Palawan Paradise!

Underground River

It was my first time in Palawan. With the online 'coupon' fad going on, I was able to book a package through Metrodeal for a 3day 2night accommodation with city tour around Puerto Princesa. My parents loved this place ever since they were boyfreiend-girlfriend couple.. my friends would like to keep coming back.. and everyone who has been there just loved the place!
At The Legend Palawan

Upon stepping foot in this beautiful city, the clean streets and lush surroundings prove everything about its nature-friendly fame. Due to some internal arrangements with Metrodeal and their partner hotel, our booking was transferred to the Legend Palawan Resorts. Known for its Filipiniana style, the hotel offers a laid back vibe with a ceiling similar to what Venetian hotels have :P
Baker's Hill Mansion

We just checked in and fixed our luggages and off we go to our city tour. First stop was  the ctocodile farm. Aside from the planking-like crocodiles and photo-op with the baby specie, we also had the chance to taste sizzling.. yes.. crocodile! :D I already tried the Teriyaki Crocodile in a food festival in Macau. But, this time the viand is with local flavor. As expected, it tasted chicken ;)

After a a semi-zoological tour, we went to visit Mitra Ranch (of former Sen.  Mitra's clan), where the view is just breathtaking. Dos Palmas and an island owned by Legend Resorts can be seen from its garden. Then, we visited Baker's Hill - my favorite! The group is expecting the place to be just a pasalubong stopover. But, when we went inside, the place is just lovely. It could pass as a Loony Tune park  Pastries and breads are also must-trys :)
Planking Crocs :P

After the city tour, we just dropped by the hotel to freshen up and take our free post-tour 'merienda'. As if in a gastronomic feast, we decided to have our dinner to the famous grill restaurant - Kinabuchs.  Price for the servings is definitely more affordable than the grill places in Manila. One can even request for exotic dishes here. :P It is also a perfect inuman place for the barkada.
Crocodile Sisig

Since we somehow got to rest, we were recharged and extra excited for the Underground River trip. We have not been to the place, but for it to be in the finals for the new7wonders already give us that Pinoy pride. This is even more exemplified with how the locals market one of the best gifts of their island. It takes a two-hour van ride to Sabang port and a 45-minute boat ride to the Underground River National Park, which is found in a island where the river is located. The van ride is already a tour ride in itself as our tour guide told some stories about Palawan's history and economy. She also showed and described to us the different landscape of the province as we passed by the Elephant mountain (shaped like an elepehant) and the Ugong Cave (which we will visit to later on).

Upon reaching the Underground River National Park, we were amazed by the lovely surroundings which reminds us of how paradise is depicted in movies and books. We had to wait for our turn to ride the paddle boat to the river. Our tour is Kuya Rene. Lucky for us. He is a witty and knowledgeable local which made our tour more memorable and fun. We had to choose the  'light director' , the nickname for the one who will hold the light inside the cave :P We were both excited and nervous as it will be literally dark inside. A few seconds of entering the cave, we were already mesmerized with what we see , hear, and feel as the cave offers its mystique ambience which really brought us close to nature. There were stalagmites and stalactites which formed into very interesting forms and images. The river is the longest underground river in the world. No question that it will be worth the top spot in the 7 wonders of nature.
Palawan Gang

The tour is very tiring and the ride going back to Sabang is bumpy. Good thing, the tour includes a buffet by the beach package. After some rest and photo op by the beach, we took the option to try Caving and Zipline at Ugong Rock. What is even better than having the buffet itself is the fact that we need those calories for us to have the energy to do caving! At first, I was hesitant to do the zipline as it is my first time and its course is not the usual straight route. It has the initial downward impact. But, with the calorie-losing caving path we had, I think its time to have my first zipline experience. :)) With the hundred-step caving and 7 step-rope guided path, the zipline is just the exclamation point of the total Ugong Rock experience!
Caving at Ugong Rock

Post Caving Zipline!

As if we still have lots of energy, we had a night swim at the hotel before our booked dinner at Kalui.

Travel thoughts:

- Puerto Princesa's tagline is the city within a forest. Throwing of trash randomly is a no-no! Even vans and cars have their own trash bins as the city ordinance is strictly implemented.
- Cutting of trees (even at own backyards) is also prohibited, unless granted by the city hall.
- There are no cabs in the city. Apart from the hotel shuttle, we also tried the city tricycles. From our hotel to Kalui and Kinabuchs, fare is 40 pesos.
- When dining at Kalui, it is best to ask the hotel receptionist to book a slot for you. It can only accommodate 150 pax while tourists usually try the cuisine in this quaint diner.Be reminded that dining at Kalui means having to dine with your bare feet :)
- Meanwhile, Kinabuchs is more spacious. Our favorite was their laing and Crispy Pata.
- Some tour guides are formely involved in kaingin or other illegal ways that destroy the nature. With the help of the city government, they have already transformed into tour guides or caretakers of important nature spots and tourist destinations. One example, is the man who do the orientation in Ugong Rock - very happy and refreshing to know. Good job to the city government!

Go Barefooting at Kalui



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