This is the second installment from our previous feature article about our Palawan adventure. As a quick recap, we tackled the events during the first and second day, which included: a wonder-filled city tour, a thrilling caving experience, plus a mesmerizing underground river trip. In this post, we’ll tell you what happens after a scrumptious seafood dinner.
So just sit back and relax as the Dlinkers team offers yet another peek of awesome Palawan.
Day 2, Nighttime: Dancing Lights
On our second night, our feet (or rather, the van) led us to yet another magic-filled moment in lovely Puerto Princesa. Located about 20 km from the city is Barangay Iwahig, which is famous for their river. Why? Thanks to the mangrove trees growing abundantly along its banks, as well as the fresh air in the surrounding community, colonies of fireflies have made this area their home.
Firefly Watching at Iwahig River is now part of an average Puerto Princesa tourist itinerary. The ride will take approximately 45 minutes, give or take a few based on varying conditions.
*DLinkers Team Tip: Be sure to have a full dinner first because you might get hungry during the trip. Take advantage of the long journey by talking with your friends or family. It’s also the perfect time to tell ghost stories because the road outside is pitch black!
At the Firefly Garden, your group would be assigned a number. This will be called out when it’s your team’s turn. The use of cameras and flashlights are forbidden during the boat trip! Not to worry though, the attraction prints photos so you can have a souvenir of your delightful night with these glow worms.
The entire thing should take no more than 45 minutes. Your boatman will also act as your guide, giving you insightful information about the creatures, as well as a brief history of the town and the river. A moonless night will help you to see more fireflies because it won’t be as bright. Be sure to try wading your fingers in the water for an amazing surprise!
This was definitely the perfect ending to a perfect day. It’s time for us to get some shut-eye for another busy yet fun-filled day in the morning. Guess where we’re heading?
Day 3: Island-Hopping with Fishes
Once again, we were out early morning for an island-hopping adventure at Honda Bay!
No Palawan trip would be complete without going to at least ONE of their famous beach islands. We were on the road at a half past seven in the morning with our swim gear, towels, and lots of sun block. The meet-up point, which is Honda Bay, is about 30-45 minutes away from the city itself. If you don’t have any proper swimming or snorkeling gear, no problem! There are stalls that rent this equipment at reasonable prices.
*DLinkers Team Tip: The Honda Bay island-hopping tour is a package that is best bought through a travel agent or local tour guide. This is so you can avoid extra charges (such as environmental fees, etc.) and headaches of having to book everything yourself. Plus, the package should include a sumptuous lunch buffet in one of the islands!
The tour typically involves three beautiful, undeveloped islands, namely:
- Pandan Island. This gorgeous island is home to plenty of Pandan plants that have a variety of uses, from building little huts, to flavoring tropical desserts. The place also has the whitest, purest sand as well as free kayaking that comes with the entrance fee.
- Starfish Island. As the name implies, yes, there are numerous sea stars on this little piece of land! Enjoy identifying the different species you are lucky to come across. Don’t forget to ask your boatman for special ‘camera tricks’ with the starfishes. They’d be more than happy to help!
- Luli Island. A shortened term for ‘lulubog-lilitaw’, which is local dialect for to sink and to rise. This is what the land mass does during the different sea tides (sinks in high tide, rises on low tide).
Once you are on the islands, there are TWO things to do: swim and snorkel, of course!
Your tour guide will always be with you during these trips, so there’s nothing to worry about. If you can’t swim, your boatman has a lifesaver and ropes you can use to hang on to. He will also bring along something for the fish to snack on, so they’ll be more inclined to join you for a swim!
Lunch was served at the lovely Cowrie Island, aptly named due to the abundant sea snails called ‘Cowrie’ that leave their shells on the island. This is the best ‘pit stop’ for hungry, tired island hoppers thanks to its cabanas and pavilions. Feel free to bask under the sun, catch up on more swimming, or simply enjoy a refreshing drink in one of the nipa huts.
This was definitely THE beach life for us!
Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end. And so we leave Honda Bay to take our rest back at the Ysabelle Mansion. Although exhausted from all that fun with the fishes, we still wondered what the day could hold for us. So through half-closed eyes, we slowly slipped into dream world until it was time for dinner.
For those who want to get a glimpse of what nightlife in Puerto Princesa looks like, there’s no better place to look but at Baywalk area. People usually flock here to unwind after a hard day’s work from school or the office. It may not look like much at first, but it’s the perfect spot to catch a Palawan sunset with your friends or loved ones. We arrived at around 9PM for some nighttime biking.
*DLinkers Team Tip: If bikes aren’t your thing, there are still plenty of activities to try. There are a good number of seafood restaurants in the area, so be ready to pig-out on lots of grilled fish, crabs, and shrimp! On the far side of the walkpath are game booths, where you can bet money for prizes. Why not try your luck at Bingo or Color Roulette? For those who simply want to chill and relax, get a good seat by the sea and breathe in the fresh, salty night breeze.
Our beds called to us by midnight and so we were off again to Dreamland for the next day’s surprises.
Day 4: Teambuilding Games & Souvenir Shopping
It was sad to know that it would be our last day before we finally pack our bags. However, there were still several more hours to enjoy before going home. Our tour guide, Kuya Lino, took us to AMC Beach for a morning of last-minute swimming, story-telling, and games.
The place looked surreal because of the water’s calm surface. It seemed as if there was no horizon at all!
There weren’t many visitors then, so we enjoyed a couple of games prepared by one of our teammates while our lunch was being prepared. The beach echoed with our laughter and well, animal sounds.
After we ate, it was time to swim a little, take a few pictures, and just relax. Several of the team members huddled by the shore to share stories, while the rest waded in the water. As afternoon drew on, we were all ready to buy gifts for loved ones back home.
*DLinkers Team Tip: Looking for great yet affordable souvenirs from Puerto Princesa? Don’t forget to ask your guide for the best places that sell key chains, fridge magnets, and woven purses. Food items such as unsalted roasted cashew nuts, dried fish, and hopia from Baker’s Hill are also a must!
Once we were back at the pension house, we prepared for our last dinner together at the beautiful city. It was a bitter-sweet moment because we knew we will surely miss this place! We didn’t have reservations to the first restaurant we went to, so we were obliged to find another one. Good thing Kuya Lino is a local! We ended up having dinner at The Veranda, which was a quaint place that served delicious sizzling kare-kare and bulalo (a traditional beef dish). These weren’t the highlight of our night though, but rather, the famous Puerto Princesa noodle dish, Chaolong.
The dish is of Vietnamese origin. Comprised of rice noodles in beef broth with select herbs, it’s a soup for the soul! It’s super affordable, so you can buy two orders without putting a dent in your wallet. Almost every restaurant or canteen sells Chaolong, so you shouldn’t have a hard time finding it. Try not to leave Palawan without eating this tasty meal!
Day 5: The Flight Home
We’re packed but hesitant to go. Who wouldn’t be, considering all the beautiful and awesome things we’ve seen and done? If you’re ever in the Philippines, Palawan is a MUST visit. Aside from its exotic creatures, white-sand beaches, and fresh seafood fare, the people are friendly, carefree, and helpful. We won’t forget the locals we’ve had the pleasure of being acquainted to in the past four days.
All in all, it was a terrific experience for the entire Dlinkers team. Not only did we experience new and exciting things, we were able to grow closer together as a group. If your company is planning your next team-building activity, stray away from the regular karaoke sessions. Instead, try something wild, go somewhere far, and watch your team blossom.
Three adventures down – more to go! Where should we travel to next?
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