I Found Paradise!

Trip Start Feb 19, 2012
Trip End Mar 22, 2012

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Where I stayed
Daluyan Resort

Flag of Philippines  , Mimaropa,
Thursday, March 1, 2012

Wed, Feb 29, 2012

Today we were picked up by the van we hired to take us up to Sabang...pronounced sabong...via Ugong Rock. The road winds and twists and heads steadily up...occasionally glimpsing the ocean first on the right and later on the left. The trees are different on this island...it's not a forest of giant palms like on Marinduque. It appears more diverse though there aren't huge trees like in Borneo. I suspect we were looking at second or even third growth in most areas. It started looking more like Borneo as we got close to Sabang, with huge karst rock walls peeping out of tropical forest. Ugong Rock is next to barangay (community) Tagabinet.

Things have changed here quite a bit since our guide book was published. The barangay has set up an elaborate tour system where you are shuffled from one hut to another as they supply you with helmets and gloves and explain how the tour is going to work. It looked to me as if the entire barangay is involved in the tours, with a person stationed at each point of interest or point of danger to give some history, point out a rock formation, point out where to watch your head, or take your picture while you climb through a tight spot or up a ladder. For me it was a pretty easy trip but, I'm sure there are a lot of people that would have been intimidated by some of the moves we had to make. It was great fun, the barangay guides were having a lot of fun with us and I felt good that we were helping out the community since the rock is right in their backyard. The tour cost us P450 ($11) per person, definitely worth it even though it probably only took us half an hour to get through the entire tour.

The rock was obviously under the sea at some point. In fact, one section shows wear from flowing water at seven different levels. They call this karst formation Ugong because there are a number of places where you can hit a stalagmite and it will gong like one of those giant brass gongs...really pretty cool to hear it.

As you go along this tour, you twist through sections of rock worn down by flowing water, crawl through holes, climb up ladders and ropes always heading up until you get to the top of this rock about 100 feet high. At the top, they have a platform set up for the Zip line. They give you a climbing helmet, and harness to wear and then clip you into the double sling set up in a V shape for equalized weight distribution...yes done pretty safely Cline. They use two cables that also help keep you pretty stable as you shoot down and land on a platform at the other end. They have these rubber stoppers or they may have been made of something else...they looked like boat bumpers...at the other end that slow you down as you reach the other platform so you don't slam into anything. It went pretty fast and the initial jump off was exhilarating but, frankly with all the rock climbing I've done, zip-lining feels pretty tame in comparison. I was actually more interested in how they had everything set up. It was fun though and I can say I've done it now. Dave, on the other hand, got a major kick out of it. He thought it was a blast and I think he would have done it over and over if he could have. 

Daluyan Resort is gorgeous! We feel like we have finally reached paradise. We got to the resort at around noon and our room wasn't available until 2:00pm so we ate lunch in the restaurant and wandered the beach until we could check in. Then we went for a swim in the pool and walked the beach some more. The water is a little rougher than we had hoped, though great for body surfing. I think we might try that tomorrow.

Thu, Mar 1, 2012

I can not say enough nice things about the Daluyan Resort. The people go way out of there way to be helpful and friendly, the bed had a memory foam layer on top of the mattress, in the morning there was a pot of hot water at our door and we received a wake-up call so we wouldn't be late for our tour even though we didn't think to ask them to wake us up. When our tour guide didn't show up at the correct time, they called them to find out why they hadn't picked us up...they got mixed up on where we were and went to the Sheridan instead. Plus, they have won awards for green
building...they use solar power for most of their power...the water is more luke warm than hot.

They recycle within each room with a bin for biodegradable items, non-biodegradeable and recyclable items. I'm so impressed with this resort because not only do they do all these things but, the free buffet breakfast was great, a large selection of dishes to choose from, all quite good and they are reasonably priced as well. I'm so impressed with this resort!

So, as I alluded previously to the fact that the tour guide for the Subterranean River tour was late...an hour and a half late because they got mixed up on where to pick us up for the tour and by the time they figured it out, they had to send a new guide all the way from Puerta Princesa to take us on the tour. But, we still got to go and we did our tour with a group of hip young Metro Manila on-the-way-uppers...late 20's to early 30's. A really nice group of people, again friendly and interested in sharing the experience with us. They were polite, inquisitive, and fun-loving. We saw three monitor lizards on the beach by the cave entrance. We were obviously used to people being there because they could care less that we were there and let us take lots of pictures of them. There
were also a number of monkeys hanging around, obviously hoping to get a hand-out though feeding the animals is prohibited.

To do the tour, they take your group on a boat, each boat is numbered and once you get a boat, it stays with you for the rest of the tour. We head along the coast past two headlands and then cut into the third beach where they have a rest room and facilities for the staff to check your group in, they take pictures of your group so you can buy printed copies if you want them. Again, there is a huge staff because they employ a huge number
of the baranguy (community) to participate in the tours. I really admire the way they have created these fairly new eco-tourism opportunities as a way to support the communities. It's really encouraging to see how well it works. They were well-organized, extremely courteous, and really enthusiastic about what they were doing.

Once we get to this third beach, we transfer to another boat that floats us down the river into the cave system about nine tenths of a mile before turning around and heading back. We saw a number of different types of bats, some really small which I believe are the insect eating bats, and larger bats that I believe are the veggie-bats. Some of these bats were hanging on low ceilings so we got up close and personal with these bats. There is also a number of different formations in this cave such as, flow stone, curtain formations, jewel formations etc. So far, the caves in Belize still top our list as the best caves we've ever seen but, these caves are possibly second runner up.

After our tour, we checked into the Sheridan hotel...we would have loved to stay at the Daluyon Resort but, alas, they were all booked up the rest of the week. The Sheidan is big and the accoutrements are good but, it doesn't fit it's environment. It looks like a cookie-cutter hotel and they nickle and dime you to death here. The staff are just as courteous and friendly but, I still would rather be at the Daluyon. By the way, we learned today that Daluyon means “wave.”

Dave and I spent some time body surfing in the ocean and they we went back to our room to get ready for our dinner on the beach at the Daluyon. They set up some tables, on the beach with romantic lighting and elevator music...they need some help in their music selection. I had the catch of the day, Spanish Mackerel cooked with a pepper crust served with rice and Dave had pasta with Carbonara sauce. What a fantastic way to end the evening...

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joan clark on

Wow! So beautiful! That "hour and a half late" (albeit with what seemed like plausible excuses) is what was commonly referred to as "Philippino time" when we were there. :)

Randy on

You both look like you're having a great time!

iman on

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Cline on

That place looks very cool. The water color was phenomenal. Liked the lizards! Had a great program on bats at Organ Pipe put on by bat rehabers from San Diego. Baby bats in a row swaddled.

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