PRISTINE PALAWAN

Nature’s Last Frontier. It is a narrow archipelago of 1,700 islands on the southwestern border of the Philippines. It is the largest province in terms of land area. It is subdivided into 23 municipalities and 1 city. Its natural resources remained intact. They have maintained a balanced ecological system. It is blessed with a tropical climate all year round. A typhoon-free province. It is known for its white sand beaches, crystal clear azure waters teeming with colorful marine life. It is also home to rare collection of exotic animals, birds and butterflies.

Getting There:

Cebu Pacific and Philippine Airlines – once daily from Manila to Puerto Princesa.

Where to Stay:

Busuanga / Coron Area: Club Paradise, Dive Link, Evergreen Dive Resort
Central Palawan Area: Crystal Paradise Resort, Dos Palmas Arreceffi
Cuyo Area : Amanpulo
El Nido Area : El Nido Resorts, Dolarog Beach Resort
Port Barto Area : Greenviews Resort, Summer Homes Beach Bungalows
Puerto Princesa : Legend Hotel, Asturias Hotel, Hotel Fleuris, Skylight Apartelle
Roxas Area : Coco Loco Island Resort
Sabang Area : Bambua Nature Park
Taytay Area : Club Noah Isabelle

Places to Visit:

Honda Bay Island Hopping – It is 30 minutes north of the City proper. A pumpboat can load as much as 20 persons per trip. There are many dive sites which are studded with reefs and aquatic wonders.

Islands to visit are a) Snake Island – named such because of its shape. 3 steps away from the beach you can see schools of fish but be careful because 5 meters away is a very deep part of the sea. It will be wise to bring old bread to lure the fish. b) Pandan Island – a small island where the island hoppers usually have their lunch. A tree which resembles a brain can be found just above the water. c) Cannon (Cowrie) Island d) Bat Island e) Lu-li Island ( from the word “lulubog – lilitaw” – visible only during low tide f) Meara Marina – lodging facilities are available here g) Starfish Island – its water teems with starfish.

Snake Island

Puerto Princesa (St. Paul) Subterranean River National Park. The worst 1 1/2 hour bumpy road I’ve taken. A five-minute boat ride from Sabang will take you to the underground river station, where outrigger oats await cave explorers. It is a world heritage site. It is a navigable 8.2 kms underground river. For the stalactites and stalagmites fanatics, it is indeed a wonder. But for me, the bumpy ride made my natural art appreciation flew into the air. You are bound to see rock formations and doomed amphitheaters. The guides will suggest that the rocks take the form of the Holy Family, Felix the Cat, corn, etc. as you wind through the caves. Vivid imaginations! Be prepared to immerse yourself in the smell of bat urine.

Palawan Wildlife Rescue and Conservation Center (formerly Crocodile Farming Institute). The place was built to preserve and conduct research studies on the endangered species of crocodiles. For Php50.00, you can have your picture taken with a crocodile. It has a mini-zoo featuring some of Palawan’s endemic animals like ostrich.

Calauit Game Preserve & Wildlife Sanctuary. Home of the exotic African animals and endangered endemic animals of Palawan. It is located at Busuanga, Palawan.

Tabon Caves. “Cradle of the Philippine Civilization” It consists of a series of chambers where anthropologists discovered the remains of crude man and his tools. It is a 29-cave complex. It is located in Lipuan Island, Quezon, Palawan. Travel time: 3-4 hours by bus or jeepney to Quezon and 20-30 minutes boat ride from pier to the caves.

Tubbattaha Reefs. Marine sanctuary located in the middle of Central Sulu Sea. It is also a World Natural Heritage. Located in Cagayanillo town. From the City it will take you approximately 12 hours of boat ride. This requires a minimum of six weeks planning prior to departure.

Coron Reefs. Its main lure is the seven enchanting lakes seemingly protected by rough limestone cliffs. Principal dive sites are the 12 World War 2 Japanese shipwrecks that sunk on September 1944. Very affordable lodgings are available. There is a 3 day package for this from Manila. The ship leaves Manila Pier on a Friday and returns to Manila on Monday.

Trip Tips:

*Bring you mask, snorkel and aqua shoes when island hopping. If you don’t own one, it can be rented at Sta. Lourdes Wharf.
*Bring a towel when you go to the underground river to cover your nose. You may take the 10-15 minute boat ride to this place instead of the jeepney ride which is not good for people with vertigo.
*Palawan is also the home of “dugong” (sea cows). It can be found at the El Nido Marine Reserve.
*Kayaking is also available in the island.
*Archeological Explorations is an activity that you can do in Tabon Cave, Palawan.
*Baragatan sa Palawan – celebration of the founding of the government of Palawan. Celebrated every 3rd week of June.
*Tricycle is the main mode of transportation here.
*Ka Lui is a restaurant to visit. The restaurant requires clients to remove their shoes when entering the dining area. Order their sleazy fruit desserts – not for the conservative. Though food is not exceptionally great, there aren’t many good restaurants in Palawan so this is worth your visit.
*Viet Ville Restaurant. This is home of the remaining few Vietnamese refugees. If you are a lover of Vietnamese food – this is authentic. You can buy their famous bread and noodles as pasalubong. The jackfruit preserve snack is worth tasting.
* Rurungan sa Tubod – place to buy ethnic fabrics, great placemats and table runners
* When buying crabs or other sea foods, go to the market at 5am. There are also a wide variety of dried fishes. Be sure to buy cashew nuts.
*Wood icons and accessories can also be a good buy.
* Trashcans can be found even in the farthest place so be very careful about throwing candy wrappers or tissues. Respect their value for cleanliness.

Palawan can be compared to a young love … pure and simple. It remains untainted despite the complexities of the realities of life. It holds you in awe despite its flaws that one failed to see. The heart remains pure and giving. The mind undoubtful of intentions. It is pure beauty and unconditional love in its altruistic sense. A love that is rare … when you grow old. It is a smile in one’s memory, a familiar song and warmth in heart.

Published: PRO Philippines

Stock Photos Available.

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