Palawan remains, to me, the most beautiful place in the Philippines. Recently, CNN named its beaches one of the best in the world, attracting foreign tourists this year, including Bill Gates. One of our tour guides in Puerto Princesa said Gates and his family went to Amanpulo and El Nido – two of Palawan’s pride aside from Coron.
Last May was my first time to visit Palawan’s other sources of Pride – the Underground River and Honda Bay of Puerto Princesa.
Mike’s sister has a friend in Dubai working as a manager of a five-star hotel spa, and when this friend went home for vacation last month, he treated Mike’s family, including a plus-one (me) to a three-day trip to Puerto Princesa, the capital of the biggest province of the Philippines.
They booked the trip through a travel agency, a first for me, as I prefer booking my own flights and plotting my Things To Do and Places To Visit. The guided tour came off without a hitch, but had I designed the trip myself, I would’ve stayed longer on the beach than the city. Some people, like me, don’t mind raking beautiful sand with toes or swimming in aquamarine waters, for hours. Puerto Princesa city proper seems as ordinary as many towns in the country. But then again, it was a family trip and it was their first time in Puerto Princesa so it was probably best that they see other attractions such as the crocodile farm.
Here I post photos from Day 3, Honda Bay island tour, which is the highlight of the trip. Kudos to our tour guide who was professional from his manner of speaking to the way he chopped cucumber for lunch. Speaking of lunch, grilled squid and parrot fish were top class. We’d love to return anytime for the beaches and the grilled goodness.
An anecdote: the friend from Dubai misplaced the underwater camera he rented from a shop that lends aqua shoes and snorkeling gears. The island hopping was therefore postponed for an hour until it was decided to let it go because there were only a few hours left before our departure for Manila. While everyone was swimming at the first island stop – Cowrie, we were told that the mango vendor found the camera near his stall and surrendered the gadget to the tourism office. It seems that Palawan is serious about its tourism industry: beautiful place, dedicated tour guides, honest people.