Tuesday, 15 March 2011

PALAWAN - My Paradise!

Snake Island @ Honda Bay

April 22-27, 2006
Palawan Province

The first time I went to Palawan, exploring Puerto Princesa after my Tubbataha trip in 2005, I swore that I will go back the next year to explore it more. Palawan's unspoilt beauty just tagged at my heart. Can't get enough of it...

So, w/ my good friend Jet, we planned the trip a year ahead. With the help of another dear friend of ours, Bong, who is based in Puerto Princesa and working for Club Noah Isabelle, the itinerary went into several revisions until just a day before we were about to leave for Puerto.

Day 1 (Apr 22 '06) - Upon arrival at the airport, we were met by the van that will take us all the way to Taytay (north of Palawan). We picked up Bong and family, bought a few things at the market before finally pushing for Taytay. Good thing we had the van to ourselves so we were able to stop over wherever we want. Lunch was at a Vietnamese resto in Roxas. We even had the time to observe how those Vietnamese noodles are made.

Fort Isabel from Casa Rosa

The drive to Taytay took about 6 hours of half paved and half rough roads (this may be a shorter trip since I am sure, by now, a good part of the main road is paved already). We arrived Taytay around 3pm and passed by Bong's "kubo" and immediately checked in at Casa Rosa (the only decent place to stay in Taytay, overlooking Fort Isabel). The rest of the day, we spent at the local market buying some stuff for our day trip to El Nido the next day, exploring the small town and hanging around Casa Rosa. 

Day 2 (Apr 23) - This is where the group split. Bong & family proceeded to Club Noah, while Jet , Gia and I proceeded to El Nido town for a day exploring a handful of its more than 15 islands.

The trip to El Nido was about an hour of purely rough roads. But don't despair, the roads were being paved then so maybe by now, the roads are better.

Upon arrival, we proceeded to meet Bong's friend who will assist us in renting the banca. The Banca Association is responsible in dispatching the bancas. So you are assured that they are all safe. There were 3 trips to choose from. Each w/ about 5 islands to explore. We settled for Trip A and vowed to come back soon and stay at least for 2 nights the next time to explore the rest of the islands. 

We then proceeded to buy food for lunch. Wow! food is cheap here. Imagine, more than a kilo of fish is just P40 pesos!!! 

Trip A consists of :

* Small Lagoon -- where you have to wade through a small hole to get to the Lagoon--that in itself was an adventure!

Small Lagoon
Big Lagoon

Big Lagoon
Entrance to Big Lagoon

* Big Lagoon --- the banca has to go right through limestone walls to get to the calmest and greenest Lagoon I have ever seen.

* Simizu Island -- a small island where you can snorkel because of its rich marine life.     
Simizu Island
Simizu Island
* Intalula Island  -- an uninhabited long stretch of fine white sand beach; a favorite picnic lunch venue by a nearby posh resort.

Intalula Island
* 7 Commando Island  --- a privately owned island with same stretch of fine white sand beach.

What can I say? I found paradise here on earth! Secluded, unspoilt beaches and natural wonders. Hands down better than Boracay (if you are the type that prefers to enjoy the beach sans the crowd). 

We went back to Casa Rosa tired but very much happy and very much tanned (hahaha).

Day 3 (Apr 24) - We proceeded early to the pier of Taytay for our boat ride to Club Noah Isabelle (now under new Management and has been renamed Apulit Island Palawan). We spent the whole day at this exclusive resort. This is where we met up with the rest of the group again. Spent the whole day fish feeding, swimming, diving, lazing around and catching up w/ friends. 

Club Noah Isabelle (now Apulit Island)
The resort is beautiful. Nature was preserved---you'll see birds, herons, squirrels roaming freely around the resort. Definitely, coming back to stay longer and recharge! 

Day 4 (Apr 25) - Trip back to Puerto Princesa. Upon arrival, we proceeded to Casa Linda to check in. Made plans for our day trip the following day to Honda Bay. Explored the city  the rest of the day.

Day 5 (Apr 26) - Decided to explore Honda Bay on our last day in Palawan. Pandan Island, Snake Island, Starfish Island, and passed by Luli Island. Again, one full day of enjoying the sun, sea, and quietness of the islands. Snorkeling at the Snake Island proved to be wonderful. Just a few meters from the beach, I already saw a school of "talakitok"!!! wow! I was screaming with joy with my snorkel on! 

Snake Island
Pandan Island
Snake Island
Starfish Island

Gia's sand dollars & shells
Palawan is Paradise! Truly the best destination to appreciate the wonders of Nature. Relaxing, invigorating, humbling. Beauty in its unspoilt state. Just truly, wonderfully BEAUTIFUL!

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