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Picturesque Palawan, Part II

February 21st, 2009 by

PalawanAlthough visitors can enjoy the rustic simplicity of Palawan to get away from the stresses of modern living, they may experience a culture shock as they try to cope with the less-than-efficient ways of getting there. Traveling to any specific place require the boarding of several vessels and vehicles, and the operators of each these transports need to be approached to engage their services.

There are two primary ways to get to Palawan: by air and by sea.  Philippine Airlines, Cebu Pacific, Air Philippines, and ZestAir (formerly known as Asian Spirit) all make daily flights from Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3 to Puerto Princesa, which takes more than an hour. From there, smaller airlines can take you to different points in the region, or you may take land vehicles or ferries, instead. You can also take SEAir which makes direct flights to El Nido, Busuanga, Taytay and Cuyo two or three times a week. From the YKR Airport in Busuanga, jeepneys shuttle transit passengers to Decalatiao Wharf (30 minutes travel time) where boats ferry them to different points. Those who get off at Puerto Princesa can then take a jeepney or bus to Taytay, then a boat to Coron, and from there board a bus to Busuanga.Visitors to El Nido Resorts can enjoy the daily direct flights to El Nido Airport courtesy of Islands Transvoyagers, Inc., who operate a 19-seater Dornier 228 aircraft. Resort staffs will meet them at the airport and ferry them either El Nido Resorts Miniloc (a 30/40-minute journey) or El Nido Resorts Lagen Island (a 50-minute journey).

If you want to take the sea route to Palawan, WG & A Superferry and Negros Navigation have twice-a-week ferry schedules to Puerto Princesa, with stopovers in Coron. The ferry trip is over 22 hours long, though cots are provided for sleeping, and meals are provided.

El Nido

Once you are in the towns and cities of Palawan, tricycles are the best way to get around different parts. Groups of four or five can easily fit in these vehicles are very affordable prices, which can connect them from their lodgings to markets, shops, transport terminals, and attractions. Traveling outside communities require a bus, jeepney or air-conditioned van.

Island-hopping require the services of an outrigger boat. There are many operators who ply along the beach to promote their services. These may be rented for the entire day or half-day, and they are equipped with snorkels and life-vests. These operators also know the popular beaches, islands, and dive sites in the area and can set the pace so that all the great places can be covered during a single day. Diving trips, on the other hand, can be organized by PADI-certified dive shops in Coron or Busuanga.

If you want to experience a boat ride along the Palawan Subterranean River, the journey starts with a land trip from the city proper to Sitio Sabang for about two hours, followed by a 15-minute boat ride to Underground River. The underground river tour is by paddle outrigger boat which takes around 45 minutes to complete.

If you are interested to dive in the waters of Tubbataha Reef, the best months to go there are the dry months from March to June, aboard liveaboard boats. Liveaboard boats, as their names suggest, support guests and scuba equipment for several days in distant dive spots, avoiding the need to travel back and forth from land to rest and resupply. You can avail of these from dive resorts in Puerto Princesa. There are also several liveaboard boats which leave Batangas Pier in March and come back by June, such as the Apo Explorer, Stella Explorer, and Oceanic Explorer. To get to Batangas Pier, take a bus from Manila and travel for 3 hours to Batangas City.

Once your vacation is over, you can buy souvenirs for your loved ones back home in any of the many shops in the major markets or the stalls near transport terminals. Cashew nuts, jars of wild honey, dried fish, handcrafted baskets, coin purses, jewelry, and bric-a-bracs are available. You can also buy fresh seafood and other local products at the Sunday market in Barangay San Jose (tabuan) as long as you immediately store them in a freezer 12 hours after your departure.

Groups of around 10 visitors can get exclusive reservations with boats, vans, lodgings, and restaurants, and can even bargain for special discounts with these services. Read more about the Perfectly Picturesque Palawan Part I here.

2 Responses to “Picturesque Palawan, Part II”

  1. Kitci Wong Says:

    For me, I prefer to wait for promo fares that are offered by the different airlines. Shorter travel time means longer time to enjoy Palawan! Woooohooo! :D

  2. How Well Do You Know Asia Challenge Says:

    […] The Philippines has a lot of romantic destinations. Is this image from the Breath-taking Boracay Island, Heavenly Sagada or the Picturesque Palawan? […]

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