Philippines, my country, my love

Contains all my trips within the Philippines

Enchanted Coron

I don’t why, but we seemed to have become an impulsive traveler lately. First we went to Batanes last April,without really planning about it. Then a month after, we landed here in Coron Palawan even if I’m not paying for this trip, I am running out of air in booking this trip. We have spent around P7,000+++ per person for airfare alone. For the past months I have ignored peso seats and all the popular seat sales. It might have cost us only 3k or 2k if we booked early. Other than that we spent around 8,000+++ per night at Coron Gateway. All-in Packages cost around 25,000 per person! For crying out loud! That is so expensive and I don’t want my mother to be spending this much for us. This is a consequence of booking only a week before your trip.

I FORGOT WHAT I WAS BLUBBERING ABOVE WHEN I FIRST SET MY EYES ON THE ISLAND OF CORON.

Coron Palawan **When I saw this, I got freakin excited! You know I’m a fan of beaches, islands and nature 🙂 When we got there Our service picked us up and I had a little chat with one of the tour guides. His approached was “Blogger ka?” “Medyo. Paano mo nalaman?” (deep within me, I was guessing maybe he read my blog before and he recognized me) “Mukha lang” weng weng weneeeeeeeeeeeg! I could hear vice ganda in my head saying “Eksahiradang frog to!” I was wearing my spectacles that time that’s why I think he assumed. Then there goes vice ganda in my head again. Sino ba naman kasi nagbabasa ng blog na to kundi nanay at kapatid mo lang. Asa ka naman! 

Before Vice ganda gets in your head too, Let’s move on and talk about my trip. I forgot how expensive this trip has become when I saw the sunset. You know how much I love it.

Sunset in Coron

This photo was taken in a restaurant near Coron Gateway. I never knew that swamps could actually make sunsets more beautiful 🙂 That night we had a little stroll ate dinner on little restaurants in the streets and call the night early because people in Coron sleeps early.

Goto mata at utak.. Hmmnnnn sounds interesting

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-Read Read muna habang nag waiting galore sa mamang Bangkero na matagal. I was reading Fallen by Lauren Kate by the way 🙂

Boat Ride

Day Tour in Coron with the kids…Who would have thought? I’m the eldest Ahem!

Diving

On our first stop we went to see a shipwreck. The water in this part is so deep. I wanted to remove my life saver and swim below like Ariel. But my mom wouldn’t let me 😦

Pristine waters of Coron

This is another stop. Forgive me for not remembering the name. The black part you see are corals and the turquoise color is the sand. I swam with so may fish and I saw sea urchins.Yum!

This is where we stop by to have lunch. It was midday but I have seen so much of Coron. You know that feeling that you’ve seen so much but you still can’t get enough  because you know there’s gonna be much more.

How could this place be so beautiful? Sometimes I think God plays favoritism. How come there is so many beautiful things and places in just one province. I haven’t been to ElNido but I have seen enough to be convinced that Palawan is awesome! I’m so jealousof the people who live here. But I’m just glad that Palawan is part of the Philippines.

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I enjoyed my vacation here. This is prolly one of the best summers I had in my life 🙂

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This boat ride was like the escape scene in the movie  Bourne Legacy.

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Our next stop is Kayangan Lake. You have to do a lot of climbing and walking before you get to see paradise. You know travelling is like life, You have to make a lot of sacrifices which will all be worth it in the end.

Kayangan Lake

A glimpse of heaven before you get there 🙂 This is what you will see after climbing. You will forget how hard the journey up here was when you see this.

Kayangan Lake

After the ascend, you will do another activity which is descending. Finally here we are at the hidden paradise of Coron Palawan. It was like a place where fairies hide and goddesses of nature take a bath, The pristine waters of Kayangan lake was like sanitized by God.

When I got in the water, the tiredness I was feeling was suddenly gone. The waters were very calming and a bit chilly. I closed my eyes and laid back. I floated for like forever. I sound of the people swimming was shut out. Everybody was likwe in mute mode. It felt like I’m the only person existing at that time. I could hear insects like grasshopper and others. They were like humming a rhythm in rejoice of God. Their sound echoed   across the lake.  And then without noticing it, I was already communing with God. Times like these, I was given an opportunity to actually hear God answering back my prayers. I know. I felt his love right there. It was another heaven in the Philippines that I found. I am grateful. I was feeling overflowing love and energy you feel. I realized that the lake was enchanted. I came to my senses when my mother called that it was time to leave. When I opened my eyes, I didn’t realized that the tiny waves of the lake, brought me near the the fishes. It was beautiful to see  them swimming with me.

You think my journeys over well our next stop involves more climbing we climb over 600 steps to ge here:

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and experience another lovely sunset

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I know I look tired. Who wouldn’t be? That was over 600 steps and I thought I would lose my lungs. But It was perfect. My lungs needed fresh air like this. Manila has poisoned it for over a year.

And that wraps up my summer 2013 🙂 When I had these trips, Dan Brown’s inferno was very controversial at that time because he made Manila his setting as a gate to hell. To be honest, I wasn’t offended like many others. Manila isn’t exactly a loable city that is to die for. But I am grateful of this City Coz it actually serve as a gate to heaven for my awesome Batanes and Coron Trips.

Next stop: Hong Kong in October

Categories: Coron, Palawan, Philippines, my country, my love | Leave a comment

The real Cost of Traveling to Batanes

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How much does does it really cost to travel in Batanes? You’ve heard the rumors right. It is much cheaper to travel in some of our neighbor countries than in Batanes. Why is that? Because 1) Basco’s airport has a short runway and cannot accommodate big airplanes. 2) There’s only are only 2 airlines that flies to Batanes. One used to be Seair. I dunno what happened but Seair no longer flies to Batanes. Now it is skyjet and palexpress. There’s not much competition hence the air fare can shoot up to more than P20,000.

But the good news is, Pal express has just started flying to Batanes. Well you can say that there’s still not much of a competition but at least you now have a choice in picking schedules and comparing fares.

I think there’s a need to improve Skyjet and Pal express’    flight schedule. because Skyjet fly only once around 5:00am (to and/from Batanes) during Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.  While Pal express fly also around 6:00am to Batanes and 8:00am back to Manila, 3 times a week. Hence your 3d/2n tour will be chopped off to only 2 days.

Unless you’re lucky enough to catch a seat sale, the cost of the airfare alone is the following:

Skyjet:

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Palexpress (Airphil Express)

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Pal Express is a bit cheaper but Skyjet accomodates more passengers. Skyjet can accomodate 90 passengers and Palexpress accomodates 76 passengers.

This is just the beginning of your expenditures because you still have to book your hotels and tour.

In our experience we purchased a package tour which includes everything including air tickets, accommodation, day tours and meals and it costs around P25,000 per pax for 3d/2n.  tour. We were grateful for the price of the package because few months earlier the price of the package was P50,000 per pax. If you opt to stay longer the cost of a 4d/3n package is P30,000.

Tip: If you want to spend a little less and you have time to do some research, do not go through travel agents here in Manila. Book your own flights (wait for a seat sale) and accommodation, then find a tour guide that is based in Batanes because the travel agents here will just book your tours with  another travel agent there which means you are paying 2 agents. Hence it is better do the job of one and to go to another agent directly.

You might ask, why did we buy a package tour if I know all these things, It is because this trip wasn’t planned at all. I didn’t have the time to do a research and look for agents, compare,prices, find hotels, present them to my mother etc.

We stayed at Batanes Seaside and our Tour guide is in Batanes is BCTA. If we didn’t go through another travel agent the cost of the package will only be P73,000 for 3 pax. We will only save around P2,000. Not much really hehe..

It is really expensive, but don’t worry because it’s all worth it. If you’re a lover of nature, culture and history, you will love it here. We wanted to stay longer but the flights were fully booked. We were not able to visit Sabtang Island, I feel the need to go back and experience Batanes. There are many unexpected things that you will see here. I suggest that you should stay for at least 4 days.

If you want an update on the latest seat sale to Batanes, Follow this Blog or like our page on Facebook. Enjoy Traveling! 🙂

Categories: Batanes, Philippines, my country, my love | Tags: | Leave a comment

Trip to heaven in Batanes

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I have been dreaming of visiting Batanes for some years now. I always knew that it would take time before I will be able to visit this place because of the cost of travelling here.I have no job. Hence I cannot afford 50,000 trip out of my own pocket. But the opportunity came earlier than expected because of my mom. This tour wasn’t planned at all. This trip was booked only a month earlier. Unlike those we had before which were booked at least 4-6 months prior to the travel date.

I was expecting that the weather will be hot. I brought sleeveless clothes, dresses and shorts. But when I got there. the weather was chilly even if the sun was out. I was worrying that I will not be able to stand the cold weather in these clothes but I forgot how cold it was when I saw the view. Batanes is very welcoming. The people are remarkable and very kind.

We went to a lot of places. But I decided to make this blog post different from the others since my experience here is not like any of my travel experiences before. Hence I won’t spoil the things that you will see in this beautiful place.Image

Fundacion Pacita Lodge is a famous accommodation in Batanes which is a bit costly. Here the work of arts of Pacita, an Ivatan are displayed. Her paintings are remarkable and very colorful. She is also an international artist.Image

Reminds me of Lord of the Rings movie 🙂Image

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My first time to see a light house. It was locked and not open to the public. Because they’re fixing it. Seyeng nemen! I always dreamed of seeing a light house.Image

On day 1 we already had so much fun. The wind was so strong. I was literally being blown away. My shades flew. Thankfully my tour guide was able to catch it.

I heard my mom shouting “I LOVE YOU BATANES!” and my sister and I were laughing out loud because we were like kids enjoying the view and the wind.

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After playing, laughing like fools and posing like models on a photo shoot we were so hungry and ate a whole Ivatan platter at Ivatan Platter which costs P1550. It includes yellow rice, lobsters, coconut crab and many more ivatan cuisine.Image

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House of Dakay. Built in the 18th Century and a nominee as a UNESCO heritage site. This house is created out of limestone from the sea and rocks from the mountain. They have to cook the limestone for 1 week. When it gets exposed to the air it hardens like a cement. One cool thing about having this kind of home is that it’s ability to react to weather. When the weather is warm outside, the house inside will be cool and when the weather cold the house will be warm. Image

Lola Ida the only resident of this home. She’s already 87 and very sickly. I got sad for her when I saw her eating alone.

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It’s a sunny day but it’s still cold. I guess, It is still spring season in Taiwan.

Since Batanes is closer to Taiwan than the rest of the Philippines, it experiences 4 seasons. That’s why the weather is chilly and it was raining a bit. Batanes is the only province in the Philippines that experiences winter. However there’s no snow

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This is a lagoon where only the spaniards could swim in the spanish era. Now it is open to the public. too bad we didn’t go for a swim coz there’s much to do and to see.Image

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This is were Dawn Zulueta and Richard Gomez once did the famous “iDawn Zulueta Moko” I almost asked my tour guide to lift me up like Dawn Zulueta because of the wonderful view..hahaImage

The famous honesty coffee shop. This was really just a simply coffee shop with Thermos and mugs for the people waiting for their boat. But due to its popularity, the owner has placed more things to sell like t-shirts, sodas, noodles etc.

If you’ll ask me I want Batanes to remain this way. I don’t want it to be heavily commercialize like Boracay. It may be expensive but if that will regulate the number of tourist, let it be this way. Let’s make visiting Batanes a privilege. Image

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These are called vacul. They are being used by women as protection against the rain and the sun.Image

The people aren’t like any other on this planet. They practice bayanihan which is rare nowadays. They are honest, simple, contented, kind and very happy. They want more tourist but not so much that will place their province in danger. They care for the environment and their surroundings. They are not greedy. The officials are not corrupt. They are diligent they are angels in living in a little heaven in earth.

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Do not expect a night life. People sleeps at 9 pm and wakes up at 4 pm. You will be penalized for causing too much noise here. Sabi sakin ni Cris yung tour guide ma’am dito walang prostitute. At saka nya ko tinignan ulo hangang paa. Sabi ko naman pwes meron na ngayon! Imported galing Angeles City :p

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I stood on top of this hill beside the light house and a glanced at this place for the last time. The wind was blowing harder against my face. It was strong that it was about to strip my clothes and  hair off. It started to drizzle. I could hear the windows and doors of the lighthouse fighting against the wind and smashing hard. I heard the cows moo. Beneath the hills I could see the blue sea splashing hard against the rock formations and the grass were being blown by the wind swaying helplessly but dancing beautifully. The sky was getting darker and gloomy but  the color of the ocean, hills, flowers were able to compensate for the gloomy feeling of the weather.   The color of nature was so beautiful.  I could smell the salty smell of the ocean, my skin was getting wet and there were goosebumps all over my body. If only my boyfriend was here, I would hug and kiss him. The place is so romantic and I could feel love in my heart. And I realize something. This is God. I saw his face and I felt him right here in this blessed place. I felt his love and his presence with these lovely people

I closed my eyes and communed with God. I was grateful to him for this beautiful Island he gave the Philippines to be proud of and my mom for bringing us with her trips. The happiness I felt can never be bought. the beauty of Batanes is breathtaking. It is the best nature trip I’ve had so far

A friend once told me that he could die after he saw Batanes. I’d say I cannot die yet, because I have to go back. I dream of a quiet life in a quaint little town here in Batanes. When.When I’m old  I want to live in a lighthouse above the hills with the cows, chickens and my husband of course.

Dios Mamajes Batanes. I will be back soon. 🙂

Categories: Batanes, Philippines, my country, my love | Tags: , | 4 Comments

The day I decided to eat worms: The verdict

 ” Don’t dare stop me” I said

“Don’t dare kiss me after you eat that” He said.

Before I went to Palawan I told my boyfriend that I’m going to try Tamilok. I knew that he would object like he always did when I try to do something crazy.  But I have prepared myself for this even before I went here. However I was surprised that Tamilok is actually available everywhere in Palawan. I was expecting to see them in a beach because that’s what I saw  in Andrew Zimmern’s Bizarre Food.   I didn’t know that I would actually eat them on our first night at Kinabuch.

For those who don’t know Tamilok is a wood worm that is a very popular in Palawan. According to our tour guide It was called Tamilok when a filipino heard 2 foreigners talking about the wood worm. One of them said “Hey Tommy look!”  This pinoy started calling them tamilok since then.

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It looks murky and smells a little  filthy.

Tamilok2Here goes

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Ah! OMG! It’s bitter and  there’s like a powdered wood stuffed inside the worm. I didn’t like it. But I dared everyone to try it.

The Tamilok eating challenge:

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And the loser is………………………………..

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Everyone tried the Tamilok except my boyfriend who refused to kiss me for hours after this.

I had so much fun with the food in Kinabuch and the worm though my expectations were not met.

But this eating challenge did not end here because while we were having lunch at Sabang Beach, There were vendors who kept bugging us to buy Tamilok. We told them that we were done with this and we didn’t like it. But she said that her worms were freshly caught. They tastes better than those sold in restaurants. Finally I was convinced to try them again

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Hmmmmnnn!

The final verdict: I love it! Tastes like oysters that has a bit wood.  I love how the calamansi made it even better. This is what I’m looking for and this is what I was expecting. My group went back for more and brought some for my dad too. You should try it. My boyfriend didn’t because he doesn’t have balls.. hehehe

When you go here just try them right after your underground river tour at Sabang Beach because they are fresh and tastes much better than those served at the restaurants.

Don’t worry if you think that they”ll move inside your mouth. Because they die once they are pulled out from their shelter (wood) Try them they’re great! 🙂

Categories: Palawan, Philippines, my country, my love | Leave a comment

My encounter with a world wonder

I am a fan of nature. God’s work of art has never failed to awe me. Big City tours does not please me like how nature does. Before our trip to Palawan I have done my own research of the underground river. Needless to say It is very popular because it has been officially declared as on of the World’s 7 wonders of nature. Hence, we save the best for last. UR tour is our last activity here in Palawan.

The declaration of the Puerto Princesa Underground River as one of the Official NEW 7 WONDERS OF NATURE has resulted to the sharp increase in influx of visitors to the Park. To conserve it in its natural state, a carrying capacity of Nine Hundred (900) Visitors a day is currently in effect and a NO PERMIT, NO ENTRY POLICY is strictly enforced. Management highly advises that a Visitor Entry Permit (VEP) be secured in advance before proceeding to the Park. We sincerely regret and apologize for any inconvenience as we appeal to you to please bear with us. (source)

We booked our package tour a month earlier from our trip. However my cousin who just decided to join our tour was not able to secure permit because it was already fully booked. But since my mom already saw the UR 5 years ago she passed her permit to my cousin.

Tip: Secure your permit at least 2 weeks before your trip to Palawan.

From puerto Princesa the trip to unferground river will take around 2 hours with stopover here:

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Parang mga vietnamese lang. 

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May hang over pa ng vietnam war si Jede

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I didn’t know that there are squirrels in the Philippines. Now I’ve seen one.

Moving on: Another boat ride before we can get to the hidden paradise

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St. Paul Mountain Range. Nga nga talaga ako sa ganda.

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Pat loved this place so much. I quote “Hindi ko to ipagpapalit sa Boracay” 

We got so excited and we took a lot of photos before our turn to enter the cave.

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We’ve been warned about these thieves. Never bring plastic bags because they will be taken.Image

ImageI will never get tired of this place because it’s very interesting and  everything is surprising. I like animals and nature even if it’s scary sometimes.

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Our group was divided. Image

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These dripping water have minerals which when exposed to air forms the stalactite and stalagmite. Interesting isn’t it?

I won’t show photos of what I saw inside because I don’t want spoil the fun for you. How was it inside? The trip was short but it was great I still wish we’d go deeperbecause the boat man was really good in giving these tours. You will never get bored because they’re humorous and you will see a lot of images inside. My favorite is the face of Jesus Christ. I had goosebumps and even got teary eyed because I kind of felt that Jesus was really there looking at me. It was like he’s communicating with me through nature like an apparition.

I had su much fun here not only with the things I saw but with what I have learned this is one of the best trip I’ve had so far. I’m sure you will appreciate  life ad nature when you see the underground river. I’m grateful for this experience. It’s never a wonder why I love to wander around the Philippines.

see you on my next trip!

Categories: Palawan, Philippines, my country, my love | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Latest “It’s More Fun in the Philippines!” video

Be proud share this video all over the world to attract tourists 🙂

Every year I go out of the country. But I am always drawn by my own country’s Beauty.

Categories: Philippines, my country, my love, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | 15 Comments

I fell in Love at first sight with Honda Bay

I love the Beach! I love the smell, the wind, the salt water and the creatures I encounter whenever I’m under the sea. That’s why I super excited to do some Island hopping at Honda Bay Tour. The journey from our hotel to Honda Bay is at least 30 mins. to 1 hour. We have three islands to visit and the duration of the whole activity is at least 6 hours.

First stop is at Pampato Reef. This is where the snorkeling activity is done.

ImageThe fishes are happy here. Clean and clear sea water, they are protected and loved and people respect the nature.

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It’s my first time to snorkel. I’m so excited because my mom said that I will something that is very beautiful. Obvious ba? nakasuot na ang goggles hindi pa bumababa sa tubig :p

Rules here are:

1. No life vest no swimming.

2. Do not step on the corals. P3,000 penalty for each damaged corals.

I don’t have an underwater camera and I swear that I’ll save up for that one since I’m love being under the sea. I wish I could show you how beautiful the things that I saw underneath me. I was even tempted to remove my life vest and have a closer look at the corals. Some are moving and some have shapes that make them so precious.

Take a look at this photo I got from gopalawan.travel/Honda_Bay. This will at least give you an idea of what I saw

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Next Stop: Starfish Island

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I’ve never seen so many starfish in my life and this big. We were so awed with this pretty little creatures hence we decided to have fun with them

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Kawawang Starfish!

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T for Thea

Then it’s Time for Lunch!! Ilove eating at the beach. It’s so hot, but we were served with cold drink and great food!

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Then before we left for our last stop, we had another round of photos. There were hawaian costumes hanging somewhere here and a big pcture frame where you can use them for free.

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Boy Kamandag 2012 I love this pic!! 🙂

Last stop: Pandan Island. Here we had fun by swimming, more photos, some halo-halo and coconut. We have a very creative boat man and photographer. He took these photos.

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It’s a wrap! The tour may be over but the fun I had and the experiences I’ve had here will be forever cherished. I’m a lover of nature and an avid traveler. I love this place so much and I swear that one day I’ll be back again. I have observed how much the people here in Palawan care for their environment. They got mad when some makulit tourist stepped on the corals. He was penalized for 3,000. There in for some serious business and they will not spare you. You’ve been warned hence  you should follow. That’s their philosophy which I like because they religiously protect their natural resources. It’s how they earn their living and I can feel their passion and love for it.

I think they know how gifted their province with these rich resources. I envy Palawan for having so much gifts from God. But on second thought I realized how much lucky the Philippines is with these gifts from God. I have not seen 50% of my country but I’m already proud about its beauty. I want to see more of Palawan in my next trip. I want to see Coron and El Nido someday. Why wonder just wander Palawan and have the time of your  life.

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Princess of Palawan

This is my second attempt to write this blog post. I was almost done my post when suddenly I clicked some tab on my browser and I wanted to cry after that because it was not even saved on drafts and I dunno why. I’m new to wordpress forgive my clumsiness. Okay! enogh of the drama. Here goes.

Last October 30- Nov. 1 we went to Palawan with my mom, sis, boyfriend, cousin and friends. We waited for 8 months before this trip because we booked for the P288 peso seat sale from Airphil Express. We spent only P1351 for our round trip tickets. Then we purchased a P4350 package tour from Golets Travel Inc.   This package tour includes 3d/2n accomodation in corazon tourist inn, roundtrip airport transfer, city tour, honda bay tour and underground river tour.

Tip: Purchase package tour at least 2 weeks before especially when you’re going to see the underground river because permits must first be issued before you can go there. It’s always fully booked. Better to be prepared. 🙂

Day 1: City Tour

Before we started our tour we ate lunch at Balinsasayaw

She’s Jen our voluptuous guide for this day 🙂

First stop is at Crocodile Farm

Trivia: This is the second largest crocodile caught in the Philippines. He was dethroned by Lolong for the first place. They caught him eating a fisherman alive. Wahhhhh I don’t wanna think about it.

I’ve seen crocs in Bangkok before. I wasn’t really excited to see them again but When I saw them like this, jumping for a piece of meat scared the hell out of me. I started imagining things like what if the platform we were standing on collapse. I shiver at this thought.

This baby crocodile is unexpectedly soft and light.

Palawan Bear Cat. I was scared to carry him. His fur is surprisingly dry and frizzy. Parang damaged hair na makapal  :p

Crocodile for only P150. Tastes like chicken 🙂

Our next stop was at Mitra’s Ranch

They’ve got a nice view above here.

Our next stop is at Baker’s Hill. It houses delicious pastries, hopias, monay, breads etc. My favorite is the ube hopia which tastes heavenly.

Ang laki ng monay nila! hehehe

Weavers at Binuatan Creations

Nga nga na lang ako sa bilis ni Ate

They will allow you to try and weave too.

We strolled along Plaza Cuartel until Joan screamed because there was something fishy appearing on her photos.

Century Old Immaculate Concepcion Parish Church. Looks new because it was restored.

–That ends our day tour in Puerto Princesa City.

Puerto Princesa is the princess I’m referring to my blog tag line.

It is a city that sleeps soundly at night. No Big City buzz but filled with spectacular views and trees. Fresh Air has cleared my mind. I love it here. It is safe to roam around without worrying that your phone will be snatched.

I think Mayor Haggedorn has done quite a lot for this place. They are strict for their rules and I can see and feel that people are obedient with  rules.  They care for their environment like how they care for their own families. If it is possible here then it can be possible for the rest of our country.

I learned a lot of things in my first day here. I couldn’t wait for the next day to start.’

Please Read the continuation of this tour

Categories: Palawan, Philippines, my country, my love | Tags: | Leave a comment

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