Always Summer in the Philippines: Discovering Palawan
by Camille Conopio
A quick and relaxing one-hour flight on Philippine Airlines took the group to the island where nature flourishes like no other – Palawan.
Also, regarded as the Philippines’ last ecological frontier, this destination is home to two prominent sites – the Tubbataha Reef, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the Puerto Princesa Underground River, one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature.
Puerto Princesa’s Astoria Palawan extended its gracious hospitality as this eco-friendly beachfront resort served as the official home of the group while in Palawan. Aside from the staff’s warm welcome, a performance by Palawenos was another major upon the arrival.
After taking some time to freshen up after a long day of traveling, the group enjoyed a poolside feast of local eats to cap off day 1 in Puerto Princesa, Palawan.
On the second day just before the crack of dawn, the group was already on its way to see the iconic Puerto Princesa Underground River. And soon as they arrived at the port in Sabang beach, everyone was all smiles upon seeing such beauty.
Sabang, or estuary, means where two bodies of water meet. And in this case, it is the Underground River flowing into the West Philippine Sea.
The group, composed of photographers and social media influencers, put their skills to test as they snapped photos and shared their ‘at the moment’ experiences while waiting to board the motorized bangka that will take them to the site of the Underground River.
With the warmth of the morning sun, cool ocean breeze, and the view of the remarkable limestone formations, the 20-min sea travel to the site was both delightful and interesting for our first-time visitors.
It took three boats to bring the group to the site, so while waiting for the complete attendance some flew their drones over the beautiful shore. Excitement was building up while everyone geared up for the tour - helmets ready, audio guides set, and life vests secured. A short trail amidst the forest lead the group to the port where the actual boat for the tour was waiting. Everyone settled on their seats, took out their gadgets and took on a new experience as they glide into one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature.
From the discovery of the subterranean river to the interesting formations and its rich ecosystem, everyone was set for a one-of-a-kind learning experience, thanks to the audio remote tourist guide.
Soon as the tour ended the group was lead to a shore not far from the cavernous entrance where flying the drones was safer and more convenient. Fine weather plus ideal location - it was the perfect day to fly drones, and everyone was pleased with their stunning footages.
After a long drive, sea travel, and a fulfilling tour, everyone couldn’t wait to dig in. One can never go wrong with Filipino-style dining and Hadefe Tours does know how to pull off a delightful treat for the group! It was a satisfying experience as the group enjoyed local dishes, fresh catch and fruits in the country setting.
The tamilok, wood worm dipped in vinegar-spice sauce, is something one cannot to miss when in Palawan. And when traveling, they say, get a taste of the destination’s exotic delicacy. Mango Tours Business Developent Manager Juan Francisco III, Talent Manager Jimson Tamano, and foodie Corey Marshall were up for the taste challenge!
After a fun tour and dining experience, it was time to head back to Astoria Palawan. While others preferred to take some relaxing moments at the resort, others were still up for a last-minute tour to other must-visit attractions in Puerto Princea such as Palawan Butterfly Ecological Garden and Tribal Village.
Of course, you’ve never been to the Philippines when you haven’t tasted the 18-day old fertilized bird boiled and eaten from the shell, locally known as balut. And two-time Emmy award winning TV travel producer Ashley Colburn was down for the balut challenge at the Puerto Princesa City Baywalk Park.
Palawan is just the second leg of the tour and it has already swept them off their feet! How about Bohol, will they be smitten its rustic charm? Find out on the next travel blog update.