City Tour (July 24, Tuesday)
We arrived at the airport via Air Philippines at around 1:30 PM, where a van with the tour guide is waiting for us, and immediately started our city tour (with our luggages still in the van). We first visited Immaculate Conception Cathedral and the Plaza Cuartel few meters from the cathedral, while the tour guide tells the history of the place (mostly World War II timeline).
Next stop was at the souvenir center, but since we are only allowed limited time on each location, we just bought items that immediately caught our attention and trained our eyes on other items of interest, planning to return some other time.
Then we went to the Palawan Wildlife Rescue and Conservation Center, joined a guided tour, explored the area and bought some souvenir items. Out of curiosity, we bought and brought to the hometel ‘crocodile-meat-sisig’ (and I am the only one who finished all of it, not with much gusto, but I feel I am obliged).
Afterwards we were brought to Mitra’s Ranch where Sophie rode a horse, then continued to the Baker’s Hill, this time we stayed longer and had a heavy snack. On the way to the hometel, we stopped by at Binuatan Creations (a weaving factory) to buy some more souvenir items.
We stayed at Prima Residences, where they call their establishment as “hometel”. We got the two-bedroom apartment. The place is about 25 minutes away from the city, though public transport is conveniently available.
The deciding factor though (aside from the very good rate) for considering their accommodation is their manager (Ms. Lea Palao) who is very professional in dealing with my emails. The information she provided were simple and direct to the point, yet very information for a tourist like me without any prior knowledge to the place. The hotel arranged everything for our packaged tour with their accredited tour agency. All the staffs are also polite and courteous too.
We had our welcome dinner, ordered from a nearby restaurant (as we feel we are too tired to go out, particularly we have toddler, small kids and senior citizens with the group). In the evening, we (me and my niece) went to the wet public market by tricycle to buy our provisions (mostly breakfast items) for the duration of our stay.
Underground River (July 25, Wednesday)
We were fetched at 7:00 AM by our tour guide (not the same person as the previous day), though after about 10 minutes (and several kilometers) of the trip, we have to return to the apartment as we have one missing ID of my sister. ID is necessary, otherwise the person would not be allowed to ride the boat.
Then as soon as we reached Sabang wharf and after the clearance, a motorized boat transported us to where the underground river is located (about 20 minutes boat ride). At the site, we registered our names walked few hundred meters near the opening of the cave and waited for our turn to ride a paddle boat.
This underground river cruise was indeed quite an experience. I was seated infront of the boat and was tasked to hold the car-battery-powered lamp, which is the only light source in the cave (aside from the lights emitting from the other boats from time to time). The boatman acting also as the tourist guide gave instruction on where to focus the light — though I must admit I am more concerned about illuminating our path — as he tells tales and stories particularly the stalactite and stalagmite formations.
The water is very calm but the cave is pitch black and eerie with the sound of constant dripping of water from above, sight of flying tiny insects, soft flapping sound of wings from resident birds and bats, and a mild pungent smell therein.
After our underground river trip, we returned to Sabang wharf and had our lunch with the restaurant our tourist guide reserved earlier. Our call time to return to the city is 2:00 PM, so the kids had more than an hour free time to dip into the inviting Sabang beach. The sands are white and fine, though it is noticeable not many people are frolicking as my understanding is that taking a bath there is not recommended (or even prohibited) as the waves are dangerously restless.
We arrived back at the apartment at around 3:00 PM. We rested a little then at around 5:00 PM we returned to the souvenir shop on two groups — one hailed a tricycle while the other group (including myself) used a multicab (Palawan’s version of a jeepney). On the way back to the apartment, we contracted two tricycles.
Island Hoping (July 26, Thursday)
We were again picked up at 7:00 AM (a different tour guide again), we stopped by at a dive shop where we rented snorkeling gears, bought bread for fish feeding, and a water-proof case for a point-and-shoot camera.
It was low tide, we waited about 30 minutes at the wharf before we were allowed to board the boat. Instead of the usual scheduled island-hopping, we went directly to Pandan Island and stayed there to swim and have our lunch.
At around 2:00 PM we left the island to continue with the shorter and simplified version of the ‘island hopping’. We went to Pambato Reef, where my wife snorkeled for several minutes with the boatman as guide (I am not in the mood to snorkel), then continued our boat trip passing the rest of the islands (but not setting foot), until we completed our round back to the wharf.
We hurried to the apartment, took shower, changed our clothes, then rushed to the airport to catch our 5:35 PM flight.
We arrived in Manila (and eventually Antipolo) in the evening with everyone happy with this memorable trip. Our next schedule is Marinduque :)
Posted on 23 September 2012, in Travel and tagged Baker's Hill, Binuatan Creations, Crocodile Farm, Immaculate Conception Cathedral, Mitra Ranch, Palawan, Pambato Reef, Pandan Island, Plaza Cuartel, Prima Residence, Puerto Princesa, Sabang, St. Pauls Underground River Cave. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.