Summer has ended. Too bad, I’ve never been able to walk around many destinations. Well, for once, I got my skin burnt while basking under the heat of the sun in one of the beautiful islands in Misamis Occidental—Capayas Island. The island is a revitalizing treat to every traveler through its natural beauty that embodies the heritage of the people. It was a day of fun and pure enjoyment and that experience evoked pleasant memories of my trip in Palawan that I wasn’t able to share.
A taste of paradise will neither be squandered nor forgotten, but rather etched in the memory and will become a treasure to be cherished for eternity. I’ve never been a travel bug, but by propitious circumstances, I got the chance to embark on wandering sprees. Fortunately, I had the opportunity to travel to Puerto Princesa City in Palawan.
Found at the island dubbed as “The Last Frontier of the Philippines”, Puerto Princesa City is one of the cities that define the real meaning of beauty—a depiction of heaven on earth. Undoubtedly, you may have heard so much about Palawan—if you haven’t gone to the island yet. Of course, it is famous for its Underground River, which is considered one of the world’s wonders. Whatever you feel about it, however, will be magnified a hundredfold when you experienced Palawan firsthand.
Exploring Honda Bay
You can absolutely discover Puerto Princesa City at its best by exploring its main source of income—tourism. The famous Honda Bay is among its pride. It is an alluring attraction that caters to thousands of tourists every day. The bay is comprised of seven (7) islands of different sizes and amazing features. It holds both the aesthetic and fiscal attributes. It is the place where people of different races meet and where business booms and locals become productive. With the influx of tourists every day, earning a living is easier and has become an enjoyable venture for the locals.
I only visited two of the seven (7) islands in Honda Bay. Cowrie Island is a glorious haven that warmly cuddles its guests. I reveled in its white sandy beaches, cozy cottages and scrumptious food that I could only wish to find back home. Pandan Island was also a paradise filled with fun and excitement for it offers different amenities everyone can affordably enjoy, aside from the luscious food, comfortable cottages, entertainment, and of course, the splendid sights.
The two (2) islands allowed me to understand how tourism works in this province. It made me realize that even in a small island business can flourish and an ordinary local can earn generously.
Cruising the World’s Wonder: The Underground River
To find out the more lucrative aspect of Puerto Princesa’s tourism, a cruise to the world-renowned Underground River was included in my itinerary. A trip to Palawan would not be complete without going through the magnificent tributary.
It was a long journey via land and water, but I was neither tired nor bored during the trip because of the breathtaking sights along the way. The splendor and affluence of Puerto Princesa could be seen everywhere—a city blessed with natural, marvelous gifts. Before arriving at the river, I walked under the canopy of thick foliage, like a rainforest filled with multifarious lives and conserved for people to wallow in, appreciate and learn from. According to the tour guide, hundreds of tourists, both foreign and local, visit the site every day throughout the year—not a seasonal activity they would like to anticipate.
Dark, musty and spine-tingling, the Underground River was a true wonder. It is home to nocturnal creatures, minerals and mind-boggling rock formations that could stir one’s imagination. I took a more or less 30-minute boat ride—with ten people per boat—into the river where our only guide was the portable light and the voice of the rower, narrating historical events relating to the site and explaining every intriguing feature inside the Underground River.
Apparently, there were many tourists waiting for their turn to experience the Underground River. As one team leaves, another arrives. This scenario was very inspiring and it showed me how economically successful this part of the city is. The city government’s return on investment must be remarkable.
A Foretaste of Bakers’ Hill
Baker’s Hill is a place of delicacies and refreshments at the top of the hill. It is home to a variety of flavored hopia and flower shakes that delight both the olfactory sense and the palate. The incursion of guests from different places was overwhelming. They came for the hopia, flower shakes, pizzas, and other delicacies. Some also came to see and take their photos with the various replicas of famous Hollywood characters like Marilyn Monroe, Shrek’s Princess Fiona and her children, Bugs Bunny, Mickey Mouse, and many others. Not only I tasted the unique flavors of flower shakes and hopia, I also enjoyed watching the wonderful landscape and listening to the sounds of peacocks, mynas, geese and parrots blending with the sounds of other tourists.
An Ephemeral Peek of Mitra’s Garden
I took a trip through the long and winding road uptown to experience the comforting breeze that surrounds the Mitra’s Garden. It is an incredible spot overlooking picturesque greenery that exudes cold and calming air. If you needed inspiration, to clear your thoughts, or to find short seclusion, this could be the right place that you would want to go. You will never starve because refreshments are also available.
Walking Through The Crocodile Farm
One of the well-known tourist destinations in Puerto Princesa City is the Crocodile Farm. It is an ideal location to visit if you would like to see live crocodiles. There is an endless line of tourists every day to uncover and see living crocs. The excitement, however, doesn’t finish off at the last croc to see for at the end of the tour, everyone can opt to eat different sets of food choices—all crocodile meat inspired.
My trip to Puerto Princesa City in Palawan was brief but very significant. The island offered serenity and solace to my disconcerted mind and longing heart. I could only wish to be back someday—to a place where I found surprises and good memories.