My last (and only) hurrah for summer was a trip to Palawan with some close friends. We stayed at a friend’s home in Puerto Princesa and had only two items on the agenda: go to the underground river and spend as much time on the beach as possible.

Having heard some horror stories about the lines for the river tour, we made sure to get there before it opens at 8 am. We were the 2nd boat to leave and after a short ride, arrived at the national park where the tour actually begins. The park employees were all pretty cheerful but a bit too insistent on taking souvenir photos. After a short walk through the forest , we donned life jackets and helmets and piled into a small banca manned by our guide Edwin.

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It took a while to get used to the darkness and the idea that bats may poop on you, but the underground river did not disappoint. It was amazing and humbling to be able to see the trippy rock formations. Edwin kept a steady stream of information coming, peppered with some jokes (which I found hilarious but apparently were not new, according to my friend who had taken the tour before) and reminders to keep your mouth shut when looking up. As entertained as I was by Edwin’s script, I couldn’t help but want for a few minutes of silence just to sit there and listen to the flapping wings and dripping water. I can imagine how some foreign visitors can get annoyed and maybe offended by the tour guide’s script. As organized as it was, that part of the tour, along with the insistent souvenir-photo-taking, could use some re-thinking.

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After another boat ride back to the boat terminal, we headed to the second item on the agenda, the beach. My friend recommended Daluyon Resort as it was right next to the terminal. We arrived to a very warm welcome from the front desk and after opening a tab (we were only staying for a few hours), we were directed to the beach. Everything was very clean, and I noticed that they had segregated garbage bins all around the area. It was then pointed out to me that Daluyon is a green resort and a member of the Zero Carbon Resorts Project. I (foolishly) was so excited to get into the water that I hardly took any photos. Which is a shame because our lunch was wonderfully prepared and served by a very attentive waiter who knew when to come by and check in on us every so often without being too obvious.  The discreet yet efficient service at Daluyon was in obvious contrast to the more  in-your-face approach at the underground river. 

This was my third trip to Puerto Princesa and each trip has had wonderful discoveries. If Palawan’s capital city is any indication, the rest of Palawan promises to be just as breath-taking.