PUERTO PRINCESA – forest city in paradise island

 

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a small portion of the “Paradise Island” from my window view

 

Owing from its vast land area, Puerto Princesa City in Palawan Island has much to offer to travelers and tourists. Thank you to its political predecessors and incumbents as they continue to preserve the island’s natural beauty, minimizing negative impact to its surrounding environment and preserving its culture and heritage.

 

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Tourist boats in Sabang, Puerto Princesa

 

Learning and understanding first hand from the tourism officers and government officials, cleanliness and discipline are a serious matter, and this practice has been embedded within the society for more than a decade, that two generations are practicing it. It is evident – clean public spaces, wet markets with dry aisles and less repulsive odors, green environment, and fresher air.  Less than an hour before landing on its new stunning international airport, your airplane window view would be filled with nothing but crystal clear bird’s eye view of the island. Fluffy white clouds, not even a small patch grey or dark cloud is present, the details of the islands dotting the surrounding seas, the mountain ranges with rivers that carve their lower portions, the sea that turns to deep blue with alternating reefs of various shape and sizes indicative of rich marine life, city space intertwined with trees – these are the breathtaking views I saw from my Philippine Airlines window seat – without the haze caused by air pollution.

Another amazing fact about Palawan is its strategic location. Distant from active tectonic plates and typhoon belt zone, no active volcanoes, most of the shores are lined with healthy mangrove zones as protection from storm surges – set up is perfect for retirement and businesses. Crime rates are low and the locals are hospitable, courteous and kind. From the bustling city center in Puerto  Princesa, you are just a few hours from its paradise beaches and scenic spots. Who would not like to stay in this strategic place?

Puerto Princesa Underground River Park – going DIY

I was able to return to Puerto Princesa City via a sponsored Media Familiarization Tour sponsored by Philippine Airlines and Local Government Unit of Puerto Princesa City. As a newbie blogger, this is an amazing and unforgettable experience and a first. Imagine traveling this island paradise for free, with the tourism officers and other pertinent government officials with us. Other participants are the cool media people who are so cool and jolly. They are even happy to share their knowledge in basic journalism that we bloggers can apply in writing. How I cannot forget the accommodating and witty team member of Philippine Airlines, Ms. Marla Manundo and Ms. Ella Hernandez, who took the responsibility to look over us and made sure that we are enjoyed and are comfortable throughout the familiarization tour.

 

This pristine and lovely island of global fame can be conveniently explored by Northern and Central Luzon folks through direct flights from Clark Airport to Puerto Princesa City via Philippine Airlines.

 

THE CITY TOUR

PLAZA CUARTEL

This spot commemorates the gruesome scenarios during the Second World War. Noticeable in this park is the Bronze Marker inscribed with the names of soldiers who survived the massacre caused by the Japanese soldiers at that time.

Despite its scary past, the past is decorated with old carriages and flowering plants, many options for your photographs and selfies. The park is under a wide tree canopy and airy since of its proximity to the sea. I saw few locals spending time resting or having quality time with their significant others. During your visit here, do not forget to read the panels and know the history behind this plaza.

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IMMACULATE CONCEPCION CATHEDRAL

The main cathedral in Puerto Princesa City and a hard to miss since of its tall twin towers. It is located right beside the Plaza Cuartel and has a spacious frontyard where locals can relax during late afternoon. There is a Jose Rizal monument adorned with flowers during our visit.

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PALAWAN MUSEUM

Learning more of Palawan’s past, present and future – visiting this museum has made strong my love of the paradise island. At display are various artifacts and remnants of its rich flora and fauna. What made me interested are the olden scripts used by the Palawan locals – they look like the alibata. I tried to practice the characters using my first name – it is hard! The museum is just across Mendoza Park and within downtown area.

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PALAWAN HERITAGE CENTER

Located beside the Capitol Building, you will find the Palawan Heritage Center housing different artifacts and stunning artworks of Palaweños. As you enter its main hall, you would be greeted with this wide colourful backdrop displaying Palawan’s best, hard not to have a photo with this.

Before you start your tour, the accommodating staff would usher to the viewing area where the would play videos about Palawan. You have to option to try the massage chair while watching.

After a couple of videos played, the Provincial Tourism Officer also shared her experiences with the other parts of Palawan like San Vicente and El Nido. After, she ushered the team through the stunning artworks and paintings. Also, another part of the Heritage Center are the artifacts they have found relevant to the history of Palawan. Next on the display are the photographs of the rich diversity of flora and fauna of the island. I really learned a lot with this experience, plus the heartwarming welcome and guided tour provided by the Provincial Tourism Officer herself makes it unforgettable.

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PALAWAN CAPITOL

One of the most unique Capitol Buildings I have seen during my travels. With its unique dome and spiraling stairs that would welcome you at its main atrium, it is hard not to have a photo-op inside.

 

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View of the dome ceiling and the picturesque stairs
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View of the main lobby from the third floor veranda, knee shaking

 

 

BINUATAN CREATIONS

The busy looms and busy women would welcome you as you visit its main hall. Despite being looking busy, these women would welcome you to try their craft of weaving. It is my first time to really try a weaving loom and excitement really filled me. As I sat on the chair and carefully listened to my instructress, I nervously followed she does it, seeing and observing it seems easy – but hey, wait until you try it the first time. She thought different techniques of designing and different materials they use. I laud their patience in creating these magnificent raw materials to beautiful and creative masterpieces.

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One of the head down weaver
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The loom
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How’s that for purple color lovers?

 

 

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The weaving area

 

 

MITRA’S RANCH

I am excited about this because of the panoramic view its offers to visitors. Once you get out of your vehicle, fresh breeze would welcome you and this calming view would truly indulge your senses. At the main porch of the residential house, you have to take off your foot wear first. There are tables and chairs and snack kiosk should you be hungry.

The ranch is owned the former Senator Ramon Mitra, and the main structure is preserved. you can take photos inside the picturesque and airy receiving area where their huge portraits are prominently displayed.

Aside from adoring the old house, you can try horseback riding and the zip line to enjoy the commanding view of the nearby shore.

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The awesome view of the sea from Mitra’s Ranch
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That awesome view you can stare for hours
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The Mitra’s Ranch main porch

 

 

BAKER’s HILL

Aside from its famous oven-fresh baked products, Baker’s Hill is famous for its attractions perfect both for young and young-at-heart. There are many displays that are nice for your photo-ops!

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The Restless Pinoy Traveler blogger enjoying his time in Baker’s Hill

 

 

THE FAMOUS BAYWALK

Best to stroll during sunset, this is where locals catch the sunset and enjoy quality time with their significant others or do their active lifestyle routines. Aside from leisure walks, you can enjoy sumptuous dinner as the lined food kiosks burst to life as the sun starts to sets. This is where you can choose fresh seafood grilled to perfection! There are many food stalls to choose from and certainly, have many options to choose from.

Strikingly, the bay walk area is really clean. There is absolutely no trash littered along the aisles and the fresh air is a plus, considering its proximity to downtown. Spending your early hours of the night here is definitely worth it!

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The clean baywalk

 

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Fresh Sea Urchin for that adventurous gastronomic experience!
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How about trying the famed “balut”?
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The captivating sunset over the bay

 

Here are the other sites and events we visited and had experienced during the familiarization tour:

 

Go South of Puerto Princesa City and visit the off the beaten path BALABAC

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