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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Boracay, a Natural Beauty

PauTravels at rocky cliffs at the crystal caves in Boracay

Among the 7,107 islands of the Philippines, one island destination definitely stands out as the most famous and most visited by tourists local and foreign alike.  It is none other than the beautiful island of Boracay, known for its sugary soft white sand, a wide coastline and a perfect beach destination.  But little did know that this island has more to offer.

Boracay island is a small island off the northern tip of Panay island in the island group of Western Visayas in the Philippines.  This island has an about 4 kilometer-long white sand beach on its southwest side where different hotels, resorts and commercial establishments line up the coastline.  Each resort offer different water sport activities like para-sailing, jet skiing, and even scuba diving.  On the north eastern part of the island is a bit rougher as it is lined with coral reefs, caves and strong waves.  Within the island, there are golf courses and also waterfalls.

On March 20, 2006, my wife, myself and 4 other colleagues purchased a travel package to Boracay.  We took advantage of the PALakbayan promo released by Philippine Airlines during that time.  The package we got was for 3days/2nights stay at Sun Village Beachfront Resort.

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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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Trip to Sagada

PauTravels at the pools underneath the ground and within the Sagada Cave

On the night of Christmas 2006, me and 3 relatives went to the beautiful and enchanted mountains of the Ifugao.  We stayed in Banaue Hotel under a tour package provided by the Philippine Tourism Authority.  On our 2nd day of stay in Banaue, as part of our tour package, we travel to another off-the-beaten-track tourist destination, Sagada.

Sagada, is a small town in the Mountain Province, in the midst of the Cordillera Mountain Range on the island of Luzon, Philippines.  Sagada is about 3 hours drive north of Banaue and about 10 hours drive from the city of Baguio through zigzagged and rough roads on the steep mountain sides of Cordillera. Sagada is a well known tourist destination for its underground caves and the hanging coffins.  Around the town’s limestone cliffs, wooden coffins can be found hanging by the cliff side.   It was a burial tradition performed by local tribes that inhabit the mountains.

The drive to the place is quite long and a bit tiring but the mountain areas that you’ll pass by is amazing and very beautiful.  You’ll pass by rice terraces, vegetable terraces and pine-fill mountains.  Driving through the dirt road will make you feel like you’re on top of the world.  Along the path, we passed the town of Bontoc, the capital of the Mountain Province around 11AM.  Our guide informed us that we’ll proceed to the Sagada Cave first since there will be more tourist flocking the cave by noon and afterwards.

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