First destination for 2016? The City of the Living God.
Kilo’s friends from the States came to visit so he decided to take them to one of the most beautiful islands in the Philippines: Palawan.
At first glance, Puerto Princesa appears to be just like any other city. Stores and houses crowd the sidewalks. The streets are abuzz with chatter and car noises. Some places tend to make me feel out of place, but this one reminds me of home. However, it also has its hidden nuances. #1: There are trash cans all over. Apparently, litterbugs could receive a simple warning or land in jail. #2: Their tricycles have room for 3-4 people, including their luggage (!!!) And the ride only costs 8php per head. And finally, #3: the roads are smooth and spacious -a luxury we Manilenos cannot afford.
I already have a feeling that there’s a lot in store for us to discover.
We checked in at the Marina de Bay Resort and Spa (which I totally forgot to take a picture of) and ate by the boathouse, enjoying the view of the mountains and the bay. We really enjoyed their sisig and could not get enough of their cinnamon turon. After stuffing ourselves silly, we went on a tour around the city.
Plaza Cuartel houses the tragic history of Palawan. Used as a military base during World War II, it served as the burial place of 143 American prisoners as they were burned alive by members of the Japanese Imperial Army.
T lighten up the mood a little bit, here’s a “stolen” photo of Kilo and Mike, and the first of many Pabebe Waves from Sam and Nick.
Right across the plaza is the Immaculate Conception Cathedral. According to tradition, it is customary to make a wish when visiting a church for the first time. As vague as it sounds, I prayed for the strength to do whatever it is I have to do. Shortly after, we found ourselves outside the MCA Market Mall Pasalubong Center (pasalubong na agad-agad?) which I thought was a little odd. Though in hindsight, this turned out to be a good decision because I didn’t have to worry about having to rush to stores on our last day for last-minute knick-knacks. We also went to the Palawan Wildlife Rescue and Conservation Center to check out their crocodiles. Our guide emphasized not to stick our hands in the cages because apparently even the baby ones can jump. The person next to me paid no heed to what she said and did it anyway. Natalunan tuloy siya! Buti na lang hindi nabawasan ang fingers niya. Hay naku. Why would you do this to the poor cacti???Tour’s not yet over! We stopped by Mitra’s Ranch for a good view of Honda Bay and the mountain side. I found this telenovela-esque tree and took a snapshot of the lovers underneath it. (Side note: I need to learn how to adjust camera settings. The color of this photo looks a bit off and I don’t know how to use photoshop or lightroom to make it look nicer.)After all the sightseeing, we went to Baker’s Hill to grab something to eat. The smell of pastries in the air was unmistakable. We bought hopia, and cookies and pastillas (the best). It was amazing.This little one was starving. We gave him monggo-flavored hopia which he happily munched on!
For the last part of the tour, we went to Binuatan Creations to check out woven products! I wanted to buy everything! I had to content myself with slippers, coasters and a fan for my friend. Pweds na if you’re on a budget :)
We ended our first day by going on another tour on the Iwahig River! My overactive imagination thought the entire river will light up with fireflies (think Tangled, but with alitaptap). It wasn’t anything like that, but it was still so beautiful! The river also lights up when the water is disturbed due to the presence of bioluminescent plankton. Thankfully, the sky cleared up so we were able to stargaze for a while. I wanted to stay there forever. It was quite an experience! Our punny tourguide Paul, left us with a few words of wisdom.
“Remember, my name is Paul. Always be carePaul so you don’t Paul in the water!”
What a day! :D