The first time I visited Puerto Princesa, the capital city of Palawan, long ago in the mid-90’s, I described my visit as “made in heaven.” This, despite the fact that our trip to the town of Sabang, the jump off point to then already famous Undeground River, located about 80 kilometers north of the city center, took us at least 2 hours of travel over rocky, unpaved and dusty road. This also, despite that when we got to the Underground River, armed with a local permit, there was a long line of at least 100 people waiting to get inside.
Apparently, local tourists even at that time were already flocking to the Underground River, long before it was declared as one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature in 2012.
For someone who lived a harried lifestyle in a first-class but rather polluted city like Makati, where tall, grey buildings outdo each other in height, and going to the mall to eat or shop is the easiest past time, a nature getaway was always a welcome respite.
In Puerto Princesa then, there was no heavy traffic on the roads. The city roads were clean, the people were polite and friendly and I and my friends felt safe walking on its quiet roads even at night. We also enjoyed eating freshly-caught seafood like crabs and fish in its local restaurants.
And most of all, we enjoyed swimming in its clean and crystal clear waters and being awed by the colorful underwater flora and fauna that abound around Honda Bay as we went hopping from one island to another. Also, after patiently waiting and floating on a banca for about an hour, we got to see an almost infinite number of bats come out of Bat Island at dusk.
Unfortunately, my photos of the first visit are already gone. However, good memories of that brief escape from a harried lifestyle linger.
Sometime in late October 2008, over 10 years after my first visit, an opportunity came for me to go to Palawan again. Because of my good memories, I did not hesitate to pack my bags to fly once again to this huge but richly blessed province.
This time I went to El Nido, a town located at the northern tip of the main island of Palawan. And this time, I made sure I brought a camera to capture some of the island’s beauty. And I will let my old photos below speak about the island:
The plane that took us from Manila to El Nido with a capacity for only about 19 passengers. The jeepney took us from the plane’s landing area to the pier or boat landing area where we rode a motorized boat to the resort island of Miniloc.
Our greeters, the locals, who welcomed us with some songs and dances.
At the arrival area, water, coffee and some light refreshments were available for everyone.
4. My cottage accommodation
5. The bed in the cottage
6. Other cottage accommodation
7. Miniloc island resort
8. All set for island hopping
9. Island hopping scenes
11. Kayaking and swimming in the lagoon
12. the island where we had a stop for a buffet lunch
13. Trekking to the hilltop
14. Scenes from the hilltop
15. Checking the boys catch
16. Saying goodbye and scenes going back
Just like my first visit, my second visit to Palawan though very short was another one “made in heaven.” People at the resort were warm and smiling, food was good, and most of all, the weather was sunny throughout my stay.
Next time I will have another chance to visit Palawan, I would gladly drop everything and fly back once again. And next time, I will make sure to stay longer.
As of September 2016, Palawan is rated the “Most Beautiful Island in the World” as voted by respective readers of foreign travel publications Conde Nast Traveller and Travel + Leisure.
Meanwhile, El Nido, is currently rated the “Most Beautiful Beach in the World” by Conde Nast Traveller readers.