Friday, July 4, 2014

Puerto Princesa, Palawan

Day 1

Before, whenever I was asked which place I would want to go to in Philipppines, I would always answer Palawan. It was just an automatic answer for me - if three minus two is one, the best place to go to is Palawan! Haha! I am not sure where did I get that idea but it had always been inside my head for years. So when I already started working and had enough resources to finance my own trip, I and my good college friends went there on November 2012.

Palawan is a province in Luzon and is composed of a long and narrow mainland and numerous other islands surrounding it. It is probably the only province I can quickly point out in the Philippine map. Yes, I am a geography noob like that. Haha! Puerto Princesa is its capital city - the home to Puerto Princesa Underground River, one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. El Nido and Coron are also two of the most well-known tourist destinations in Palawan.

Since I visited Palawan almost two years ago already, my stories will just be based on fragments of my memories. I will try my very best to remember all the little details and our experiences, with the assistance of the pictures of course. And oh, speaking of pictures, I would like to thank my friend John Carl for almost all of the pictures here. I didn't have a DSLR back then so I was just using a digital camera. In addition, I wasn't the one who planned this trip so I might not be very informative about things such as our accommodation, from where or whom did we avail the services, etc.

The obligatory we've-just-landed picture!
(L-R) Yours truly, Cyhsi, John Carl.

Right after we landed, we were welcomed by our contact person who will arrange our Puerto Princesa Underground River (PPUR) tour. We were supposed to visit the underground river that same afternoon but unfortunately, we can't (I'll explain later why) - leaving our itinerary completely ruined! In our four days and three nights trip, we originally wanted to visit just the PPUR in Puerto Princesa to be able to spend more time in El Nido. However, due to unexpected turn of events, we ended up choosing between a city tour or a trip to Irawan Eco Park as suggested by our guide. We chose the latter.

Irawan Eco Park 

Irawan Eco Park, a one-hour ride from Puerto Princesa city proper, is a huge piece of land containing rich and diverse flora and fauna. This park also boasts of its 1.3 kilometer zipline, which is probably what caught our attention over other adventure parks in Puerto Princesa.

We had to register at The Lotus Garden first. Our tour included the following: transportation to and from the eco park, butterfly farm tour, 1.3-km canopy zipline, skywalk, river trail and fish-feeding, lunch, carabao cart ride and bee farm tour.

With our mind and body all ready for the adventure, we immediately put on our safety gears to challenge ourselves with Asia's longest canopy zipline (as they claim, I am not sure though).

Up up and away!

So, how was the ride? Honestly, what I had in mind was a non-stop whopping 1.3-km zipline. I was wrong! The zipline is divided in probably two or three parts. After the first long glide, we were put into a halt to continue the next part of the zipline. So technically, it is 1.3-km long in total but with stopovers in between. It isn't so high either so it wasn't that scary. We can easily see how beautiful the eco park is from above. The abundance of plants and trees make the surroundings so green anywhere we looked at! Irawan Eco Park makes a part of Irawan Watershed, thereby making our view more beautiful with a glimpse of its crystal clear water. It would have been perfect if there were no stops in between. Anyway, the experience was great nonetheless!

We then continued our tour by exploring the Butterfly Farm. There was nothing spectacular though. There were few varieties of butterflies and flowers in sight. The farm was just small that we finished to roam around for less than five minutes only.

Our next stop was the Skywalk. We had to walk through a bridge with its steps made of bamboos. They made the bridge quite unstable and wobbly, with rope to hang on only on one side. Don't worry though as there are safety wires attached to you. We just had fun all throughout the walk, even making fun of our friends by making the bridge sway hardly. Try that with your friends, too!

It's time for the river trail and fish-feeding! We were led by our guide to a part of the river where we can feed the fish. The water was so clear and cold! We were given junk food for the fishes (it's not healthy for them, though!). They eventually came near us and started to feed on our feet and legs' dead skin. It was an instant fish spa! It was so ticklish at first but I get used to them after some time.

Before we knew it, our late lunch was already served! The serving was generous and very delicious as well! Cucumber salad, sauteed vegetables, adobo and fish sarciado - all perfect for our starving stomachs after all the activities we had!

Just a little rest and we're all ready for the last activity which was the tour around the Bee Farm. To get there, we hopped on a cart being pulled by a carabao! It was my first time riding on a carabao cart but instead of excitement, I just felt sorry for the carabao. It must have been very hard for him to pull all our weight! He looked so small and weak! It was a relief that the bee farm was just a short distance away!

Puerto Princesa Demo Bee Farm is an artificial farm where forest bees are cultured and where the honey they produce are being processed. There are helpful information posted around to help you gain more knowledge about our bee friends. We even put on wings and antennas to easily befriend the bees! Nah, just kidding! Haha! And oh, a visit to the bee farm won't be complete without a bottle or two of honey, right?

That is how we ended our Irawan Eco Park adventure!

We checked in on a transient room owned by our college friend's family. Not only that it was a lot less expensive but we even had a discount! The only catch was that the power went out and of course, there was no generator available! So we decided to have our dinner instead. We asked the tricycle drivers where is the best restaurants around the area - the answer was..

Kinabuchs Grill and Bar

Kinabuchs happens to be a popular restaurant in Puerto Princesa. When we got there, there was a lot of people already and we even had to wait to be seated. It was a huge open-air restaurant famous for their crocodile delicacies. Yes, you read that right - crocodiles! Of course, we wouldn't miss that! We had crocodile adobado, nilagang baka and the other one I already forgot. The crocodile meat is just like pork but it is much tastier and juicier, I think. All the food were so good but a bit expensive. I highly recommend this restaurant if you are planning a trip to Puerto Princesa. It is a must try!

That is how our first day went by. Day 2, I'm ready for you!

Irawan Eco Park

Website: Irawan Eco Park
Address For Registration: Lotus Garden, 371 Rizal Avenue, Puerto Princesa City, Palawan
Day Tour Package: Php1300/person (as of November 2012)

Kinabuchs Grill and Bar

Address: 369 Rizal Avenue, Puerto Princesa City, Palawan

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