We embarked on a trip to Palawan to see one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature, the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park. In all our trips, I have always been hands on in everything. However, just because I didn’t want to make an effort, lol, Carol of King James Travel and Tour took care of our air plane tickets and accomodation. The great deal was that you can pay it in cash and in installment basis, hassle free. All I did was say “yes, please book me two tickets.”
Our itinerary did not include a City Tour since my husband and I are more inclined to have a laidback vacay and we didn’t really want to take a photo with a crocodile or a baker haha (no pun intended, we’re just a lazy couple). So when we arrived on our first day at Tia Mers Guesthouse, we made dinner reservation for two at Kalui,rested for a bit and went to Robinsons for lunch. I heard that Chaolong is a must try and it was a good choice at the time because it was raining and I wanted something hot and spicy.
Chaolong is a Vietnamese dish, and if you’re wondering why there’s a lot of restaurant that offers Chaolong in Palawan, our tour guide told us that it was influenced by refugees from Vietnam. As far as I know thats how the story goes. I asked for the best seller flavor of Chaolong from Banh Pho and the lady recommended Beef Stew Chaolong with hard boiled egg. I liked it! I added spicy condiment to enhance the flavor.
Then we also hung out in Palawan Cafe and ordered Chocolate Chip and Green Matcha.
In the afternoon we worked a little, dozed off and woke up in time for dinner. Kalui is located in Rizal Avenue, beside Lotus Garden. Before you enter the restaurant, you are required to leave your shoes/slippers in their baskets or small lockers. No slippers or shoes allowed. You will notice how clean the floor is because its super polished. I was gliding like I was at a friend’s house. Even the waiters are not wearing slippers or shoes. We ordered Kalui Special of the Day Set at Php585, it includes fish steak, prawns, veggies of the day, fish roll in coco cream, rice and starters good for two. Do not forget to order their fruit shakes. So fresh.
Underground River Tour
The next day, the tour group picked us up from the guesthouse at around 7:30am. Our undergrond river tour was arranged by Pension del Flora. I googled and booked them 2 weeks before we flew out.
Underground River Tour inclusions:
- Aircon Van Transfer
- Motorized Boat Transfer
- Buffet Lunch at Taraw Resort
- Entrance fee and permit
- Shed Rental
- Licensed Tour Guide
- Travel Insurance
- Environmental fee
Travel time from Puerto Princesa town proper to Sabang Port is approximately 1 hour and 45 minutes. Our tour guide collected our government/ valid IDs to submit to tourism office. We waited for our turn for the boat ride to the Underground River shore which lasted 20 minutes. I couldn’t resist not looking at the scenery with my eyes, quite challenging to take photos because I just wanted to enjoy every minute of it.
Finally, it was our turn, we were given an audio tour guide each and then we got on a small canoe. We traversed approximately 1.5km of the river, they said that regular permits only allows 1.5km, special permit will get you farther than that. Everything inside was truly amazing, truly a wonder of nature. Be warned though, the smell is absolutely horrid because of all the bat shit but still it’s worth to visit. I can’t say much, but I’m telling you if you haven’t been there, you should.
Right after the underground river tour, our tourist guide let us shop for pasalubongs at MCA Market Mall Pasalubong Center back in the town proper. From t-shirts, to dried fish, to pastillas, ref magnets and everything else, it’s all there. I heard its less inexpensive than the shops in El Nido (I haven’t been there), I heard a group expressing their dissapointment because they didn’t know about this place.
Honda Bay Island Hopping
Our third day was scheduled for Honda Bay Island Hopping. Special thanks to Carol of King James Travel and Tour for arranging this 2 days prior.
We explored Pambato Reef, Luli and Cowrie Island.
Pambato Reef. It’s always a good decision to bring your own goggles so that you won’t have to rent a snorkeling set. I didn’t like that we were not allowed to leave our vest in the boat and that we must wear it at all times. I was planning to rent fins! but how can we swim freely, if we the only thing we can dip in the sea is our faces and take a peek! We also had to hold on to the guide’s life ring. Anyhow we still enjoyed looking at the coral, reefs and fishes 🙂
In Luli Island, we were able to swim and use the diving board even if I didn’t how to dive! cos I only know how to jump haha. Please someone teach me! Sorry about the photos, it was drizzling.
Every tour group’s last stop is Cowrie Island. Everybody eats their lunch here. There are also products for sale but the prices are costly. I swam ashore but the weather keeps on changing so we just stayed in the hut and took a breather. How I really wished it was hot and sunny althroughout.
The weather really made me sleepy and tired. I couldn’t wait to go back and get our bags and check in at Princesa Garden Island Resort and Spa, last part of our itinerary.