Palawan, the last frontier of the Philippines
Trip Start Mar 18, 2009
134Trip End Jan 12, 2010
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As our friends and family already know we have decided to cut our holiday short and return home on the 13th January. This decision has nothing to do with the Philippines, it is more down to our own motivation. We have seen such wonderous things during our time and feel as if we have lived in each country, not merely visiting them as a tourist. As a consequence we feel that our travels through the Philippines wouldn't be rewarding enough to justify the additional cost, as believe me it isn't so easy to travel around. If I am totally honest in a small way we actually look forward to returning to normality and relaunching our careers.
After arriving in Puerto Princessa we decided to stay in a house share run by a local called Emmanuel, the place was called Manny's Guest house. The upper floor contained 3 double bedrooms and was situated right in the middle of a local community. The streets were bustling with families and cockerels. Its an urban myth (and a Kellogg's myth) that cockerels only crow in the morning :) At times we would even hear squeals from pigs in neighbouring gardens. On our first night we even watched as a pig was sacrificed by a family ready for a banquet.
It was during our stay in Manny's that our plans changed numerous times. We were destined for Port Barton and El Nido, but as our plans of returning home gathered pace we opted just to stay in Puerto Princessa and visit Honda Bay for some island hopping and change to a hotel with a swimming pool to top up the tan. We made a call to Qatar and got our flight to London Gatwick changed, we also popped into the Cebu Pacific office to get our local flight to Cebu changed.
We discovered our second hotel by chance. We hired a tricycle to take us to Pristine Beach (a mangrove beach and nothing spectacular) where local families come to BBQ. Our driver Jun told us that he knew a cheap hotel with a pool close by. The hotel was called Fran Pension (link) and was perfect... In an absolutely peaceful spot and with quite a big swimming pool, it was just what we needed. We highly recommend it.
Apart from lounging around by the pool, we headed out for a day trip to Honda Bay. Around 11 kilometres from town, a cluster of small islands can be visited by private boat. The boat cost only 1300 Pesos and came with two staff. We planned to visit 3 islands, Pandan, Snake and Starfish island. Having borrowed my mum's underwater camera it was the perfect time to see if we could photograph some fish while snorkelling, something we have yet to be successful with on this holiday. The islands of Honda Bay aren't the prettiest, like un-cut diamonds, they definitely have future potential and are worth a visit.
Eating out in Palawan can be an experience in itself. The Philippines isn't exactly know for its cuisine and that is justified when you eat out around town. Out of the restaurants we visited Kina Buch, by the airport, was the best and most popular. A large menu, sporting seafood, chicken and other strange local dishes is accompanied perfectly with cold cheap beer (San Miguel) and a giant screen showing sports. Its almost like being back home.
Since the beginning of our journey we have filled every day to the brim with sight seeing, so it was fitting to spend our last week doing absolutely nothing. We are both really glad that we left Palawan to last and it has given us the chance to do just that. We both do feel recharged and ready to return home. We do have one night of luxury left over and we have planned to spend a night in a 5 Star resort in Cebu. More on that in our next and second to last blog!