Published: August 13th 2011June 28th 2011
Next on our filipino adventure was the island of Palawan! We flew from Manilla to Puerto Princesa where we stayed for a couple of nights. Puerto Princesa is the main city in Palawan, it's capital if you like, but it's only the size of a small town and still has that 'local' feel to it. We found a great little guest house called Manny's and based ourselves there. We also found an amazing little vegetarian cafe that conjured up all kinds of meaty treats out of tofu for under a dollar so this soon became our local hang out! From PP we went to see the 'underground subterranean river' - a very popular tourist destination, especially with local Filipino tourists. The river basically runs through a cave (underground) and is supposedly the longest one of its kind that is navigable in the world. Its mouth is situated in a beautiful area, surrounded by mountains, karsts and tropical rainforest, and monitor lizards patrol the area! It has also been shortlisted to the new top 15 'natural wonders of the world', something the locals are very proud of! Inside the cave there are hundreds of bats and swifts that fly around precariously, narrowly missing your head. There are also some amazing rock formations and impressive stalagmites and stalactites, many of which look like unusual statues which form the basis of the boat tour through the cave! Our guide took great delight in showing us one that looked vaguely like a naked woman, giggling away as he pointed it out, and then there were lions, a cathedral, mushrooms, a rock that looked like pegasus- the list goes on- if you were hoping for a geology lesson (which we would have loved) you were in the wrong place! Corny jokes and bat poo pranks are obviously the key to most peoples enjoyment, forget the science behind it all! It was still a great day out however, and it was really stunning (although to put it in the top natural wonders of the world- we're not so sure), we were glad we went. P.s a tip for any travellers- don't go on a tour, you can get there really easily in a jeepney and the trip will cost you a third of the price the tour operators try to sell it for, just make sure you get a permit the day before from the park office in PP.
After a couple of days in PP we headed up to the north of Palawan to El Nido, famous for the hundreds of islands that surround it. It really was gorgeous; a mixture of Vietnam's Halong bay and Thailand's Andaman coast rolled into one. To see the area we booked onto a boat tour that took us to a variety of bays and lagoons and snorkeling spots. We were really lucky as the other people on the tour cancelled so we had our own private boat for the day with no extra cost! It was brilliant, we could spend as long as we wanted at each place and could decide where we wanted to go. We also had another amazing seafood BBQ lunch on a deserted beach with our own table for 2! So good!
The next day we decided to go exploring so we hired a kayak for the day and paddled out to some nearby islands. This was our favourite day in El Nido, away from all the tourist boats, just us and our kayak! We found the most incredible beach that has now taken the number one spot in our top ten list! Completely untouched, the perfect image of the word paradise. The beach was long, lined with palm trees along
the sand but with dense jungle behind, and it curved around creating a small bay surrounded by huge rocks. We sat on the sand and ate breakfast, all around us crabs were scurrying along
the sand, behind us there were all sorts of birds singing, the rustling of monkeys in the trees, and in front of us flying fish jumping out of the water, chasing one and other, we could have filmed a nature documentary! Just so stunning and unspoilt, truly incredible! The the best part was that we had it all to ourselves, another true tropical paradise.
When we finally tore ourselves away we kayaked around the next bay, past mangrove forests and huge cliff faces. It was great to silently float around whilst staring up at the swiftlets above, flying in and out of the rocks, busy making their nests. Even below us the sight was amazing, the water was so clear you could see all the fish, there was no need to snorkel!
A brilliant, brilliant day!