The day started unpleasantly. It was agreed that Marsman would pick us up from the hotel at 6:30 am to take us to the airport. As nobody was still at 6:45, we started to worry and took a taxi. We thought this was not a good sign, and at that moment, we were pretty negatively attuned to the trip.
Fortunately, the taxi was quick and took us to the local terminal on time. The flight was scheduled for 8 am. The local terminal was small and full of people going to different islands. Air Philippines departed on time and arrived at Puerto Princesa airport at 9:15 am. The island looked great from the air, with its sandy beaches and coral in the turquoise blue waters. But honestly, we were slightly afraid of what to expect because the tour operator had not kept the first promise.
After the arrival procedures, we were met by the driver and the guide. Honestly, this was a relief. The driver and guide gave us a tour of Puerto Princesa, covering the City Museum, the Butterfly Garden, and the Crocodile Farm. We felt very comfortable having a driver and a guide serving just us.
The Palawan Butterfly Garden is located in Santa Monica, Puerto Princesa City. It includes butterflies not only native to the province but from other parts of Southeast Asia too. It was interesting to know that the garden started as a hobby and has turned into a fine garden and butterfly domain.
We watched a film about crocodiles at the crocodile farm. The farm raises two endangered species of crocodiles in the country: the Philippine crocodile and the saltwater crocodile. The two species are among 22 reported reptiles worldwide that have been around for more than 200 million years and are the lone survivors of the Dinosaur Age. The place also maintains a mini-zoo featuring some of Palawan’s endemic animals.
We saw a lot of tricycles on the streets. Tricycles are the primary means of transport for people in the cities. A tricycle is a motorcycle with a sidecar (passenger cabin) on a third wheel attached.
As the Philippines has two official languages—Tagalog and English—it is easy for tourists to get information.
We had lunch at the Badjao Seaport Restaurant, located within a mangrove-protected area in the city. According to the instructions, it offers the best Palawan seafood cuisine. Honestly, the soup was average, but the main course was delicious.
We saw a lot of local rural life by the roads-the rice fields, water buffalos, villages, etc. We also saw how the locals had funerals and how they rafted logs down the river.
As most of the roads were new, the drive was quick. Only the last 40 kilometers were driven on the rough road through the rainforest. The rain destroyed one section of the road. Then we stopped and helped the locals repair the road.
Finally, we arrived in Port Barton. Port Barton is a small, friendly community on the picturesque Pagdaanan Bay in NW Palawan, about 150 kilometers from Puerto Princesa. Life here is so simple and natural; primarily, you can meet the fishermen’s community. Our home for the next three days – Greenviews Resort – was at the end of a long stretch of beach on the bay’s eastern edge. Greenviews Resort welcomed us with its idyllic location, traditional cottages, clean bathrooms, and beautifully landscaped grounds. The British-Filipino family owns the Greenviews Resort. It has simple, rustic cabins that blend with the serene and lush green mountain forest protecting Port Barton’s white sand beaches and bay, which contains many islands and reefs.
We were almost the only guests at the resort. In addition to us, one German tourist was also there. This was because of the rainy season and also a hectic political situation. We were so excited because it felt like we were in an exclusive resort. You feel at home here, not like just a number in a hotel. Also, the staff was amiable. The seaside cottage was given to us. In this village, electricity is available only from 6–11 pm. When you are there, you realize that this is enough.
We just walked on the beach in the evening, had a delicious dinner, and enjoyed the beautiful surroundings and excellent sunset.
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