Flying Solo to Paradise: My Palawan Trip

It's 2020; the start of the year has been pretty simple for me. Going to work and coming home has quite become a common routine. Work pretty much inundated my daily as I rendered overtimes quite too often.  The long hours will wear you down, definitely, and your body will seek the respite it reasonably deserves. A good, long snooze is my go-to solution to get my energy back to its optimal, but after experiencing a five- to six-day work week with 14-15 working hours a day, I do not think that an uninterrupted long good night sleep would be enough to get me back to a well-rested version of myself.

Impulse led me to search for quick getaways outside the metro, but none interested me that much after a couple of days of scouring over the web. A friend suggested to might as well go somewhere exceptional and make use of my week-long vacation leave (probably the longest leave from work I have in years!) worth my while. The best suggestion: Fly to Palawan.

Consider me a noob, but I definitely have a limited idea about flying, flight itineraries, and accommodations and yet there I was, unhesitantly want to push through the plans of flying to Palawan. Thanks to a good friend of mine, she assisted me well enough about the how-tos and what-tos of the then-upcoming trip. Hi and thank you, Jules!

Day 1 - The Arrival

I booked a morning flight that will take me to Puerto Princesa early morning. Imagine the butterflies in my stomach upon leaving the house to go to the airport! It's been eight or nine years since I last boarded a plane, and this will only be the third time that I'd get to go again. I flew out by 7:25 am, and to arrive at Puerto Princesa by 8:50 am.

In 2011 I got the chance to travel via airplane for the first time. I was 19 years old back then. It took 9 years to be...

Setting foot in Puerto Princesa is where THE great Palawan adventure begins. Upon my arrival at the Puerto Princesa International Airport, I was picked up by the car service provided by the hotel that I am going to stay at. The 10-minute ride to the hotel made me feel like a VIP as I get to ride alone! Hehe.

I had a one-night room reservation at the Royal Parc Hotel. I may have just stayed for the night but I must say it is worth my money (I will do a sub-Palawan post about Royal Parc Hotel in another blog entry).

I joined an afternoon half-day Puerto Princesa city tour, which started at 1 pm and ended around 6 pm. I must say I enjoyed the city tour! My tour guide was surely an experienced one and has displayed his eloquence in discussing the tourist spots that we have visited! We get to visit all the places as planned in the itinerary and I'd say I loved every part of it!

We visited the following:
  • Butterfly Eco-Garden and Tribal Village
  • Baker's Hill
  • Puerto Princesa Baywalk
  • Plaza Cuartel
  • Puerto Princesa Cathedral

Day 2 - Textbook pictures no more, I get to see Puerto Princesa Underground River - this is for real!

A 30- to 45-minute boat ride to explore the inside of  Puerto Princesa Underground River may bore some, but my visit to this world-renowned, UNESCO-recognized natural wonder is, in my opinion, a must in any Pinoy's travel bucket list. It's a Philippine pride, and how often is one able to see a Philippine natural wonder up close?

After lunch, I was scheduled for a six-hour drive to my next destination: El Nido!

Day 3 - Hop on, hop off to see the islands and the seas of the wonderful EL Nido.

Call time: 9 am. A motorbike service was provided to me to get to the El Nido port and start my day's worth of island hopping.  A boat is designated to at least 10-15 people before the El Nido tour starts. Fortunately for me, there were only 8 others with me in the boat.

El Nido may be a small dot on the entire land area of Palawan but it can't be blamed if it is a top-of-the-list, go-to destination in Palawan. If you are a lover of beaches and island hopping, visiting El Nido will not be a waste of time. El Nido boasts clusters of islands that can be visited by availing island tour packages (usually classified into four packages, commonly known as tours A to D). My travel agent suggested I try Tour D. Had I not been pressed for time to go back to Manila (the city lockdown due to COVID-19 was on its initial phase during my trip), I could have tried another island tour package.

Islands visited:
Paradise Beach
Cadlao Lagoon
Pasandigan Beach

Day 4 - So long, Palawan.

I was scheduled for an evening return flight to Manila. An inevitable return, and a necessary one.
All I can say is that my solo trip to the beautiful Palawan deserves two-thumbs-up! Puerto Princesa is one's hold to urban life and El Nido deserves all the recognition it gets as one of the best island destinations in the world. Its natural beauty, thanks to its unaltered landscape well-protected by its locals is its crowning glory and the sources of pride and livelihood for its inhabitants.

Given the chance, I may visit Palawan again, from its northernmost island up to its southern end.  Hoping it comes sooner rather than later. :)

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