Thursday, March 29, 2012

My Puerto Princesa, Palawan Travel Video

It's enchanting to meet you Palawan!
Sharing with you an edited video of our early summer Puerto Princesa tour.

Travel Date: February 21-23, 2012
Places included in the video: Puerto Princesa bay, Plaza Cuartel, Immaculate Concepcion Cathedral, Iwahig Prison and Penal Farm, Crocodile Farm, Sabang Beach, Sabang River for the Mangrove tour, Underground River, souvenir shop, Ka Lui Restaurant, Skylight Restaurant
Music: Enchanted by Taylor Swift

Palawan series:

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Intramuros: Inside the Walled City

Fort Santiago

I could barely remember the last time I went inside the walls of Intramuros for a visit. My last school field trip in Fort Santiago happened when I was probably in first grade, I could barely remember anything except for the name "Fort Santiago" and its historical significance. To date, some of my younger siblings are studying in Mapua and Adamson University, schools located inside and right outside Intramuros but I never really had that chance to even go visit them. Since I've gotten too curious as to how Intramuros actually looks now, I tagged along who I thought could be the best companions for this sight-seeing tour, my younger sister Hannah who's currently taking a Hospitality Management course in Adamson and mom, who has long missed the site she used to recognize as a neighborhood.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Inside Tour at MV Logos Hope

MV Logos Hope in Manila 2012

Life is a journey, we're all going somewhere, but where are we going? 

The trip was planned the night before. And so together with mom and youngest sister Hannah, we journeyed all the way from Laguna to Manila for a day tour covering MV Logos Hope, Intramuros and Luneta Park.  Designed to replace MV Doulos, MV Logos Hope is a ship carrying over 5,000 book titles, making it the world's largest floating book fair.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Puerto Princesa: Good Bites

Since we were able to save on our airfare, we feel good adding a little more to our food budget, so yes we splurged a bit. After all, Palawan's not just about beaches, it also offers fresh seafood options in a unique dining experience.

Palawan Restaurants we tried and other food finds:

We ordered KaLui Special of the Day Set that includes fish steak, prawns, veggies of the day, fried fish with escabeche sauce, rice and starters. We also ordered eel in coco cream for a change. It's not everyday that we get to eat eel! :) For our refreshments, we ordered classic fresh fruit shakes like buko and mango juice and the equally interesting guyabano juice. They also gave us a complimentary fruit salad in fresh coconut bowl. Sweet! More in the menu includes shrimps halabos, Palawan seafood sisig, kilawin, sashimi and more.  

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Palawan: Itinerary and Expenses

Together with my aunt and uncle, we visited Puerto Princesa city last February 21-23, 2012. Feel free to copy our itinerary.

Day 1
- check in at Marianne Home Inn
- lunch at KaLui Restaurant
- at around 2pm, we started the City Tour
- dinner at Balinsasayaw

Day 2
- at around 8am, van fetched us for the Underground River Tour
- early lunch at Sabang (meal included in the tour)
- 3pm start of Underground River Tour

Day 3
- Pasalubong/Pearl Shopping at Delma Pearl and Souvenir Shop for authentic south sea pearls
- Pasalubong shopping for shirts at the newly opened pasalubong center
- lunch at Badjao Seafront Restaurant
- check out/flight back to Manila

Roundtrip ticket - Php350 roundtrip (thanks to Piso Fare)
Terminal Fee - Php200 (Naia) + Php40 (Puerto Princesa Airport)
Tour package - Php2990 (inclusive of 3 days 2 nights accommodation with breakfast at Marianne Home Inn, City Tour, Underground River Tour with lunch, airport transfers, tour guides, fees and permits)
* we canceled the Iwahig Firefly Watching since we came back late from the Underground River Tour. We're already exhausted from the trip. Accommodation's okay but we were all unsatisfied with the service from the travel agency). I will blog more about this soon.
Mangrove Paddle Boat Tour - Php150

other expenses:
Food - Php1000 (dining at KaLui, Balinsasayaw, Skylight Restaurant, Baker's Hill and Badjao Seafront Restaurant)
Pasalubong shopping - Php700 (fresh water pearls, other accessories, sarong, bag, shirt, cashew nuts)
Total: Php5,430

Obviously a big chunk of savings came from air fare, so we opted to splurge more on food. We weren't able to book an island hopping tour since my aunt is still in the recovering process thus we needed to be extra careful not to engage with any taxing activity like Honda Bay island hopping tour. But that's fine, we were able to relax in Sabang Beach where the zipline area is located and we had the beach all to ourselves. See, with proper planning, a Php5000 budget trip to experience Puerto Princesa, Palawan's great outdoors can go a long way.

This post is part of my Puerto Princesa, Palawan series:

Monday, March 19, 2012

Palawan: Pearl Shopping

South Sea Pearl Bracelets
When one thinks of pasalubong shopping in Puerto Princesa, Palawan pearls are definitely on the must-buy list. Our third and last day in Palawan was devoted almost entirely on pasalubong shopping, of course I was on the look out for the cheapest store I can shop for pearls. The tricycle driver we hired that day brought us to Delma Pearl and Souvenir Shop located beside another famous local restaurant in Mercado de San Miguel, the SkyBox. We found this particular souvenir shop selling cheaper pearls and other accessories compared to the first store we were brought in during our city tour. Best of all we could still use our haggling skills here.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Puerto Princesa: Discovering the City in a Forest

Puerto Princesa Bay
So what made a former city girl like me love Puerto Princesa so much?  Every city dwellers who've been to this part of the country would surely agree that there's more to Puerto Princesa than the famous Underground River and many island beaches. Surprisingly, it also offers a much tamed city vibe feel unlike its equally stunning El Nido and Coron. Okay, just to be transparent, I've never been to the latter two which I'm pretty sure will both sweep me off my feet for their scenic beauties. It's just that I already found Puerto Princesa a lot more conducive to live (if ever I plan to live here for good), it's the more developed (without the pollution) part of Palawan. You get the outdoor feel which can be practically just a few feet from your home and at the same time you have a good number of schools, cheap and fancy restaurants, government agencies, hospitals, malls (Robinsons Galleria is under construction) and airport within reach.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Deeper into Palawan's Mangrove Forest

Palawan Mangroves
The Mangrove Paddle Boat Tour is a community based sustainable ecotourism project. The 45 minute tour into the Sabang River and its centuries old mangroves allows visitor to observe and appreciate what old growth mangrove forest free of human entervention looks like. Visitors are also given a chance to contribute to conservation by planting mangrove saplings in designated planting area.

After taking our lunch and rested at Sabang Beach, our tour guide Mae-Anne asked if we wanted to join the newlyweds for the Mangrove Paddle Boat Tour. We agreed of course, after all, our Underground River Tour was scheduled at around 3-3:30pm. We left the other group who chose to stay and relax at the beach while we hopped on the van that took us to where the mangroves are. During the very short drive, we saw tourists mostly foreign backpackers, walking their way to the much secluded part of Sabang Beach where the mangrove tour is also located. It was like 12 noon and they're really loving the Palawan sun!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Palawan: Inside Peek on One of the New 7 Wonders of Nature

inside the world's longest navigable Underground River 
The two hour drive from Puerto Princesa to Sabang, passing through sharp curves on 2 part zigzag roads (yes, expect to sway inside the van) is already an adventure treat itself. We learned a lot from our tour guides Mae-Anne and Grace telling us stories about healers, folklore, history and other fun facts during the long drive while passing the scenic country charm of Palawan. This post gives you a glimpse of what happens on a typical day when you book the Php1,500 Underground River Tour.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Loving Palawan's Great Outdoors

colors of Palawan
The beach, the sun, the sand...the island province of Palawan is best known worldwide for its GREAT OUTDOORS.

Located at the western border of the Philippines, the irregular coastline of Palawan boasts a land area of 1,703,075 hectares and roughly 1,780 islands of sugar-white sandy beaches. From Manila, the capital city Puerto Princesa is approximately an hour's travel by plane. 

February 21, 2012 - I boarded a Cebu Pacific plane bound to Puerto Princesa to experience the much raved Palawan adventure.Together with Uncle No and Aunt Lily, our first glimpse of Palawan was unforgettable, as expected. For 3 days and 2 nights, we drove from one tourist spot to another, the outdoor tours, picturesque stop overs, freshly grilled seafood dinners, the welcoming locals..geez, that 3-day Puerto Princesa tour was too short to fully explore the Palawan outdoors, I don't even think a week-long vacation would be enough, considering there's still Coron, El Nido and Amanpulo (yes, I'm hopeful to experience the pricey Amanpulo)!
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