Puerto Princesa, Palawan (Part 1)

Posted: March 18, 2013 in Blog, Travel
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

header 1 photo Puerto_Princesa_header_zps631da9c1.jpg

Puerto Princesa, Palawan
Visiting the Underground River: One of the New 7 Wonders of the World
ITLOG_No. 18
(07-10.03.2013)

What would be the first thing to come to your mind if you hear the word Puerto Princesa?

The Underground River, which is one of the new 7 wonders of the world and which is also included in the Properties Inscribed in the World Heritage List, but other things also comes to mind, like the crocodile farm, the islands of Honda Bay, the sumptuous food of Kinabuchs and kalui plus other places you could visit.

Folk etymology attributes the name “Puerto Princesa” to a princess-like maiden who in the early days is said to have roamed around the place on certain nights of the year. On the other hand, practical people attribute the name to the geographical advantages of the place as a seaport – naturally protected the whole year round and endowed with a depth that can accommodate any size of shipping – a royal haven for vessels or a virtual princess of ports as thus indicated by Spanish colonizers on the country’s map.
Historically, the place was named after Princess Asunción, born in 1864 to Queen Isabella II and her consort, Francisco de Cádiz. When the princess suffered an untimely death, the Queen changed the name to Puerto de la Princesa. Eventually, the name was reduced to Puerto Princesa as it is known today.
Spanish Colonizers founded the settlement on 4 March 1872 in the course of their exploration of the province. As they scanned the Palawan shoreline for a capital site, they came upon a hill with steep declivity. Rowing to shore, they surveyed the hill and discovered an extensive plateau, which they decided as ideal for settlement.
Soon after, Fr. Antonio Muro, levelled a portion of the hill to make way for a chapel (That section is now occupied by the Catholic Cathedral, the P.C. Barracks and the Rizal Park). The Old Municipal Building used to be there, as well as an Elementary School. The first mass celebrated in Puerto Princesa took place at a site where a marker now stands.
In May 1872, the Port of Puerto Princesa became the center of Spanish Naval Operations in the area because the Bay met all the Navy’s requirements. Royal Decrees later provided incentives to settlers, and by 1883 the settlement had flourished into a town of twelve roads, a hospital and well-built port.
In 1894, Puerto Princesa was recognized by government authorities as one of the most beautiful towns in the country by virtue of the orderly distribution of streets, buildings and houses as well as the cleanliness of the community.

We got our promo tickets from Cebu Pacific last August and were scheduled to visit Puerto Princesa and stay there for 4 days and searched we around the net on the places to visit plus asking some Couchsurfing friends on the best way to go around Puerto Princesa and even offered us a place to stay, but we opt to stay at the place of one of the couchsurfer who had a cheap place for rent with a kitchen, a bath and 2 rooms with aircon (but we stayed only in one room and the other room was rented out some days later), and she even took care of our tours. With everything planned out and the knowledge we gained, we were prepared for out trip to Puerto Princesa.

Leaving the house early in the morning, around 0400hrs, we were then brought to the airport, and with a long cue, we entered the terminal and checked if the counter is open for check-in, then we noticed a self service check-in booth and checked-in ourselves which was faster than going through the check-in counter, then drop-off our bags at the Bag Drop Counter and headed for the second floor where the restaurants were and had a seat at a fastfood shop where we ate our breakfast, which Carol prepared before we left home. After breakfast we walk around the shops and then headed for the Security Check Area to enter the terminal lounge, which was full, and took a seat after others boarded their designated flights. At around 0720hrs we started boarding the plane and left the airport with a little bit of delay due to heavy air traffic at the NAIA, which was about 0830hrs.

01 photo Puerto_Princessa_001_zpse5fbf1e9.jpg

03 photo Puerto_Princessa_003_zps16471b72.jpg

04 photo Puerto_Princessa_004_zps304cc77a.jpg

05 photo Puerto_Princessa_005_zpsd8b5b2c6.jpg

06 photo Puerto_Princessa_006_zpsfddeb33c.jpg

07 photo Puerto_Princessa_007_zpsc7220b0d.jpg

08 photo Puerto_Princessa_008_zps21799ee2.jpg

09 photo Puerto_Princessa_009_zps6e287afd.jpg

10 photo Puerto_Princessa_010_zpsda39748d.jpg

12 photo Puerto_Princessa_011_zps7ec3b63c.jpg

13 photo Puerto_Princessa_013_zpse5b3186b.jpg

16 photo Puerto_Princessa_016_zps30b7e0dd.jpg

17 photo Puerto_Princessa_017_zpsee61d982.jpg

Arriving at Puerto Princesa airport around 0930hrs, after claiming our bags and exited the terminal, we were greeted by our tour organizer, who arranged for us our ride to our lodge. Riding the trike, and having a conversation with the tricycle driver who offered to take us around Puerto Princesa for the city tour, this was a tip that the couchsurfers told us, to rent a trike for the whole day and bring us around the city, compared to a van tour, which has only a 4 hour city tour. Arriving at our lodge, we rested a bit and thought of going to the City Hall and look up a friend but upon arriving we were told that he works in the Capitol Building, which was in the town proper, heading back to the lodge and then decided to go Robinson’s Mall and meet up with a couchsurfer. Arriving at the mall, where we bought a card reader (which I forgot to bring on this trip to transfer files to the laptop) and then got some crocodile burgers at a food stall named “Bodato Burgers”, which was not bad tasting, and then had a chat with our couchsurfing friend. We then decided to head back to the lodge, which was around 1400hrs, and rest because it was too hot and would go out for dinner later.

19 photo Puerto_Princessa_019_zps2be6089b.jpg

20 photo Puerto_Princessa_020_zps0d71cdef.jpg

22 photo Puerto_Princessa_022_zpsfb71b291.jpg

23 photo Puerto_Princessa_023_zps273ff500.jpg

27 photo Puerto_Princessa_027_zpsbbb6d5b2.jpg

28 photo Puerto_Princessa_028_zpsce34e747.jpg

29 photo Puerto_Princessa_029_zps7be3e004.jpg

30 photo Puerto_Princessa_030_zpsc8364ad8.jpg

31 photo Puerto_Princessa_031_zpsf93ea00f.jpg

35 photo Puerto_Princessa_035_zpsc6e49fd8.jpg

36 photo Puerto_Princessa_036_zps3a4d51aa.jpg

38 photo Puerto_Princessa_038_zps1cbc9878.jpg

Later that evening, at around 1800hrs, we took the multicab which was the basic means of transportation in Puerto Princesa, just like the Jeep in Manila but smaller, and headed for the town proper, going down at Junction 1, and then started walking at Rizal Avenue looking for the place of Kinabuchs Grill and Bar where we would have our dinner

Kinabuchs is a pop nightly hangout spot mostly for tourists visiting Palawan. It is well known to many foodie tourists as it is tagged as one of the best restaurants that you should try in Puerto Princesa. Kinabuchs is conveniently located at the center of the city and few minutes away from the airport. It provides a huge Al-Fresco dining area where you can drink and dine under the moonlight.

Here we orders our usual food, I got chicken and rice, while Carol got pork liempo with rice, ensaladang talong and then we ordered an exotic treat which is popular in Palawan which is the ”Tamilok”, but did not get the fresh or the kinilaw but instead opted to get the breaded kind, which tasted like oysters, this is usually eaten raw, dipped in vinegar and calamansi. After a heavy dinner, we walked along Rizal Avenue headed for the Baywalk area, where we met other couchsurfers buying a cold drink in a food stall. While chatting with them, we noticed that it was getting late and usually the multicab going back to the lodge would be till 2130hrs only and it was almost around 2200hrs, so we decided to take the tricycle and went back to the lodge where in after freshening up we rested for the day.

39 photo Puerto_Princessa_039_zpsf9b620d1.jpg

40 photo Puerto_Princessa_040_zpsb4f2eef9.jpg

43 photo Puerto_Princessa_043_zps285a8cd2.jpg

44 photo Puerto_Princessa_044_zpsdd115eb5.jpg

45 photo Puerto_Princessa_045_zpsd15eeaeb.jpg

46 photo Puerto_Princessa_046_zpsc5ab41e1.jpg

47 photo Puerto_Princessa_047_zps60d1f867.jpg

48 photo Puerto_Princessa_048_zps38a7cfc6.jpg

49 photo Puerto_Princessa_049_zpsaf82f1f2.jpg

50 photo Puerto_Princessa_050_zps924b9b3e.jpg

52 photo Puerto_Princessa_052_zps64ee0683.jpg

53 photo Puerto_Princessa_053_zpsc9f9fd0e.jpg

54 photo Puerto_Princessa_054_zps8b9dc6b1.jpg

Waking up the next day and prepared for our tour around Honda Bay, but since there was an event and a parade around the town proper, we were picked up by the van past 0900hrs, and headed for Sta. Lourdes wharf, passing by a place where they rent out swimming gears named Pan’z Snorkeling Equipment Rental Shop to use on the Island Hopping Tour. After registration and having a boat designated to us, we then boarded the banca, using those big placard sized numbers to call them and headed out to our first destination, which was Pambato Reef.

55 photo Puerto_Princessa_055_zpse9aa6b0d.jpg

56 photo Puerto_Princessa_056_zps352467a4.jpg

57 photo Puerto_Princessa_057_zpse4cfdc37.jpg

58 photo Puerto_Princessa_058_zpsc5f99d43.jpg

60 photo Puerto_Princessa_060_zpscc907053.jpg

61 photo Puerto_Princessa_061_zps07058e8e.jpg

64 photo Puerto_Princessa_064_zps5f3e0498.jpg

65 photo Puerto_Princessa_065_zps5aa7fc3d.jpg

66 photo Puerto_Princessa_066_zps304443fd.jpg

68 photo Puerto_Princessa_068_zpscf1a5470.jpg

70 photo Puerto_Princessa_070_zps82104ea8.jpg

Pambato Reef is about 15 minutes boat ride from the Sta. Lourdes wharf, this marine sanctuary may be reached. In the middle of the reef, a floating raft marks the location where tourists may get off. Each visitor is allowed to freely snorkel around the reef.

This reef is located in the middle of the bay where the shallow sections are about 10 feet from the coral reefs. So, life jackets will be required especially for visitor that are not good swimmers. Tourists are also given the opportunity to dive down and touch the coral species and take pictures with the abundant fishes in the reef.

Schools of different species of fish swim and live around the living coral of the reef. Different coral types also grow on this part of the reef like brain corals, staghorn corals and others.

71 photo Puerto_Princessa_071_zpsf0887d78.jpg

 photo Puerto_Princessa_072_zps128838fa.jpg

73 photo Puerto_Princessa_073_zps075fb05c.jpg

74 photo Puerto_Princessa_074_zps9cf51238.jpg

75 photo Puerto_Princessa_075_zps826eaf67.jpg

77 photo Puerto_Princessa_077_zpse67387c1.jpg

78 photo Puerto_Princessa_079_zpsc44b6eca.jpg

80 photo Puerto_Princessa_080_zps8a126c88.jpg

Our next destination was Luli Island, another 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.

81 photo Puerto_Princessa_081_zps6f9bcfe1.jpg

82 photo Puerto_Princessa_082_zps6cb74776.jpg

84 photo Puerto_Princessa_084_zps75f6bdb1.jpg

85 photo Puerto_Princessa_085_zps692f7fe6.jpg

88 photo Puerto_Princessa_088_zps087e2fa5.jpg

89 photo Puerto_Princessa_089_zpsf8d463ef.jpg

92 photo Puerto_Princessa_092_zpsdd2d9566.jpg

94 photo Puerto_Princessa_094_zps99ab044e.jpg

96 photo Puerto_Princessa_096_zps01f18130.jpg

Then we headed for Pandan Island where we would have our lunch. This island lies south of the Snake Island. It is an oval shaped island that is managed by the Legends group of hotels. The island offers a beautiful view of Honda Bay. Like Starfish and Snake islands, Pandan has cottages that are available for visitors. Its shores, is as green as the other two islands and its sands are soft and white.

Here we got a table and Ron, our guide started to prepare our lunch, which consisted of Grilled Fish, Grilled Pork, Adobong Manok, chopped Cucumber, Salted Eggs and rice, after lunch we had Turon, which we bought at the restobar and then walked around the island, while Carol was having a henna tattoo done, I got some halo-halo at the store to cool off. Leaving the Island around 1530hrs, we headed back to Sta. Lourdes Wharf and then leaving the rented swimming gears at Pad’z, we were then dropped off at our lodge to rest.

99 photo Puerto_Princessa_099_zps2e3392f2.jpg

100 photo Puerto_Princessa_100_zps5c0d5f8f.jpg

102 photo Puerto_Princessa_102_zps14aefce1.jpg

103 photo Puerto_Princessa_103_zpsf3cb7747.jpg

104 photo Puerto_Princessa_104_zpsa38e468d.jpg

105 photo Puerto_Princessa_105_zps0164f749.jpg

107 photo Puerto_Princessa_107_zps6a48d299.jpg

108 photo Puerto_Princessa_108_zps64b0b2f8.jpg

109 photo Puerto_Princessa_109_zpsfcdac543.jpg

112 photo Puerto_Princessa_112_zpsa4a330b6.jpg

114 photo Puerto_Princessa_114_zps8ecde5d6.jpg

115 photo Puerto_Princessa_115_zps34d62f14.jpg

116 photo Puerto_Princessa_116_zps616ec3a3.jpg

118 photo Puerto_Princessa_118_zpsf46c894c.jpg

119 photo Puerto_Princessa_119_zps3de74fc9.jpg

120 photo Puerto_Princessa_120_zps011dd986.jpg

121 photo Puerto_Princessa_121_zps6af6afb9.jpg

122 photo Puerto_Princessa_122_zps9c860a2b.jpg

124 photo Puerto_Princessa_124_zpsfa1a9788.jpg

Riding the multicab to the town proper and alighting at Junction 1, we headed for another restaurant along Rizal Avenue for our dinner that night (which we were fortunate to have a reservation) at a place called Kalui.

Kalui, I think is a smaller place than Kinabuchs, but which is much cozier, entering the place you are greeted by a staff and then you have to leave your footware at the basket which they would provide and walk through a maze of good places and table where you can seat and relax while having dinner, we were seated at a table which I thought was a window but was awed to see my reflection outside, we then ordered the Kalui Special of the Day set, which the serving was good for 2 persons. The meal consisted of a Fish Steak, Prawns, Veggies of the Day, Fish Rolls in Coco Cream, Rice and Soup, which when we ask, the soup are made from coconut juice.

We took our time eating our dinner, which was like our post valentine date, and after we were served a coconut with mixed fruits in it, which they said was compliments of the house. We then took our sweet time to explore the place more and took photos of it. Walking back to the junction to walk off our full bellies, we then took the multicab back to our lodge and we did not notice that it was already late in the evening, freshening up and then we rested, for the next day we were scheduled to go around the city.

126 photo Puerto_Princessa_126_zpsded2d2c1.jpg

127 photo Puerto_Princessa_127_zps4ebdf3f2.jpg

128 photo Puerto_Princessa_128_zps21de529c.jpg

129 photo Puerto_Princessa_129_zps3c45aaec.jpg

131 photo Puerto_Princessa_131_zps0e8e3c90.jpg

132 photo Puerto_Princessa_132_zpsb9bdff4c.jpg

134 photo Puerto_Princessa_134_zpsc56eaf5f.jpg

135 photo Puerto_Princessa_135_zps98d598da.jpg

136 photo Puerto_Princessa_136_zps7b89c0fa.jpg

137 photo Puerto_Princessa_137_zps8299cea6.jpg

138 photo Puerto_Princessa_138_zpsa74a7694.jpg

139 photo Puerto_Princessa_139_zps62a3f4ca.jpg

142 photo Puerto_Princessa_142_zps7ea159f6.jpg

143 photo Puerto_Princessa_143_zps83e0fe8d.jpg

144 photo Puerto_Princessa_144_zps8ad322d3.jpg

145 photo Puerto_Princessa_145_zpsfa84d31a.jpg

146 photo Puerto_Princessa_146_zpsb5b3ba08.jpg

All photos are owned and copyrighted by Joey Rico (also known under these names: alien_scream).
All Rights Reserved. Unauthorized use, copy, editing, reproduction, publication, duplication and distribution of the digital photos, without his explicit permission, is punishable by law

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Philippines License.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s