…xmas and crocodiles…
23.12.2008 - 26.12.2008 30 °C
Palawan (the dot at the end of the dotted line) is a beautiful part of the Philippines. We flew with Seair from Caticlan after the boat trip from Boracay. It’s lovely to check in and not have to prepare for an argument. Seair sticks to its policies, and simply weighed our bags, and charged us for the excess weight. Simple! The airport in Caticlan is about the size of a postage stamp, and was pretty full as we waited in the “free” terminal waiting area, which cost us 20 pesos each to get into. Of course, you have to go through the “free” area to get on the plane, so whether or not you use a seat in the waiting area, you have to pay. Seair doesn’t have the newest planes…my armrest was taped on with some clear packing tape.
The hour-long flight was lovely – flying over all the Pilipino islands and clear water. Some of the islands are no more than a thin, snake-like strip of sand poking out of the water. The airport in Puerto Princesa is equally tiny – a good thing for baggage retrieval. The staff of the Hibiscus Garden Inn met us at the gate, and carted us off to the hotel.
At $30/night, the room is fantastic, spacious, clean, and most importantly, it has air conditioning! It’s about 10 – 15 degrees (F) hotter here than on Boracay, so it’s NECESSARY! There’s no bar or restaurant at the hotel, though they do serve breakfast – I recommend getting the eggs scrambled over fried, as the fried eggs were a bit undercooked for my liking.
We snorkeled all over Honda Bay, a 45-minute tricycle ride away. Our driver, Wang, is cheerful and knowledgeable of the areas in and around Puerto.
We hopped onto the boat with 2 crew members and hit the choppy sea. Snake Island, Starfish Island, and Lu Li were the spots we stopped.
For xmas lunch, we went to Shakey’s Pizza and consumed more spaghetti and meatballs than anyone should, and downed a pitcher of beer.
We proceeded back to our room for a nap and movie, then headed out for dinner, more pasta! We ate at the Blue Marlin, a cute little garden restaurant, which also has an indoor seating area. I think that’s the first time I’ve eaten inside in the last 3 weeks! You may be thinking, sheesh, sounds great, eating outside all the time. Give it a try sometime, you may change your mind! Fighting off flies, ants, mosquitoes, spiders, and cold food, you try in vain to tuck your napkin (aka toilet paper) into your shorts leg so it doesn’t blow away, only to find that the bit of skin you’ve exposed is not covered with mosquito repellant, and you end up itching throughout the entire meal! ...I love eating indoors….
Folks here are fantastically friendly, almost everyone says hello, and lots of people wave as you’re driving by. It has a much more down-to-earth vibe than Boracay seemed to me. The night we arrived, we were looking forward to having some peace and quiet – all day every day, you can hear the cacophony of roosters cock-a-doodle-doo-ing where we were staying on Boracay. Of course, that night was the big night to have xmas parties – including the staff of our hotel!!! They had REALLY loud karaoke, and of course the home on the other side of us has a live band, that seemed to not understand what those little thingys on the neck of the guitar are for…and the drummer couldn’t count to 1, let alone to 4! They were truly horrible. The upside is that we were invited to join in the festivities at our hotel – they even had a whole pig on a stick!!! Now that’s my idea of a party.
The town of Puerto Princesa is a tidy little place with concrete streets – some of which are not in the best shape. It really has a small-town feel to it, even though there are 120,000 people living here. It seems the preferred method of transport is the tricycle – a teeny motorcycle with a big sidecar soldered onto its side.
These are definitely made to fit a more petite Pilipino butt, as mine and Mike’s barely fit into a seat built for 2! Today we took one out to the Butterfly Garden (50 pesos/person) and the Crocodile Sanctuary (40 pesos/person). I even got to hold one of the babies! His name is Chopper.
There were lots of other animals at the sanctuary as well.
We head to Sabang tomorrow morning - Sabang is the location of the Subterranean River and lots of jungle hikes and beach front beauty.
Sending hugs!!! Life is good!!