Friday, November 19, 2010
Thursday, November 18, 2010
Sunday, November 14, 2010
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Monday, November 1, 2010
It is our last day in Puerto Princesa and we don’t wanna leave the city without seeing the famous islands of Honda Bay. As some would say, save the best for last.
Sis Tiara (Cha) of Girltalk help me arrange our Honda Bay tour and Dos Palmas day trip. She texted me the night before that the shuttle will pick us up from the pension house at around 7:30 am. So we had early breakfast again and waited for our shuttle. At around 7:45 am, the shuttle arrived. We were like 10 in the van, with 2 foreigners onboard.
At about 8:30 am, we already reached the wharf. We waited for our boat and we departed at about 9:00 am. The first two islands we saw was the Bat and Cowrie Islands. We just passed by those islands because our guide says the beach there is not that nice, or rather there is no beach at all.
The next stop was the Pambato Reef. I must say, this is the scariest moment of my life as we have to pass a floating bamboo bridge over the water with no island around. As I am afraid of heights and depths, I am really trembling while crossing the bridge towards the floating kubo. The boatman assisted me as he saw that I am damn nervous. But the scary challenge was worth it. At first I don’t want to snorkel because again, I am afraid. So hubby tried it first. He went up to the kubo with a big smile on his face. He was so eager to show me his underground photos so I envied him and ask a boatman to assist me while I am snorkeling. Alas! This is the first time I snorkeled! And now I am getting addicted to it. The corals are not that astonishing but the fishes are so cute! And it is really wonderful to see whats’s under the calm sea.
After an hour in Pambato Reef, we headed to our next destination, Snake Island. En route to Snake Island we saw the Starfish Island. Snake Island is a mile long sand bar with a shape like a snake because it is where the waters of opposite currents meet. The island is popular for snorkeling, fish feeding and beach bumming. So we waste no time and hit the beach as soon as we put out stuff in our cottage.
The fishes here are more colorful and bigger. I and my baby enjoyed feeding the fishes with bread we bought from the wharf at Php 15 per pack. My Husband enjoyed taking underwater photos once again. I am getting really addicted to snorkeling that I would like a snorkel and mask for Christmas, aside from the underwater digicam!
While we are swimming, our tour guide prepared our lunch and called everyone up at 12 noon. The food includes squid, shrimps, grilled pork and fish and fried chicken. We ate without fork and spoon so that we really feel the island life. I ate a lot! The food is so yummy. After eating, we were given another hour for swimming and we left for the next destination.
Our last destination was the Pandan Island. Here, there are big cottages, umbrellas, tables, even a bar and restaurant that offers halo-halo and fresh buco juice and some lunch like grilled fish and liempo. I liked this island more than the snake island because it has the feel of a resort where there more trees to keep you from the harmful rays of the sun especially on midday. It also has shower rooms. The sand here is finer than the ones in Snake Island. The sand in Snake Island is like the ones in Dos Palmas, white but not powdery. Here in Pandan Island, the sand is closest to those of Boracay, only a bit coarser and darker. I wish I could stay here longer. On our next Palawan trip, I’ll surely visit Honda Bay again and try Underground River.
After we all get sunburned, we headed back to the wharf and bid goodbye to the beautiful islands of Honda Bay. On our way to the wharf, the rain fell really hard. It made me panicked once again but thankfully we arrived safe.
After our Honda Bay Tour, we were brought back to our pension house. Liberty Park Pension is so lenient with check out times that we even got to shower and rest for a while before going to the airport for our 7:35 flight to Manila.
At 7:00 pm, we boarded the plane and officially ended our Palawan trip. I really do hope I can get back again and explore the other places in Palawan.
For more photos, click here
We had breakfast at 6:00 am so that we can be at the NCCC Mall, where the shuttle going to Dos Palmas is, at 6:45 am. The bus is set to leave at 7:00 am. We arrived just in time. We are the first to board the bus. We were like twenty persons onboard. We reached the Sta. Lourdes Wharf before 8 am. There awaits the boat that will take us to Dos Palmas. The boat is pretty much like the ones in Caticlan port. So the waves aren’t that much felt. But, as we started our journey, the boat stopped and the boatman said that the rope got entangled with the propeller. Good thing we are not far from the wharf yet. One of the boatmen took a kayak and asked help from the other boat on the wharf. After about 30 minutes later, the problem was solved and we were able to sail safe and sound.
We arrived in Dos Palmas at little past 9:00 am, and we were welcomed by some people playing kumintang (a native musical instrument). We went to the gazebo for the short briefing where we were also served our welcome drinks (refreshing orange juice). Afterwards, we went to the sports center to get our locker keys and change our clothes.
The water in Dos Palmas is so clear that I can even see fishes even if I am at the bridge connecting the bay cottages. The sand is white but not as fine as Boracay. I even had a few scratches on the knees because of some rough stones and shells on the shore. What I like most about Dos Palmas is that there are no big waves on its beach, which makes it child-friendly. My baby enjoyed playing along with her inflatable boat. Not so far from the shore we saw schools of fishes. My baby was so amazed about the fishes.
At 12 noon lunch was served already. There is a seat assignment that everyone has to follow. The lunch buffet includes shrimps on coconut cream sauce, lumpiang shanghai, grilled blue marlin, some veggies, a variety of salads and desserts and chicken tinola soup. The food for me is so-so, perhaps I was expecting more from this premiere resort. I was actually expecting more seafoods on the menu. One thing I noticed about the resort is that aside from our group who are on day tour, the rest of the guests are Koreans. Yes, Palawan, just like any other place in the Philippines is occupied by Koreans.
After lunch, we lounge at the shore while waiting for our boarding time. This place is so relaxing. It has the perfect blend of nature, serenity and exclusivity. You have the calm sea, the mountains on the backdrop and the calming breeze. Aside from the unfortunate incidents of Abu Sayaf kidnapping and Rico Yan’s death that made Dos Palmas infamous years ago, this place is totally a blast. At 3:30 pm, we boarded the boat and headed back to the wharf where the shuttle bus awaits us.
We reached the pension house at about 5:30 pm. We took some rest and headed to Ka Lui, Puerto Princesa’s most famous restaurant, for dinner. This restaurant is always fully booked so make sure to have your reservation ahead of time. Ka Lui’s setup is like the typical bahay-kubo. Another interesting thing about Ka Lui is that you have to take off your shoes before going inside the restaurant. This is because Filipinos used to take off their shoes before entering somebody’s house as a sign of respect. I remember in the province where I grew up, this is still being practiced especially in the barrios.
I ordered spicy crabs, halabos na hipon and manggang hilaw with bagoong. The crabs are bigger than the ones in Bilao’t Palayok. It is not that spicy so I guess I have high tolerance for spicy foods. Overall, I think it is worth trying Ka Lui if it is your first time in Palawan, but there are lots of restaurants available for you to explore Palawan’s culinary specialties. Our food comes with a free dessert (fruits in coconut shell).
After dinner, we called it a night and took some sleep. Next day would be our Honda Bay island hopping.
For more photos, click here
If last month’s travel started with an annoying flight, this trip started ala amazing race. We arrived earlier than 7am in NAIA Terminal 3. Our flight was at 8:10 am, so we thought that we are just in time. But I guess we are wrong. The queuing took so long before we get in to the check-in counter. To make the story worst, the person in-charge of the x-ray scanner told us that we have to check-in our bags because we have 2 folding umbrellas. Our tickets are the Go-Lite ones so we are not supposed to check-in anything. But then I have no other choice but to pay Php 400 for our check-in baggage. While at the check-in counter, I’ve heard the boarding call for our flight. So we rushed to Gate 116, however we were again stocked in a long line going to the boarding area. Anyways, alas, we finally board the plane after a breathtaking race.
The weather is good when we landed at the Puerto Princesa Airport. Outside, the van from Liberty Park Pension awaits us. About 5 minutes ride from the airport, we safely arrived in Liberty Park Pension. I was so happy when we arrived because Ms. Cleng (09398486820) told us that the room is already ready (as early as 9 am). So the guard assisted us to our room which was on the second floor. I got a Deluxe Room (1 queen and 1 single bed, aircon, hot and cold shower, tv) for Php 1,250 per night. The room is just a plain room with no such amenities like a hotel, but it does have a very homey feel. For its price, I highly recommend this pension house to families or barkadas who are on a budget. Their nice staff is a bonus. Tthey are very lenient about check-in and checkout schedule. The only thing I do not like about Liberty Park Pension is that on our second day, they only offer vegetable omelet or continental breakfast, which may be a turn off to heavy breakfast eaters like us.
After taking some rest, we headed to Bilao’t Palayok along Rizal Ave for Lunch. I told my hubby that I wouldn’t eat pork in Palawan, to give way to my seafood cravings. At Bilao’t Palayok, I ordered Garlic Buttered Crabs and Spicy Squid. I also had Iced Tea Shake which is so refreshing. I was surprised because the food is so inexpensive here. Garlic Buttered Crabs cost Php 180 and the serving is already good for two. The food is so delicious; I couldn’t stop myself I even ate without spoon and fork! The good thing is we only paid less than Php 500 bucks for this feast. Now I am really loving Palawan.
After lunch, Kuya Danny (09106661767) met us in Bilao’t Palayok. He is supposed to take us on a city tour but he has a Honda Bay tour ongoing so he referred Kuya Mar (09196877221). We started our city tour at around 12:30 pm. Our first stop is the church. We went inside and prayed for a safe and sound trip.
Just across the church is the Plaza Cuartel who used to be a military headquarters during the World War II where about 150 Americans died. Kuya Mar even pointed at a hole that serves as an entrance to a tunnel leading to Iwahig.
Next stop is the baywalk. The breeze is so relaxing here. The baywalk is just near the pier where ships from Manila used to dock. Kuya Mar said that because of the super affordable promos of all domestic airlines, these domestic passenger ships refuse to sail anymore.
After taking some photos at the baywalk, we proceeded to Binuatan Creations. The people here are very accommodating that they will even teach you how to weave and let you try it hands-on. I also browse through their selection of bags, slippers, hats and many more. I bought a pair of slippers for my baby (Php 55) and a fan for my mom (Php 70). To my surprise, they gave me a discount and I only paid Php 110 for the two items.
Mitra’s Ranch was our next destination. We are lucky because the caretaker let us took pictures at the veranda of the rest house and even some photos inside. I love the view here. You can see the different islands in Honda Bay from its lanai. How I wish I have a house like this, above a hill, just minutes away from the beach.
We went to Baker’s Hill next. Too bad, there was no ube hopia left for us. So I decided to buy diced monggo hopia and butterscotch instead. We also had sago’t gulaman as refreshments.
Since it is already 3pm, we decided to head off to the Crocodile Farm. The road to the Crocodile Farm is bumpy. Kuya Mar said that the way to Iwahig Penal Farm is bumpier than this so we decided not to go to Iwahig anymore. When we reached the Crocodile Farm, the guard told us that we are scheduled to enter at 3:30 pm. So we waited in one of the cabanas where there are small crocodiles for photo ops. There are also a few stores selling souvenir items like rainmakers, stuffed toys, etc. Not long enough, the tour guide called us and led the way inside the Crocodile Farm.
And at last, we went to Tiangge Tiangge to buy pasalubong. I bought Cashew nuts for Php 120 and Cashew Tart at Php 160. There are also small rainmakers at Php 15 each. Palawan is also known for pearls. You can buy different kinds of pearls at a very reasonable price here. After we shop in Tiangge Tiangge, Kuya Mar brought us back to Liberty Park Pension and that ended our City Tour. Kuya Mar’s city tour package using his tricycle is at Php 500 only.
For dinner, we chose between Bona’s Chaolong or Haim’s Chicken Inato. Since hubby wants to eat heavy dinner, we opted to eat in Haim’s. We ordered one pecho and chicken skin, plus, guess what, four orders of rice for just the two of us. We are really starving and tired because of our city tour. Haim’s Chicken Inato is nothing special for me. I still love the chicken inato at Dear Manok in Cagayan de Oro City. Also, the chicken skin’s serving is too small, to think that the server said that it is good for two people. I still like Dear Manok’s or Chicken Ati-atihan’s chicken skin.
This ended our first day in Palawan. We went back to the pension house to sleep early in preparation for our Dos Palmas tour the next day.