Getting comfy on Palawan
Trip Start Nov 24, 2006
10Trip End Dec 27, 2006
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managed to get up in the morning, got to the airport on time. Landed on Palawan ahead of schedule!
Palawan, probably the least accessible and least developed region of the Philippines. Importantly also a site of extraordinary natural beauty, extreme sports, rough travel and a few nice beaches. Sounds good for a young doc, eyh?
Puerto Princessa is a overgrown local town (and the capital of Palawan). The first to strike me is the fact the heat, puh! Compared to Manilla this place is boiling hot. There are even some travelers here!
At the passport inspection I end up chatting with a apparently seasoned traveler, who obviously turns out to be yet another Scandinavian. This time even a Norwegian - bummer. He turns out to be a nice guy though, doing a 'round the world trip. He's going my way so we decide to travel together for the moment.
In the heat, Ruben has me walking and walking and walking to find a cheap hostel. After at least an hour we find one at 140 Pesos (3$) a night, its even clean! What a deal. I'm starting to realize that this part of my trip will be on a very tight budget (this is the only proper way to travel so I'm quite happy about it). We spend a night in Puerto, largely uneventful.
Another dirt early morning. Another cheap option. We shell out a grand 100 pesos (2$) to travel with one of the local 'busses', that is a converted American army jeep. As the poor car is overloaded we enjoy a 3 hour ride over unpaved roads on the roof! At this point I can really start feeling the backpacking vibe!
Sabang is a very small place with one main attraction - the 'Puerto Princesa Subterrenean River National Park', according to the guidebook the longest navigable underground river in the world. There's also a very decent beach, a good surf and not least a beach-volleyball court!
Needless to say we hit the waves, do some serious body surfing and look for other travelers. They are surprisingly absent!
The river turns out to be an absolutely stunning limestone cave/river that can be navigated about 8 kms, the roof is filled with stalactites (hope that's the right word),there are thousands of bats and a lot of birds! The two of us navigate it with a guide paddling a tiny riverboat. As we turn out the light of the single lamp the guide brought the absolute darkness covers everything, the silence is also complete except from the odd stroke of the paddle and squeaks from the bats. A very strong experience. The 5 km trekking there through semi-wild jungle is very nice too...
I quickly got bored of the place (among other things, not a single girl), so we move on after a couple of days.
Another beach destination and laid back travelers sport. We get another cheep room with en suite, and a balcony at 300 pesos (6$), great! We indulge in outstanding and cheep food at the next door restaurant (evergreen). The main highlight here is a full day snorkeling trip. Take a look at the pictures.