Back in March, we had our first trip to Palawan. It was a treat from my boyfriend’s mom who came back here in the Philippines for a short vacation. I can’t contain my excitement but at the same time kinda nervous since it would be my first time riding a plane. I never been able to go outside the Metro since I’m busy with my work plus I don’t have a budget to travel. Well enough of that and let me give you tour on our trip to Palawan.
Our flight was scheduled Saturday afternoon. As usual, it was delayed for about 15-20 minutes. We were ask to get out of the plane because of the strong winds in Palawan. Some passengers were a bit pissed off. We have no choice but to wait again.
After about an hour of travel, we finally landed at Puerto Princesa City Airport. I think we got there at around past 7 or 8 PM.
Aptly nicknamed “the city in a forest,” Puerto Princesa city’s attractions have much to do with its natural wonders and commitment to the environment. In fact, it’s been named the Philippines’ cleanest and greenest city, and has been internationally recognized for environmental excellence.
Puerto Princesa’s pride is easily the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River (or Underground River), a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature.
The 8.2-kilometer river, said to be the longest navigable underground river in the world, winds its way underneath a mountain range, through the St. Paul Underground River Cave, and then goes out into the South China Sea. The journey through the cave system alone is 24 kilometers long.
The entire area where the Underground River is located is actually a national park and a model of biodiversity. More than 800 plant species, including almost 300 trees, 195 bird species, 30 mammals, 19 reptiles, and eight bat species call this area home.
We were fetched by the hotel’s driver. It was just 15 to 20 minutes ride from the airport. Our hotel is Fleuris Hotel.
Situated in the heart of Puerto Princesa, Hotel Fleuris Palawan was established to add exquisiteness to the city. (Google Map)
Despite the high technology that has infiltrated the country, Hotel Fleuris’ heart still dances to the beat of instinctive ways.
And it’s a place where guests can find a home away from home, with a highly trained, guest friendly staff.
Hotel Fleuris Palawan has forty-seven (47) elegantly furnished guestrooms including thirty-eight (38) deluxe rooms, Eight(8) Suite rooms and one (1) Special room for disabled.
Location, reputation and personalized quality of service play the largest part in making this Palawan resort known not only to locals of Palawan, but also the Philippines and, in the long run, the world.
Hotel Fleuris Palawan makes an astonishing commitment to providing an excellent experience for the selective travelers.
And it aspires to continue to be progressively better, organized and dedicated to total quality and unspoiled services to the guests.
When we got into the hotel, we had our complimentary dinner which is from their Japanese restaurant located below the hotel. After that we doze off to sleep since we are very tired especially me who hadn’t had any sleep yet.
Day 1: The Underground River.
We are obliged to wake up early since our tour guide will fetch us at 7 AM exactly. They had their own tour van. Also, we had other tourists on that ride.
The whole trip from the hotel to the port where we would be riding a boat to go the Underground River is almost 2 hours (whew!). Take note with no traffic. So we had our stop over at a certain place that I don’t know what the name is. But it is overlooking and has a store where they sell local products and delicacies.
At the port, we had to wait atleast 30 minutes to wait for our boat . When we got there, there a lot of tourists too. Each had their own tour guide who will also come during the trip.
After waiting, its our time to ride the boat, Pretty excited!!!
It’s a good thing that I really wore my flip flops since after our boat landed in the coast, the white sand is wet.
PHOTOS….. PHOTOS …. PHOTOS…
The Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park is a protected area of thePhilippines located about 80 kilometres (50 mi) north of the city centre of Puerto Princesa,Palawan. The river is also called Puerto Princesa Underground River. The national park is located in the Saint Paul Mountain Range on the western coast of the island. It is bordered by St. Paul Bay to the north and the Babuyan River to the east. The City Government of Puerto Princesa has managed the National Park since 1992. The entrance to the subterranean river is a short hike or boat ride from the town Sabang.
The park has a limestone karst mountain landscape. St. Pauls Underground River Cave is more than 24 km (15 mi) long and contains an 8.2 km (5.1 mi) long underground section of the Cabayugan River. The river winds through the cave before flowing directly into the West Philippine Sea  and is navigable by boat up to 4.3 km (2.7 mi) in from the sea. The cave includes major formations ofstalactites and stalagmites, and several large chambers, including the 360-meter-long Italian’s Chamber with approximate 2.5 million square meters volume. It is one of the largest cave rooms in the world. The lower portion of the river up to 6 km from the sea, is subject to tidal influences. Until the 2007 discovery of an underground river in Mexico‘s Yucatán Peninsula, the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River was reputed to be the world’s longest underground river. (Source: Wikipedia)
There are a lot tourists when we got to this place.You have to wait for your group’s turn since the tour inside the cave or river is by batch. But waiting is not a big deal since you’ll be relaxed and entertained at the place’s scenery.
After more than an hour or two at the Underground we had to go back to get some lunch. We get back to the port or coast and there is a some sort of an open resto. Our lunch is buffet style. I must say the food is good.
Our trip for that day doesn’t end there. We had to stop by at a pasalubong store to buy some local stuffs. The ones that I bought are tarts,KEYCHAINS(of course!), piyaya, wallet. My boyfriend’s mom bought a lot of things.After that we had to go back to the hotel. My boyfriend and I decided to dip into their pool. In the evening, we had our lunch at a nearby restaurant.
Day 2: Honda Bay.
Same call time. But this it is not a 2 hour ride, maybe 40 minutes. We got our boat ride again so reach Honda Bay.
The bay is used for both subsistence andcommercial fisheries and recreation. Boats can be rented for the day and used for travel to nearby islands, many less than 45 minutes from the shore by boat. Honda Bay is ideal for snorkeling. Starfishare commonly found near islands such as Starfish Island. Puerto Princesa is the nearest port city, and is accessible by plane. (Wikipedia)
We go island hopping for almost 2 hours. These are the 3 islands we went to:
STARFISH ISLANDFrom Pambato Reef, it takes about 15 minutes boat ride to get to Starfish island. Starfish island is a sand bar that got its name because of the starfishes that used to abundantly inhabit it. The island is also known by locals as Tabuan island.It is a small island with a few cottages that are available for picnicking island-hoppers. Its main island made up of white sand and is surrounded by greenish waters. A few palm trees grow on the island with a mangrove forest grew on the eastern side of the island.
LULI ISLANDAnother sandbar in Honda Bay which has garnered its name from the local description of Lulubog-Lilitaw and is shorted as LuLi. It meant sinks and arises. During low tide, its sand bar is visible while on high tide it sinks underwater leaving only the houses on it are visible.
Cowrie Island is located within Honda Bay, on the eastern side of Puerto Princesa City. It is 12 kilometers away from the city proper and it takes 20 minutes travel time by land. Honday bay wharf is the jump off station to get to the island and just about 10 minutes boat ride. The island was named after the small-to-large sea snail, marine gastropod mollusc they called it “cowrie”. The island offers exciting day tour island experience for those seeking sand, sun and sea.
The picturesque island is excellent for day trips, picnics, meetings and events place. It is perfect destinations for those who love to swim, snorkel, walk around the island or just float on the surface of the crystal clear water. If you’re feeling tired, pamper yourself from head-to-toe and enjoy the sea breeze while being pampered in an open air massage cabanas with relaxing ambiance. For some adventurous activities the island offers fun and exciting water activities such as banana rides, jet skiing and kayaking. Recreational facilities include a massage cabanas, game area for volleyball, beach bar and restaurant and pavilion for intimate weddings, meetings, team buildings that can accommodate up to 200-300 persons.
Commune with nature as you go for picnic or rest beneath the shadow of coconut groves. Build sandcastles by seashore. You can stay the whole day where the wind is cooler and more relaxing.
Last stop was Cowrie Island, where we had our eat all you can buffet lunch. I must say the food was fantastic!! I had to come back for my 2nd plate.
Well all comes to an end. We have to bid farewell to this awesome place.From our almost 2 days stay, I can’t think of anything bad. I have thought if I were to retire I will choose this place. Here is why:
- The People of Palawan. They are accommodating. Friendly. . With sense of humor too. First, the hotel employees attend to our needs in a timely manner.Our tour guide is very knowledgeable and entertaining too. Our tour guide slash boat driver is humorous during the time that he is explaining all those things or formations inside the cave.
- The FOOD. From the hotel, to the restaurant and the buffet. It didn’t fail me or us rather.
- The PLACE and Surroundings. Superb. Most of the place we’ve been thru were untouched. During our travel, you can only see trees, forests, some houses (kubo),animals like goats, cow,dogs,etc.
- One thing, make sure to buy things you need like sunblock, etc. We forgot to buy our sunblock in Manila so we have no choice but to buy it there, the price is hefty, almost double. Pocket money is a must since there might be some fees along the way especially during island hopping. They have what they called environmental fee 200 Php per pax. Aside from that are the pasalubongs, you can’t leave Palawan without buying those.
I hope this is not the last, coz surely I will come back.