It’s not exactly strict coincidence that you’re reading this. Chances are, you’ve been dreaming about white sand escapades ever since that humongous paperwork of yours got piled up this week. While you may not be a travel junkie, you do have the deep pockets to be one. Why not go to Palawan, the nature gem of the Philippines?
If your interest in Philippine white sand bars has not waned at all, then bless you! The beach paradise of Palawan island has every reason to make you smile. Navigable subterranean rivers, crystal clear bays, lush forests, limestone-walled green lagoons, and a host of tropical fish all bid you welcome – even from your own home.
“So what do I have to prepare to get there?” you ask. Well, we’re with you in reducing environment-shock. The least we could do is give you a primer on what to expect, even with all the sweet surprises of Palawan.
Bump-Filled Wows. A multitude of travel options await the eager traveler once he steps foot on that pavement in the Manila airport. Remember, transportation alternatives in the Philippines are as diverse as fast food choices, and sometimes, in a seemingly backwater country like Palawan, the roughest modes of transportation may be all have to get to that idyllic and hidden destination.
If you’re an upscale Philippine local ready to abandon a week’s worth of work, then rejoice, the transportation means may be all familiar with you. If you’re a foreign tourist, you may have to toughen your stomach up before you jump inside the country, as you will be cart wheeling with rough waves for most of the time and eating dust inside a tricycle plying god-forsaken routes.
First, you need to know that the capital of Palawan island is Puerto Princesa. Without otherwise designed, most of your itinerary will be Puerto Princesa-based, and from there on you’ll jump off to most of the sites. The capital is easily reached from Manila, via an airplane ride that lasts around an hour. Boat rides from Manila to Puerto Princesa are available, and can take you to your lodging area around 20 hours.
Private chartered flights are also available in Manila and have the additional luxury of taking you anywhere in Palawan with a decent airport, like the town of El Nido.
Once you’re in Palawan, the ways (and mostly the only ways) to getting around the island is either through crowded buses or tricycles. These motorcycles with two-seater sidecars are usually the most handy, nifty, and convenient modes of transportation, as you can charter your own trip at your whim – with the added discomfort of haggling with a local driver of course.
If you’re going island-hopping, retrofitted pump boats are the way to go. As usual, you have the choice of taking regular trips or chartered ones.
Gear Up Right, or Get Floored Straight. No one wants to go into a formal ball sporting flower garlands and Hawaiian wear. Neither should you go to Palawan bringing the wrong kind of clothes and accessories.
The Philippines is hot. Scorching hot. Westerners either complain about the weather and take cover, or soak up an infinite amount of UV rays for all they care. Whatever your attitude, it is best to follow some travel tips to reduce your agony and increase your enjoyment:
– Wear light clothing. If it happens to be rainy season, wear heavy clothing and make sure to bring an umbrella just in case.
– Always bring your island map with you.
– Bring an insect repellant, sun block lotion, and a bottle of water for instant hydration.
– If you are under any medication, make sure to have enough medicine to last the whole trip.
– The English language is widely spoken in the Philippines, but learning to speak local phrases may come in handy.
– When you’re there, act and move around confidently. Do not be boisterous. This is so you will not attract suspicious and unscrupulous individuals.
– Wear comfortable and sturdy footwear- as you will do a lot of walking and exploring!
– It is very advantageous to prepare some loose change for public transport.
– Be sure to take advantage of the local cuisine and native delicacies that you may not get to try elsewhere in the world!
– Pick a hotel or resort that is known for overall safety. If there are any discrepancies or discomfort in your stay, ask for hotel assistance immediately. Do not forget to lock windows and doors before sleeping and leaving your place.
– If you have a camera or video camera, do not forget to bring it!