12-hours in Puerto Princesa, Palawan

Sabang beach, Palawan

Hitched from Sabang to Puerto Princesa on a grand Chevrolet, my adventure travel continues. I hope you don’t mind I’d rather not disclose the politician’s name to protect his employee, who turned out to be my tour guide and host the rest of my stay in Palawan.

a view of Sabang beach from the big boat

Yes, I grabbed my only chance to get back to the ranger station in time for the last trip going to the city. There were 10 other guests and 3 body guards on the big boat. Luckily, they didn’t charge me . I was getting worried because the boat ride was expensive if taken alone. Considering it was not yet peak season, I would’ve been stuck waiting for a group to share expenses with. And that’s the sad part when traveling solo.

My host, let me call him Mr R, advised me to hurry and grab my things so I can hitch a ride to Puerto Princesa. True enough, they didn’t waste time and the guests were filling the other van with their luggage. So we’re leaving on a convoy. Mr R introduced me as a friend’s relative on my way back to the city. They simply let me sit at the back and we left at 2pm.

No complaints despite the heavily pockmarked road. So Chevy’s have great shock absorbers, I guess. In my head, I was thinking of the places that I’d be dropping by before I look for a cheap traveler’s inn. The map I bought from National Bookstore indicates there are several pension homes and I’d be able to book a night for less than Php600. I was hoping I could pass by the Viet village and see the Iwahig prison.

Crocodile Farm, Puerto Prinsesa

Crocodile Farm, Puerto Prinsesa

We reached the city around 4pm. We headed straight to the Legend Hotel to drop the guests. I thought my host was going to help my find a tourist inn. Instead, he offered to take me around the city. Whoa! Trying not to show my surprise (and fear), I tried to dissuade him and told him I can find my way around. Its true, anyway. Puerto Princesa is relatively small and manageable. But he has a point that areas will close soon (it was almost 5pm) and if I commute, it’ll take me longer to move around.

Puerto Princesa

Mitra Ranch

I guess blessing shouldn’t be turned down. He brought me to the Crocodile Farm. The farm was almost closed but he knew one of the staff so she let us in. I made a quick but educational tour of the facility and posed for some photos with the crocs. Great place to appreciate the often misunderstood reptiles. Then, we headed to Mitra’s Ranch. The mansion was set on a knoll. At the veranda, you get a panoramic view of Puerto Princesa and nearby municipalities.

It was past 6pm when we returned to the busy streets and I asked help to get a nice cheap room. I’d be leaving early morning the next day so I prefer an inn near the airport. He drove me to a pension house nearest the airport (will try to recall the name).  Before he left, he invited me for dinner. Since I didnt really have any plans and I was clueless on where to get good food, I obliged. I washed and prepared my stuff for my flight the next day.

Mr R picked me up around 7pm. Along the way, we picked up his friend who was joining us for dinner. When we arrived at The Legend Hotel, some dancers in Filipiniana were performing for guests. I wish all hotels had this to at least showcase Filipino music and dance, even at the comfort of the hotel. We headed for the hotel’s resto upon realizing we didnt get a snack. I’m famished and would’ve agreed to have buffet, if only I had the budget. But we sat and I allowed them to order Palawan’s best bet for top food choices. I’ve always favored seafood so I had prawns, mussels and raw fish. Sarap! Would have ordered beer if I really knew my dining buddies but chose to stay safe and get iced tea instead. But iced water would’ve been better with the viands we had.

I enjoyed listening to their local stories but gave little information about me. It was an effort not to be too friendly despite my host’s generous accommodations. Dinner was his treat, by the way. I wanted to enjoy the company but behind my head I kept my distance and continued to be cautious, watching out for any untoward or uncalled for actions. I just kept reminding myself that its my first time and I want to do this again so I better play it safe and just make the most out of a controlled situation.

It was almost 10pm when we returned to the pension and I expressed my heartfelt gratitude. I had to be more aggressive in turning down his offer to take me to the airport for my flight, though. I had plans to walk around the market and check out what I can take home. Bought dried mussels, squid and a bagful of kasoy!

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~ by theorangehut on December 16, 2010.

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