Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Rick Manzano's Palawan Experience - Day 2

Photoblogger Rick Manzano took a 4-day PAX (Palawan Experience) tour and we'll be sharing his travel chronicle in this blog.

Going to Underground River

I was still feeling exhausted when I got up but nevertheless was looking forward to see the famous Underground River. I made sure I’d eat a heavy meal in the morning because we had lots of activities ahead.

The ride from the hotel going to Sabang Wharf took about an hour and a half. The roads were very rough. Good thing we stopped by a rest area as we were able to go out and stretch our legs and use the restroom since the ride was very stressful. When we arrived at the wharf we barely had the time to rest because there were also lots of people getting boats for themselves.

I enjoyed the boat ride because we were busy taking photos of the mountains and the turquoise water surrounding us. The place looked so beautiful and untouched.

Underground River Park
When we arrived at the Underground River Park shore we headed straight to what seemed like a little forest with a wooden pathway. The guide led us to the desk where we registered and got our life vests and helmets.

I got the front seat on the paddle boat and was fortunately asked to hold the spot light. I was able to freely move the light around see the different areas of the cave. There were lots of birds flying around while the bats were all asleep. Seeing the stalactites made me realize how old the world really is because every year they only grow several millimeters in length. It took hundreds of thousands of years before they looked that way now.

What amazed me even more was the area which they call the “cathedral”. I thought the tour guide was talking about a huge formation amongst the stalactites. But when he asked us to look up, my jaw dropped in awe because I didn’t realize that caves could rise as high as a building. It was so high that the spotlight could barely reach it. It looked so magnificent.

After about 30 minutes, we finally turned around and went back outside the cave after a couple of kilometers of the 8-kilometer stretch of the Underground River.

Taraw Resort
We were still ecstatic with all the things we saw inside the Underground River that we started getting hungry. Good thing our next stop was at Taraw Resort which was located just minutes away.

We arrived at the island and were ready to have lunch. The water and the sand were so inviting so as soon as the buffet table was ready, I hurriedly ate because I couldn’t wait to finally swim in Palawan for the first time.

It was a bit wavy but the cool water did not disappoint. The water was very clean and the sand was white and fine. Not as fine as the sand in Boracay but I still loved how it felt on my toes. We had fun using Kring’s waterproof cam even though we struggled posing amidst the waves. That’s cam whoring at its finest!

Vietnamese Village
On our way back to the hotel we stopped by the Vietnamese Village which I had no idea even existed. Looking back at my Sibika and HEKASI subjects, I couldn’t recall hearing the part where some groups of Vietnamese people settled in Palawan during the World War. (Or maybe I just wasn’t listening?) What’s weird is that there were no longer Vietnamese people in the Vietnamese Village. Or if there were, there were only a handful of them.

Apparently, they started migrating to the United States and some of those who weren’t successful decided to go back to Vietnam because they were ashamed to go back to the Philippines.

The past two days were full of activities. We had some time to rest when we got back to the hotel and when evening came we were itching to experience the night life in Puerto Princesa. One must take in mind that this isn’t Boracay where there are bars, clubs and beach parties. Palawan caters to families on vacation who want to bond together by taking the numerous packaged tours and enjoy Palawan as it is. In fact, the Mayor has banned clubs and bars in Puerto Princesa. Hence, the very low crime rate in the city.

Kinabuchs is a bar and grill known to be the ultimate gimik place in the city. We were fortunate to locate a table on the area with an open air where we enjoyed the clear sky and the bright stars. Seafood was again served and cooked in different variations. The prawns were very fresh and delicious as usual.

The term “Tamilok” was mentioned a number of times since the moment we arrived in Palawan. All I know was that it’s sort of a local delicacy, it’s not cooked, it’s found on mangroves, and it’s an aphrodisiac. My friends were scared of how it looked like yet were very thrilled to try it. Everyone but me. Like what I mentioned before, I’m very sensual with food but I’m not the experimental type.

The Tamilok tasted like oyster, only longer and slimier. I don’t even like oysters to begin with! You can just imagine how excruciating that was for me. Good thing my beer helped remove the taste from my mouth because it made me want to vomit. Nevertheless, it was an experience I would never forget and I don’t regret doing it all.

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