Postcard: Manila

I guess you don’t have to go abroad to shoot a scene like this. This photo was taken at the dock near the Cultural Center of the Philippines. You can see the Manila Yacht Club and the stretch of buildings along Roxas Boulevard in the background.

AirPhil Express’ Palawan AdvenTours

If you may have noticed, the last three posts that I made was all about Palawan. You see, a couple of weeks ago, we were invited to experience AirPhil Express‘ newest adventure product, the Palawan AdvenTours.

The Palawan AdvenTours is the second installment of the adventure tours and packages that they started to offer since June. The AdvenTours is quite different from the usual tour packages that you can avail from travel agents. Why? Only AdvenTours offer the widest range of exciting activities in different destinations with budget in mind.

As for our Palawan trip, we experienced the AdvenTour Package 2 which includes 3 Days and 2 nights of exciting activities and adventures in Puerto Princesa. For details on the different adventure packages, please refer to the lists below:

[toggle title_open=”AdvenTour Package 1″ title_closed=”AdvenTour Package 1″ hide=”yes” border=”yes” style=”default”]

  • 3 Days/ 2 nights accommodation with daily breakfast
  • Underground River Tour or Honda Bay Island Hopping
  • Half-Day City Tour
  • Buffet Lunch at Taraw Restaurant (if Underground River Tour) or Buffet lunch in Honda Bay
  • Services of a licensed tour guide
  • Roundtrip airport transfers
  • Van transfers
  • All boat and entrance fees
  • T-shirt for each participant
  • Travel Insurance

[/toggle]
[toggle title_open=”AdvenTour Package 2″ title_closed=”AdvenTour Package 2″ hide=”yes” border=”yes” style=”default”]

  • 3 Days/ 2 nights accommodation with daily breakfast
  • Underground River Tour
  • Honda Bay Island Hopping
  • Half-Day City Tour
  • Buffet Lunch at Taraw Restaurant (for Underground River Tour)
  • Buffet Lunch at a beach in Honda Bay
  • Snacks during city tour
  • Services of a licensed tour guide
  • Roundtrip Airport Transfers – All boat and entrance fees – T-shirt for each participant – Travel Insurance

[/toggle]
[toggle title_open=”AdvenTour Package 3″ title_closed=”AdvenTour Package 3″ hide=”yes” border=”yes” style=”default”]

  • 4 Days/ 3 nights accommodation with daily breakfast
  • Underground River Tour (Day 2)
  • Honda Bay Island Hopping (Day 3)
  • Half-Day City Tour
  • Buffet Lunch at Taraw Restaurant (for Underground River Tour)
  • Buffet Lunch at a beach in Honda Bay
  • Snacks during city tour
  • Services of a licensed tour guide
  • Roundtrip Airport Transfers
  • All boat and entrance fees
  • T-shirt for each participant
  • Travel Insurance

[/toggle]

These packages were designed to be flexible and the cost can be adjusted depending on your group’s budget. All of the three packages include round-trip tickets, accommodation and daily breakfast. Arrangements can be made through AirPhil Express’ hotline: Manila (02) 855-9000 or Cebu (032) 505-1616.

The AdvenTour packages are recommended to tourists who are travelling in groups who want to make the most of their budget. Enjoying Palawan doesn’t need to be expensive.

[box type=”note” style=”rounded” border=”full”]This post is part of our trip to Puerto Princessa with AirPhil Express. This trip is a sampler of AirPhil Express’ Puerto Princesa AdvenTour packages which you can avail together with your MNL-PPS-MNL tickets. If you wish to avail the AdvenTour Package that we had, please click here.[/box]

Snorkeling at Pambato Reef

After our lunch at Pandan Island and fish feeding in Snake Island, we went to our last stop in our Honday Bay tour — the Pambato Reef.

You would be surprised that beneath the pair of floating cottages lies an underwater paradise. You don’t need special training or special equipment to have a peek at the beautiful marine ecosystem; a pair of mask and snorkel will suffice.

Unlike the previous year wherein we get to freely snorkel within the confines of the calm waters of Pambato reef, the current was quite strong during our last visit. We had to be assisted by our reef guide throughout our whole snorkeling activity. Because of the strong current, we weren’t able to explore much of the reef. For most of the time, I had to make sure that I was still holding on the rope that our guide had set for us.

Aside from snorkeling activities, tourists can also fish feed. The second cottage is reserved for fish feeding activities. I’m not quite sure though on why the fishermen disallow fish feeding at the cottage near the snorkeling area.

We didn’t spend much time at the Pambato reef since the winds started to show signs of getting stronger. We left Pambato Reef and went back to the Honday Bay port where our van from the Maple Tours was waiting.

[box type=”note” style=”rounded” border=”full”]This post is part of our trip to Puerto Princessa with AirPhil Express. This trip is a sampler of AirPhil Express’ Puerto Princesa AdvenTour packages which you can avail together with your MNL-PPS-MNL tickets. If you wish to avail the AdvenTour Package that we had, please click here.[/box]

Snake Island

Snake Island is one of the most popular destinations in any Honda Bay island hopping tours. I have been here last year during my first visit in Puerto Princesa and the best I could remember about the place is that my left leg was bitten by an aggressive fish (or maybe it was hit by an aggressive fish’s fin) while I was feeding the smaller fishes with bread.

For this year’s visit to Puerto Princesa, Snake Island was our second destination. Right after having lunch in Pandan Island, our group headed to Snake Island. The island is a long stretch of sand bar with a small population of mangroves and patches of grasses. The entire island is shaped like a snake, hence it’s name. Getting to the Snake Island from Pandan Island didn’t take us long (approximately 10~15 minutes). Also, the waves weren’t as strong as it was on our way to Pandan.

Another part of the Snake Island that we weren’t able to explore the last time I was in Puerto Princesa is the mangrove areas. The mangroves are located on the side opposite to where tourists usually are. It was noticeable that Puerto Princesa is working on reviving the mangroves in the area. A large part of the island are planted with new mangrove trees.

Another thing we got excited about in going to Snake Island is halo-halo. The last time we were there, all of us bought a glass of halo-halo from the sari-sari store in the island. And we did the same thing on our most recent visit. Though the it’s not as good as the one’s you can buy from Razon’s, it’s still worth something specially when you’re under the heat of the sun.

 

[box type=”note” style=”rounded” border=”full”]This post is part of our trip to Puerto Princessa with AirPhil Express. This trip is a sampler of AirPhil Express’ Puerto Princesa AdvenTour packages which you can avail together with your MNL-PPS-MNL tickets. If you wish to avail the AdvenTour Package that we had, please click here.[/box]

Lunch at Pandan Island in Puerto Princesa

It was raining hard the night before we left for Puerto Princesa. The announcement of the typhoon Falcon in Metro Manila scared us that the trip to Palawan might not push through. The streets in Pasong Tamo and Buendia in Makati were already knee-high that night and another set of heavy rains might bring the capital another round of “Ondoy“. After having waited for the flood to subside, I only had enough time to attend a meeting with my client in the US and prepare my stuff afterwards.

The strong winds and rain already stopped when I left the house the following morning but there were still signs that the street leading to the highway was filled with flood waters the night before. It was a good sign though. No rains, no winds…our trip will push through. After completing all our check-in requirements, the rain started to pour again. The next thing we know, several flights going to Mindoro and other provinces were being cancelled. Good thing we were flying with AirPhil Express‘ Airbus 320. The bad weather that day was not much of a problem for all AirBus flights. The last I heard, no Airbus flights were cancelled that day.

I checked the weather maps and satellite images before we left Manila. Puerto Princesa and the rest of Palawan was clear from the big clusters of clouds. True enough, when we stepped out of our plane after arriving in Puerto Princesa International Airport, we were kissed by the sun. The weather was as warm as any average summer day.

Upon getting out of the airport, the members of Maple Palawan Travel & Tours, our travel agency, gave us these necklaces.  VIP boost FTW! The driver brought us to our hotel, Marianne Home Inn, which was just a few minute drive from the airport. I love our hotel. It’s affordable, clean, cozy and homey.

After we settled and fixed our stuff in the our hotel, Anne, the tour guide from Maple, oriented us with our Day 1 activities. For our first day in Puerto Princesa, we will be spending the whole day in Honday Bay. I have been to Honday Bay last year but I haven’t enjoyed it due to time constraints. Imagine touring the Honday Bay for only two or three hours ‘coz we had to be back in our hotel before lunch so we won’t miss our flight back to Manila.

Honday Bay is one of the most visited attractions in the island. It’s famous for diving, snorkeling and island hopping activities. One of the islands that I missed to visit last year is Pandan Island. According to Anne, we will be staying in Pandan Island for our lunch. Picnic!

Roch got excited when she learned we were going to Pandan Island. We thought the island was shaped like pandan or it’s abundant with pandan juice because of its name, similar to it’s neighboring snake-shaped island. However, we were wrong because after all, the island was named after the Pandan Tree which is quite abundant in the island.

We arrived in Pandan Island an hour before lunch, just enough time for us to explore the beach and for Anne to prepare our lunch. Few of the activities that you can do in Pandan Island is fish feed, snorkel, and kayak. Kayaks are available for rent while in the island.

The trees on the right are the Pandan Trees.

It didn’t take Anne too long to prepare our lunch, most of which had been prepared before we left the city. Most of the food served were classic Filipino food. The photo below is chicken adobo, perfect for my #adobofridays.

After lunch, we went for a dip in the clear cool waters of Pandan Island. We also fed the fishes with the bread we bought from the snorkel rental shop in the city. After getting the most of our stay in Pandan Island, Anne called us off to leave for our next destination, the Snake Island.

[box type=”note” style=”rounded” border=”full”]This post is part of our trip to Puerto Princessa with AirPhil Express. This trip is a sampler of AirPhil Express’ Puerto Princesa AdvenTour packages which you can avail together with your MNL-PPS-MNL tickets. If you wish to avail the AdvenTour Package that we had, please click here.[/box]