February 22, 2017
And just like that, we arrived to the last day of our Palawan excursion. Ziv has left ahead of us for her flight was early in the morning. Penny and I’s return trip is later in the day, which allows us time to explore other parts of Puerto Princesa City.
The original settlement upon which the city was built on was founded by the Spanish colonizers on March 4, 1872. Located at the center of the main Palawan island, the city was made the province’s capital and seat of government in 1911 by the Americans. Geographically, it is the second largest city in the Philippines in terms of land area, second only to Davao City.
With an area of over 2,000 square kilometres, the city has a lot to offer to the casual tourists. Apart from the more popular destinations surrounding it – the Underground River, and the Honda Bay – the city itself is filled with tourist spots that travelers can explore. It has a perfect mix of historical, natural and man-made attractions. Wide boulevards and bay walks also make the city perfect for tourists looking for a relaxing time.
Perhaps the easiest (albeit not the most convenient) and the cheapest way to explore the city is by hiring one of the tricycles that plies its busy avenues and streets. For a half-day tour, one can hire a tricycle for PHP 600.00; each tricycle can accommodate up to four people. You can simply flag a tricycle down and negotiate with them. No worries for they are hospitable, and accommodating.
After Penny and I managed to transact with one tricycle driver, we immediately embarked on our half-day tour. Our first stop was the Palawan Butterfly Ecological Garden and Tribal Village. We reached the tribal village after being on the road for 30 minutes. Yes, I forgot to mention that most of the tourist destinations in the city are quite far from the city center.
For an entrance fee of PHP 50.00, visitors can explore its centerpiece, the butterfly garden. The garden houses a plethora of butterflies – of varying sizes, and colors – that freely roam a confined space. Tourists and travelers can also take pictures of them. Apart from butterflies, the sanctuary is also home to some animals endemic to the island, such as crocodiles, and wild pigs.
Behind the garden the model of a traditional house of the Palaw’ans (one of many indigenous groups living in the island) was built. It is complete with the details of a native home, from traditional cooking and eating utensils to musical instruments. According to the tour guide, the house is open for use by indigenous people when they go down to the city. They can use the amenities for free. Well, not really. In exchange for their free accommodation, they demonstrate their ways of life in their original garb. They show how they build fires, shoot a blowpipe, and play their musical instruments. Visitors can film them in the act.
A side attraction is a pair of boa constrictors which the visitors can have their badly needed pictures with. You know what I mean, the picture of constrictors being placed on one’s neck area that has become quite ubiquitous. It is not for the faint of heart. The idea of the tribal village, to be honest, discomfited me. Don’t get me wrong; I am all for learning new cultures and ways of life. There was just something that was a bit off. I am fine with the butterfly garden but not with the tribal village.
From the Butterfly Farm, we proceeded to Mitra Ranch, which is located in Sta. Monica Heights. Owned by the family of former Senator Ramon Mitra, its doors were opened to the public for it affords the public a panoramic view of the city. Admission to the ranch is free of charge. However, if you want to enter the Mitra’s house, which was turned into a museum, one must pay an admission fee of PHP 20.00 per person.
Apart from the view and the house, the ranch has other features. For the adventurous, one can ride a 760 meter zipline for PHP 500.00 per person. Another feature of the ranch is the 200 meter hanging bridge. There is a separate fee for that as well, PHP 250.00 The Ranch is open daily, from 7 AM to 8 PM. The Ranch was featured as one of the stops in the Korean travel show, Battle Trip.
No trip would be complete without souvenir shopping! We did just that in our last stop, the famed Baker’s Hill. It is a stop on the way to Mitra’s Ranch but we opted to drop by on our drive back. To be admitted into Baker’s Hill, one must pay an admission fee of PHP 50.00. The site is actually a theme park but it is more famous for its baked goods. Before it was expanded into a theme park, it was originally a bake shop. Among their popular products are hopia, egg pie, and cashew nuts. A lover of egg pie, I bought one whole pan for myself. Haha!
And that’s how our Palawan trip ended! Well, not really for my flight was delayed for nearly eight hours! It was indeed a memorable trip.
P.S. In every travel blog I do, I also enjoy the process of sorting out pictures to feature. As you can notice, however, this is an exception. There’s barely any pictures. Unfortunately, my cellphone, which holds all my travel pictures, was snatched in mid-2019. I thought I had saved copies in my hard drive but sadly, I didn’t. I was never prepared for any contingencies.
Anyway, it was my fault. I was careless and thoughtless. My worst offense, however, lies in my writing my travel blogs very late. Imagine, this was in 2017 but I am only writing about it three years later. HAHAHAHA. I promise I’ll write them on a timely basis (although I still have a lot to write about).