Discovering Palawan in 2 Days

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My first Palawan experience was a blast! Even though it was only for two days, we were able to visit few tourist spots and had some island hopping. It was a two days full of non stop tour and we really made the most of our time. Though due to time constraints we had only toured destinations in Puerto Princesa area which gives me more reason to go back and explore other places especially Coron and El Nido. Of course, I won't be keeping those happy thoughts with me, so let me share with you my 2 -day Palawan Escapade :) .

Originally, Palawan is not included in my travel itinerary for this year until the 2nd quarter of 2017. I already have travels lining up until June 2017 and already had plane tickets booked. It was last May when Cebu Pacific had a seat sale and Ivan's friend from Singapore will have her yearly vacation here in the Philippines, so right there and then last May 15 we booked a round-trip ticket to Palawan for Php2410/pax. I was excited and at the same time worried-about our budget, coz I also have a trip to Tacloban this October, just a month after our Palawan tour. But then, due to the strong "travel force" within me I still chose to pursue both travels :), blame it to the seat sale! haha

We booked a land tour with MOFU Travel and Tours. We were all busy to arrange the itinerary on our own and since we were traveling by group (we were 10) we thought that it'll be better to just pay for a group tour and let them arrange everything. We paid Php3999/pax for the land tour which includes a round trip airport transfer, 3 days 3 nights hotel accommodation, Underground River Tour with Buffet Lunch, Honday Bay (Island Hopping) with Lunch, all entrance fees, permits and Licensed Tour Guide. Not bad huh!

Day 0

We all met up at NAIA Terminal 3 and since we already checked-in via web, getting our boarding passes wasn't a hassle and we didn't have to wait on the long queue. Travel Tip: Airlines nowadays offers a self-serve check-in online as early as 72 to 2 hours before your domestic flight or 72 to 4 hours for international flights so might as well take advantage of it for a speedy check-in process. The plane was late for just around 5 or 10 minutes which is a big improvement on the status of our airport :). It was quite a bumpy plane-ride. There was a strong rain that time as we drew closer to Puerto Princesa Airport so we had to sit tight and buckled up as the plane shakes because of a turbulence due to a bad weather. Thank God we landed safe and sound. It was by far one of my bumpiest plane ride experience, kinda scary and nakakahilo!
Puerto Princesa Palawan Airport
Heavy rains greeted us on our arrival.
A hotel representative was waiting for us outside the airport and lead us to a van which took us to the hotel. We stayed at Marianne Hotel which I really recommend due to our superb experience as far as customer service is concerned! The hotel was just around 5 minute-ride from the airport and is near the public market which makes it very convenient for buying pasalubongs and other essentials. I'm gonna be writing a different post/review about this so for the mean time, keep reading... :)

Marianne Home Inn
Marianne Home Inn's Facade
We were all hungry when we reached the hotel so we settled our things and asked the accommodating front desk staff for a good place for dinner and she suggested K'na Boyet. We hailed two tricycles which drove us directly to the said resto. K'na Boyet is an open resto near the baywalk and they sell different seafood from small to huge ones. What's good about this resto is that, they sell fresh and live seafood and you just have to choose what you wanna eat and they will cook it as to your desired menu. Cool, right? Though I must say that price is not really that pocket friendly. So after our sumptuous dinner we head back to the hotel and called it a day.

K'na Boyet
Look at these huge seafood! and some of em were still alive!
Woah! Huge crab called Kuracha!
Picture muna kahit super gutom na! 
Day 1

Our first and official day in Palawan. We woke up as early as 5 AM and prepared ourselves for a whole day tour. Our call time was 7:00 - 7:30 AM so we really had to wake up early. We had our complimentary breakfast at the roof-deck of the hotel and the food was really generously provided, another thing that I liked most from the hotel.

First on our itinerary was the Subterranean Underground River. It's dubbed as one of the longest navigable underground rivers in the world and is also one of the seven wonders of the world. As they say, you haven't really been to Palawan if you didn't visit the well-known Underground River. It was quite far from the city center, roughly around 2 - 3 hour drive but in our case, we reached it around 5 hours or more.

As per our tour guide, Kuya Manny, Puerto Princesa Underground River tour often has a paired side-trip, so prior to going to the said tour we went to Ugong Rock Adventures. It was roughly a 1 - 2 hours side-trip. Ugong Rock Adventures is a place for adrenaline rush and thrilling activities such as caving, spelunking and Zip lining. A 75 feet high limestone in the middle of a rice field, with different caves and passageways inside leading to a viewing deck on the top of the rock. It is called Ugong Rock because there are some limestone inside that makes an Ugong or humming sound when tapped. Of course it was all our first time so we didn't let that moment pass without trying the adventures. We tried their caving which isn't really much challenging (yabang! i have been to Lumiang and Sumaguing Caves in Sagada and so far no cave has topped my experience yet with the said caves). I also tried the zip line, superman position. They have two options for the zip line, sitting and superman postion and sitting is kinda boring so I chose the latter :) .

Groupie at the entrance of the cave
Yes! I survived! 
Right after the Ugong Rock Adventures we head to Sabang beach and had our lunch. It was a buffet lunch and the food was really delicious, fresh veggies and seafood cooked in a local pinoy dish. After we had our lunch we head to the wharf and hopped into a pump boat which took us directly to the island where the Underground River is located.

My lunch! :D lakas maka PG!!! :)
Walang pansinan! 
Puerto Princesa Subterranean River is dubbed as the longest navigable river in the world and one of the Seven Wonders of Nature. The cave is more than 24 km long and contains an 8.2 km long underground river. Tourists are only allowed to navigate up to 1.5 km via a canoe (small boat) ride and would take approximately 45 minutes. As per our tour guide if you want to explore the remaining 6.7 km underground river, you will have to secure a special permit.

It rained hard the night before our tour hence the murky water. 
The entrance to the underground river cave
the usual groupie :)
The underground river cave is stunningly huge and contains different rock formations. Huge stalactites and stalagmites which took thousands of years to form. The cave is also home to thousands and thousands of bats and many other creatures.

walang kamatayang groupie :)
Right after the underground river tour, we head back to the wharf. Our guide was rushing us, haha, maybe because the weather was starting to act up like crazy that time and he thought that a heavy rain might pour and we might get stranded in the island. But it didn't rain so thank goodness. We head back to the city and since we still had time we decided to buy pasalubongs.

Pasalubong Center!!
We were suppose to have our diiner at KaLui but for some reasons the travel agent forgot to reserve us a slot. Unfortunately KaLui do not accept walk-ins so we had to eat somewhere else. The hotel's front-desk staff suggested K'na Buch. It is a resto-bar and is also one of the well-known restos in Palawan, so since we were all hungry and didn't really had a choice we decided to eat there. Unlike K'na Boyet, their menu is like the typical restos which serves different local pinoy dishes. After having our dinner we head back to the hotel and had a mini inuman sesh to cap our first day off.

Day 2

Our second and last day in Palawan. Our only activity that day was island hopping. We woke up early, prepared ourselves and packed our things for an easy check out. We had our 2nd day breakfast at the roof deck of the hotel. By around 7:30 AM mr. sunshine was shinning bright and high, we hopped into a van which took us to the wharf where we commenced our Honda Bay island hopping activity.  We had a different tour guide on our second day, Ms. Katrina.

We visited three islands, Luli Island, Starfish Island and Cowrie Island. Before starting our tour as per our guide Ms Katrina, we had to rent an aqua shoes and snorkeling gear. Wearing an aqua shoes is mandatory. If there's one thing that I like about Palawan, that is their city wide ordinances. They have almost all kind of ordinances which I think is really good and effective in taking care of their city and its people.

First on our list was LuLi Island. Derived from the first two letters of the words Lulubog Lilitaw. It was named after the latter because the island itself sinks and rises with the tide. Composed of 3 sandbars, your best chance of seeing it is during low tide. During high tide the island sinks into the sea-water and you can only see the cottages as if they are floating. You can do snorkeling in this part of the tour but just a heads up, there are no fancy or stunning coral reefs, just lots of different kinds of fish. Fish feeding is also allowed in the area.

Next stop was the Starfish Island. From the name itself, it was called Starfish Island due to the abundant starfish in the area. A white-sand beach and clear water that you can just see the star-shaped creature by just looking down. As per our guide, we are only allowed to take the starfish out of the water for 3 minutes max. As many of us might not know that they don't have a blood and they only rely on the sea water so taking them out of the water for even 3 minutes is not recommended. After some photo ops and swimming we had our  lunch which was also included on our package.

Our 3rd and last stop was the Cowrie Island. Named after the sea snail called cowrie. It has cottages, cabanas and pavilion, ideal for picnics and swimming. Different water activities were also available like the jet ski ride, banana boat, flying saucer and kayaking. We stayed there for an hour or less and enjoyed our Palawan moments.

It was around 3:00 PM when we head back to the hotel and prepared for our flight back to Manila. This is another thing that i really liked about Marianne Home Inn. Supposedly our check out time is 12:00 noon but they let us use one-room and even generous enough to let us use 2 shower rooms so we could take a bath and prepare for our way home. Superb customer service and if given a chance to go back to Puerto Princesa I'd stay in Marianne Home Inn again. Really had a very good experience their.

So there it is! I hope you enjoyed reading my 2-day Palawan escapade. Bitin right? But it was indeed an unforgettable first-time  Palawan experience. I will have a separate post about all destinations mentioned above so, wait for it. 

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