Tag Archive: Palawan



This 2013, my year ends 7 hours later. Madrid has been home since November but in a few weeks, I should be flying back to Manila. When I tried to recall how the year went, I automatically searched through my blog archives to check what has kept me busy. So…… my life has been a blog series of sorts. Nice 馃槈 And complete with photos too! These are my memory aids, and they work.

 

 

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We “baked” under the sun here in Nacpan/Calitang near El Nido, Palawan.

 

 

Our family commenced the year 2013 with a trip to El Nido and Puerto Princesa, Palawan. All of 5 days basking in the sun with sands in between our toes. A pleasant detour was the day spent in the twin beaches of Nacpan and Calitang. In this photo, we felt we were the only tourists but for this couple of Caucasians by the beach.

 

 

Paete Church, one of many around Laguna de Bay.

Paete Church, one of many around Laguna de Bay.

 

 

Then friends based abroad came a-visiting and we decided to do a roadtrip around Laguna de Bay. From SLEX through Calamba through the coastal towns of Pila, Paete and Pakil, then heading home via the Manila-East Road. We never thought we could do all that in a day.

 

 

We conquered Mount Pinatubo!

We conquered Mount Pinatubo!

 

 

I’ve always wanted to trek to Mount Pinatubo while my knees and legs would allow me. My nieces and a couple of friends joined me. We didn’t trek the whole way, and you may call us cheats, but still, I can’t say it was easy.

 

 

The northernmost island province is a must-destination.  Trust me on this!

The northernmost island province is a must-destination. Trust me on this!

 

 

Aaaahhhh….. Batanes. The place is magical. I intend to go back. I’d love for my family to see this enchanting place and meet up with the very kind, welcoming locals. I’ve had some pretty amazing domestic travels early in the year, like striking off from a bucket list! Batanes ranks high up in that list and for good reasons.

 

 

Speedboating and island-hopping in Phuket and Ko Phi Phi

Speedboating and island-hopping in Phuket and Ko Phi Phi

 

 

And then Phuket happens. We didn’t plan on it, but the idea of speedboating and island-hopping in Thailand was simply too tempting. Images of James Bond sailing away on a speedboat and Leonardo di Carpio’s “The Beach” crossed our minds. We also enjoyed the luxury of a villa with a plunge pool while we were there. And this was just less than 2 weeks from our long- planned trip to Ulaan Bataar. A couple more off the bucket list!

 

 

RAW, unspoilt Mongolia

RAW, unspoilt Mongolia

 

 

By midyear, I felt I’m done traveling until my scheduled holiday by yearend in Madrid. But it’s June, and I joined some of my friends flying to Cagayan de Oro to celebrate a dear friend’s 60th. Sidetrips to Maria Cristina Falls, the Divine Mercy Shrine and the Monastery of Transfiguration in Bukidnon were soon arranged, and voila!

 

 

Monastery of Transfiguration in Malaybalay, Bukidnon

Monastery of Transfiguration in Malaybalay, Bukidnon

 

 

July-August till the first week of September found me in Sydney, Australia. Absolutely unplanned, but I needed to be there for my eldest sister and only surviving member of my immediate family to deal with her health travails. Thankfully, my sister beat the odds so it was a good celebration after 5 weeks of ordeal. God is truly good and merciful.

 

 

Sydney. Not exactly on travel mode.

Sydney. Not exactly on travel mode.

 

 

Before long, I’m back home. This time, eager to experience a local festival. The MassKara Festival in Bacolod was timely as kin based abroad arrived to join me in celebrating a milestone in my life. Six–oh! Soon after the MassKara frenzy, we were partying on a safari theme, and moved on to Seoul, Korea for an extended celebration. Phew!

 

 

MassKara Festival in Bacolod City

MassKara Festival in Bacolod City

In seoul, we feasted on Korean food like there was no tomorrow.

In seoul, we feasted on Korean food like there was no tomorrow.

 

 

And since November, I’ve called Madrid home. Certainly a break from tradition (and the rest of the family) to spend Christmas and New Year’s here in the midst of winter. It’s a great experience for me to hear Misa de Gallo — complete with singing of Christmas carols (in Spanish of course) in a country that christianized us and passed on many of its traditions. I have grown accustomed to lunch at 2pm and dinner at 9pm. No siestas for me. Yet. But Misa de Gallo at exactly midnight, Noche Buena at past 1 am till 3 am is a tad difficult. Many Madrile帽os celebrated till 5am. No wonder Christmas mornings in Spain are very quiet and peaceful. Everyone is still on bed!

 

 

Christmas In Madrid

Christmas In Madrid

 

 

A couple more things. Christmas here is more about BELENES. There are Nativity Scenes in churches, museums, palaces. The center of attention is the Child Jesus. Not Santa Claus or a Christmas Tree. And gift-giving? NOT on Christmas Day. Rather, it’s on the Feast of 3 Kings who introduced the idea of gift-giving. The kids have to wait. Feliz Navidad!

 

 

El Belen de Salzillo

El Belen de Salzillo

 


What is it, really? Would you go for the baked goodies (think HOPIA)? Or for the spruced up garden overlooking the hills?

 

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Santa is in Baker’s Hill, Puerto Princesa!

 

 

It was still the Christmas Season, so the garden and pseudo-park is decorated with American holiday decor from Santa Claus to a giant pine tree to Marilyn Monroe in Christmas red. (Well actually, Marilyn M stays even after the holidays to keep the Walt Disney (or is it Looney Tunes?) characters company for the rest of the year. A Mini-Theme Park! And no admission fee. Free!

 

 

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Marilyn Monroe in Christmas Red. She’s a permanent fixture here.

 

 

It’s been sometime since I last visited. A pleasant surprise….. but they’ve expanded the garden and it’s certainly a good place to while away the time. There’s a good breeze and the panorama from the promontory at the end of the garden offers a respite after an exciting underground river tour from nearby Sabang. Well, just don’t mind the talking bird who wouldnt shut up near the area where they keep the peacocks.

 

 

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Christmas in Baker’s Hill.

 

 

Tamilok, anyone? Ain’t that brave. Fear Factor enthusiasts and fans may try these wood worms here. Prepared raw, “cooked” by marinating in vinegar. Tastes like oysters, they say. I may have tried it though if not for this bum stomach. Couldn’t risk it as there’s a flight to catch.

 

 

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Yeah. Woodworms. Fear Factor-ish.

 

 

Well, there are other choices. Baker’s Hill is really more than just a bake shop. It’s an amusement park, mini-zoo, restaurant row all rolled into a single place. Try the halo halo (literally means “mix mix”) for snacks or dessert. As for me? I would rather try one of the pizzas.

 

 

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Choose your pizza!

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And this theme park is free!

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Who lives here?


You don’t need to be a swimmer to enjoy the beaches. I’m NOT. But I do enjoy the feel of sand between my toes. The sun doesn’t scare me — sunscreen lotions are my allies. And I don’t mind bad hair days as sea breeze salt and dry my hair. My “elves” remind me I am starting to look like a starfish, drawing laughter from the rest of the brats. So you can say I don’t mind being a laughingstock too during my “sun and sand” adventures.

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No crowds. No touts. Just the sun, sand and the waves rushing to shore.

 

 

It took us a whole hour from El Nido town proper to get here. Unpaved roads, no directional signs, remote to a point you get a sense you’re lost if not for our van driver who claims to know the place. No establishments here. No crowds. No touts. Just a lone stone rest house reportedly owned by a German married to a Filipina. White sandy beach stretching some 4 or so kilometers. At one end, one can cross over to another beach where the water is calmer. Climb up a hill and you get the entire panorama of the twin beaches of Nacpan and Calitang.

 

 

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Check out that lone stone resthouse behind the coconut trees.

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Behind these coconut trees is another beach.

 

 

Except for 3 pairs of motorcycling tourists 聽(how did they get here?), we “owned” the beach! We have arranged with a B & B in El Nido for this private tour. They have a hut here and so the package included van transfers and a good lunch of grilled fish, chicken barbecue and a generous serving of fried noodles saut茅ed in shrimps, pork bits and veggies. We watched the waves while enjoying our watermelons and pineapples. For 700 pesos per pax, it’s a good deal.

 

 

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Barbecued chicken, grilled fish, fried noodles with lotsa shrimps, pork bits and veggies. Onion and Soy Sauce to go with the dishes.

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Fresh watermelons, pineapples and coconuts.

 

 

And there’s the local flavor. Every now and then, a carabao (water buffalo) would pass by as our van driver harvest some coconuts for us. The crab “box” nets fronting the native huts and the boats resting by the shoreline evoke images of simple lives. I can’t help thinking how urbanites work like horses, save like a Scrooge and then blow away their savings just to experience island life. What irony!

 

 

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Crab catchers?

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The Island Life?

 

 

What a wonderful day spent here! I can’t say I can live here. We’re city people who love Internet connections (how else do i blog without it?), going to the movies and dining out. But we also love the beach life from time to time. If only to break the routine, nourish the soul, and simply bond together. After all, aside from “playing together”, vacations meant eating ALL meals together. A luxury we hardly enjoy back in the urban jungle where everyone is rushing to work or school, or too tired for an evening chat after school and work. I should know. I’m HOME ALONE most times, unless my itchy feet take me somewhere more exciting 馃槈

 

 

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Truly. Paraiso (Paradise) in El Nido!

 

 

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We’re back from a wonderful family vacay in El Nido. We bucked the typhoon, clutched our life vests tight, sailed on rolling waves and island hopped the whole day. But for one regret, everything was fine…… power failures notwithstanding.

 

 

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That crack in the limestone wall is the opening to the Small Lagoon. Either you swim through it (water gets deeper as you approach) or kayak your way in.

Miniloc Island’s Small Lagoon was such a pleasant surprise. Off the boat, we waded in waist-deep waters to get through a small opening — where it gets deeper –through which Kayakers breezed through and into the small lagoon. Past this opening, it gets shallower, and then deeper once more and one needs to swim all the way in. Easy to spot the non-swimmers at this point. Life vests identify them. Spot me in my orange vest!

 

 

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Spot the non-swimmers!

 

 

It was delightful to see our teenage girl swimming around the lagoon. While we struggled getting into a tiny cave within the lagoon, she confidently did away with her life vest and had a time of her life. Too bad the low tide and the numerous sea urchins in the Big Lagoon didn’t promise to be another swimming episode for her.

 

 

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Low Tide in Big Lagoon

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Sea Urchins galore!

 

 

We waded in knee-deep waters while dragging the boat deeper into the lagoon. Looking back, we were awed by the amazing sight of limestone walls and cliffs through which the waters flowed, calmed down, and sort of settled. Paradise!

 

 

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Time enough to look back where we passed between 2 cliffs to get inside Big Lagoon.

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Paraiso!


It was nearly sunset when we reached El Nido. But the last half hour driving before reaching our destination, we have been awestruck by the looming limestone cliffs jutting out from Bacuit Bay. It was a good intro to what lay at the end of this butt-numbing road trip. The boats are back from their rounds, as the generators roar to a hum and establishments lining the shore start switching on their lights.

 

 

 

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Bacuit Bay with its many limestock cliffs jutting out of the waters.

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The shoreline is not as long as that in Boracay, but has the same white sandy shore.

 

 

The long drive didn’t dampen our spirit. But the power failures nearly did. City people like us felt threatened whenever the power was turned off and the generators failed to switch on soon after. The “gap” gave us anxiety attacks. We had mixed emotions listening to the murmurs of the sea as the waves came rushing to shore, and the erratic hums of the gas-fed generators. We braced ourselves for the worst just as we observed there weren’t too many local tourists in El Nido. Perhaps many cancelled their holidays because of the typhoon. The foreign visitors seem to have been long time guests, completely familiar with El Nido “living conditions”. We hardly heard a complaint whenever the power shuts off, even when the “gap” stretches to more than half an hour. By nightfall, I took out my bottle of sleeping pills and popped one into my mouth. I didn’t wish to take any chances. It would be a full day of island-hopping the day after and sleep-deprived that I already was, I needed the energy for the next day’s adventure.

 

 

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Vista at 5 am. The lights lining the shore reflected off the waters of Bacuit Bay.

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By 6am, the entire shoreline is bathed in sunlight. From our beach cottages, we are treated to this view 24/7.

 

 

Because I slept extraordinarily early, I was up even before sunrise. From our beach cottage, I watched the lights lining the shore till it was bright and boatmen got ready to do their island tours. The hotel restaurant didn’t open till past 7 am. I was getting grumpier by the minute, missing my favorite brew. I watched men, women and dogs frolicking by the shore. These views are the types that would make me dawdle over my coffee. Except that there was no coffee. 馃槮

 

 

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Our teenage girl is ready to island hop, snorkel, swim and laze under the sun.

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And our pre-teen boy is ready too!

 

 

By half past 8, we were boarding our small boat to do Tours A and B. That’s right, we are doing both in a single day. We expected to be hopping from island to island the entire day while there was still light! It wouldn’t allow us the luxury to linger in each island, but it would save us quite a bit by combining the 2 tours covering some 10 islands. The idea was we’d only get off in a few islands and just sightsee the rest. For 900 pesos (about US$22) for Tours A and B, we were happy.

 

 

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10 islands to cover under Tours A and B. Our favorites are Miniloc Island’s Small and Big Lagoons, Shimizu, Entalula and Snake Island.

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It’s waist deep getting into that small opening to the Small Lagoon. Then it gets deeper.

 

 

We enjoyed the 1st island most of all. Small Lagoon of 聽Miniloc Island would have taken up our entire morning until we reminded ourselves there were still 9 or so islands to cover. The Big Lagoon was awesome too but quite crowded with people and sea urchins! In Shimizu and Entalula Islands, the kids enjoyed the beach and engaged in fish feeding. The waves were fierce too as we struggled against the current while feeding the fish. Lunch was served in Entalula Island, where we enjoyed a simple meal of barbecued chicken, grilled squid and steamed vegetables.

 

 

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Sea Urchins in Miniloc Island’s Big Lagoon.

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Aaaahhhh……. El Nido Islands will certainly charm you!

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Low tide in the Big Lagoon?

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Busy feeding the fish!

 

 

By the time we we were sailing towards Snake Island, the waters became choppy. We could see the swells and felt the rolling waves off 聽Bacuit Bay and in our minds, crossed off some islands in our itinerary. The sandbar we found connected 2 islands, one of which must be Snake Island. There must be people residing here as we found a dog crossing the sandbar, oblivious to the tourists descending on their tiny paradise.

 

 

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Just passing through…………

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Snake Island’s Resident Canine

 

 

As we sailed over the rolling waves, we momentarily longed to head back to Entalula or Shimizu Island to simply enjoy the beach and feed the fish. But there was Cudugnon Cave to explore. Not much of an adventure, really, but there was this thrill of squeezing one’s self through a hole before emerging in this small atrium inside the cave. So…. alright, maybe the kids would like it.

 

 

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Cudognon Cave

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I can sip coffee and read a book here to while away the afternoon.

 

 

The next cave was strictly for strong swimmers. You swim towards the mouth of Cathedral Cave and pray those swells won’t lift you towards the rocks and against the corals….. Or away in open sea! We passed it of course and here began our “sightseeing”. No more stops. We were all eager to get back. The boatmen pointed out and sailed nearer the islands but without stopping to let us off.

 

 

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Cathedral Cave. Looks massive!

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You have to be a strong swimmer to swim against the current towards the mouth of Cathedral Cave.

 

 

If you ask me, one need not check out each and very island. We didn’t want to do that just to keep count. Tours A and B offer many islands but I would have been happy with just 5. I wouldn’t miss the Small and Big Lagoons of Miniloc Island, the fish feeding and beach bumming in Shimizu and Entalula Islands, and walking on the sandbar in Snake Island. Sure, you may want to get off and wait for the sunset in Seven Commandos Beach. Perhaps with bottles of beer and some pica picas. But I wouldn’t want to be sailing in the dark after sunset even if I were confident about my swimming. As we passed Seven Commandos and viewed Helicopter Island not too far away, we felt secure that we were near our beach cottages already. We had enough adventures for the day. No need to be “thorough”…… Life is a beach, after all. 聽By the time the island is blanketed by night, it’s time for some stargazing!

 

 

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By 5 pm, we were rushing to get back to base.

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Spotting Helicopter Island, we knew our beach cottages are somewhere off the bend.

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Back to the base now. One of our beach cottages is right up front , with this view!


A typhoon hit Palawan the day before our arrival. The same typhoon was expected to move out of the province late afternoon of our arrival. And so with fingers and toes crossed, our group of 9 pax trooped to the airport ready to be crushed. All those weeks of planning for this family vacation wasted? Not so for this group of intrepid travelers.

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On the airport bus, we were asked to get off and wait for further announcements. After over an hour, we boarded the bus to the plane, and flew out of Manila. Just a 2 hour delay.

Our flight out of Manila was delayed by 2 hours but we had a good flight and landed safely in Puerto Princesa. The Underground River Tour was cancelled though so we decided to rebook on the day of our departure instead. This was the wisest decision we ever made. There was time to drive north to El Nido, hop around the many islands, drive to the twin beaches of Nacpan and Calitang and then drive back to Puerto Princesa early morning of the day of our return flight to Manila.

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This is Buenavista where we made a brief stop to take photos before reaching Sabang Port.

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This is Sabang Port. Those small boats literally “flew” over the waves and swells of West Philippine Sea aka South China Sea.

Just 2 stopovers on the day we were to fly out of Puerto Princesa. A 聽pee-stop in Buenavista, then on to Sabang Port where we took the boat to Saint Paul Subterranean Park. Not my first time, but it is for my family and some friends making up our contingent of 9 pax. West Philippine Sea was far from calm, but we braved the short boat ride. Mercifully, the monkeys and monitor lizards “guarding” the boardwalk in the park were tame and didn’t add to our anxieties.

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This monkey guarded the entrance to the Underground River Tour.

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The Boardwalk towards the mouth of the Underground River. Watch out for monkeys and monitor lizards.

I purposely didn’t tell my family how the Boatmen cum Tour Guides conduct the Underground River Tour. The “spiel” on the rock formations inside the cave is a carefully crafted one. Tinged with witty humor, it was no surprise that our group thoroughly enjoyed the hilarious narration on the stalactites, stalagmites and the colony of bats inside while doing the slightly more than a kilometer boat ride. The entire length is not open to the public, but the kilometer boat ride is enough for the slightly over an hour’s tour. Hailed as one of the 7 New Wonders of the World, my family and friends were only too happy to have experienced this adventure and visited this heritage site which renders every Filipino proud.

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All set and ready to enter the Saint Paul Subterranean Underground River.

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An interior shot showing another boat of tourists with our light focused on some rock formation.

The references to Sharon Stone, a variety of fruits and vegetables, animals and holy images were most interesting. Amazing how natural forces like water and wind shaped 聽these rock formations to resemble such. As we sailed out of the cave, we met other boats filled with tourists sailing in. Our guide remarked we were 10 coming in, and now number 9 going out, with a request for the next boat to pick up our missing companion. I’m sure it’s part of the script. I’ve heard that spiel before, yet I laughed just as hard like I heard it for the first time. 馃檪

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Inside the Cave. And yes, Martin, this is right inside that limestone mountain you saw outside!

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The Holy Trinity.

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Is it a coconut husk?

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Towards the exit.


Ka Inat么 was a surprise waiting for us. It wasn’t planned, but Ka Lui was closed on the day we arrived in Puerto Princesa City. Our 3rd disappointment after a flight delay of 2 hours and a cancelled Underground River Tour. Our van driver suggested lunch here before our northbound trip to El Nido. Well along the way, Ka Inat么 is in Rizal Street just as you approach the exit out of the city center.

 

 

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Ka Inato along Rizal 聽Street just as you approach the exit out of Puerto Princesa City.

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Interesting wooden sculptures. Very artsy.

 

 

I’ve read somewhere that Ka Lui partly owns Ka Inat么. If true, it explains the “KA” in the name, the ambience and the food quality. It’s unconfirmed, but let’s just say I wouldn’t be surprised. I wanted my family to experience dining in Ka Lu铆 but the place was closed. So was Kinabuch’s. My apprehension over Ka Inat么 was completely wiped out upon seeing the place. Very charming. Very artsy.

 

 

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Open air. The wind chimes add to the rural, carefree ambience. I love how this resto was laid out. Simple decor but each item placed somewhere with careful thought.

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This corner reminds me of a rural sari sari store. The paintings are of children exuding innocence and fun.

 

 

The “open air” atmosphere added to the ambience. The wooden sculptures, paintings and hanging chimes all combined to give a local flavor. We were early for lunch so it was not a problem choosing a table. Judging by the menu, the place caters to all clientele. Pinoys would love the local cuisine. As well as the seafood dishes. Then there are pasta dishes for the foreigners …. and for the teenager in our group. Fruit shakes and frothy iced teas complete the deal.

 

 

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Somehow, I feel like I’m in some gallery somewhere in Angono, the art capital of the Philippines.

 

 

Service quality was likewise commendable. The service crew was most attentive despite our indecisiveness over what to order. Bless the children in our group who knew exactly what they wanted to eat while the adults agonized over what to order.

 

 

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Love the colors and the layout of this resto!

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Everywhere you look, there would always be a piece of art inviting a lingering look.

 

 

Art surrounded us while we waited for our lunch. 聽Somehow, I felt I was in some gallery in Angono, Rizal. There were enough art items inviting our attention. And the food didn’t disappoint. LUNCH!

 

 

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Freshly-grilled stuffed squid, shrimps in some savory sauce, steamed veggies wrapped in banana leaves, grilled fish with vegetable sidings. Yummy lunch!

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This is their signature dish. Chicken Inasal to many. Inato here in Palawan.

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The Pasta dish didn’t disappoint too!

 

 

Ka Inat么’s signature dishes include their local inasal (called inat么) or grilled chicken. But we won’t be deprived our seafood favorites and guilt-diffusers like steamed veggies. The kids ordered their favorite shakes and iced tea. I have to say that food presentation pleased the senses. Simple. Not exactly a cut above the rest, but for the price tags, I’ve got to say Ka Inat么 knows how to please their guests.

 

 

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Fruit Shakes and Frothy Iced Teas!

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Cheap! Value for Money, indeed. But we should have ordered the other signature dish….Sinuglaw. Combination Sinugba (grilled) and Kinilaw (local ceviche)

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And there’s more at very low prices. There’s a meal for every budget !

 

 

By the time we were done with lunch, we were all smiling in content. Notwithstanding the long drive, we were all raring to get into the van, all psyched and longing for a long afternoon nap. Aaaaahhh, never underestimate the power of a good meal. Uncomplainingly, the children claimed their seats in the van and snored away. 馃檪


 

St. Paul’s Subterranean聽 River National Park in Puerto Princesa certainly deserves to count among the 7 wonders of the world.聽 My friends and I thought it’s about time we visit this famous underground river which has been declared a UNESCO Heritage Site , and check out the many other attractions of this southern part of Palawan. We were pleasantly surprised to find many more wonders in Puerto Princesa. And this is how our adventure went.

 

St. Paul’s Underground River

 

It took us a couple of hours to reach the place.聽 That’s over land.聽 Next step is to board a boat passing limestone cliffs to reach the entrance to the underground river. The boat ride was another 30 minutes. When we got off the boat,聽 we found a path “guarded” by monitor lizards and swinging monkeys through this mini rainforest which led towards the river. Waiting for us at the mouth of the cave were professional guides who divided us into small groups. Each small group to a professional rower guide to each boat. While waiting for an earlier batch to come out of the cave entrance,聽 we listened to instructions from our guide while taking in the sights around the entrance.聽 I asked about this tree which must have stood by the cave entrance for many years to witness all the comings and goings in this world wonder. The Dangkalan tree is a fitting guard that stands between the open sea and the cave entrance.聽 By the time we were instructed to board our boat and don our helmet,聽 I was satisfied with the pictures I took of the lovely tree.

 

 

Inside the cave, the underground river snaked through for some 4 kilometers before we were led back the same way to get out.聽 We must have spent a good hour inside……..enough to see many of the stalactite and stalagmite formations. I’ve got to hand it to the guide who cheerfully flashed his light on cave formations in different shapes and sizes, resembling various fruits and vegetables, as if we were all out in the market.聽 There was also a spot aptly called Cathedral because of it s height which looked like an atrium with the “Holy Family” cave formation somewhere near.聽 We were careful to keep our聽 mouths shut as there were too many bats too eager to shed some droppings!

 

Iwahig Penal Colony

 

If there was ever a prison community with the most cheerful inmates, this is the place.聽 The penal colony spanned many hectares.聽 This correctional institute is really more like a farming community much like the kibbutz farms I have visited in Israel. Some prisoners lived with their families and were given lots to till to earn a living. Along the river were picnic cottages where families of other prisoners stay during “visits”.聽 I met an inmate there with a pet snake,聽 just a small one,聽 but no matter –聽 those slimy creatures still give me the creeps.聽 Another inmate had a pet turtle.聽 Still another had various handicraft products for sale.聽 It felt kind of strange to roam around the place, meeting inmates,聽 chatting with them, even haggling with them for some keychains and other souvenir wood products which they crafted with their own hands.

 

In another part of the penal colony,聽 we found this old structure with lovely windows. Must be at least 50 years old.聽 Certainly not too old,聽 but it’s got character.聽 Reminded me of some of the old structures that can be found in the old Sangley Point back in Cavite City where our family once lived.聽 Right beside this structure was the handicraft store.聽 Wooden souvenirs,聽 keychains,聽 table mats, etc were up for sale.聽 One can tell these prisoners had their hands full,聽 busy working with their hands to earn a living.聽 No wonder they look happy in this place.

 

Dining at Kalui’s and Badjao

 

Not to be missed are these 2 fine establishments.聽 Kalui’s has such a homey atmosphere where diners are asked to leave their slippers outside the hut and don house slippers while enjoying many of Kalui’s seafood delicacies.聽 The grilled fish selections were so yummy,聽 and paired with the local seagrapes salad called “lato” make for a really good lunch.聽 I like the ambience in this place.聽 It is truly an artist’s place.

 

 

Badjao Restaurant on the other is a lot bigger, built on stilts looking out into the sea.聽 Seafood is the place’s attraction too.聽 Freshly harvested prawns and lobsters, grilled tuna, and some local vegetable dishes.聽 I can imagine many weddings and birthdays held here.

 

Crocodile Farm in Palawan’s Wildlife Center

 

I have never been to any crocodile farm, so this is my first outing with these crocs.聽 Each one of us in the group was made to hold a baby croc and pose for a picture.聽 Naturally,聽 i did not pass up the opportunity.聽 But just like the snake,聽 I have no affection for these reptiles.聽 Forgive me. We crossed a short bridge passing a group of crocodiles who looked like they were waiting for their lunch.聽 Hopefully they did not expect me for lunch.

 

Viet Ville

 

On our way back to Legend Hotel where we were booked,聽 we stopped by this place for dinner.聽 We met some ex-refugees from Vietnam here.聽 Obviously, not everyone left for good old America.聽 Some chose to stay behind, and married their Filipina girlfriends.聽 The Vietnamese restaurant where we had dinner boasts of authentic Vietnamese cuisine.聽 We had the usual rolls, barbecued meats and noodle soups. We even tried their air-dried jackfruit slices.

 

Snake Island

 

We took a boat and braved the waves in Honda Bay , passing a number of islands.聽聽 We chose to eat our lunch of grilled fish, salted eggs with tomatoes,聽 mangoes with bagoong (shrimp paste), and rice in Snake Island.聽 We also found a couple of snorkelling guides who聽 found the perfect spot for us to see schools of fish.聽 Frankly,聽 I was a bit scared venturing out in open sea.聽 My guide was kind of advanced in years and I was praying he won’t have an attack while watching out for me.聽 Tried hard not to panic, and simply enjoyed snorkelling.

 

Mitra’s House

 

The house of the late Congressman Mitra is atop a hill and provided a lovely view of Honda Bay.聽 It was also a house with a unique architecture…………round in shape,聽 with wooden balcony rails to hem in the tourists enjoying the panoramic view.聽 Inside the house, one finds pictures of the entire family.聽 The caretaker still speaks lovingly of the late Speaker of the House.聽 As do most people from Palawan. What a waste.聽 Now, we’d never know if Mitra could have been the republic’s greatest ever president.

 

Read also my Palawan blog in TravelBlog. 聽More photos can be viewed there. 聽聽