22nd Jan 2012 - Fun in the Philippines!
Puerto Princesa - crocs, churches and a bearcat!
After a really relaxing few days in Boracay, we were due to board the 7.30am plane to Puerto Princesa on Palawan island. We had a wake up bang on the door at 4am by the security guard, and then we spent about 10 minutes arguing with the reception guy about our minibar which we hadn’t touched yet they were accusing us of drinking the beer! Ben had bought some beer cans at the shop for a fraction of the price and they kept saying that they were already in the minibar and not bought from the shop! So that took some time to clear up and as I am not the best morning person it didn’t put me in the best of moods! Then followed a bumpy, painful, noisy tricycle ride in the dark back to the port!!
So….3 tricycles, 1 boat and 2 planes later (plus a headache) we arrived in Puerto Princesa! Palawan Island is the Philippines ‘final frontier’ apparently! It’s the long island just north of Borneo in the South China Sea (you have to check the map as I can’t really get any more specific than that I’m afraid!). It’s quite far off the beaten track for most travelers in south East Asia which is why we chose to go there and has some of the most amazing scenery ever!
We didn’t have any reservations here as there is plenty of accommodation available. A 5 minute walk later we checked into the Turissimo Garden Hotel. The room was satisfactory, comfortable and large although it was 2 single beds and the shower was crap! But hey you can’t have everything for 19 quid a night and breakfast was included too!
The receptionist was really sweet and booked us onto the Underground river tour for tomorrow morning. As we had a few hours spare today we also arranged to get picked up and taken on a city tour. So after a coffee and a mango we were picked up by a minivan and taken round the city. We visited the cathedral in the centre of the city; a sky blue building surrounded by palm trees. Then we went to the Palawan wildlife rescue centre which was really interesting; we got to hold a baby crocodile and a Palawanian Bearcat, and there was a trail through the jungle where there were some birds and reptiles. In the café we got to try crocodile stew – it tasted quite like pork but really fatty!
Final stop was the Baker’s Hill where we got a panoramic view of Honda Bay and the islands. On the way back to the hotel we stopped off at Jollibee (the Filipino equivalent of McDonalds) as according to the locals no trip to the Philippines is complete without sampling the local fast food outlet. It wasn’t bad; cheaper than McDonalds and some interesting takes on a cheeseburger and chicken nuggets!! Got back to the hotel and got an early night after a battle with the crappy leaking shower!! Night night!