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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Exploring Bohol

PauTravels and Jen at the Chocolate Hills of Bohol

In early 2006, Cebu Pacific Airlines celebrated their 10th year of airline services and alongside with this, they’ve offered a limited seat sale of P10 only at any of their domestic flights, taxes not included.  This was such a big sale compared to the regular price.  And with this, my officemates and myself organized to purchase these very cheap air ticket and decided that we shall be going to beautiful island of Bohol and return to Manila via Cebu.  We got a total of 17 tickets that day.  To-date, Cebu Pacific still offer this cheap tickets every now and then specially during off-peak periods.

And so, we’ve decided to go to Bohol and Cebu on September 9th – 12th that year.  I was tasked to organize our trip as it was my passion to organize trips. I looked up for tour packages in Bohol and Cebu.  I’ll discuss on a separate blog our arrangements for Cebu.  From a suggestion from one of the group, I got a contact with the Philippine Tourism Authority (PTA) after seeing their website of the Balicasag Island Dive Resort.

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Hanoi Experience

PauTravels in Hanoi

In October 2003, I was assigned by my company to support our client in Vietnam for a whole month.  This was my first international travel and I was alone.  I was sent specifically to Hanoi.  At first I was clueless of what the Vietnamese people are or how does Vietnam looks like.  Well, I was up for a whole month to experience it.

Hanoi is the seat of government of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.  It is found at the northern part of the country.  It is bounded by the Red River at the north. Hanoi is about 1,092 miles from Manila.  From Manila, it can be reached using Cathay Pacific connecting through Hong Kong or using Philippine Airlines connecting through Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon).  I took the Manila – Hong Kong – Hanoi route using Cathay Pacific and Vietnam Airlines to get there.

While our plane was landing, the first thing that I saw was vast rice paddies.  It reminded me of the rice fields of Central Luzon.  When I alighted the plane, the first one noticeable was that there were soldiers stationed throughout the airport.  Since it was new to me, I was cautious since I know that it used to be a communist region.

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Cruising by Ha Long Bay

PauTravels Cruising by Ha Long Bay

My very first international travel flew me to this exotic country that was caught in the midst of war a few decades ago.  In October 8, 2003 through my work, my company sent me to Hanoi, Vietnam for a whole month.  Hanoi, is the capital of this socialist republic and is situated on the northern part of what used to be the communist North Vietnam.  Famous spots in Hanoi includes the Hoan Kiem Lake which is in the center of the city.  Within Hanoi is the old French Quarters which is basically a section of the city filled with French architecture that was left by the long French occupation, including the Hanoi Opera House.  Also, here you can visit the frozen tomb of Vietnam’s national hero, Ho Chi Minh.

During my long stay in Vietnam, I, with 2 lady friends planned on going into this serene place and is one of UNESCO‘s world heritage sites.  On the 2nd of November, we took an overnight cruise to Ha Long Bay.  We got our cruise package from Handspan travel agency in Hanoi.  Our package includes transportation from Hanoi’s busy commercial area to Ha Long Bay, guided tour to one of its caves, and our sumptuous meals. It costs US$50 each person in 2003.

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