TWO DAYS IN PUERTO PRINCESA
We had a City Tour in Puerto Princesa and experienced the Firefly watching in Iwahig to cap the day. We started the tour in the Japanese-donated Crocodile Farming Institute, then headed to Rancho Zipline Adventure to inhale some farm air and have some pastoral view. From there, we headed to the Baker's Hill, a bakeshop popular for its Hopia. After grabbing some pasalubong, we had a quick round of the garden and had a good time there. After Baker's Hill, we went to two pasalubong centers.
From there, we went to Plaza Cuartel located just across the Immaculate Conception Cathedral and had the chance to get inside despite it was dark already. Thanks to the kind caretaker who also explained the marker to us. Plaza Cuartel is the site where American prisoners-of-war during WWII was burned by the Japanese. One survivor, made a sculpture immortalizing the pain and sorrow of the war experience.
After Plaza Cuartel, we went to quite-a-distant Iwahig Firefly Watching at Mangrove Eco-Tourism and Wildlife Park. We were treated to the wonders and beauty of the firefly christmas trees while navigating in the waters flanked by the mangroves. The guide is full of fun and not-so-fun facts on fireflies which entertained us during our 45-minute boat ride.
On our way home, we passed by the Iwahig Prison and Penal Farm. The kind guard let us in but we did not venture any farther from the gate because it was dark anyway. We just had some photos outside. So our jam-packed day one ended.
The next day, we prepared for the underground river tour but since our schedule was in the afternoon, we made a side tour at the Ugong Rocks where after braving the cave and some rock climbing, I and my three senior citizen companions had our first zipline ride, all because we cannot imagine ourselves undergoing the same route in going down.
From there, we had our buffet lunch where I braved to try the popular seafood in Puerto Princesa called Tamilok, which is also known as shipworm, but technically, not a worm. It is an elongated mollusk that grows inside the dead trunk of a mangrove tree.
Then we headed to the registration center and wharf going to the Sabang where the Puerto Princesa Underground River is found. PPUR is promoted as a World Heritage Site and a natural wonder that features 8.2 kilometers of navigable Underground River, reputed to be the longest, that winds through the spectacular cave before emptying out to the South China Sea. Cathedral Chambers, wide hallways and interesting geological formations greet the wide-eyed visitor to the grotto hidden beneath the St. Paul Mountain.
Our smiles never end as we went home. The guides are well-trained to entertain us as we navigate the cool and sleep-inducing atmosphere of the cave. And yes, I must include here that I loved the smell of the bats there; I thought they smell like toasted sesame seeds.
AND SOME MEMORABLE STOPS
We stopped by the Linapacan Island on our way to El Nido from Coron and got a glimpse of the real island living. Also, on our way from El Nido to Puerto Princesa, we stopped by Taytay, another municipality in Palawan. We took memorable photos of the historical fort there called Kutang Santa Isabel. While in Puerto Princesa, the three of us experienced Zorbing for the first time, where each of us crawled inside a water-filled big ball and allowed ourselves to be rolled down the hill together with the ball while all of us experienced riding the ATV.
There are still many more water and outdoor activities to do in Palawan like scuba diving, camping out in an island, visiting the Batak or Tagbanua community or the vietnamese village. One just needs to have some planning, and an open and brave heart to enjoy them. If Team St. Lukes, Team Iloilo and Team Negros (which included three senior citizens) did it, you can, too!
Lastly, I assure you, no one left Palawan in travel lite, literally and figuratively.
St Luke's team: Marissa, Cooky and Sharon!
The Negros Team: Nida, Gerlie, Roger and Julie!
For more of my eats and trips, please visit beforesixdiet.blogspot.com and footandfire.blogspot.com.
*Published in June 4, 2013 issue of Sunstar - Bacolod and at the Sunstar website: http://www.sunstar.com.ph/bacolod/lifestyle/2013/06/03/my-coron-el-nido-and-puerto-princesa-travelogue-285566