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March 10, 2007

Sabang, Palawan

I had been wanting to go to Palawan for a while, so when I had a couple of days of time, this was my first destination when back in the Philippines.

I flew to Puerto Princesa, on Cebu Pacific. Puerto Princesa is a much larger and more normal, functioning town than I expected. It does not feel like a frontier town. I had a wonderful lunch at Kalalui, a cute restaurant made entirely of bamboo, with great food. I liked Puerto Princesa, but needed more adventure, so I took off to Sabang to see the famous underground river.

The last Jeepney was supposed to leave at 2; about halfway to the terminal the driver informed me that the last Jeepney leaves at 1.30. I got to the terminal at 1.45, and at 2.30 the Jeepney finally pulled forward to the gas station and proceeded to wait another half hour, while full of passengers, to get gas. Fortunately, I was online, thanks to the Globe Visibility 3G/GPRS service that we finally got to work with my Mac; so I was able to get a few things done while waiting. It felt a bit surreal to be online while sitting in this thing, though. We finally left... stopped in alittle town, where I bought some snacks from people selling them through the window.

The drive was pretty, and uneventful until we blew our first tire. It was promptly changed, though the replacement tire did not look any better. It had gaping holes...


I finally arrived in Sabang, after one more tire replacement stop. The scenery was beautiful, reminiscent of Ha long bay and the Cahabon area in Guatemala: Limestone hills and cliffs in a lush tropical environment.

The next day I hiked the monkey trail to the mouth of the underground river. It was a fun hike; very easy, since the trail is extremely well maintained, with lots of rails, bridges, and stairs.


At the ranger station at the river mouth, there were lots of monitor lizards. Cute.


The underground river itself wasn't very exciting -- much less interesting than, for example, the one near San Ignacio, Belice, where you get to paddle your own canoe into it.

But the beaches and scenery in the area were fantastic.

Before going back to Puerto Princesa, I hiked to the "Waterfall". This turned out to be very enjoyable, with lots of entertaining sights along the way. I rested for a while in a tree house, enjoying the breeze. It's so nice that some people take really good care of the place they live in here...

I did not investigate if there was an actual "room"

On the way back, I got down (Filipino English for getting off a vehicle.. I am learning.. :-) in the Vietnamese village. There used to be a large camp for Vietnamese refugees near Puerto Princesa. It was interesting to check out, and I had some yummy thit nuong.


Posted by rick at March 10, 2007 01:33 PM