Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

Vote for the underground river   Leave a comment

Have you voted for our very own underground river in the New 7 Wonders of the World contest? Cilck here to cast your vote:


Posted 09/10/2011 by bandillopalawan in Travel

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Puerto Princesa at a glance   Leave a comment

The capital city of Palawan, Puerto Princesa is a major tourist destination that hosts one of the country’s natural World Heritage Sites — the Subterranean River National Park. A 30-minute paddleboat ride takes visitors to the 8.2-kilometer underground river, inside an enchanting cave filled with bats and unique rock formations. Outdoor enthusiasts will enjoy the Monkey Trail, while others prefer the more leisurely Mangrove Paddle Boat Tour.


Closer to the city proper, a day of island hopping around Honda Bay allows beach bums to savor the sea breeze while heading for the white sands of Pandan, Starfish, or Snake island. The whale shark, the world’s biggest fish, has been sighted in the bay occasionally. Remember to bring snorkeling gear for your close encounter with Nemo and other delightful creatures of the shallow coral reefs.

On the west coast facing the South China Sea, residents of Ulugan Bay have developed eco-tour packages that include snorkeling, bird-watching in the mangrove river, trekking to the waterfalls, paraw sailing, and even diving at Rita island.

Further south, adventurous travelers who don’t mind the bumpy rides can surf the waves in the beaches of Nagtabon, Tagkawayan, and Napsan.

Scuba diving and dolphin watching in Puerto Bay may also be arranged. Or why not a firefly watching tour of the Iwahig River just after sunset? You can also buy handicrafts at the Iwahig penal colony, have a picnic at Balsahan river, and soothe aching muscles at the Sta. Lourdes Hot Springs. Animal lovers would enjoy the colorful insects at the Palawan Butterfly Garden and the endemic species at the Palawan Wildlife and Rescue Center, formerly known as the Crocodile Farm.

Any traveler will tell you that you haven’t been to Palawan if you haven’t dined at Kalui, a seafood restaurant decorated with ethnic chic and exotic souvenirs from the owner’s travels abroad. After dinner, have a drink at or two in popular watering holes like Kinabuch and Gypsy’s Lair.

Puerto Princesa commemorates the city’s Foundation Day on March 4 with a historical parade and street dancing. In the summer, artists flock to the city for the Kamarikutan Pagdiwata Arts festival. The city also celebrates the tree-planting festival Pista Y ang Kagueban (Feast of the Forests) on the 3rd week of June.

On the first day of December, the city government ushers in the holiday season with the much-awaited lighting of the giant Christmas tree. The festival calendar ends with the fiesta honoring the city’s patron saint on Dec. 8, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception of Mary, which features performances from local artists and various groups.

Posted 09/06/2011 by bandillopalawan in Travel

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Welcome to paradise   Leave a comment

For nature lovers, Palawan is a dream come true. Its scenic landscape features forested highlands, distinct rock formations, and rolling terrain teeming with wildlife. White sand beaches and breathtaking limestone cliffs create a unique seascape that visitors still remember with fondness long after their vacation. 

Mountain ranges carpeted with thick forests run the length of the island. The verdant canopy and leaf-strewn forest floor harbor an amazing variety of tropical fauna and flora — 98 bird species, 34 reptiles, 28 mammals, 12 amphibians, and 110 plant species. Endangered species such as the Philippine crocodile, peacock pheasant, blue-naped parrot, peregrine falcon, leopard Cat, and the Palawan flying fox have found a safe haven in the province.

In its turquoise waters, tourists may chance upon the peaceful dugong or gentle marine turtles. Sightings of large manta rays, sperm whales, the finless porpoise and whale shark offer a rare treat to lucky visitors. Along the coast, 28 species of mangrove trees protect inshore areas. Palawan’s waters also hold oil and gas reserves including the Camago-Malampaya natural gas project, the country’s single biggest foreign investment.

The southern half of Palawan has more terrestrial attractions such as mountains and waterfalls. In the town of Narra, bird-watching tours may be arranged in Rasa island, where the elusive cockatoo roosts at dusk. The highest peak in the province, Mt. Mantalingahan, straddles five towns and soars to a height of 2,086 meters above sea level. An endangered species, the Palawan mousedeer, is found only in the southernmost island of Balabac.

Towards the north, white sand beaches and towering limestone cliffs are the main tourist attractions. From El Nido all the way to the Calamianes islands, picturesque rock formations and lagoons draw thousands of visitors every year. In Coron, most scuba divers go for the shipwrecks strewn in the bay. Northern Palawan holds the highest concentration of islands in the province, and draws water sports enthusiasts as well as sun worshippers longing for a secluded beach. Fringing and offshore coral reefs appeal to scuba divers and snorkelers, while spelunkers can have fun exploring the depths of Palawan’s countless caves.

Palawan is remarkable in many ways. The discovery of archaeological relics in the Tabon caves, in the municipality of Quezon, proved that the province has had over 50,000 years of human occupation, the oldest recorded in the country. Pottery, china, and other artifacts recovered from the waters off the mainland attest to the flourishing trade between Chinese and Malays in Palawan many centuries ago.

The influence of Spanish colonizers can still be seen in the ruins of fortresses and churches found in Taytay, Cuyo and Cagayancillo. Meanwhile, the legacy of the more recent American occupation lives on in the architecture of Iwahig Penal Colony in Puerto Princesa city, the former Culion Leper Colony in northern Palawan, and Cape Melville in Balabac island.

Palawan is home to three major indigenous communities — the Tagbanua, Pala’wan, and Batak  — and subgroups such as the Tau’t Bato and Molbog. Their ancestors are believed to have occupied the province long before Malay settlers arrived in the islands. Other native-born Palaweños are the Cuyunon, Agutaynon, and Cagayanon islanders that have distinct languages and traditions.

All year round, festivals are sure to catch the eye of the cultural tourist. The lambay or honey-gathering ritual of the Batak signals the start of the hunting and gathering season in the early part of the year. The pagdiwata thanksgiving ceremony of  the Tagbanua people follows in the summer, while the Baragatan festival is a welcome treat when June ushers in the rainy season. In the far-off island of Cuyo, the Ati-Ati festival during the Feast of St. Augustine on Aug. 29 is a must for music and dance revelers. Capping it all is the solemn runsay ritual of the Pala’wan just after the last full moon of the year shows up in the clear island skies.

Posted 09/05/2011 by bandillopalawan in Travel