My Palawan trip was the one I saved a lot for. I knew that I would be almost bankrupt by the time I return home from Palawan. But Palawan was simply beautiful! I do not regret every single centavo I spent for this trip.
I started my trip in Puerto Princesa. I wanted to see the Underground River because of all the hype it got.
I got to book the Underground River tour with the help of the hotel where I stayed. I contacted them more than one month in advance to book the trip. They require a minimum of a month to book this trip because of the number of tourists going there.
I stayed in Sunlight Guest Hotel. I decided to book here because their rooms were on sale at the time of my booking. It was only about P2500 (or maybe a little more) per night – something that was way more affordable than other hotels in Puerto Princesa. I wanted to spend less in Puerto Princesa and focus my resources in El Nido.
They provided free airport transfer. My room had a nice view of the beach and it had a veranda. But the thing I liked most was the tuna steak. The fish was just so delicious that it was all I had for dinner when I was there for two nights.
The Underground River tour was fun. We had a very fun tour guide. I apologize I forgot her name. I was with a group that did not have any problem. Two of the people in the group were Ilonggos from Mindanao so I was able to bond with them because of the common language we speak. They were balikbayans from North America (one was from Canada and the other from the US) and they were very humble. They would give huge tips which overwhelmingly shamed the tips I was giving.
The Underground River itself, however, was underwhelming. The rock formations outside it were more beautiful. Maybe I just don’t appreciate caves that much or maybe it was because I had the task of holding the flashlight in our group. The Underground River guide was fun though. I enjoyed the stories he shared and the jokes he made.
I was surprised that the Underground River in Sabang was still part of Puerto Princesa. It was a two-hour drive and almost 80 km away from the city proper. In the scale of Negros where I live, that distance already covers 8 towns and cities.
I left early the next morning. The hotel provided me packed breakfast and somehow they knew I was going to El Nido so I really appreciated that.
I took a tricycle, which was the main mode of transportation in Palawan, to go to the San Jose Terminal. There were plenty of tricycles even at four in the morning. The van where I reserved a seat in was stationed there. The ride going to El Nido was 6 hours long but the van was comfortable. Again, it surprised me that each town was about 80 km long. That 6 hours of land travel only covered one city and three towns.
I also took a tricycle from the terminal in El Nido going to the airport. My boat transfer going to Lagen Island Resort, where I was booked for a night, was just waiting for me. Everyone there was so polite and had this sense of urgency, something that I always look for when interacting with hotel staff members.
Lagen Island Resort was one of the more affordable island resorts that are part of the El Nido Resorts. They are all luxury resorts. I’m not going to disclose how much I paid because I would just look like a social climber to anyone reading this. I would just suggest checking their website – elnidoresorts.com.
The boat transfer from the El Nido airport to Lagen was already worth what I paid for. I was the only guest on the boat and I had a full view of the islands.
I was greeted with a warm welcome when I got to the resort. Everyone was very pleasant and knew my name. There was even a welcome party who sang and dance.
The activity coordinator offered me their whole day activity package which I signed up in haste. It was only for P3000 per person. The package included two buffets, a trip to the surrounding islands, snorkeling and swimming activities, and sunset and sunrise cruises. Right after I went to the Snake Island tour, I realized that I would not enjoy this group as much as I imagined. I was alone and I was not really fond of interacting with people who were in the same tour. Add to the fact that I’m not exactly a good swimmer. I would probably go back here next time and would bring my family or friends.
The resort would give you a brochure that featured the animals found in El Nido. It would serve as your checklist as to what animals you have seen. They also emphasized being green and keeping the resort clean.
The view from my room was breathtaking. The room that I booked was on stilts right above the sea so I could see fish swimming just right below. It also provided a great view of the rock formations in the island. Here see them….
I had a wonderful sleep that night. I was only in my room the next day. This was my only purpose in El Nido anyway – to rest. I also got to see the islands (but not all things found on the islands) which was more than enough for me. Maybe I’ll be more adventurous next time and explore more.
I took their chartered plane back to Manila where I spent a night before going back home.
I had a wonderful time in Palawan. Everyone there, from the hotel staff to the tour guides to the tricycle drivers, was really nice. All tourists, local or foreign, were treated equally. They were probably the nicest group of people I have ever met. I will be back there not only because Palawan is amazingly beautiful, but its people are also the best in the country.