Story of My Palawan Tour (April 18-23, 2000)

Palawan Tour Pictures' Page | Things I brought on this tour

*April 17, 2000 (Monday)- At Home
April 18, 2000 (Tuesday)- NAIA Terminal 2, Puerto Princesa Airport and Coco Loco Island
*April 19, 2000 (Wednesday)- Coco Loco Island and Swissippini Lodge and Resort
*April 20, 2000 (Thursday)- Swissippini Lodge & Resort, German Island, Exotic Island, Paradise Island, Panaguman Beach Resort
*April 21, 2000 (Friday)- Panaguman Beach Resort, Underground River tour and Trattoria Inn & Restaurant, Puerto Princesa City
*April 22, 2000 Saturday Trattoria Inn & Restaurant, Hon  da Bay, Snake Island and Starfish Island, NCCC and Trattoria Inn & Restaurant.
*April 23, 2000 (Sunday)- Trattoria Inn & Restaurant, Puerto Princesa Airport and New Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 2, Manila.


MY TRIP Top | Bottom
Coco Loco Island, Swissippini Lodge & Resort, German Island, Exotic Island, Paradise Island, Panaguman Beach Resort, Underground River Tour, Snake Island, Starfish Island and Trattoria Inn & Restaurant. (Pictures)

MY THOUGHT Top | Bottom
It does always feel good to be back home on a long trip. Reminiscing all the moments I was there in Palawan makes me happier than I was during my actual visit. Especially when I saw all the photos I took, it always make me laugh on certain scene, and it makes me cry a little bit too, cause I have a wonderful time and I missed all my tour friends. Just joking, because I don’t cry! He he he! Nostalgic I guess but not cry! §:-)

AMNESIA Top | Bottom
I really don’t know how and where I should begin this story. It’s been a month now since I went to Palawan and only now did I have the time to write this page about my trip. More than a month ago, I was busy scanning and posting the 126 pictures on the World Wide Web for my tour friends to see, instead of letting them wait for two weeks or more for our plan meeting (Seeing, exchanging and ordering pictures).

And silly me, now I forgot what I have been through in Palawan, and where I went. It's too late folks because I am so absent-minded and embarrassed, and I guess this three sentences will be the beginning and the end of my story...............................

Hmm! You know after I got home I still used to wake up early at 6 o’clock in the morning and sleep early at 10 or 11 P.M. Only after a week or two did I adjust to my old and bad habit of sleeping and waking up late, and sleeping too many times in a day too! §:-)

And only after 12 days or more did my entire itchiness and allergy stop. The itches I am referring to be all over my body are, from bites, I mean many kinds of bites! Not jellyfish bite but from small fishes and others, which I can’t see, while swimming and snorkeling in deep-sea water.

And also I think bites from some kind of mosquitoes or insects when I removed my T-shirt while we sat on a tree trunk at the entrance of Underground River because it's hot. Top | Bottom

While other insect bites might have been came from sleeping inside the cottages, though they provided us with mosquito net, it must have been to my clumsiness and messy way of handling the net. And maybe I did not wash my body clean thoroughly when I am in Palawan or maybe due to their hard water, or maybe I take the Fansidar tablets, and that's why it causes allergy and itchiness to my skin! Honestly I didn’t know where and how I got all these allergies and bites, but it is just a mild itch here and there and nothing serious!

Every time we ride on a non-air-conditioned van, our bodies and clothes became dusted with airborne fine soil and sand coming from the roads.

Believe me; don’t do what I did before this trip! Two months ago prior to making this trip, I am already thinking and listing all the things I should bring, and guess what? I bring too many things than I actually needed and many times during the trip I regret I must carried the heavy burden. Well! The reason is I have a funny feeling; I often thought that those islands in Palawan are isolated and surrounded by water, and it lacks everything and you can’t buy anything there on an island and also we going to stay there for a long 6 days! Consequently my mom jokingly said to me why not bring the whole shower/toilet room with you while you in Palawan.

Throughout my trip I didn’t have any bad experiences; it’s all fun, fun of eating and swimming but not sleeping. I have a hard time sleeping for the first three nights cause there is no air-conditioning at the cottages on those islands. Sharing a room with three ladies is fun too and something new to me. I didn’t know this before, that it took one hour for one of my roommate to finish her shower.

Well, luckily they always allow me to take my shower first, if not second but seldom last. They know I can finish my shower in 15 minutes flat by not using any soap or shampoo, just plain water! Kidding only! §:-) I also think of my mom at home in Manila, cause she stay at home only with our maid, and I keep on thinking and worrying that one no good maid is not enough to look after my mom. And I feel bad about the airplane flight's delays too. Top | Bottom

Our washed clothes only dried up on our first day at Coco Loco Island when exposed to direct sunlight and after that my other washed clothes never dry up because the sun never shine on us again, clothes stay wet, moist and smell a little bit the whole trip.

Oh! Every seafood we gobbled up were very delicious (very fresh and many just catch) and I would like to stay longer if I can to taste all kinds of them.

And of course, we never seems to get tired quickly, all of us are very energetic even though we are very busy all day long. I guess it is because the air and surrounding places in Palawan are very clean, unlike here in Manila City.

WATCH Top | Bottom
I bring my Casio PRT-420 triple sensor watch with me. When the plane climbs to 30,000 feet my watch would register an altitude of only 1,550-1,750 meters. On a plane, the watch altimeter will not work properly because the airplane's cabin is pressurized. Its sensor measured height relative to atmospheric pressure. The higher you go up the thinner the air (the lower the atmospheric pressure), and  so the airplane’s cabin pressure fools the watch’s sensor. But at least I know that the plane is descending and near the airport and ready to touch down when my altimeter drop about 150 meters and keep on dropping. When inside the plane the digital compass of my watch works perfectly.

Plane’s cabin pressure is 850-970 millibars. Temperature in Palawan this time of the year is 30°-32° C and atmospheric pressure is 1000-1015 millibars at sea level. Seawater temperature is 29° to 30° C on a bright sunlight, and in 20-30 feet deep it’s about 27°-28° C

On an island the only mean of communication is through VHF (Very High Frequency) FM transceivers (a battery-powered ham radio gear for desk top or mobile use that is powerful than walkie talkies (portable handheld)). They tuned-in usually at 140-150 MHz. frequency ranges and with a power of 25 to 45 watts; they don’t use the UHF (Ultra High Frequency) ham radio gear (FM transceivers), cause the UHF (430-440 MHz. ranges) can’t travel very far distances than the VHF does. They use AC to DC power supply (a device that convert 220 AC Volts to 13.8 DC Volt) or sometimes 12 Volts car battery to power their transceiver.

I didn’t see any Short Wave (3-30MHz. range) AM/SSB transceiver there, maybe it’s expensive, hard to setup or too powerful for the job (Signal can travel around the world if atmospheric condition is right) for the islanders. All islands use generators to power up the whole island, but shut off or choke them at around midnight. Top | Bottom

Surprised to hear a few FM and AM radio stations on many of the islands, a few have very strong signal and play very nice music too. There are lots of landline telephones on the main island, but only few cell sites for cell phone, and all are situated in Puerto Princesa City and not very far beyond.

By the way, 60% of Metro Manila’s food fishes came from Palawan Island.

PICTURES Top | Bottom
My only regret is I didn’t take many scenic pictures; there are many nice view but it just didn’t came into my mind at that time, only when I started to write this page did I recall and realized it. And also I didn’t take good shots of the Komodo Dragons look alike and the monkeys inside the Underground River Park when they are so close to us, and also the fainted rainbow in Coco Loco Island.

Without the help of waiters, guards, passers-by, stewardess, tour friends, etc., many of these pictures taken would not be possible. And you know, everybody these days knows how to operate, compose and take pictures using a camera, because it’s easy and users friendly now.

EXPENSES Top | Bottom
All in all I spend about Php. 12,000 (Philippine pesos or US$ 285) including 5 rolls of film, T-shirts bought, soft drinks, distilled/mineral water, and extra foods/snacks I bought before and during my trip. This amount also includes the round trip plane ticket (5,180 Philippine Pesos or US$ 124.00). Before I travel to Palawan, I first down paid Php. 6,000.00 to our organizer  and then while in Palawan I also gave another Php 4,000 to our treasurer. By the way, we designated a treasurer, we each paid her initially Php. 2,000.00 and in return she paid all our group’s foods, drinks, rides, cottages and boat expenses, etc. and when the time the funds almost run out, we paid her another 1,000 so forth and so on. And she would list all the expenses we made one by one.

Below were our expenses, hope it's correct to the best of my knowledge:

Round trip plane’s ticket

Php 5,180.00 (US$ 123.30)

5 hour, one way van “jeepney” ride
(Puerto Princesa to Roxas)

Php 3,500.00/18 persons (US$ 83.30)

45 minute, one way boat ride Php 600.00/6 persons (US$ 14.30)
Coco Loco Island Cottage Php 890.00/4 persons (US$ 21.20)
2 hour, one way van (jeepney) ride
(Roxas to Port Barton)
Php 2,000.00/18 persons (US$ 47.60)
Swissippini Lodge & Resort
(Family Bungalow)
Php 500.00/4 persons (US$ 11.90)
4 hour, one way boat ride
(Port Barton to Panaguman Resort)
Php 2,500.00/6 persons (US$ 59.50)
Panaguman Beach Resort cottage Php 650.00/2 persons (US$ 15.47)
Panaguman Beach Resort room
with common shower/toilet room
Php 490.00/3 persons (US$ 11.66)
10 minute, one way boat ride tour
(Panaguman to Underground River)
Php 400.00/4 persons (US$ 9.52)
Underground River Tour Entrance fee: Php 150.00/person (US$ 3.57)
20 minute, one way boat ride
(Panaguman to Sabang)
Php 200.00/4 persons (US$ 4.76)
3 hour, one way van (jeepney) ride
(Sabang to Puerto Princesa)
Php 2,500.00/10 persons (US$ 59.50)
Trattoria Inn Private shower/toilet: Php 850.00/3 persons
(US$ 20.24)
room with one common shower/toilet:
Php 690.00/3 persons (US$ 16.42)
Honda Bay tour boat ride
(Pandan, Snake and Starfish Island)
Php 600.00/6 persons (US$ 14.28)


WISH I WERE  Top | Bottom
I heard that there are two more beautiful beach resorts, if I am not mistaken they are, Amanpulo and Dos Palmas.

Here goes my story………..

April 17, 2000 (Monday) - At Home Top | Bottom
I hurriedly take two Fansidar tablets at noontime; actually I should take these two tablets on Sunday. But due to hear say that it will cause allergy to our skin and we must totally avoid exposure to sunlight after taking it. I didn’t buy any of this medicine until my dentist convinces me otherwise and so I only take it on Monday instead of Sunday. Just to be sure that malaria won’t infect me; I take 6 tablets of Fansidar all in all. Two on April 17, another two on May 1 and two more on May 15.

Fansidar (Sulfadoxine 500mg, pyrimethamine 25mg) is antimalarial; for non-immune adult, 2 tablets to be taken once every 2 weeks. First dose to be taken 1-2 days before departure and continued to take two tablets once every 2 weeks during stay, and for the first 6 weeks after return from the endemic area.

Then that night I started to pack my things, only after an hour or so I finally finished putting and squishing together all of them in two bags (one big and one medium size) and I also bring an extra small empty one too just in case.

About 12 midnight I went to bed and to make sure I wakeup the next morning for my flight to Palawan. And just to be absolutely sure that I wake up, I set four alarm clocks to ring and chime at 6 A.M. Ha ha ha! As a result of that I didn’t sleep at all that night because while lying on the bed, I keep on worrying that I might wake up late and never catch the plane on time. Weird me! §:-)

April 18, 2000 (Tuesday) - NAIA Terminal 2, Puerto Princesa Airport and Coco Loco IslandTop | Bottom

Some part of my body itch a little from the medicine I took yesterday.

And so I jump out of the bed at 6 A.M., readied but not fresh, still tired and sleepy, I change my clothes and carry my two bags downstairs. My tour friends finally fetch me at 7:10 A.M. And while half way or so on the road near the airport, there is a traffic jam, but luckily we got to the airport on time. And well, we check in at about 8 A.M., our entire luggage passed the x-ray machines, but custom personnel didn’t inspect our hand carry. This is the usual custom procedure when travel domestically by plane. While weighing all our luggage, we also get our plane’s boarding pass on the same counter.

Everything was so smooth and flawless, and I was thinking to myself… Wow, this will be the best and wonderful trip ever for me! BUT!!! The originally scheduled take off time at 8:40 A.M. was delayed, boarding was reset to 10 A.M., and we only started to board the jet plane (Old Airbus A330 or A340) at about 10:30 A.M. While we are waiting at the departure lounge, the airline treated us with chicken sandwiches but no drinks, and we all chat and some strolled around the new NAIA Terminal 2 (Niñoy Aquino International Airport) airport. And finally when we boarded the aircraft and the jet was in position on the runway and the pilot was igniting the jet engines to full throttle readied to take off at 11 A.M. The pilot suddenly announced to us “ladies and gentlemen, we have a problem; one of the engines would not start properly”. And so the jet plane taxi back to the airport terminal and luckily we didn’t deplane. Top | Bottom

After tweaking the jet engine we finally take off at 12 noon. I overheard one of the passenger said, she’s don’t mind and she is willing to wait for many hours as long as we’re going to arrive at our destination safely! While airborne, many (I guess) were so frightened that one of the jet engines might fail again and refuse to burn in midair! While on board the plane, they served us biscuit and coffee or tea or juice. I read newspaper and chat with friends and not letting them know that I was scared to dead too that the plane might crash land or what come may! §:-)

Just for the record, PAL (Philippine Airline) is the safest airline in the Philippines; their pilots are the best in the world and many would not, and refuse to, travel domestically without PAL. I included! He he he! §:-)

Well, luckily we cruise for 45 to 55 minutes and arrived in Puerto Princesa City at 1 P.M.

Puerto Princesa Airport along Rizal Avenue is a very small one, capable of only handling two or three flights at a time. If I am not mistaken, I saw two x-ray machines and this time there is a luggage conveyor under construction. We all get our luggage and hand carries without any custom check, and walk outside the airport. Top | Bottom

Many of us sweat while waiting outside for the van to arrive. It's very hot cause April and May are the hottest summer months here in the Philippines. Temperature in Palawan is 30° to 32° C and atmospheric pressure is 1000-1015 millibars. Seawater temperature is 29° to 30° C on a bright sunlight, and in 20-30 feet deep it’s about 27°-28° C.

At about 1340 hours, we went straight to Ka Lui restaurant in Rizal Avenue for our lunch; we ordered lobsters and other seafood. The restaurant is made entirely of wood, bamboo and nipa. There are many size and shape of wooden and earthen jars. Many hanging on the wall and many more were placed on mezzanine. Some are new and many are antique. We must all leave our shoes and slippers in front of the house before we enter. There are many slippers beside the restroom in case we are going in. I can still remember that one of us accidentally drop a little piece of fish while we are eating and within 10 minutes many small red ants (about 25 or more) arrive and attack and eat the piece. I was scare that the ants would attack and bite our feet and so I ask the waiter to clean the bamboo floor and remove all the ants.

And at 1430 hours from Ka Lui we went straight to Roxas. It took us about 5 hours to reach the port in Roxas by van. We are supposed to arrive in 4 hours, but many of the roads were under construction then and there were lots of detours too. By the way, the vans we ride on this whole 6 days trip were all non-air-conditioned. The road to Roxas was very dusty, rough and bumpy, and I felt that the long hard ride would last forever. The reason this ride is hard on me was aside from the long bumpy ride, it is because of stupid me again. You see, when we stop over at about 5:30 P.M. on a place with canteen and restroom, I am suppose to attend to my nature call but instead of that I went out of the van just to stretch my body. As a result during the following hours of our ride I refuse my friends’ offer of snacks and drinks and you know why! He he he! We never stop over again and when we reach the port in Roxas at about 2030 hours, everybody fall in line for the only one restroom available there, but I did not! §:-) Top | Bottom

At 9:45 P.M. we arrived at Coco Loco Island after 45 minutes of boat ride and four of us check-in at one of their cottage. Each cottage has one big bed good for two persons and two smaller one all with mosquito net and has a big 16-incher (.41 meter) electric ceiling fan and a private shower/toilet room. There was only cold water from deep well and no hot one and no water heater for the shower too. Water pressure is OK. We saw a 14-incher (.355 meter) gecko "tuko" lizard (size include tail and look like the shape of ordinary house "butiki" lizard but with combination of light-gray and light-green color) crawling on the shower/toilet room’s wood/bamboo/nipa wall. When the lizard disappear after 5 or 10 minutes, we went to shower one by one to clean our harden muddied hair and dirty, sticky, muddied body and we also wash our muddied clothes. While showering, one of my roommate shouted, there is a June beetle (salagubang) flying inside the shower. A June beetle is a species of beetle often found in mango trees. She open the shower/toilet room’s door and came out only with a towel wrapped around her body. Oh! I wish I were there to see all the things unfold that night!

After showering at 10:30 P.M. we went to Coco Loco Beach Resort’s restaurant. I thought the dinner was served but it isn’t; only coconut juices are on the table. One of the waiter ask me and one of the ladies I am with, if they going to bring out the food we order, because their chefs will be off-duty by 11 P.M. Well everybody of my friends were still at their cottage showering and I have to went to our organizer and ask her and she said yes it is OK. It took me 20 minutes walk just to ask her, cause it is far and I have to find her because I don’t know which cottage she check-in. Top | Bottom

We change all the straw on the coconuts cause there are many houseflies sneaking around and I ate two hamburgers and it’s delicious. Never taste something so delicious when you get so hungry! Some of us play billiards and there is a dartboard too.

After that nice meal I change to nightdress and went to bed. It’s nice because my bed is position under the electric fan and I said to myself wow that’s cool for a hot night. I am used to air-conditioning when I slept and without them would give me sleepless night. As time ticked 12 midnight I noticed that the light outside our cottages went off and the electric fan slow down to a point where I can see and able to count the 3 blades while it rotate. It is because they use AC generator on the island and they reduce the power at night to conserve energy and to prolong the generator’s fuel and life I guess. I sweated and worried a little and then after 20 minutes or so it started to speed up and run very fast again. I closed my eyes and went to sleep again but after 30 minutes or so, my body warm up again and I sweat and wakeup again. I look at the fan and here it goes again it slow down! And so this is my never-ending story of sleeping, sweating and waking up again and again! As a consequence my body and clothes were wet all over from perspiration.

One of my roommates can’t bear the heat too; because she sleeps near the window and the fan is far from her bed. And as she was sleeping and half awake she would use her hand to drive a small carton fan to cool herself. As I was half awake just like her, I could hear her said “shit, it’s very hot” for 4 or 5 times that day. Fortunately at about 4:30 A.M. there was a big downpour and it lasted till 6:30 A.M. That is the only time I have a good sound sleep. Top | Bottom

By the way, before we went to bed, one of my roommates turns on my small battery-powered portable Sony AM/FM/SW/LW band radio. She said she is used to the air-conditioning noise at home and she needs the radio’s sound to put her to sleep. And I am a bit surprise to hear FM station playing nice songs on such an isolated island. I think we hear only about 3 FM stations and many AM stations on the air, and the radio continues to play till the next morning. When I wake up the next day I jokily complain that one of our roommate snored the whole night and one of them quickly commented and said, “Do you know you snore too”. I am so embarrassed I shot my big mouth at once! §:-)

By the way, no one buys and owns the island here in Palawan as I heard from one of the boatman. They rent it from government and in return they must take good care of the island’s resources and ecologies.

April 19, 2000 (Wednesday)- Coco Loco Island and Swissippini Lodge and ResortTop | Bottom
Early morning, four of our friends on another cottage complain that there were many small snails crawling inside their cottage’s bamboo floor when they wakeup. Well, it is because they did not close their door when they went to sleep last night. Later we saw many snails in the beach and near the cottages here in this island.

Our clothes didn’t dry up this morning and we transfer and hang them on a live electric wire directly exposing it to sunlight; it dried up quickly as expected!

We heard a jet airplane went down in Cebu City on our FM band radio.

About 9 A.M. we went to restaurant to eat our breakfast. The location we seated has a very nice view and I could see the beach and a man (tourist) surfing on a windsurfer. Oh! He is good at it despite there was little wind that day! I could see a 26-footer (7.93 meters) bone of a whale hanging on the restaurant’s ceiling. They told us that this whale came to the island and die there. I forgot what is the reason she die; I guess the whale was sick or did not know the direction she was going and suffocated on the beach. Top | Bottom

This morning we drink coconut juices again but this time we learned and became clever enough to use Pilot permanent ink pen to put our name on each coconut we drink to prevent a mix-up. After emptying the juice, we ask the waiter to cut it into half so that we could eat the white flesh inside. We order a lot of seafood and yes, it taste very good. I am so excited because it is my first day on the island to swim and after breakfast I hurriedly change and applied the sun block lotion and go straight to the beach, others follow. Before going to swim and snorkel everybody put a life buoy jacket on, we just pick one from the many, which hanged outside the restaurant.

There are many beautiful coral reef surrounding the Coco Loco Island’s seabed, hence everybody's amazed to see so many fishes this island has. One of our tour friend dropped leftover rice, and wow, I never see so many fishes came in different size, shape and color! Know why? It is simply because I seldom snorkel! That's why I am so surprised!

I love this island because of the sound of its name “Coco Loco;” “naloko kami sa Coco Loco,” just joking! It is a very beautiful and clean island, and the food served is very good. And we can use their sport facilities for free, such as: Squash court, billiard table, dartboard and darts, table tennis (Ping-Pong), beach volleyball, and others. One can walk and circle around this island in less than 30 minutes.
Top | Bottom

We eat our lunch at Coco Loco’s restaurant at 1:30 P.M. We leave about 2:30 P.M. by boats back to the port in Roxas. At about 3:45pm from Roxas, we ride on the van again for 2 hours and arrive at Port Barton. We check in at Swissippini Lodge and Resort at about 5:30 P.M. Aha! We shower again to remove soil and dirt from our bodies. Clean and refresh I apply insect repellent lotion on my neck, arms, feet and ankles, and we all dined-in at the resort’s restaurant. We chat and some play playing card.

Swissippini Resort uses incandescent bulbs instead of the florescent lamps use in Coco Loco Island. They use generator again and was very dim all around the place because of the yellow colored, low wattage dimmed bulbs. In each room there were one big bed good for 2 persons and a smaller one on the mezzanine and all come with mosquito net. But there were no electric fan (I envied our tour friends cause the cottage she (four of them) check-in have a ceiling fan, but after 11 P.M. my envy feeling turn into laughter when suddenly all power went off) and only one bulb for the room and another one for the private shower/toilet room remain lighted. Water pressure is OK too and is much softer than Coco Loco Island and no water heater for the shower again. All power was shut off at about 12 midnights, luckily there is a small window on the mezzanine where I slept and a bit of wind coming in and I sleep without sweating this time. It is colder that night because it rain in the afternoon.

Before I went to bed that night, I am a little bit scare because I could see a tall big old tree with very wide trunk through the small window on the mezzanine. It looks like a big monster or zombie looking at me! Anyway I am so sleepy I did not have the time to check and did not pay much attention to it. My roommate aren’t lucky as me, they slept on the big bed below and sweat a little at first.

April 20, 2000 (Thursday)- Swissippini Lodge & Resort, German Island, Exotic Island, Paradise Island, Panaguman Beach ResortTop | Bottom
In the morning we have breakfast at the Swissippini Resort’s restaurant and went straight to island hopping by boats. Our first stop is the German island and then Exotic Island. There are lots of fishes here too but not as many as there were in Coco Loco Island. We have our lunch at Paradise Island, our last hopping island; it’s a very small island that can only accommodate about 20 persons. It’s cute and clean, it has a refrigerator for storing drinks, have shower, toilet room, etc. Paradise Island has all the facilities a big island has, and it’s the place where I ate many kind of fish dishes here. One of our tour friends’ arms and legs were beaten by jellyfish at one of this island and applies some medication here.

Some of the ladies started to feel a little bit tired and one complain that it is fun to swim, snorkel and see many fish and coral reef on these islands, but the fun stop when it is time to return to the beach. She doesn’t like to swim back to the beach because her feet and arms muscle ached from many hours of swimming. Therefore some ladies stay put on the island chatting, eating and playing with the island's small puppy and cat. We were puzzled first at why the small puppy would not eat despite of the fact that we gave her very delicious fish. Later when the puppy grabbed the fish and walk a distance away from the cat, she eats the fish quickly. Ah! The reason is the small puppy is afraid of the big cat! Then one of the ladies take the puppy to the beach; going to give her a bath. And another lady said, you can not bath a puppy which is only less than 2 months old, it is bad for her. Top | Bottom

We take a shortcut bath and change from swimwear to our casual clothes. After lunch at Paradise Island, we went straight to Panaguman Beach Resort by boats. It rains that afternoon during our 4 hours boat ride from Paradise Island to Panaguman, and we all experienced the long hour of chilling effect of strong cold wind combined with sea and rainwater that hit our bodies. Many of us quivered on the boats and I covered my body with the windbreaker I brought for the trip. 

Later during the 4 hours boat ride the sun shines on us again. The boat’s shade protect us from the sunshine, but before the sunshine, one of the lady feel so sleepy, she decided to lie-down face up and slept in front of the boat with our bags served as her pillow. After 35 minutes or more under the bright sun, there were waves on our path and some seawater splash on her face and as a result she wakeup. After waking up for 10 minutes she splashes me back with some seawater and I ask why you do that? She said “You intentionally splash my face while I was asleep” I replied, "Nope, I did not."

Later many of us laugh at her when we reach Panaguman because she’s red-hot as pepper all over her face, arms and legs, but you won’t notice anything when you stand behind her and look at the back view of her arms and legs! Well, she simply forgets to apply sun block lotion when she goes to sleep on the boat! <smiles> Top | Bottom

About 5 P.M. we reached Panaguman Beach Resort and again we all have a nice and fresh shower, removing salt from our bodies. But water pressure there is very low and when all of us took to the shower at the same time on four cottages we occupied. Water drop almost to zero and I have to wait for the bucket to fill up in order to take mine. After showering, I apply mosquito repellent again and we all went to the beach and we encounter the prettiest, colorful sunset I have seen for years! I guess it is the best view we have! Cause I seldom seen sunset anymore this day so I guess maybe this one is the most spectacular! §:-) And maybe it is the result of heavy rain that afternoon that is why it is so colorful.

The cottages here are much bigger than the previous two and have a big bed good for three persons and an extra small bed good for me! All with mosquito net but no electric fan, all uses incandescent bulbs, and no water heater too for the shower. Electric power is shut off at about 12 midnights again here and they provide us with candles. Top | Bottom

Then afterward we dine in at the restaurant and after dinner we sat at the restaurant’s dining table and play playing cards again. Whew! I have the greatest laugh of my life, and my hands and fingers sore a little from the games we played. All the tour friend ladies are very clever and have fast reflexes and certainly outwitted me in many of the games. We play bluff game, 123 pass (slap jack or slap heart), pusoy (a variation of poker), monkey monkey, 21 (blackjack) and pekua (variation of bridge). I don’t know how to play many of the games, the ladies only teach me while we are actually playing them one by one. Hmm! Maybe they aren’t so smart and quick after all, if only I knew how to play these games before!

Then as usual we went to bed at about 11 P.M., while lying on the bed, I chat with my 3 roommates for a while about boyfriend and girlfriend and stuffs like that. This time temperature is much colder cause it rain again for the third afternoon. And it’s nice cause I have a good sleep, although the breeze coming from the window smelled like something from a tree or a flower or a fruit tree. The smell is bad enough to make my nose allergic to it and I almost sneeze. But I felt so tired so I forget all about it and in minutes I started to sleep.

April 21, 2000 (Friday)- Panaguman Beach Resort, Underground River tour and Trattoria Inn & Restaurant, Puerto Princesa City. Top | Bottom
After breakfast at 8 A.M. we ride on the boats again from Panaguman to proceed to Underground River. While we approach near the Underground River the boatman ask us to put our life buoy jacket on, every boat have life buoy jacket for the passengers to wear and I think it is their new requirement. Sometimes the sea is rough and our boat might capsize so it’s for our own safety too. I noticed on the west side of the sea I could not see any land near us and even very far. I said to myself, wow! this might be the China Sea and there is a little bit of wave once in a while and our boat would slow down when encountering them.

We arrive at the Underground River Park shore at about 8:20 A.M. and two boats already park there. We are lucky cause only a few people were there; we then walk from the park to the place where we are suppose to ride boat to tour the Underground River. Along the short (about 10 minutes) path I saw many small monkeys and Komodo dragons (about 5 to 6 feet or 1.53-1.83 meters long including the tail) look alike. Some people feed the monkeys with food they eat. We wait for a few minutes and it’s our turn to ride. As usual they provide us with life buoy jacket but the boat can now accommodate 16 persons instead of only 6 persons 4 years ago and we don’t need to wear helmet now. Top | Bottom

Once we are inside the cave filled with water, we could hear tete..cheche...tete cheche sound of swallow birds (their nest is an expensive delicacy) calling (It’s not the bat’s sound as mentioned in my earlier Palawan page) and flying over us. And as usual there are many bats hanging on the ceiling of the cave. Small baby bats hang together in groups, overlapping and embracing each other. There are many rocks that look like lion, Virgin Mary, castle, corn, body of a woman and etc. One of the boat’s bamboo floats on the left side bump on the cave wall, as a result one of the wooden seat at the back breaks from the impact. But it is nothing serious and we continue the tour.

When we finish the tour, we all went out to the park and ready to board the boats again that would get us to Sabang. But one (the boat I ride) of the three boats is missing; we waited an hour for the boat to return from fetching or getting something somewhere. While waiting for the boat to arrive, we (5 of us) stroll around the beach and took some pictures. We sat on a tree trunk and while we are chatting, I removed my T-shirt, cause it is hot, and to my surprise some kind of insects bite my back. I think it is about 5 to 6 bites; I quickly put on my T-shirt back again.

We leave Underground River Park at about 11 A.M. and about 11:45 A.M. we join our other friends at the port in Sabang. It took us 3 hours ride on van to Puerto Princesa and during the ride many eat sandwiches (serve as our lunch), which we bought in the morning from the Panaguman Resort. Well at last there is signal for our cell phone when we travel half of our trip. It’s Good Friday and we drop by the Vietnamese camp but there is no one there to welcome us and then we visited the butterfly farm but none is interested to go and take a look. But we did drop by at one of the big grocery there in Rizal Avenue to get some drinks. At about 3:30 P.M., we check in at the Trattoria Inn & Restaurant, Rizal Avenue, Puerto Princesa City, and yes many take a nice bath again to removed residues from our bodies! Only after showering did I started to eat my sandwich inside the hotel room. Top | Bottom

The Trattoria Inn’s room is big and has one big bed good for three and one smaller one good for me again! Here in Puerto Princesa City they don’t need mosquito net cause there are very few mosquitoes and other insects around here. We share a common shower/toilet room for two of our hotel rooms we occupied. The water pressure is OK but still no heater for the shower. Some of my friend’s room has private shower/toilet and has TV too, but not ours.

Each hotel’s air-condition unit has a magnetic switch (a device wherein the air-condition’s AC power cord run into this) and there is a small magnetic key attached to each hotel’s key chain. In order to turn-on the air-condition unit, we must slide in the small magnetic key into the magnetic switch. When you remove the small magnetic key, the air-condition unit AC power will be shut-off automatically. A good idea for the hotel owner to save energy and minimize electric consumption. It avoid and prevent the hotel guests to leave their key inside their room and at the same time turn on the air-conditioning unit when they go out.

But I have a better idea, it so happens that our hotel key and the magnetic key are not permanently wire or join together and can be separately remove. And so I cleverly remove and leave the small magnetic key into the magnetic switch and let the air-condition unit turn-on continuously while we bring the hotel key with us while we go out. And when we come back later instead of warm, the room we stay in is very cold. Our other tour friends who live next door and who share with us the same common shower/toilet room were very clever too. They lock their hotel room's door and left their whole set of key hang in their air-condition’s magnetic switch and turn on the air-condition unit the whole day while they go out. When they return, they don't get into their locked hotel door but instead they passed by our room and into the common shower/toilet room in order to get into their room next door. <smiles> Top | Bottom

At about 5:30 P.M. we stroll along Rizal Avenue, it is the busiest street in Puerto Princesa City. Here in this street you will find many establishments such as fast-food chain, restaurants, banks, movie houses, gasoline stations, a wet and dry markets near here, an airport, a city hall, hotels, souvenir stores, groceries, hardware and lumber, electrical and appliance stores, drugstores, a big department store near here, photo labs, etc. You name it and they got it here but in a smaller and simpler version or type than compare to their Metro Manila counterparts.

At night we dined in at a Korea restaurant called Palawan Garden along Rizal Avenue, which is walking distance from our hotel. We waited a long while for each food to be served, because it is Good Friday (a special holiday) and the restaurant was under staff.

After dinner some of us took to the shower before going to bed and inside the common shower/toilet room we stayed in, there is a hole on one of the wooden post. The hole is located near the shower room’s floor tiles and when we take our shower, the water would sip into the hole and there it is; suddenly a cockroach came out of the hole and run into our room. We all got very excited and frightened and when I found the cockroach, I watch and guard it so it won’t disappear on my sight. And I shouted, “Give me the Baygon (one of my roommates bring one) insect spray killer” but all my roommates’ reaction was too slow compare to the cockroach movement. The cockroach keeps on running and I acted quickly; I get my roommates’ shoe and use it to hit the cockroach. Oh what a relieved, cause the cockroach just stops there in the corner of the room motionless. But when I turn my head and take a look again at the cockroach, its gone! We hurriedly moved our beds away from the wall and I closed all my bags just to be sure. I don’t know why, but I am very scared of cockroach since I was a kid, especially when it flies and land and crawl on my body. Ah! We all have a good night sleep even though there is cockroach inside our room!

April 22, 2000 Saturday Trattoria Inn & Restaurant, Honda Bay, Snake Island and Starfish Island, NCCC and Trattoria Inn & Restaurant. Top | Bottom
For the first time I wake up fresh and renew here in Palawan. We have our morning breakfast in Trattoria Inn & Restaurant.

About 8 A.M. we ride on a van and went to Sta. Lourdes Pier, Honda Bay for island hopping again. I forget how long the ride was, I guess it’s about 40-60 minutes ride. Our first stop is Pandan Island but we don’t feel like swimming there and so we proceed to Snake Island. We all swim and snorkel for a while, there were very few fishes here on this islands cause all the coral reef near the beach were dead. Next stop is the Starfish Island and I dived into the water and caught one starfish and show it to my friends and later I return it to the seashore. I regret I forget to take pictures at this beautiful and slow-moving starfish when many of my friends hold it in their hands.

When we came back to Trattoria Inn & Restaurant from Honda Bay at about 1 P.M. I go straight up to the hotel room to shower while my 3 roommates waited for me downstairs. They did not take the shower cause they did not swim on those islands at Honda Bay, but all the others did went to swim and took the shower. While my roommates were waiting for me they ordered some snacks; French-fries, pizza and fruit salad at Trattoria Restaurant. Wow! When I went down stairs at the restaurant, the food is already served on the table and we eat quickly and happily. He he he! I ask the waitress to remove each disk each time we emptied it. And when our group came down from fresh nice shower, our table was already clean and empty as if we didn’t eat anything and we just pretend we only sat there and were waiting for them.

After shower we ride on pedicabs (taxicles) at about 2:30 P.M. lunchtime, and we tried a Vietnamese restaurant called Noodle House along Rizal Avenue, Puerto Princesa City. Their beef and/or pork noodle soup cost only Php 15.00 (US$ .36) and their special one Php 20.00 (US$ 48 cents). The noodles were not enough for most of us and many of us ate ice cream to satisfy our hunger. Pedicab ride is 3 Philippine Pesos (US$ 7 cents) per person, for a round trip to nearby street; it’s about 10 Pesos (US$ 23 cents). Top | Bottom

After lunch some of my tour friends went back to hotel to rest and play playing cards and some of us proceeded to shopping around Rizal Avenue, Puerto Princesa. We (me included) went to the wet market (near Rizal Avenue) first to inquire about fresh and frozen fishes that we would like to bring back home to Manila the following morning. The fish vendor told us that they would provide us with cartons filled with ice when we bought their fishes. While inquiring, some of us buy homemade sweet/nuts and dried fishes and I buy some dried fishes, dried squids and cashew too. Then we went to Puerto Princesa’s biggest department store called N.C.C.C. (New City Commercial Center, they also have branches in Davao and Tagum), it is located near Rizal Avenue too. We bought distilled waters and soft drinks, and went to their second floor to buy some T-shirts and all sorts of things; just the same I bought 3 T-shirts.

When we went back to Trattoria Inn after shopping about 7 P.M. We all gather at the hotel lobby and board 4 pedicabs (taxixles) to Badjao Sea Food Restaurant at Php10.00 (US$ 23 cents)/person round trip. The restaurant is located in a small street about 3 – 4 big blocks away from the hotel we stayed in; you can’t hire any pedicab (taxicle) there. Well the food were very good and while waiting our pedicabs (taxicles) to came back to fetch us, we play playing cards again after dinner. About 9:30 P.M. the four pedicabs (taxicles) all came back and we board them to return to hotel. But as we were climbing a steep road along the way, one of the pedicab’s (taxicle) tire burst. We laughed, cause everybody must have gain a lots of weight after this nice meal and we have to sneak in and fit in tight into three pedicabs (taxicles) in order to get us back.

As usual many took to the shower again that night! My three roommates saw another cockroach that evening at our room when they use the common shower/toilet room. I did not pay any attention to it, I only moved my bed away from the wall again and zippered my bags. Well all things went well and we all have a good night sleep.

April 23, 2000 (Sunday)- Trattoria Inn & Restaurant, Puerto Princesa Airport and New Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 2, Manila.  Top | Bottom
We have a little chat after taking our breakfast at Trattoria Inn & Restaurant; at about 8:30 A.M. we proceed to the airport. Two of my friends decided not to buy fresh or frozen fishes at the wet market or at a fish dealer near the airport and I follow their decision and did just the same. And so we check in our luggage first and get our boarding pass and walk out of the airport to shop at the nearby souvenir store. I bought a small book its all about the food fishes of Palawan and another T-shirt too. While earlier in Puerto Princesa Airport when checking in our luggage and getting our boarding passes, four of us, me included naughtily stepped on the airport big weighing scale to see how much weight we gained from our trip. After knowing how heavy I was, I didn't eat much for a week after I got home!

The airport authority was very strict that day, cause there are many phone call’s threat to bomb the domestic route airport, airlines and airplanes. Also I think it is the result of MILF (Moro Islamic Liberation Front) and the Abu Sayyaf renew conflict with the Philippine government. And the 21 foreign hostages taken in Sabah, Malaysia by Abu Sayyaf group to Sulu on April 22, 2000. But up to this day, June 25, 2000, there is no incident involving bombing of any aircraft in the Philippines. The downing of Air Philippine in Cebu I think (I am not sure) was due to aircraft failure or human error.

The custom personnel examine each of our hand carry very thoroughly and one of the female staff saw my knife (a 3 ½ or 8.8 cm Buck knife with an extra saw blade) and asks me to separately check it in. Instead, I ask one of the security personnel to help me cause everybody was about to board the aircraft and I can’t wait to fall in line again at the baggage’s counter. Luckily he helps me and gives me a small stab written personal belonging and which I claim it later at the Manila airport.We proceed to the airport departure lounge and wait to board the airplane. Top | Bottom

11:10 A.M. is our flight home to Manila. When we board the plane and ready to take off at the runway. The pilot said “The jet engines have overheated due to long hours of flying from Manila.” And this time they told us to deplaned cause they going to wait for the mechanics to arrive from Manila on their next scheduled flight, which is around 2 P.M. I call my mom in Manila that our plane will be delay. While waiting they treat us with Jollibee’s one-piece fried chicken with rice and soft drinks too and later we bought some ice cream our self and many of my tour friends play playing card again on the departure lounge. So by 2 P.M. another airplane from the same airline touchdown and we were so happy we could see the mechanics repairing the parked airplane we are suppose to board back home.

But I was thinking to myself why not for us passengers (me included), who waited for 3 hours already, to ride on this newly arrive airplane from Manila and let the original passengers who are about to board this airplane, to wait for our plane (plane under repair) instead. To my dismay the original passengers board the newly arrive aircraft and take off leaving us behind. There are only two flight daily bound to Manila for PAL, although there are other airlines serving this route too. After one hour of tweaking the airplane, they finally announce we could board the plane at 3 P.M.. Zoom! The airplane took off and here I was as usual pretending that I am not scared of what’s happening, and anticipate what will happen to this overheated jet plane on a midair flight! I am very happy that I did not buy any fresh frozen fish or else the fish might spoil from long hours delay. Top | Bottom

And so we, I mean the airplane landed safely and without a scratch to arrive at the New NAIA Terminal 2 Airport at 4 P.M. And upon arriving I phone my mom that we are already at the Manila Airport and wow what a big relieve, my mom was very happy to hear the news that I arrive safely. My friends van fetch us at about 4:30 P.M. and drive us home one by one.

When I got home at 5:30 P.M., I take a very nice, clean bath, chat with my mom, eat my dinner while chat with my mom again, turn-on my air-conditioning unit and went straight to bed! §:-)


Special thanks to Pamela Sia, Kelly Ann Ho, Sonia Lim and Jennifer Lee for providing me with additional information.
And thank you again to Jennifer for letting me use her Canon Prima AS-1 underwater camera and thanks too to Alice Ty for additional pictures.
And of course thanks to all my tour friends who make my trip worthwhile and fantastic! They are Fred, Carol, Pamela, Polly, Kelly Ann, Sonia, Jennifer, Alice, Christine, Charmane, Pearlie, Sanlie, and Cata.

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Cameras used:
Contax G2 with Carl Zeiss Planar 45mm lens and Contax TLA 140 flash.
** Canon Prima AS-1 (Waterproof: 5m/16.4ft.) with Canon 32mm f/3.5 lens
Film: Fuji Superia ISO 100 24x36mm film.

Scanner: Microtek ScanMaker IIHR

Page created on June 25, 2000, 

Last update: Sunday, May 27, 2007

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Created and maintained by Charles Keng