forest" and it is! A typical province ambience but with more greens. I was overwhelmed by the number of restaurants. But of course, it's a popular tourist destination after all. We decided to drop the visit to Iwahig Prison and the Firefly watching, they were too far, we had to add additional price and we felt that firefly watching is not unique to Palawan.
The next day we went to the Underground River and did a side-trip to the Ugong Rock. Che heavily promoted the Underground River to me, and I would say that it's the part of the trip that I anticipated the most. It is located 50 km from the city proper. Once we got to the site, I have to say, that I didn't expect too many tourists. We have to wait for our turn to navigate the river that runs through a cave using paddle boat that can accommodate 11 people including the boatman. The waiting time took half of my excitement, but once we got inside, I felt that it was really worth the wait. Contrary to the climate in the area, it was cold inside. The stalactites and stalagmites are awesome, they form various shapes like a dinosaur, a woman, the Holy Family, etc. It's amazing how nature works.
The side trip to Ugong Rock was not part of our travel package. Ugong is a term that locals use for echo. It was called as such because the stalactites inside the Ugong Rock creates a Wadaiko-like sound when tapped. The tour guide said that these Ugong Rocks were submerged in water million years ago. I tried to wiki it but found nothing about it yet.
the tallest Ugong Rock
So we did a brief spelunking on the smallest Ugong Rock, and as fun as it may sound, it was hard. Che told me that it was 50 times easier compared to the caving they did in Sagada. Once we got to the top, we had the option to take the zip line to go down but I (and Cha) didn't have the courage to do it. We had to take the same route we took going up. I realized that I'm physically weak and not made for outdoors. I'll never do that again.
the hardest moment of my life XD
The third day was the Honda Bay island hopping. The main activity is to swim and snorkel. I originally had no plans of dipping into the sea. I don't really enjoy swimming, simply because I don't know how and I hate to wear a swim suit. I thought that I'd just bum out there and enjoy the sight of the sea, but then there's snorkeling and I couldn't pass on that one. I skipped the snorkelling at the Pambato Reef but indulged once we got to Snake Island. I love looking at the corals and mingling with the fish. The scene under the sea reminded me of Finding Nemo (I think any kid would) and I just have no word to describe it other than awesome. After the lunch at Snake Island, we hopped to Pandan Island. There's really not much difference other than the finer sand and the abundance of Pandan trees. Snake Island by the way does not boast abundant number of snakes, but the island itself is shaped like a snake. The waves are stronger during our stay in Pandan Island so I opted to stay on the shore and made an attempt to make a snowman out of sand. I burned my skin for this cause but a mound was the closest thing it resembled. Epic fail hehehe.
The whole trip burned me out. The next day I called in sick for work. But it was really worth all that energy. By the time I post this, I'm already thinking of a next trip. Where to? I'll see...