Saturday, January 8, 2011

An enchanting experience at Palawan’s Underground River

{October 2009} I forgot to mention that I was also able to book two whole day tours when we arrived in Puerto Pension. So Ate Bel, the nice receptionist, took care of our itinerary and payments. We had the Underground Tour and Honda Bay Tour booked for the succeeding days.

Complimentary breakfast was also provided in Puerto Pension, just as long as we filled-up their form a day before (just so they can prepare what we wanted to eat ahead of time). Breakfast was served as early as 6 am, at the Tribu Deck. So we made it a point to wake up just as early. Anyway, the waiters of Tribu Deck were very nice and accommodating to us; and we really felt like vacationers as we were wholeheartedly welcomed that morning. It was also lovely to eat breakfast at the restaurant since we had a lovely view right outside the window (there was a view of the mountains and the bay).


Now, the Tour Guide van for the Underground Tour had us picked up at the Pension at exactly 6:30 am. There were about 3 more pairs inside the van that were also on the tour with us. Anyway, after making a short stop at a mini-store, we trailed back on the road. The road trip up North to Sabang took us 2 hours, so we actually had time to sleep in the van during the trip. But before going straight to Sabang, we made a quick stop at the Buenvista View Deck. After 30 minutes, we went back on the road again. Now, when we finally got to Sabang, we transferred to an Outrigger boat, for which we traveled for another 25-30 minutes going to the Underground River site.


When we landed on shore, we probably did like a 5-10 minute walk going to the site proper, where all the gears and boats were. And as soon as we secured ourselves with the necessary gears, we got on board the boat. Now, I won’t be elaborating anymore on what happened inside the cave. In all honesty, I got really bored. There were nothing but bats, a sea snake, figures of stones in the form of a face, pepper, etc. So really, I wasn’t that fascinated. It became too ordinary for me to even enjoy. But at least I could say now that I’ve finally experienced the famous Underground River tour.

Anyway, the whole tour lasted for about a good 30-45 minutes. I was really ecstatic when we were nearing the light that lead out of the cave.


I forgot to mention that the tour cost us PHP 1,500 each. It already included free pick-up, a licensed tour-guide, and complimentary lunch. And so after the tour, we went back to Sabang to eat our free meal. Our lunch was hefty and it was somewhat in a buffet style, so we certainly got our money’s worth! And since we still had time to wander around the area after lunch, and before heading back to the city, Rubel and I strolled by the beach. Rubel got to swim a bit, while I stayed on the shore to keep an eye on our stuff.


By 1:30, we started packing up, as we were headed back to the city. We got back around 3:30 PM. Now upon nearing the city, we asked the driver that we be dropped off at the market instead of the Pension house. We requested this since we wanted to go around and do a little bit of pasalubong shopping.

Now, I was able to buy keychains that retailed for PHP 20 for 3 pieces; and was able to get PHP 100 worth of it. I was also able to buy Frosted Kasoy for PHP 60 (which was originally PHP 75), and some Danggit with bones for PHP 75 per half kilo. And when we got tired with all the pasalubong shopping, we dropped by at the NCCC Mall food stalls outside to get a few things to eat. After merienda, we headed back to the Pension.

DINNER TIME!

It's advisable that you make your reservations early, especially when it comes to well-known restaurants in Puerto Princesa. This was made more clear to us when we did a walk-in at Badjao Restaurant.

I already had my mind set in trying out the Badjao Restaurant Sea-Front, so I assumed that we could just do the usual walk-in. We arrived there at 7PM after about 30-45 minutes worth of traveling bumpy and dark roads. When we arrived, we asked the tricycle driver to come back for us after an hour since there were no available tricycles going back anymore, as it was also late in the evening.

Now when got in, we were immediately asked if we had reservations. Of course we had to say no. But since there were a few tables available, they obliged to give one to us. They were still nice enough to put us by the window, even if the only sight I saw were the partially-lighted Mangrove Trees. Still, those were a beauty. 


The whole fine dining experience in Badjao was superb. There were foreigners and Filipino vacationers who dined with us that night. The restaurant was also surrounded with classical tunes being played from the piano. Moreover, the ambiance also gave out a romantic feel, so that made our night extra special.

Now, the food prices were a bit expensive for us. Then again, everything that we ordered were all delicious. For a PHP 400 meal per person, we were able to order a platter of salt & pepper squid, tuna steak (the best!!!!), pork strips in sweet and sour sauce, green mango salad, and of course some white rice and drinks.


All in all, our dining experience in Badjao, despite the long travel by tricycle, was well worth it. Puerto Princesa was starting to grow on us so much that we didn’t want to leave anymore. Then again, we still had 2 more days of Puerto Princesa to explore. Anyway, we drank some hot Lipton Tea at the Tribu Deck before going to bed.


I’ll be blogging about the Honda Bay tour after this post, so do stay tuned!

Explore & Be Free!
Mai
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