Ever since I started setting my feet into different places, I fell in love to it. The pleasure (and pain) that it can give you is beyond anything that money can buy. If it is a vice, then it is a good one. Well, as the title suggests, my birthday is coming up. And what more way to celebrate it and give myself a present, than a gift of travels. I had a lot of places in mind, but one thing did stand out, what if I try (sort of) travel around the Philippines? And so here it goes…
For Luzon, I started with one of the cleanest cities in the country, Puerto Prinsesa City in Palawan. That was the first thing I’ve noticed as I stepped outside the airport. It was really clean!
I arrived in Puerto Prinsesa at around 4 in the afternoon. It’s not my first time traveling solo but the worries of what will I find in any new places I visit still crosses my mind. A good thing though, my cousin Lis, decided to fetch me from the airport and accompany me to Dallas Inn, a place I booked to stay for 3 nights. It was a homey kind of place where most of the guests are from outside of the country. I loved the place because it was quiet, especially at night and the staff (Kuya Resty and Ate Irene) were friendly and approachable.
After I settled in, Lis brought me to the Baywalk where lot of boats and yachts are sailing, and my goodness the seaside is also clean af! And the smell of the air, its heaven!
Since it’s getting dark, we decided to take our dinner in KaLui Seafood Restaurant. I personally do not eat most of the edible things from the sea so we ordered fish. By the way, they had this awesome technique of welcoming visitors, by having them remove our footwear before entering the restaurant. Their blue marlin dish is amazing, please check it out!
So, that was my first day. The next morning, I headed to my cousin’s house for a breakfast, before we headed for our City Tour (Yeah, she was my tour guide around the city and thanks a lot for not charging me). Our first stop was the Iwahig Prison and Penal Farm. Yup, it is a real prison; but worry not ’cause the place is safe. It is actually considered as a sanctuary of the inmates while they are serving their sentences. As a matter of fact, this place has its own church and hospital,and a wide area of land where inmates can do farming, animal raising, handicrafts and other stuff that let them earn money in a good and decent way. Another good thing is that their families can live with them inside the farm.
Next, the Palawan Wildlife Rescue and Conservation Center, also known as the Crocodile Farm due to crocodile farming being done inside the center. For just 40 pesos, you will see the 2nd biggest crocodile in the Philippines (or what’s left of it). You will also witness how the baby crocs are doing, and how large and terrifying the adults are. They will also give you a chance to hold a baby croc and take pictures with them. Not only crocodiles are inside the center; you will also have a chance to see bearcats, talking mynahs, hornbills, a leopard cat, parrots, porcupines, varieties of snakes, and a lot more.
After our nice chit-chat with the animals, we headed to Baker’s Hill. It is actually a playground/park for families especially kids and kids at heart, like me. The got life-size statues of cartoon characters, but I enjoyed the most on their bakeshop; hence, I brought cheesecakes and cookies back home.
Right after that, just a few meters up ahead is Rancho Mitra (Mitra’s Ranch). It’s a pretty big place if you like horseback riding and the full view of Honda Bay from there is magnificent. I just went inside their museum and took some pictures of antique porcelains, for just 20 pesos entrance fee.
Since it’s already 2 o’clock in the afternoon, we decided to go to Kuyba Almoneca (Cove Almoneca), our last stop for the day. It’s a peaceful sanctuary for lost souls.No kidding. The entrance fee is a bit expensive (100 pesos per head) for a short cave tour where you’ll see a lot of statue of patron saints and a face of Jesus Christ molded by the stalagmites. There are churches inside the area where they house weddings and other religious feasts, and they got a fish spa! And so, we spent at least 30 minutes getting tickled by fishes (it’s my first time so don’t judge). 🙂
My cousin and I parted ways at 4PM and I went back to my inn. (Thanks again Lis!) Oh, I forgot to mention that am hungry, so I looked for a good place to eat. And since I saw crocodiles earlier that day, I craved for them. 🙂
I find myself eating the infamous Crocodile Sisig in Ka Inato Restaurant. It’s a dish that’s good for 3 persons but who cares, I am starving! Thumbs up by the way to the management of Ka Inato for hiring deaf and mute people and giving them jobs to make a living.
Zoomed in to my second day, I prepared myself for an Underground River Tour. Of course, it’s not a complete trip in Palawan without visiting one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature. I booked this through El Mundo Travels and Tours for 1,500 pesos. Since it’s a single booking, I was added to group tour which I find to be an amazing experience! There were 9 persons in a group and the great thing was they were all in vacation to celebrate the birthday of each of their companions; hence, a birthday tour was made! We had an amazing time, enjoying the amazing views of rock formations, and witnessed the serenity of our surroundings as we entered the cave in a boat for about 15 to 20 minutes. The whole trip was splendid, to say the least!
We had our lunch afterwards and I encouraged them all to try one of my most favorite Filipino dishes, adobo! (They’re all foreigners, by the way). It turned out, most of them were vegan, but they loved pancit guisado. It was a great experience for me as I’ve learned about they’re cultures first hand and we exchanged ideas about our ways of life. And oh, they all feared to visit Mindanao. It’s a bit disappointing but I was able to explain to them that not all places in the Philippines are dangerous. Every place in the world has its own ups and downs. Hopefully, they’ll reconsider.
From back to front: Me, Jacob and Morgan from Australia, Chris from the US (such a good companion), Alicia, Patricia and Martina from Spain and Colombia, and the lovely couple from Israel. #UnitedNationsDay
I returned to the city at 5 in the afternoon. Since it’s a Sunday, I headed to Immaculate Conception Cathedral, said a small prayer and thanks, then rode a tricycle to Bona’s and try their minty Chaolong, an authentic Vietnamese noodle soup. For just 65 pesos, I never regretted it.
The next morning, I made a quick stop to Puerto Prinsesa’s Tourism Office and took a peek of the world’s largest pearl discovered from the largest living bivalve mollusk called Taklobo. It’s huge, indeed!
Before packing my things, I dropped by to a restaurant near my inn called Balinsasayaw and tried one of their bestsellers, Balinsasayaw Express. It’s a dish made from a specie of bird that can be found in the caves of Palawan, the Balinsasayaw; hence, the place got its name. It’s cheesy, sweet and spicy so 2 thumbs up from me.
At 12:30 in the afternoon, I checked out from my inn and headed to the airport, but am not going home yet. One down, two to go.