Wednesday, March 30, 2011

48 Hours in Puerto Princesa, Palawan - Day 2

Puerto Princesa is really the gateway to the last frontier. It is an exciting place to be. Never to be missed is the city’s pride and joy – the Subterranean River National Park. The 8.2  km underground river winds through a spectacular cavern that flows directly into the sea. The entrance to the cave lies in an aquamarine lagoon surrounded by lush vegetation, monitor lizards, monkeys, and colorful birds.
For hassle-free trip to the Subterranean River, one must arrange a tour for P1,500 from any accredited tour operators in the city. They will provide you with transfers to your hotel, arrange the boat to take you to and from the entrance of the park, and lunch - all included in the package.

After that wonderful experience in the Subterranean River, finish your day by treating yourself to what Puerto Princesa is also very famous for - their superb seafood meals. Checkout Kalui's or Kinabuch's specialties for informal dining, or The Lotus Garden for fine dining experience.

DAVAO - Truly My One And Only Garden Of Eden

Davao will always be my second home. For whatever reason, no other place in the Philippines where I find peace and serenity. In fact, my life would never be complete without visiting Davao at least once a year.

FUN IN TACLOBAN - The City's Hidden Wealth - Part 2

Day 2 - Discovering Tacloban City's Hidden Wealth

We have gone to the countryside on our first day so we opted to spend the next day walking around the city. Again, with our Waray friends' help, we were able to visit the following historical places.

Leyte Provincial Capitol

Constructed in 1907, it became the temporary seat of the Philippine Commonwealth government when Pres. Osmeña landed at Palo with the American troops. Within the halls of this massive building, important strategies and decisions were formed leading to the liberation of the Philippines from Japanese occupation. 


The Sto. Niño Shrine and Heritage Museum

The house (OR PALACE) was built by Imelda Marcos as a Romualdez ancestral house but as in most things historical in this country, it has since fallen into a sad state of decay. The museum charges P250 for five persons and P30 for every person in excess of five. There is additional charge for the use of camera and video camera. Considering the vast collection of treasures given to the Marcos family during their 20-year in power, what a waste to see the government neglecting this part of history merely on the basis of its being a part of the Marcos memory.

Some of the wood furniture, including bed posts, religious images and the 32-seater dining table had been eaten by termites. The museum survives on the entrance fees, which are barely enough for the salary of the museum staff and payment of electricity bill. As it is, the museum is poorly lighted and maintenance of the whole place is clearly wanting.

Despite this, we were held in awe at the opulence this place once was and marveled at the value of every piece of foreign gift given to Imelda by such people as Mao Zedong.

MacArthur Landing Memorial Park in Palo, Leyte

Leyte abounds by historical sites where battles once took place along beach fronts and hilltops. Among these places is the McArthur Landing Memorial Park with larger than life bronze statues of the landing of the Allied Forces. Inside the park is the Stone Garden of Peace where world leaders have inscribed pledges of peace.

Other natural points of interests include The Philippine-Japan Commemorative Monument and Park and the Maria Kannon Madonna of Peace Shrine. The scenic San Pedro Bay is also worth visiting.

48 Hours in Puerto Princesa, Palawan - Day 1

Palawan has steadily grown into a top Asian destination for beach lovers and eco-adventurists. With attractions Like El Nido, Honda Bay, and the Subterranean River National Park, it’s no wonder that this beautiful region is also known as the world’s last natural frontier.

I had a chance to visit Puerto Princesa, Palawan’s capital city one summer but only had two days to explore as many attractions as possible. Upon recommendation of some locals I met at RAQ’s pension, I was able to squeeze in almost every activity for 48 hours to enjoy my stay.


Iwahig Penal Colony

Hired a trycicle and headed to Iwahig Penal Colony. A giant “Welcome to Iwahig Prison & Penal Farm” sign tells you have arrived in a place where prisoners can walk freely – no bars involved. They were free prisoners from murderers, to rapists, to thieves. It was something different to see for yourselves. Visit the colonial style manor and the souvenir store – where you can buy the best and cheapest souvenirs in Palawan. And the best of it all, it was run by…yes only prisoners. Not a guard in sight.

Baker’s Hill

For lunch, it’s Baker’s Hill, beautifully located on a hilltop of Millionaire’s row and offers a jaw-dropping view of Puerto Princesa and Honda Bay. This kid-friendly establishment not only has yummy pastries for sale but also boasts a mini-zoo, playground, a stunning garden, a number of statues of cartoon characters for your amusement.

Crocodile Farm

Going back to Puerto Princesa, we dropped by the Palawan Wildlife Rescue and conservation Center – also known as Palawan Crocodile Park. From the information I gathered, this is where they cultivate and hatch crocodiles and some other wild endangered animals. I didn’t bother going inside the park since it’s no different from Davao Crocodile Park.

Mitra’s Farm

The farm is owned by the political Mitra family, one of whom is Ramon Mitra, Jr. The area is open to the public but the main house is kept closed. One will have a scenic view of outlying islands including Dos Palmas.

Immaculate Concepcion Cathedral

This historic cathedral used to be a small church in the 1800s.

Plaza Cuartel

Dropped by Plaza Cuartel, just opposite the Immaculate Conception Cathedral. This is the site for Palawan Massacre in 1944.

Palawan Provincial Capitol and Puerto Princesa City Hall

Never to be missed in my itinerary is the visit to the Capitol or City Hall for my photo opt. I even saw Mayor Hagedorn in my visit in Puerto Princesa City Hall.


Lastly, the day’s tour was concluded by visiting Puerto Princesa Baywalk - developed seafront strip in the city providing a scenic place to view the sunset just located beside the seaport in downtown Puerto Princesa.


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