Across the street from PP's cathedral is Plaza Cuartel. It used to be a fort erected to protect the city from invaders. Through the years, it became neglected and what remains now are ruins and tall grasses. However at the other end of the plaza is a view of the seaport.
There was this signage on the way to the Crocodile farm that pricked my curiousity. I just had to stop and take pictures and ask someone about what it means.
Turns out that the beautiful garden belongs to the Puerto Princesa City Jail inmates. It is a part of the progressive program of rehabilitation of inmates in this simple minimum security prison. The Red Dragon is the organization of the inmates which facilitates their activites, like the representatives of the Red Dragons can join in sports fest organized by the city government.
The garden not only provides the inmates with physical activity but the produce from the garden (petchay, tomatoes, eggplant, etc.) is sold to the public for extra income. The Red Dragons also have a barber shop and beauty parlor next to the walls of the jail.
Due to the heavy rains when I arrived in PP, I had to forego my plan to take the Honda Bay island hopping tour. But since I was bent on "wetting my feet", I asked my trike driver to take me to the nearest beach. He brought me to Pristine Beach.
Across the street from the PP airport is a dirt road leading to 3 adjacent picnic resorts - Pristine, Silica and Nasin-aw. They share the same shoreline of light brown sand and greenish-blue water. The water is warm despite the weather and shallow even 100 meters away from the shore. There are also mangroves on the side.
For Pristine, an admission fee of P10 per person is charged for the use of picnic huts.
Adjacent to Baker's Hill (the bakeshop) is a private compound that looks straight off the pages of a children's comic book. Life-size statues of Marilyn Monroe, Bugs Bunny, Donald Duck et al stand proud on the landscaped garden. Down the hill, there is a playground, adult swing, picnic tables, herbal garden, and restrooms.
Although marked private, it is open to the public as long as their rules will be observed.
While cruising along the dirt road inside Iwahig's compound, I was fascinated to see an herd of Herons in the rice field. I immediately asked my trike driver to stop so I could take a photo. It is not always I see a big group of white birds, especially not in Manila.
In a corner of the PP coliseum plaza is this gazebo that somehow resembles the one used in the film Sound of Music. As soon as I saw it, I knew I had to take my picture under it. However, its door was locked so I was not able to get through.
after our underground river tour, we decided to stay for the night at sabang beach..
thankfully, the beach was not crowded since the place is yet to be developed
electricity is available only from 6pm - 11pm, so we decided to go really basic for a sort of "primitive" feel, we got a hut that was only meant to accommodate a couple, (it costs P450 or $8.5 overnight), amenities BASICALLY included a bed, some pillows & blankets, a bench, and a simple T&B
the people were really friendly and were happy to prepare our meals at reasonable prices
the weather was cool, and the place was really peaceful.. total relaxation ;P
the beach was so enchanting, i wanted to stay for another day but we had to go back for our island hopping the next day.. ;-(
As a bonus activity, our guide brought us to Ugong Rock, a community-based sustainable tourism project in Barangay Tagabinet initiated by ABS-CBN Foundation-Bantay Kalikasan in partnership with the City Government of Puerto Princesa and the Department of Tourism.
We were led to the orientation cottage by local volunteers. They explained that Ugong Rock is a 75-ft limestone formation amidst the farms and karst forests (forests growing on limestone substrate). It derived its name from the word "ugong" which stands for the unique reverberating sound (like the clanging of a bell) produced when you hit or knock on the stalactites inside the caverns. The tour takes about an hour or less of cave exploration, then some rest at the viewdeck on top of the rock formation. Optionally, tourists can go for a 380-meter zip line, from the top of Ugong Rock down to a farmland at the west side of the limestone formation.
Hubby and I opted not to go with our younger companions in their the caving and zip line activities. We were ready to wait for them, but they changed their minds when the clouds loomed and thunder clapped several times.
Direction: Coming from Puerto Princesa, turn right when you see the road sign; coming from Sabang Port, turn left
Puerto is a great place to spot birds and butterflies that you would otherwise not see in the city.
Best of all they're not in a cage!
If you're feeling lazy, just sit in a shady place and try to listen to the bird calls all around (specially during early morning, dusk and lunch time). If you have a bird guide and binoculars, all the better. You can take a walk and sketch the different birds you spot so you won't forget their shape and colors (if you can't identify them right away).
I was able to spot Olive Backed Sunbirds and Chestnut Munias without really looking.
Above the mouth to the Underground River, the endangered Palawan hornbill is known to frequent. This is a bird you can only find in this province so it is a rare treat to see one (like I did!).
While traveling from sight to sight, you can look at the Pacific swallows, zebra doves and barn swallows on the telephone wires. Egrets are plentiful in the fields.
Many birds can be spotted in this place: see this link for the species
Very important: Please do not go near, much less touch any of these wild birds - both for your safety and the birds!
I was taking a stroll and this particular butterfly seemed to move along with me until I finally noticed it taking strides alongside - for the whole length of the driveway. It flew off when I wanted to take its picture!
At our inn, the cockroaches and dragonflies also looked more beautiful so keep your eyes open for the rarest of species flying about!!! Just don't get too close to mosquitoes!
If you're into street photography, wander around the village at the Honda Bay jetty and you're sure to attract kids and adults eager to welcome and engage you in a chat and photo opportunity.
National Highway, Brgy. San Pedro Puerto Princesa City, Palawan 5300
Satisfaction: Very Good
Good for: Solo
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