Showing posts with label Palawan. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Palawan. Show all posts

Friday, April 17, 2015

Puerto Princesa Beachscapes - Part 1

There is something about landscapes and seascapes that I have always enjoyed looking at. Whether these are photos, prints or paintings, I have always preferred them over other subjects. Perhaps it is because there are just so much variety with landscapes and seascapes? My recent trip to Palawan allowed me to marvel at more impressive sights from our beachfront hotel room. Here are a few photos among the many I took using either my BlackBerry phone or Ixus camera. All the photos below are from the BlackBerry.

Three mangrove trees make their stand across from the hotel
More mangroves in the surrounding areas
The view of the beach from our room

More photos of the beach in future posts!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Palawan sunrise

I was in Palawan for a few days and our room had one of the best views of sunrises. Our hotel faced the east and had an unimpeded view of the Sulu Sea. It was perfect for catching the sunrise every morning. I am a morning person and an early riser so I made sure I got a few good shots of the sunrise after our first night in Puerto Princesa. I chose three to share in this post. All these were taken using a BlackBerry Bold camera.

5:35 AM
5:38 AM
5:58 AM
Next up: Beachscapes

Monday, April 13, 2015

Break before burnout

It is always nice to have a change in environment. It helps keep burnout in check. It's already mid-April and usually this time of year I am already on vacation as the second semester at university concludes late March or late April. Fortunately, there are opportunities for some change in pace. I will just share a few photos from where I am "working" for a few days and let the photos speak for themselves. All bets are off whether I am going to be able to work or just type away on my blogs or social media.


Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Ka Lui, Puerto Princesa, Palawan

We made sure to go to Ka Lui, the top restaurant in Puerto Princesa, when we were in Palawan last September. It was the first time for our guest, a Japanese professor, in Palawan. I will talk about the food on another post later. Suffice it to say that the food is really good and we had a great time dining there and enjoying the mostly seafood that we ordered.

Interior of the restaurant as seen from our table
There are low tables for those who want to sit on the floor in the traditional way
Colourful dinner plates on display
A reserved table - all tables are practically reserved as there is a high demand for the restaurant
The receiving area upon entering the premises of the restaurant
Guests are required to deposit their footwear at the reception where there are baskets and an area for storage
The inner areas of the restaurant has a small shop, an exhibit area, and a small stage
Artwork on exhibit at the restaurant are mainly by local artists
The small stage is for parties and other functions that may require it
Other artwork on display near the comfort rooms
Inside the male comfort room, which is clean and with a design consistent with the theme of the restaurant
The small bridge connecting the main dining area and the more private areas at the back
There are lots of items (of curiosity) on display inside the restaurant including mostly native crafts

Ka Lui is almost always crowded and it is usually almost impossible to get a table for walk-ins. The dinner schedule is quite strict and you have to call in for a reservation either for the 6:00PM or 8:30PM time slots. Price-wise, it is not so expensive and just right for a full service restaurant. No Michelin stars here but who cares? The food is really good (and the service efficient) and that is what really counts. 


Friday, November 28, 2014

Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park

Our recent trip to Puerto Princesa also allowed us to go to the Underground River again. This was  my third time at this natural wonder that's been recognised as one of the 7 Wonders of Nature. Regardless of the "formal" recognition, it is definitely a wonder of nature and one that is really worth the time and effort to see or experience. Only a short part of the subterranean river is available for the regular tours. Our guide explained that you will need another permit to explore more parts of the river, and an even stricter permit, equipment and guides with higher qualifications to get to the least visited parts of the river. The latter areas are of interest to scientists including geologists and even archeologists and palaeontologists as fossils and cave paintings are supposed to have been found deeper into the mountains. Now that will be something for the more adventurous to try out! While I am curious about the other secrets of the underground river, I am quite satisfied with the experience of the regular tour.

Sign at the jump-off point - Sabang Wharf
Outriggers and their boatmen waiting for their turn to ferry visitors to the Underground River site 
Rock formation as we turn towards the the beaches of the national park where visitors will have to leave their boats to walk towards the river and to board a smaller boat (banca) to tour the river.
Once passengers are off-loaded, boats are maneuvered towards a mooring area. This is to keep the beaches clear for other boats to off-load their passengers.
Boats and their crew waiting for their passengers to return for the trip back to Sabang when we arrived at the national park.
Visitors arrive at the beaches with a backdrop of the impressive rock formations at the national park. 
Pristine waters and excellent weather made for a pleasant tour.
Another sign, this time recognising the national park as a conservation area under the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands.
Building housing comfort rooms at the park.
The staging area for tours of the river is a short trek from the beaches.
Visitors don safety vests and helmets for the tour. The helmets are pretty useful agains water and other droppings from above as you tour the caves.
A boatful of people enters the underground river as our boat follows.
Writings on the rocks by American troops who re-discovered the underground river and first explored it. I say "re-discovered" because Palawenos already knew about the river and regarded it as a mystical site. There are the only kinds of "graffiti" or vandalisms you will see aside from markers for explorers and scientists inside the caves. Fortunately, tourists have not left their own marks in the subterranean river.
The view of the staging area as we emerge from the underground river.
The river actually empties into the sea but that part of the park is basically off-limits to most visitors - part of the conservation efforts for the area.
We found that the number vessels (and visitors) have ballooned as we made our way back to our boat.
Another look at the boats that have accumulated since we arrived in the area shows just how many visitors come to see the underground river. There is supposed to be a limit in the number of visitors here (one reason why you need to get a permit in advance) but it seems like the local tourism office has allowed more than the limit and that this is happening on a regular basis. I just hope they are able to protect and maintain the national park.
As we set off to return to Sabang, I got a good shot of the rock formation that I have associated with a chess piece - the rook or tower.


Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Honda Bay island hopping - Cowrie Island

Cowrie Island was not on the itinerary of islands in my previous island hopping trips in Honda Bay. I recall that it was mentioned as a possible itinerary but it was undeveloped at the time (about 4 years ago). This time though, it was the last stop of our island hopping and we found the island already developed for visitors with its cabanas and eating areas able to accommodate the steady stream of tourists going on the Honda Bay packages.

Safety guidelines at the docking area
Our banca was among the first to arrive at the island; affording us time to practically enjoy the island before all the other tourists arrived.
Our early arrival at the island meant there were few people and lots of opportunities for good photos without crowds to ruin the scenery.
Cottages can be rented by groups while they wile away their time at the island, which is usually the last stop in island-hopping tours of Honda Bay.
I took this photo of our hut against the backdrop of pristine waters
Another attempt at a post card photo with my trusty BlackBerry Bold
Despite many people already at the island when I took these photos, there are still opportunities for shots where there's few or no people shown. At right in the photo is the eating area where all visitors converge for their meals (a lunch buffet is set-up in the area).
A jet ski for rent sits in the shade. There are also huts where you can have a soothing massage.
A fallen tree is alive and well, and provides a certain atmosphere.
Drift wood and trees with the main island of Palawan in the background.
Cowrie Island is a good example of a well-preserved and maintained tourist destination contributing to Palawan being regarded as a top island destination in the world. 
This was my 4th island hopping in Honda Bay and I will probably go on this trip every time I have the opportunity to do so whenever I am in Puerto Princesa. It is a good opportunity to enjoy the beaches in those island and the scenery is definitely for recharging your batteries. Palawan is definitely one if not my favourite destination and I am glad that there are opportunities to visit and enjoy the attractions of this island.