On the fourth day, we left El Nido and went back to Palawan’s capital, Puerto Princesa City. Here are the details of Day 4.
5:00 – Church Bells
It was a Sunday. I woke up to the sound of ringing bells. It was still dark and cold and I didn’t feel like getting up yet so I just lay on the bed and watched the sky grow brighter and brighter.
6:00 – Pack Stuff
I gathered all my stuff. Making sure not to forget those that I hung outside to dry. Then I stuffed it all into my bag. Finally, boyfie and I went down to check out from the inn. We stayed at Tay Miloy’s Inn for 3 nights. Apart from the mosquitoes and the electricity going out, it was a fairly nice stay. The owner was very kind to us and even offered to arrange cheaper tours the next time we visited Palawan. 🙂
6:45 – Shuttle Terminal
We bought newly-baked pandesal at the bakery as a quick breakfast. And then we were supposed to go to the shuttle terminal on foot since it was within walking distance. But it rained again so we were forced to take a pedicab.
We were too early for the 7AM trip so we waited a few minutes. It was off-peak season in El Nido so there were less people. As it turned out, the only passengers in the shuttle were me and boyfie and the 2 Filipinos we saw at the restaurant the night before. They spoke a different dialect, probably Chavacano.
We boarded the bus and said goodbye to El Nido.
Then began the long 6-hour trip to Puerto Princesa City. There was a lot of extra room in the van. Boyfie and I took turns laying on each other’s lap trying to sleep the hours away.
12:15 – Check in at Duchess Inn
We arrived at the Fort Wally shuttle terminal in Puerto Princesa City. From there, we hailed a tricycle to take us to our hotel.
In my opinion, Duchess Inn was small and old and dingy. The corridor outside our room looked like a scene taken out from an Asian horror film. But I’m a budget traveller. I shouldn’t be complaining.
14:30 – Late Lunch
We wandered around the city to search for a good place to eat. Unlike El Nido, Puerto Princesa City is too large to travel on foot. In fact, it is the largest (and greenest) city in the Philippines, covering up to 253 thousand hectares of land area.
16:00 – City Tour
Our hotel offers a City Tour package for only 600 pax. But I figured D.I.Y. would be so much cheaper. We arranged with a tricycle and he settled for 700 pesos for both me and boyfie. Yay, we just saved 500 pesos!
These were the places we went to:
1. PLAZA CUARTEL
In this site, 143 US prisoners of war were burned alive during WWII. A monument was created as a memorial marker of that tragic event.
2. PALAWAN PROVINCIAL CAPITOL
We didn’t have anyone to explain to us the story of this place. But info may be found in their official website: http://www.palawan.gov.ph.
2. PUERTO PRINCESA BAYWALK
This place was either unattended or under-construction. There was a big open area adjacent to the baywalk but it wasn’t cemented and there were pools of mud everywhere. Still, it was a refreshing place to be. If it wasn’t for the rain that night, I would have returned here to experiment long-exposure photography.
Along the baywalk is a statue of a lady with birds flying around her hand. It was once said that a lady walks about the Puerto Princesa Bay at night but disappeared once people tried to come close. The city was also named after a princess who died an untimely death. Her mother, the queen, changed the name of the city to “Puerto de la Princesa” which has been shortened to the name that it is now.
3. SOUVENIR SHOPS
Next we stopped by a bazaar selling shiny bracelets and necklaces with pearls and stones and those made of twine and some kind of animal bone. I bought a pink hand-crafted one for only 10 pesos. The stuff do look like the ones sold in Ayala Center Cebu, but they are a lot cheaper. So if you’re into that kind of stuff, this is probably a good place to buy them.
4. BADJAO SEAFRONT
From the entrance, there was a little bridge leading into a romantic-looking restaurant with a great sea view.
From the bridge, you’ll be able to see a spectacular view of mangroves that stretches out into the sea.
We ordered fresh buko (coconut) juice while enjoying the glow of the sun seeping through the window blinds. When we payed, my jaw involuntarily dropped by itself when I saw what was written on the bill. One buko was worth one hundred pesos! That’s the most expensive buko I’ve ever had! I could get ten bukos for that price if I bought it in the market near our house!
5. BAKER’S HILL
The last stop was at a man-made park with flowering plants and cement statues of dinosaurs and giant mushrooms and Marilyn Monroe. At the far end of the park were animal pens containing regally-colored birds. Such as this particular bird below with a long tail and overly bright feathers.
There were also peacocks in Baker’s Hill. I was only able to take boring pictures of them inside their pens. I didn’t have all day to wait for them to display the grandeur of their tails. Maybe next time I’ll be lucky.
There was also a little shop where we bought Palawan delicacies to bring back to our families and friends back home. We bought hopia, pianono, piyaya and a luscious chocolate cupcake that I ate greedily right after arriving at the hotel.
There were also souvenir trinkets and cultured pearl necklaces sold at the entrance of Baker’s Hill. I didn’t want to buy any because I already bought enough earlier that day.
But there was one particular pearl I was very interested in. It was still inside its shell and the whole thing was preserved inside a sealed container with a mixture of alcohol and water. Of course, I couldn’t tell for sure if it did have a pearl inside but it’s the suspense that makes it fun. 🙂 When you open it, you’re supposed to make a wish and whatever color of pearl you get has a specific meaning. Plus, it comes with a silver pendant where you could put the pearl inside. I know, cheesy, right? And boyfie bought it for me. Well, ain’t that sweet? ♥
18:00 – Back to Hotel
The City Tour was finished in a whirlwind of 2 hours. We weren’t able to go to the Crocodile Farm because it’s closed on Sundays. But that’s okay. It’ll be in my itinerary in the next Palawan trip.
So okay, the day has pretty much ended. The only thing left to do is grab dinner and prepare for the Underground River Tour scheduled for the next day. The Underground River, or the Subterranean River National Park, has been declared as one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature. Find out how that goes in the Day 5/6 entry.