December 5, 2012

Let the world wonder, Puerto Princesa

I miss the mountains already. Sometimes, I fee like I don't belong in the city. Instead, I belong in the mountains, the trees, the wind, the sea, the sky... CHOS, gusto ko lang din nang sembreak (every month).

I said this to myself last month, and I guess I can't not follow what my heart desires. This is why I'm giving myself a break every week, and a "sembreak" every month :)) Hence, Puerto Princesa!

Puerto Princesa is in Palawan, which is dubbed as the cleanest place in the Philippines. I don't know about the other clean places in the Philippines (yet), but littering is strictly prohibited in Palawan. 

1. The City Tour (via World Holiday Travel and Tours)

The city tour is just a quick tour in the city's tourist spots like (1) Plaza Cuartel - where around 150 American soldiers were burned down alive by the Japanese soldiers, (2) Crocodile Farm - where lots of reptiles (and other wildlife) are taken care of, (3) Mitra's ranch - where you can try horseback riding, (4) Baker's Hill - where you can buy delicious food, and take photos of different icons and characters, (5) Binuatan Creations - where you can try weaving place mats and other stuff, (6) Baywalk - where Palawan's giant Christmas tree is erected.

Plaza Cuartel

Crocodile Farm

Mitra's Ranch

Baker's Hill

Baker's Hill
Weaving Center
Baywalk's Giant Christmas tree

Of course, the city tour also involves dropping by at a souvenir shop where lots of shirts, accessories, and food are for grab. As usual, I had myself a shirt with the province's name on it :)) 

2. The Underground River Tour (via World Holiday Travel and Tours)

For the underground river tour, I was grouped with a family from Cainta and a couple from Israel - both were nice companions to be with. The family was very friendly, they gave suggestions on restaurants and places to see after the tour. The couple from Israel were also nice. The woman is a nurse, while the guy is a teacher. Here's how our conversation went:

Them: We're from Israel
Me: Oh, I thought you were from Europe or something
Them: Oh no, no, no. You know Jordan? Israel is here (draws an imaginary map in the air)
Me: ???
Them: It's like this (continues drawing in the air)
Me: Oh, I'm sorry I'm not good in geography
Them: Oh, no problem! Just go visit 

I was telling them that I'll visit Israel once I have the resources, so they told me to just work there because money is good there. They said that some Filipinos even work in Israel to earn money (which is kind of sad for me, but whatever. To each his own.)


Since our underground river tour was scheduled after lunch, I was able to try spelunking/ caving  via the Ugong Rock adventure. Ugong rock adventure involves going up in the cave and then going down via zipline! The caving part is pretty easy (compared to that of Husgado cave) since there were lots of (very helpful) guides (and safety ropes) inside. 

The zipline was scary at first because it's downward (so it's fast at first)
 If I'm not mistaken, this is the fastest zipline in the Philippines: isang sigaw lang yung takot mo :))

While waiting for our turn to be transported to the underground river, I was able to try Palawan's exotic food - tamilok. Tamilok is a shipworm that lives in the woods of mangroves in the area. It tastes like uncooked oyster, and has the stench of seafood. It doesn't taste good, even in vinegar - but take my opinions with a grain of salt. I, after all, don't like kilawin too.


All right! Now for the highlight of the trip, ba dum tss - Puerto Princesa's underground river! Yay! This underground river is one of the 7 wonders of nature. (Is that different from the new 7 wonders of the world, kindly explain, HAHAHA)

To go the place, you'll have to ride a motor boat  - which can cause motion sickness to some
To go inside the underground river, you'll have to ride a paddle boat - this is a peaceful ride

Inside the cave

Inside the underground river is very dark so I was unable to take see-worthy photos inside. Nonetheless, the place is very serene, pristine, and ... something. The rock formations were majestic; it makes you wonder if these were really naturally formed. There was a part inside which was called "The Cathedral"... you have to see it. You have to.

Visiting the underground river is unlike hiking in the mountains, or swimming in craters, or whatever... It's not a physical activity. It's more of a mental and spiritual activity. You have to use your imagination to appreciate the rock formations, and you'll have to try to leave your worries behind so you can see that there is something greater than the concrete buildings in the city. Hakuna Matata.

Puerto Princesa, kay ganda. 

I shall return.

Me: *blogs about my recent escapades
Josh: Arlet, may trabaho ka pa ba?

HAHAHAHA, I will not let work hinder me from doing the things that I want. In fact, I'll make sure that my work helps me do the things that I really want to do :) 

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