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Published: December 16th 2012
Lurking just on the precipice of being a total slug is where we find ourselves at this point in the five-month journey we’ve undertaken. One minute you are taking a seven-kilometer hike up to see a glacier in Greenland, totally amped up because the scenery is beyond breath-taking and the next you are next to a rather large pool in a resort in the Philippines contemplating the end of a fantastic voyage. You take your pulse occasionally just to make sure and also steal a glance at one another on the beach chairs to confirm that indeed, breathing is still taking place. Almost there…….completely ramped down and totally peaceful.
Such is the state we find ourselves in. The traveler’s version of true enlightenment.
Feeling rested after months of constant fun on the run. The plan has been executed perfectly by all accounts and come to a perfect fruition. Wiling the day away talking of whatever suits our fancy and beginning the conversations about the return to the workforce, safe in the knowledge that it is still a few weeks off at this point but also in complete
realization that the way time is flying, it won’t be long and then we smile at one another and reaffirm that there are more journeys in our future and then the conversation turns to talk of more travel.
Palawan is an island, which sits south and west of Luzon and affords a traveler another beautiful Philippine location to absorb some sun and culture that is unique to this land of islands. Many travelers to this isle find themselves in El Nido almost immediately, but that was not our quest.
The Royal Oberio Hotel just outside of Puerto Princesa was our home for the last eight days in the Philippines. It is a family-run establishment and our hosts Rose and Mark are extremely friendly and engaging. It has everything we need and more. For the first five days of our stay, we did not even leave the resort, content to sit by the pool reading, checking the internet, getting massages and trying to ensure that we have enough suntan lotion on as the sun is quite strong and it would be easy to get sunburned.
While here, we celebrated the 20th
of our first date, which we both hold dear, as it was the day our lives changed dramatically for the better. We told Mark about it and he had the staff prepare a special meal for us and we dined under a lovely decorated outdoor portico. They made our evening extremely special.
We suspected that our hosts were a little unsure about us, seeing as how we are booked for eight days, but have little planned outside of a little diving on Honda Bay and a trip to the underground river. Toss in the fact that we’re American and most of our fellow countrymen don’t plant themselves in this fashion and you can better understand our host’s mindset. Told of our travels during the past few months, Mark and Rose came to better understand our situation. We constantly reassured them we are more than content and that seems to mollify any concerns they may have about our well-being. We truly enjoyed spending a few days chatting with each visitor to the Royal Oberoi and hearing about their life and travels.
On day number six, we were scheduled to visit the underground river and were
up early and on the road for a two-hour journey to see this most unique place. About one hour into the drive, we see several vans headed in the opposite direction and one stops to let our driver know that the river entrance is closed due to rough waters. So back to the resort we go and we are safely ensconced back in our lounge chairs by the pool before 10 in the morning, proud of ourselves for having rebounded so quickly from an aborted trip.
We spent the next day with Mark and Rose on Honda Bay, where we had a most enjoyable dive, a fabulous lunch, followed by a walk around the small island of Pandang. This day was absolutely fantastic and will fetch a smile to our faces each time we think of our day there. The dive site was full of diverse coral along with many small fish. There was hope of a turtle sighting, but that did not materialize.
Rose prepared a meal that would be then envy of many a picnic as we feasted on grilled fish and chicken along with a Thai salad and aubergine. As if
20,000 gallons of relaxation.
this wasn’t good enough, we had a banana fritter for dessert that was absolutely the bomb. We sat and talked and enjoyed each other’s company and then took a stroll around the tiny island and found ourselves admiring the starfish in the ankle deep water as we ventured out more than one hundred yards from shore. Someone had set up a small shelter out in the water and there was a small spit nearby due to the lower than average tide that day. Idyllic for wandering and taking in an island paradise.
The next day we were off for a second try at the underground river and actually made it this time. The travel took most of the day, while the actual boat ride in the underground river was only 45 minutes. This was due to the tour company trying to milk some money from the group. It seems that your reservation for the river is only for a certain time of day, but most tours leave early in the morning. So, they offer to take you through a small cave and a tiny zip line ride to kill some time. Dave called it a “bait and
Where we celebrated the 20th anniversary of our first date...a very wonderful evening.
But eventually we arrived at the departure point for the underground tour. Seems that one boat takes you to the location, dumps you off and then you take another boat (sans motor) for your river tours. It was a quite nice ride as we observed interesting stalagmites and stalactite formations and dodged the four thousand or so bats that live there. They tell the visitors not to open their mouths when they look up for fear of tasting some bat guano. All in all, not a bad day.
We spent our last night dining with Mark and Rose, along with their friend Martin and must say that the cuisine at this resort is quite good. The chef is local, but knows French cooking quite well. Combine that with Rose’s skills with Thai food and the results are gastronomically delightful.
This is a great place to base your Palawan explorations. If you want to dive or learn to dive they provide an opportunity. Mark has been a dive master for many years and has 3,000+ dives.
We departed the next day sad as we had made new
friends and truly enjoyed our time at the Royal Oberoi, secure in the knowledge that total slugdom was ours…..
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