10 Must See Places in the Philippines

Must See Places in Philippines

Southeast Asia has been one of the most famous destinations for many backpackers and holidaymakers coming from Europe or the Northern Americas.   Among the more famous tourist routes include Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, and Malaysia.  Tourists would usually go straight to Bangkok or fly to Singapore.  Some would include Indonesia to visit Bali.

With tourist arrivals are high on these countries, the Philippines is still trailing behind.  Well maybe, I guess, is due to the fact that the countries I’ve stated all border each other, except most of Indonesia.  This makes backpacking easier as tourists can simply take a bus or take hours long of train rides to reach the neighboring country.  This is compared to the Philippines wherein the main means to reach is by air travel.

With a more challenging means to reach the Philippines, many simply skip the country.  Many probably do not know much about the Philippines except maybe that it’s a group of islands and maybe because of the thousands of shoes of Imelda Marcos, plus the other political problems we had in the past.

And so, what do tourists are probably missing as they skip the Philippines in their itineraries?

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Island Hopping Around Honda Bay

PauTravels and wife in Honda Bay Palawan

After touring around Puerto Princesa and visiting the Underground River, on our third day we head on for a whole day of enjoying the beautiful waters of the city.  This day, we were set to go to Honda Bay for an island hopping tour.

Again we were picked up by our tour guides at around 7am from our hotels.  On convoy, we once again drove north of the city on the same highway we used in going to the Underground River.  But this time, our drive was shorter as we turned right at a junction to head to the wharf where will ride our boat.

Island Hopping in Honda Bay, Palawan

At the Honda Bay wharf

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Boat Ride to the Underground River

Jen and PauTravels at the Puerto Princesa Underground River

After touring around the port city of Puerto Princesa on our day one, our group continued our Palawan getaway by taking the long drive to the city’s most prized natural wonder. For the second time around, I’m having the opportunity of taking the boat ride into the Puerto Princesa Underground River, currently the Philippines’ proud entry to the New 7 Wonders of Nature. It is considered as the longest navigable underground river in the world.

And so from our pension house in Liberty Park within the city proper, Maple Travel picked us with their Hiace and picked the second group from RAQ. From there we proceeded to drive north to the port of Sabang. the drive took about two hours on mostly cemented road with sections of rough road. Also the route passed through the mountainous region of the rural part of the city where the road twisted and turned. Our driver was driving on about 50 or 60 kph on that crooked roadway and that caused Jen and another lady to throw up after getting dizzy.

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Back to Palawan

Jen posing at the Baker's Hill welcome sign

After 6 years, I once again have the opportunity of visiting the beautiful island of Palawan at the western coast of the Philippine archipelago.   Again I visit Puerto Princesa City now with my wife Jen and 11 other ex-colleagues and friends.

Also this time, we took a packaged tour of 4 days and 3 nights to see what the city can offer.  I booked our group with the travel agency of a friend in Palawan, Maple Palawan Travel and Tours.  Maple have divided our group into two for our accommodations between Liberty Park Pension and RAQ Pension.  This is due to full booking at Liberty when we took our package.

Our stay with Liberty Park was good with spacious clean rooms, though we had slow service during breakfast.  We were told by our other friends that their rooms in RAQ were smaller but at least they had more options for their free breakfast.

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A Visit To Palawan With Pau and Len

PauTravels At the mouth of Puerto Princesa's Subterranean River

Back in August of 2003, my college friend from UST, Paulo invited me join him and his then girlfriend (now wife) Len for a four-day visit to the port city of Puerto Princesa. Len needed to attend some business on a land they’re purchasing back then and she had to have an ocular. And so, it was a good opportunity to extend the trip to explore the city, plus it was a great time for me to celebrate my birthday.

Puerto Princesa lies in the middle of the umbrella shaped island province of Palawan. It also is the capital city of the province which is known as the Philippines’ Last Frontier. Palawan had the most diverse flora and fauna in the country including a vast marine diversity. Today, Palawan is host to two entries of the Philippines to the New 7 Wonders of Nature namely the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River and the Tubbataha Reef. The subterranean river is the longest navigable underground river in the world, while the Tubbataha is a smaller version of the Great Barrier Reef and is home to a great number of species of marine life.

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Philippines, How Much Have I Seen of You?

My home country, the Philippines, is an archipelagic nation of 7,107 islands that is situated in the South East Asian region.  It is a tropical country bounded by three bodies of water, the Pacific Ocean to the east, the West Philippine Sea to the west, and the Celebes Sea to the south.  It is basically composed of three island groups: Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao.

The country’s population is pegged at 88 Million, 90% o which are Roman Catholics.  A smaller percentage of the population is composed of Muslim Filipinos who generally reside at the southern islands.  The Philippines also has a long history of Spanish colonization, 333 years in total.  This is still evident with Hispanic architecture left.  The Philippines was discovered by the Portuguese explorer, Ferdinand Megallan under the Spanish flag in 1521.  Then it was also under the US Commonwealth rule for 40 years.

The Philippines is also composed of a diverse group of people with hundreds of different dialects though English is a second language.  And each of its 7000+ islands has a distinct characteristic on its own.  And on this journal, I’ll be listing down the different places in this country of mine that I have visited and possibly my experience with Philippine culture.  And I’ll be linking any blog that I’d be writing for each destination.

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