Cruising the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River

One of the attractions in the country that automatically translates to Puerto Princesa City is the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park. The underground river which was once known as the St. Paul Underground River stretches itself within the 8.2-kilometer cave. It is also considered as one of UNESCO’s natural heritage sites and was nominated as one of the new seven wonders of the world.

The gateway to the underground river (UR), as it is commonly known, can be reached from the town of Sabang. It’s a small town ~50 kilometers north of Puerto Princesa an can be reached after an hour’s drive from the city. From Sabang, a motorized boat will take you to the Subterranean River National Park.

An almost an hour boat tour will take you to the tourist-accessible areas within the underground river. A boat cruise inside comes with a tourist guide that will give background on the attractions within the cave. A few of the attractions inside the cave are the different stalagmite and stalactite formations and the different huge chambers found inside the cave. A typical tourist tour will only cover barely half of the cave’s interiors. A thorough tour will require special permits and equipment.

The forest outside of the subterranean river park is home to different species endemic to Palawan. Some of which you can easily encounter during the short walk within the forest before getting to the underground river’s entrance. You’d be surprised to see giant lizards and petite peacocks along the way.

 

Spending a SMART weekend in Boracay

Who could say no to a free all expense paid weekend in Boracay? No one, right? Last weekend, Smart flew us to Boracay to test their newest innovation, the Smart LTE (Smart Evolution). In the previous weeks, Smart had been sending batches of bloggers to Boracay to give Smart LTE (4G) a try. We were the last batch to be sent for the same reason.

The first thing I noticed upon arriving in Caticlan was the newly renovated and much bigger Caticlan Airport. The airport still uses its old runway but now sports a much bigger terminal area. Unfortunately, the terminal building was not finished yet when we got there and we had to pick up our stuff in a shed outside the main terminal.

Our travel agent booked each of us our own rooms in Real Maris Beach Resort. The hotel was nice and our rooms are super big. It’s twice the size of my room in Eriko’s House.

Since we were there for the testing of Smart LTE, we didn’t get to do much beach-ing. The only activity we got to try was the Paraw sailing during sunset.

“]”]
Enjoying the sunset and the smooth breeze.

If the purpose of your trip to Boracay is to relax and get away from the stress of the big city, June might be a perfect month to go there. The summer feel is still there but it’s not as crowded as March, April and May.

 

 

 

 

[1] Photo credit: JustWandering.org

Pahiyas Festival in Lucban, Quezon

Pahiyas Festival is an annual celebration in Lucban, Quezon to give thanks to their patron saint San Isidro Labrador for the year’s bountiful harvest. The locales usually celebrate it by decorating their houses with colorful kiping or rice wafers, crops, fruits, flowers and vegetables. This festival is usually celebrated every 15th of May and the locales would sell the traditional Lucban longgasnisa or the famous Pansit Habhab.

Pahiyas Festival

What to buy

If you’re visiting Lucban for the Pahiyas Festival, you might want to bring home some pasalubong. The longganisa is one of the most popular items bought as pasalubong by tourists. I’m not sure though which brand or which store sells the best longganisa but finding one within Lucban wouldn’t be difficult since a lot of these are displayed on the street sides during the festival.

Pahiyas Festival

Where to go

It may not be a ‘must’ for the non-Catholics but the Lucban Church is one of the most visited areas during the Pahiyas Festival. Since the celebration about giving thanks to San Isidro Labrador, the patron saint of farmers, before the celebration starts, the locales visit the town’s church to attend the mass. Also, the parades usually begin and end at the church.

Lucban Church

How to get to Lucban, Quezon

The route we took when we went to Lucban was the Lucena-Lucban route. From Cubao, take a bus going to Lucena City. There are also buses in Buendia-Taft which are en route to Lucena City. From Lucena City, take then Lucban bound jeepney. The trip from Manila to Lucban is approximately 3 hours while the Lucena-Lucban trip will take you 30 minutes.

From the jeepney drop-off point in Lucban, explore the town on foot. Most of the streets are closed during the Pahiyas Festival. If not, going within the town on a car would be difficult due to large traffic of people walking on foot.