And there I was, letting my family experience the inexplicable euphoria I get when I see places I’ve never been. Last December of 2013 (I know this post is a year toooo late, haha), my family and I flew to Puerto Princesa, Palawan. It was a year after the Underground River got all the fame it deserved when this prime attraction was officially proclaimed as one of the 7 Wonders of Nature. We hoped to get that sun-kissed sunburn that most people expect during summer but I guess I shouldn’t have assumed the same sunshine during Christmas season. . Hehe. It was rainy on our first 2 days and fairly cloudy on the next. We had an agency that arranged our trip in Puerto Prinsesa, but I got so frustrated with them to the point that I can’t even remember the tour agency’s name. I intend to warn you not to patronize. Urgh! Anyways, the good scenery of such a majestic place and unforgettable experiences still made our trip awesome.
Even with a not-so-tourist-friendly weather, we managed to see places we wanted to see (at least) in Puerto Princesa. It’s still sad that we have not been to all the gorgeous islands and beaches around the metro, I just can’t take the risk letting my family push for island hopping under an unpleasant gray sky. I hope we can fly back next time. The rain was such a trip spoiler but surely my parents and sisters enjoyed this vacation. Here are a few of the things we enjoyed during our stay in Palawan.
1. The famous Underground River. Finally, we got to see one Wonder of Nature. . 6 more to go! Woohoo! Hehe. . On the day of our trip, we saw dark clouds from afar just staying at the island where the underground river is. We still braved going to the island via a small boat and trusted that the boatmen will not pursue the less-than-an-hour journey if they knew they couldn’t make it. Kudos to the boatmen for boldly maneuvering such a small vessel and bringing us safe and sound to the destination notwithstanding the furious waves.
We reached the beach with a little rain showers but it didn’t ruin the picturesque scenery. The sight was still as magnificent as in the pictures in the internet and all of us astonishingly admired the beautiful beach and rock formations despite the heart pounding sail. To see the cave of this attraction, you gotta ride a rowboat. The rowboat uncle we had was such a nice and friendly man with a simple-but-haha sense of humor. His delivery of the jokes while he described every corner of the cave made the whole voyage so much fun. The Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park is a very precious jewel the Filipinos should be really proud of.
2. Honda Bay island hopping. Swim. Eat. Sun bathe. Repeat. We just love the beach. We didn’t mind how wrinkly our fingers and toes get because of overstaying in the salt water. Haha. . This package tour requires you to wake up at very early in the morning and leave the hotel around 6am. . The sun is high at 6 in the Philippines so it’s not so early I guess, compared to Singapore. . Hehe. . We swung by a shop where we rented some snorkeling stuff before we headed to the port. I honestly can’t remember the first beach we stopped by but I remember Pandan and Cowrie Islands. Cowrie is where we stayed the longest since my mom and dad were tired to hop on and off different beaches. . Mommy and daddy were really delighted feeding the fishes. . Hehe. . The island hopping day long activity was a tiresome one but I bet this is when my family enjoyed the most. . 🙂
3. Had a family photo at crocodile farm. Say “cheese”! Crocodiles are the least I wanted to see in Puerto Prinsesa. But why not? hehe. . The feeling I have when I see crocodiles is just beyond words, I can’t tell if I’m really afraid, but I’m sure if my phone drops to their den I will definitely freak the hell out. It’s like you know you’ll scream your lungs out when you watch horror films but you just can’t stop playing the movie.
4. Enjoyed the goodness of the famed hopia from Baker’s Hill. I’m very sure that I’m bragging how delicious the hopia were from Baker’s Hill but I realized I have no photo of any food we ate at the place, not a single one. Not even a shot inside the bakeshop. . haha. . But, seriously, their stuff are really yummy. . Our quick merienda in the middle of the city tour was lovely.
5. Weaving at Binuatan Creations. Binuatan Creations is a shop in Puerto Princesa City where they sell their woven products. From bags to placemats to some wall decors, the small factory brags the craftsmanship of the Filipinos with the use of fiber grass. My mom and sisters tried weaving and they loved it. Binuatan’s also selling artistically made products from native raw materials such as capiz shells, wood, bamboo etc turned unto wind chimes and wall decors .
6. Immaculate Conception Cathedral and Plaza Cuartel. A quick stop to an old church will always be part of my city tours. I am not the most religious person you’ll know but there’s just a lot to be thankful for. To add, old churches really give me chills and somehow amazes my spiritual self. There was an ongoing mass when we visited the church. I wished to take pictures of the interiors of the cathedral but I guess there were too many people to do that. . hihi. . Just across the church is the ruins of the Plaza Cuartel. The attraction didn’t really knocked me off my feet but I think the highlight of this visit was the memorial for the Americans who were burnt alive in that spot by the Japanese during World War 2. You can’t appreciate the place unless you listen to the stories behind it. I must say the history was interesting but they gotta put more effort maintaining the place to preserve it.
7. Have dinner at Puerto Princesa Baywalk. Nope, I still didn’t try the crocodile sisig here. . Haha. . Huhu. . I guess I need more courage to try that next time. . This is where we ended our city tour. Seafood, grilled pork and lots of fruits and veggies are what we really enjoy eating together. . The view of the waters and the flickering lights excites the young traveler in me. The smell of the smoke from the barbecue stirs our hungry souls. The place with good food and few beers, livelier at night, is indeed worth visiting.
Family bonding are always fun specially when you’re trying something all for the first time. Travel with your family while all can and are able. See the beauty of the world and feel the goodness of tiredness in journeying.
“Every day is a journey, and the journey itself is home.” – Matsuo Basho