I find myself in the roof deck restaurant sipping a local mango juice. Puerto Bay is very visible. It is a good view as I watch people stroll along the boardwalk.
The best island hopping happens. I use a motorboat with a guide and see the white sand beaches in Honda Bay.
They are beautiful.
I play with starfish on the seashore and prepare for my dolphin watching. After a while, our boat sails to find them. I saw one dolphin leap and play until they all swim in groups.
I cannot set my eyes on one because they are so many to choose. They are fast until one or two dolphins shoot up above the water and dives back again taking me by surprise.
My dolphin watching happens at a fast speed.
My guide told me there is time to snorkel. I do not know snorkeling and how it looks like. I make sure I am doing the way my guide would ask me to do. He asked me to put on my face mask and snorkel tube and jump off the boat.
I float. It is easy. The water is shallow and clear. I can see the beautiful landscape down under the water. Colourful fishes of varied species and the corals with different shapes are in front of me.
It is now time to head out of the water and start sailing back to Puerto Pension. I like the atmosphere in this pension house due to its homey ambiance. I sleep the night smiling!
Day 2 is a hectic schedule so I prepare myself for my next exciting tour.
I wake up at 6 o’clock.
My guide will pick me up at 8 in the morning. I still have time to visit the church to give thanks for the blessings. It is near the pension house.
I am now heading to the highlight of the trip of the day. I am riding a boat with my guide going near the entrance of the Underground River.
I find myself riding another motorboat with other tourists. We are with a new set of tour guides who are experts in this river.
I am in a group of 10, get ready to enter the river underground each sporting a safety helmet and a neon orange life vest.
When everyone has been sitting, our guide asked to hold the lamp to direct the boat to the cave. It is so dark. The lamp has illuminated a lot of bats flapping over our head. Water is dripping down the sheer rock walls and off the ceilings into the river.
Our guide tells us where to point the lamp and often warn us that if we have to look up, we shouldn’t say “Wow!” as we need to close our mouths to avoid the dropping bat poos which are inside the caves.
He knows where to find the giant caverns and stalagmites and the mushroom rock formation. The lamp is in a direction where a couple of snakes are in a big hole on the wall.
It all went well and we emerged from the cave in disbelief.
Now it is time to go back to my own tour guide. I have a rest for a while sitting on the shore playing with the waves and pick some seashells.
It is 2:00 o’clock and it is time to go to the next destination. We sailed for about an hour until we reach the Iwahig Penal Colony.
The prison is very different from the others.
They live a normal life with their families and each one till their farms. It becomes the prisoner’s source of income and one way to earn a living.
It is a long day today and needs complete rest for tomorrow’s last and another hectic day.
It is a beautiful morning on the third day of my tour. And I am going to be wild.
I start the tour to the Wildlife Rescue & Conservation Centre. It is 35 minutes from the city. I join a guided tour of the crocodiles of different sizes. I also found endemic species of wildlife in this conservation centre.
Our next stop is the Butterfly Ecological Garden. This butterfly sanctuary lies in the backyard of what seems to be an ordinary house. I see that it is a private entity whose aim is to conserve native butterflies.
Now it is time to see a garden filled with butterflies of various colours. I have to walk a few small pebbled trails while chasing these creatures.
Have you heard about Puerto Princesa City in Palawan? Not yet? Now you do.
Puerto Princesa in the Philippines is my favourite place on earth. It is a paradise. You will find them.
- Freddie Miranda
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