PALAWANDERING: My Palawan Travel Diary
Traveling is fun especially when it’s summer!! Going to beach, swimming, or hiking, camping maybe, or road tripping with family and friends are exciting. Philippines are so blessed to have a lot of natural resources. One place that has amazing natural resources where you can have adventure is Palawan. My family, together with our family friends decided to visit Puerto Princesa and El Nido, Palawan. We had fun for four days, and we were so fortunate for the experience we had.
DAY 1: CITY TOUR
We arrived there at 9:30am. From the airport, we rode a tour van and traveled for less than 20 minutes to get to our hotel. It’s called Althea’s Place. We checked in and rested for a while then headed off to eat our lunch. We strolled to look for a nice and native restaurant. We dined at Ugong Rock Grill and Seafood bar. Since we wanted to eat something strange to our tastebuds, we tried the crocodile sisig (yep, that’s right. crocodile sisig for real). The food were freshly served and tasty. After we had our lunch, we headed to Palawan Wildlife Rescue and Conservation Center a.k.a the crocodile farm.
- Crocodile farm
Basically, it’s the sanctuary of the crocodiles. The entrance fee was less 50 pesos. There was this skin and bones of a huge crocodile displayed on the hall. There were different types and sizes of crocodiles; from small to huge ones. There was a hatching house where young crocodiles were being taken care of. Then there was also a place for the big ones. Aside from crocodiles, other animals such as bearcats, snakes, and some birds like mynah, parrot and hornbill were also there. They let us held a small crocodile and took photos with it. I wasn’t scared watching other tourists holding crocodiles until it was my turn. I freaked out the moment I touched it’s skin. I was backing out when the guy assisting me put the crocodile on the shoulder against my will!! I was really immobilized and was still screaming but this guy was just laughing at me. The fee was worth it since we were able to wander the place, plus there was a tour guide!
- Rancho Mitra
Moving on, we went back to our tour van and went to Rancho Mitra (the name came from the owner itself, Ramon Mitra jr., a statesman) The place was so peaceful and fresh (except for the smell of the horses). The ranch has a mansion, a zipline facility and horseback riding activity. As a tourist from manila, I liked it because the air was really fresh. We had to pay 20 pesos to enter the mansion. Inside the mansion, there were the furniture and pictures of the owner. We stayed only in the balcony where there were wooden tables and chairs. The view was really amazing. It was past 4 o’clock when we decided to go.
- Baker’s Hill
It was a good timing because we got hungry while we were actually on our way to Baker’s Hill. Once we got there, we first headed to the bakeshop. My parents bought boxes of hopia ube and mongo. Other tourists stopped there to buy hopia, too. We ate hopia, pizza and shake. I had avocado shake! I roamed around and I was amazed of what I saw. I saw different food stalls and some restaurants. There were also character figures like Snow White and the Seven dwarfs, Shrek, Marilyn Monroe and many more. Displayed on every corner were the flower arrangements and also huge flower decorations made of metal. Baker’s hill was like a village that has a garden, bakeshops, restaurants and a playground. We were delighted when we were there.
- Kalui Restaurant
We were already full when we went to Kalui. We actually have a reservation on that day so we asked the management if we could change the date. It was complicated so we still ate there. Yep, we still managed to eat even though we were not hungry! The place was made of bamboos and there were a lot of paintings hanging. We had to take off our shoes first and put them in a basket. We ate lato (a type of seaweed), some vegetables, fishes, shrimp and pineapples in a coconut as dessert which we got for free.
We went back to our hotel. We planned to swim on the pool but we were so tired. We ended up sleeping :b
DAY 2: UNDERGROUND RIVER
We woke up at 6 o’clock to prepare and to eat our breakfast. We waited for our tour van and headed to Sabang, the place used as an entrance to the underground river. It was served as the waiting area for the tourists before going to the underground river. It was an open space so we were able to see the water and the islands. There were a lot of tourists waiting for their assigned boats. We had to wait for our turn; it took 20 minutes for us to finally ride a boat. On our way to the other island, we saw a pawikan swimming!! It was so cute and amazing. The view was really scenic and all natural.
We approached the shore and got off from our boat. It’s not an ordinary beach shore because the boats were parked there and there was a “no swimming” policy. We walked through a short forest-y path that led us to the main waiting area for the underground river. From this area, the entrance to the underground river was visible. The water was bluish-green that seemed to be unreal and fantastic. We waited for 20 more minutes before our turn because there were a lot of tourists but there were only few canoes. We used that time to take some photos and we also found this tree that looked so wonderful. When it was our turn, we wore helmets and life vests then I chose to sit in front of the canoe because I was so excited. We were all given an earpiece and a gadget that would tell us history and facts of it. As we enter the underground river, bats were flying and there was this school of fish that was so calm and wasn’t afraid of people. I couldn’t believed it because the fishes weren’t scared of the canoes passing through just above them. Our tour guide was also telling us the story of each rock formations. He pointed these formations with the use of a flashlight. The cave was so interesting because there were stalactites and stalagmites formations, and some huge chambers. We were able to see the Cathedral which rock-formed Virgin Mary and the holy family were in it. There were also garlic, carrot, corn, mushroom, dinosaurs and a woman taking a shower formations. It was really amazing and it had me wondered how did they formed into like that. The water was very clear though there were some deep parts that scared me. We were in the cave for more than 30 minutes. I was really impressed by the beauty of this subterranean river.
After we explored the underground river, we made our way back to the Sabang waiting area. We also had our lunch. Then, i finally tried the tamilok, a wood worm but actually tasted like an oyster. I swear I liked it.
On our way back to our hotel, we decided to stop and check the Karst Mountain. The Elephant cave was famous because it was part of the Philippine Amazing Race. We just took some photos and headed back to our hotel.
At night, we went to the City Baywalk. There were a lot of seafood restaurants. We dined in an open restaurant. We ordered crabs, lato, grilled fishes, squids and pork barbecue. I loved the dinner!! After we ate, we walked and bought some snacks and souvenirs. I got myself a dream catcher. We headed back to our hotel and prepared ourselves for the 3am trip to El Nido.
DAY 3: EL NIDO
Traveling to El Nido from our hotel would take a 6-hour trip so we had to be ready by 3 o’clock in the morning. Our driver was one hour late, so we left at 4 o’clock. I was riding shotgun with my sister. I wasn’t that sleepy so I decided to talk to the driver. I asked a lot of questions regarding the El Nido. The way to El Nido was very clean and smooth. My butt hurt and I cannot sleep properly because my seat wasn’t comfortable 😦
When we arrived, we grabbed some breakfast. We went inside a bahay kubo to change our clothes. We went to the shore and rode a boat. We availed the island hopping Tour A, which was composed of tour to Small lagoon, Big lagoon, Secret lagoon and Seven Commando beach. Our first destination was the Seven Commando beach. We stayed there for an hour to swim and to enjoy the beach. Big lagoon was our next stop. We just roamed around it though it was really serene and wonderful; the water was so clear, the limestone cliffs were so huge. We headed to the Small lagoon, my favorite of all. The main activities here were snorkeling and kayaking. I really enjoyed snorkeling; the fishes were so colorful as well as the coral reefs. I had a hard time paddling the kayak but it was fun. We also had our lunch in Small lagoon. The boat crews prepared the lunch. They served fishes, crabs, shrimps, squid, pork barbecue and watermelons!! This was the best meal that I had on this trip. I was so glad because the crewmen were so kind and humorous. We went to the Secret lagoon. We had to swim to get into it because the boat can’t get through it. The entrance was surprisingly a small hole on the wall of a huge limestone cliff. It was called so because it was enclosed by huge limestone cliffs. This was the last destination in Tour A. I really had a great time in El Nido. Too bad, we only had a day to stay there. We went back to the El Nido town proper to dress up, then we headed back straight to our hotel.
DAY 4: TIME TO GO HOME
We used this day to buy souvenirs and pasalubong. We went back to Baker’s Hill to buy some hopia. Again (Well, because the hopia tasted really delicious). We also visited the Robinsons mall and had our lunch there. We went back to our hotel to prepare our things. It was 5 o’clock when we boarded the plane.
This trip was amazing (I lost count on saying that word). Everything was wonderful!!!