More than the pristine beaches of Boracay, the white sands and heat of Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte, the classic aura of Vigan, Ilocos Sur, and the huge waves of Siargao Island, there seemed to be a place the Filipinos have yet to see and discover.
The plane flew from Manila with its passengers either reading books and magazines with their headlights on or simply were lying on their backs on the reclining chairs trying to get a good night sleep. The plane flew with the passengers seeing the beautiful skyline of Manila by night. It was as if we were hovering like Peter Pan amidst the night sky seeing lighted buildings which looked as if they were like Christmas lights from afar.
It took us only one and half hours (one of shortest travel times I’ve ever encountered considering we were going to a place miles away from the capital) before the plane reached Puerto Princesa City, Palawan. The small but affectionate airport welcomed us with pictures, tarpaulins, and paintings of what we would be seeing in Palawan – such as the underground river, the Tubbataha reef, and a crocodile farm. Such tourism slogans pulling the tourists closer to Palawan as home. I could well remember the face of Puerto Princesa City mayor Edward Hagedorn’s face on a tarpaulin welcoming the tourists to the country’s last frontier.
We came to Palawan never expecting and never knowing what to see. But what Palawan showcased during the rest of our trip was beyond imagination. Palawan has been known to many as the “Last Frontier” in the Philippines because of being the last unsettled area in the country.
Palawan is a thin archipelago of about 1,700 islands on the western border of the Philippines. Palawan is the country’s largest province with a land area of nearly 1.5 million hectares. Its irregular coastline stretches almost 2,000 kilometers long, indented by several coves and bays.
Puerto Princesa City appeared as if it was a city distant from its neighboring area being a bustling urban center, with almost the same establishments found in Metro Manila. Few years from now, it could probably be able to stand in line with the progressive capitals and cities in the country. Puerto Princesa by night is not as lively as other cities. Some of its establishments have already closed its doors from the public with only a few buildings open, most of which were serving 24/7.
On our way to our hotel, we passed along Rizal Avenue, one of the main roads in the city. Rizal Avenue is abundant in seafood restaurants serving sea foods fresh from catch. From crabs, fishes, squids, to clams, the street would offer you a variety of choices.
We arrived to Palawan at almost nine in the evening. There was nothing much to see during the night except from going out of your hotel and trying out dining in some of the seafoods restaurant. Puerto Princesa is not a city fond of a night life. And so there was nothing to do but sleep and wait for the coming of the next day to see the true nature of Palawan.
Part 2 will be posted tomorrow!