Our Trip to Palawan: Underground River

I could still remember the first time I set foot in Palawan. It was a memory that’s hard to forget. The natural landscapes and the diverse marine life are just amazing and extraordinary. Who would want to forget such incredible experience, right? In fact, there’s even plans of going back there soon and or perhaps visit Coron first then back to El Nido or the Underground River. But the pristine beaches and the still unspoiled ecosystem in El Nido are telling me to come and visit again, this time with the family already.

Our trip to Palawan in March 2012 started in Cebu where we took the 1100H flight of Cebu Pacific and landed in Puerto Princesa International Airport. But if you want to go to El Nido, going to Manila is the only fastest and most direct way because travelling by land from Puerto Princesa to reach El Nido would take you at least 4hrs.

Our holiday package was arranged through Paradise Village Travel and Tours, handled by the very accommodating and not to mention very gorgeous and hot young lady, Jessica. Their van picked us up at the airport and made a short stop in Ka Inato for our lunch before having another brief stop-over in Buenavista View Deck for a toilet break then go straight to Sabang Wharf. We almost did not catch our trip to the Underground River because they are so strict with the cut-off time for passenger transport which is very commendable knowing that it is their means of living. It is always great to hear when safety wasn’t sacrificed in order to earn a living.

From Puerto Princesa to Sabang Wharf, it would take just 1.5 hours and at least another 20 minutes ride (by outrigger boat) to the other side of the island then the start of a long walk towards the Underground River entrance. It took us only about 5 minutes because we were sprinting then for we are late and they are closing already. I think it’s about 200m from the main entrance to the cave itself. Then the cave tour would take at least 45 minutes. So taking those numbers into account, it is just right and sound safe for the 3PM cut-off time at Sabang Wharf since it’s also the time when bats come out from the cave.

Another thing that is very commendable is the fact that they are limiting the number of tourists going to the cave each day. So make sure that you have the necessary permit before you proceed with your road trip to the town of Sabang.


The Convenience of Travelling

Those who do not have any traveling experience, either domestic or international, probably do not know what park and fly means. In simple terms, it means leaving your car at the airport or a nearby agent while you are away on a trip. Some people might say that they would rather have someone drop them off at the airport and pick them up when they arrive. However, there are those who prefer the park and fly setup and think that it would be more of an advantage for them. The popularity of this practice is evident in various Park ‘N Fly (off-airport parking operator) locations all over the US and worldwide.
There is also what is called a park and fly hotel. Since many of the best airfares are for flights that leave early in the morning, this option might be more practical than long term airport parking for you to save money and for your comfort and convenience. This is especially beneficial to people who live far away from the airport. It will save you the hassle of driving for two hours in the middle of the night and you will get on the plane feeling more rested and less stressed. For instance you will go on a 10-day trip with parking at the departure airport at $11 a day. Your total parking bill will cost $110. Compare that with staying at a nearby hotel with free airport shuttle and booking a room the night before that costs $79 (with 15-day parking privileges) plus $11 for taxes. You will be able to save $20.

But then that is a case to case basis though. While at the same time you also have to remember some things like choosing a hotel in a safe area and not leaving any valuables inside the car. Some airport hotels have park and fly packages offering unique deals and detailed information for customers to find what is right for them. Certainly a pre-flight hotel stay with the added advantage of shuttle transport and free parking for either a short stay or long term parking is the best way to start your trip.


Facts About Travelling

Statistics of tourist arrivals whether they are local or international are increasing steadily n the past decade. Every major airport has reported a huge rise of arrivals that prompts them to plan and build terminal expansions to accommodate the growing tourist. And the infographic below is an interesting fact about travelling which and probably many among us don’t know yet of its existing especially the location of the most expensive hotel room in the world.

Can you guess where it is?

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Little that we know that when we travel we actually help generate jobs and according to the US Travel Association, the travel industry in the US alone translates into an estimated 14.6 million jobs. And I am sure that this numbers are still growing in a fast pace despite some countries experiencing economic turmoil. And I suspect that it’s the tourism industry that helped in easing-up the financial burdens of some tourist destinations and hotel and resort owners.

And here’s one more trivia for you. Can you guess what city or where in the world you can find the most hotel rooms of any city worldwide?


Overnight Camping by the Beach

Last year’s family camping at the beach became a customary annual event as we held another overnight camp out by the beach. The location wasn’t that far from our place as we only have to drive about 20 to 25 kilometers. And there are around seven families already who confirmed to spend overnight at the beach at that time and we are sure that it will be more since we have set the date during the Eid holidays. In the end there were ten families who stayed and some just can’t make it because of work scheduling that was changed in the wee hours and some have to go to work.

Camping by the BeachThe timing of the family outing was just right as it is not that cold yet unlike the other year that they have to endure the November winter which I presume had dropped up to 11 degrees Celsius. And last week’s camping was our first since we did not go overnight the year ago because our son is not feeling well and was actually sick with fever few days before the event. We went home before midnight since it became so cold already and is not doing well for our son even he still wanted to play with other kids.

This time around they slept inside the tent while I and about two dozens of us just enjoyed staying awake the whole night but when the sun rises it was only five of us who endured. And it is one of the reasons why I stayed awake and wanted to go an overnight camping, so I can see the beauty of the sunrise. The evidence is obvious on the photo above though I would say that it wasn’t a great capture but it is already good for me being a newbie. On the other hand, it is also the best time to capture a blue hour snapshot and I have my very first one before the sun rise.