October 2, 2010

Out Working in Puerto Princesa Palawan

Always wanted to go to Palawan. But with 2 little boys in tow, I knew, it would be later than sooner before I get to go there! Afterall, travelling with children, boys aged 2 and 6 is not the kind of romantic vacation I was hoping for.

So when I learned my US immigrant parents are coming over for a 2 months visit to the Philippines. I knew, that it was answered prayers. I right away booked 2 flights to Palawan (for my husband and myself) and arranged for my mom and dad, to take care of the kids, while we are away.

So off we went to the island province of Palawan, excited for our 4days/3nights rendezvous.

(Puerto Princesa airport, Mayor Hagedorn himself welcomed us complete with band musicians in Puerto Princesa!)

We stayed at Hibiscus Garden Inn. I was a little apprehensive at first, since it is not the regular hotel type I would normally stay in, but when we got there, my husband and I fell in love with the place.

Hibiscus Garden Inn is like a home away from home for us. The place is clean, cozy and refreshing. Instead of the usual swimming pool it has a wonderfully maintained garden in the middle. My husband so love this setting.

(Hibiscus Garden)

(my husband fell asleep relaxing on this hammock)
The owners and staff our equally friendly. We were allowed to do an early check in (arriving at 930am) and rest while we wait for our afternoon itinerary.

For lunch, we went to the nearby Chicken Inato (the local version of their Mang Inasal here in Manila). Noticed, by the way that the locals here love grilled chicken. Suprised to see that there are more grilled chicken than sea food restaurants (no dampa, huhuhu). I told my husband, that maybe we are not looking hard enough or maybe we are in the wrong side of Palawan.

For our first day itinerary, we went to Iwahig Prison, the Crocodile Farm, Mitra's Ranch, Bakers Hill and Binuatan Creations (found real good weave products here, cheaper by about 70-100% compared to Manila prices).

(shop crazy for woven bags!)

(yup! making a living, weaving.)

(a real baby crocodile)

(Iwahig in-mate on the lose)

(Mitra's ranch)

On our 2nd day, we went to the Underground River. I am proud to say, I have visited one of the 7 New Natural Wonders of the World. We were simply speechless at we saw. It is worth the long travel and the stinky rat urine smell (which after a while, you will get used to).

(our tour mates, the underground river as background)

(hard hats, protection for whatever may fall from the cave's ceiling. you just don't know what that might be.)

(underground river as background)

Day 3, was Honday Bay Island Hopping. We visited 3 islands, Pandan, Starfish and Snake Island. Of the 3, fish feeding is best at Snake (fishes are big and are so close to the beach). However, I would recommend spending the most time at Pandan, since it has cottages and decent rest rooms (unlike the other 2). There are also nice ladies offering massage, their massage area is nestled under a bunch of trees, feels so relaxing. I suggest you treat yourself to one. Meanwhile, for picture taking, you are sure to like Starfish Island.

(fishes everywhere)

(my starfish encounter)

For our last night, we tried the tourist favorite Ka Lui. Note that you would have to make reservations to ensure you get in. The interior of the restaurant is impressive, but I find the taking off of the guests shoes rather un-hygenic. The food, I think is over rated. I liked my Chicken Inato meal better. Overall still worth the experience, but would not likely repeat it.

(ka lui, full packed for the night)

going home :(

Palawan is a sight to behold. The people are friendly and warm. We are happy to be there.
For next year, though we are planning for Bohol or Cebu. However, we would probably be bringing our little tots. My parents aren't returning next year for vacation and the overtime excused we used on the kids, when we left for Palawan, would obviously no longer work the next time.