Monday, August 1, 2011

A Piece of Heaven on Earth Part Two

If you're following me on Twitter you probably know why it took so long for this follow up post. And if you're not following me, well I think this is the perfect time for you to do so. I was devastated when my post was deleted for the reason that I can't figure out until now. So, I summoned all my strength to come up with a new one. I know this won't be exactly like what I did but I will try my best to at least make it better.

And here I go. Again.

The second day started early. Jr was up around five in the morning and it took all his strength to wake me up. He succeeded on waking me up at past six in the morning. I fixed myself as quickly as possible because the van that will pick us up from the hotel will arrive at 7:00AM. You're probably wondering where are we going? We'll get to that later, you just have to read my blabber first. :)
The van contained 10 people, excluding the driver and our tour guide. (So that makes it 12, I just wanted to make sure your reading. lol) When we were seated comfortably the journey began. We needed to go to Barangay Sabang which is a one and a half hours travel from the city proper. Together with Kuya Lito (Driver), Ate Roms(Tour guide), an old couple, a young couple and a family of four we enjoyed the view and trivial stuffs that our tour guide fed us. As for the road, the travel was an uphill climb, very similar to the roads of Baguio City, full of sharp curves, wavy and sometimes rough roads. Half way through the travel we stopped at Buenavista View Deck.

The Buenavista View Deck is a stop over on the way to Sabang. It has restrooms, variety stores, souvenir shops and an amazing view.
The view from the top. It's one of the moments when you can't help but stare. I stayed there for a couple of minutes because views like this make my heart stops. ♥

On top of the deck. Good thing my slight acrophobia didn't came out.  We fooled around and manage to take a snap of it. 

The mandatory photo opt. As much as possible Jr and I tried to have a picture like this on every places that we go to.  Yes, I know, vomit-inducing. :p

This is St. Paul's Mountain, underneath is where we're going. (I won't reveal it now. Keep guessing.)

After almost two hours travel by land we arrived at Sabang port. Where in the last travel by boat will begin. At the receiving area, our tour guide asked for our ID's since it's necessary for safety purposes. We didn't do anything for our tour guide arranged everything for us, it was part of the tour package so forgive me if I weren't be able to tell you how much the trip costs. The port was a typical looking port. It also has stores, souvenirs shops and restrooms. The place was organized aside from the vendors I guess.

The respective ID's, these were requested upon check in to the port, for registration and verification purposes. 

At Sabang Port. Last stop to the amazing place that we're about to go to. I'll reveal it  in a few moments, but you probably have a clue already. :)

The port is clean as usual. I know I haven't told you about how clean Puerto Princesa was but I'll get to it, probably on my next post. I have to get on with this for now. The port was also equipped with signages and trivial stuff so you won't get bored while waiting.

On the background (Look closely, the one with the red circle) is a face figure of a man. They call it "The Giant". That's the St. Paul's mountain and we were so close to the moment of truth. lol.
If you haven't see it by now, you probably should get someone to help you. Kidding. :p
(Click the photo for larger view)
These are some of the things that we saw during the boat ride.  :)

(Click the photo for larger view)
Jr was really not good at photography at first, but  he was always in charge on pictures on every trip that we go to, since I can admit that on that subject he's way way better than me and he's getting good at it now. Take a look on the photos that he got. :)

The boat took us to the island where we'll take a short trail to be able to get to where we're heading. The boat ride was okay. I'm glad I didn't got seasick. I can tell that the waves are stronger compared to the waves at Alaminos when we go to Hundred Islands National Park last May. It also took us approximately 20-25 minutes travel by water, And when we arrived. All I saw is paradise. 

This greeted us. Wonderful views. Ready for the big reveal???  


And here we are!!! At world famous Underground River. Can you believe it..??? lol.
We'll Jr and I really looked forward for this trip. This Underground river is responsible for placing the Philippines on the map. It is one of the finalist on the ongoing search for the World's New Seven Wonders of Nature and I can't believe we explored it. :)

The place is well organized because government and volunteer people takes care of it. It is well armed with signs and trivial things too.

We took a short trail to be able to reach the cave entrance. The floor is covered with wood so you really have to look where your going. It also adds love the nature effect. It's also a part of the forest so I saw a lot of trees and plants as well.

And after a short trail. This is what we saw. I literally stopped walking and talking when a got a glimpse of this place. It was really spell binding. And one glimpse and I was captivated. No doubt about that :)

For safety. We were requested to wear life vests and safety hats. Does bright colors suits me? lol :p

After gearing up, we were seated at the small boat (It's like a kayak boat or something. Please forgive my ignorance). The boat accommodated 11 people, including our boat man whom I forgot the name. He's also in charge to the rowing (I can't imagine how he will be able to row for all of us. He was so strong.) The boat is also equipped with a flash light which will only be the source of light once we get inside the cave. 

Upon entering. I was really anxious and scared.  First, it was pitch black. I'm not really scared of the dark or something since I use to sleep with my lights off but that was different. It felt like you're trying to open your eyes because you thought it's closed because you can't see anything. That's how dark inside. Am not exaggerating. lol.
Second, the water was too deep. Our boatman said that it was like 20 feet deep or something and although I got a life vest wrapped around my body paranoia found it's was to me. Yay!
And third is my never ending dread for bats. I'm not a huge fan of it. I'm a little scared with their looks and I hate their smell. It's really something I can't take.
But all this fear melt away when I saw the inside. It was like your in a different world and you really have to be careful because that world isn't yours. That's what it made me feel actually. And your imagination can really be tested inside because your free to come up with your own interpretations on the shapes of the stones.
The locals even came up with a joke about the cave, they're saying that when something drops on you and if it's cold, it's "Holy Water" but if it's warm it's "Holy Shit" lol.
The navigation took us 45minutes back and forth. It was 8.2km so it was really long but there's no single moment that I felt boredom, I was high with adrenaline of excitement.
I guess I can't think of the right words to describe all the things that I saw. StalagmitesStalactites, different mineral stones and structures that were nurtured by nature was indescribably beautiful. It was really one of a kind. But I got my favorites, a stone formation with the shape of a woman's back, they called it Sharon Stone. The Holy Family, that really looked like Joseph, Mary and Jesus. The different sizes of mushroom, the remarkable shapes of different vegetables and animals. Mother Nature is indeed very creative.

After the UR experience we needed to get back so we're be able to see the monkeys and Bayawaks or Monitor Lizards  at the opposite trail. It was really an unforgettable experience and I'm still over the moon happy because I shared it one of the most important person in my existence. ♥

Forgive my look. I was not scared at first. I even wanted to touch the Bayawak  or Monitor Lizard but the locals told me that they are not tamed and they could hurt me.  That's when I got scared.
Were not able to see the monkeys because they were at the mountains, too bad.

After the trip we headed back to Sabang port for the lunch that was also included to the tour package. We arrived at Taraw Vista Lodge and Restaurant  half past twelve in the afternoon. Just the right time because we're starving! :p

Taraw is right in front of the beach so having these Nipa Huts that served as dining areas gave that fresh from the ocean vibe and you can really smell and feel the breeze from the sea while eating. :) 

Taraw caters a buffet lunch with  a variety of choices. They served Filipino foods that day. I had grilled pork which was so tender and flavorful and the best sauteed Kangkong (Swamp Cabbage) that I ever tasted. It's half cooked with oil and soy sauce, it's still crunchy but it's not under cooked. I really fell in love with it. :)  

This caught my attention. It's like chicken with tamarind base soup or Sinampalukan in  tagalog with coconut. Yes, the idea was weird but it really tastes good. It also has coconut shavings that added sweetness to the taste. It's tangy with a little bit of sourness. I really can't explain but it really was good. :)
For those of you who wanted to try this but you can't come to Palawan. I heard it's available on  Cabalen Restaurant, a famous restaurant with a lot of branches in the Philippines.

After lunch. We figured that we should help our metabolism burn the food that we ate so we decided to walk and explore the areas since we'll be leaving Sabang at 1PM. And the beach really is relaxing. I really had a great experience.
Happy Tummy. Happy Heart. ♥

Jr and I fell asleep on the way back, maybe because our adrenaline was drenched during the UR trip. But everything was okay. We we're dropped off at our hotel and Jr and I decided that we should rest first so we'll be able to spend the rest of the day exploring Puerto Princesa. And, I will tell you the rest of our Day two, on my next post! :p

I promise it won't take long.

Love lots,



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