Expectation vs Reality: Palawan Escapade

To welcome my 2019, I was anticipating my travel to Palawan on the first month of the year. 

I anticipated things. I made a checklist on what to bring. I bought things essential for my travel and made sure that everything was set.

I did these but to the extent of doubting if my travel will push through because I’m planning, there is this saying, “lahat ng plinaplano, di natutuloy.” 

But here I am, checking things in my mind, preparing and buying items that are needed for my travel. 

I already decided for my travel a year ago when my friend’s boyfriend proposed to her during the last quarter of 2017. They also decided that the wedding will be in Palawan, fiancé’s roots. 

Hence, when I and my college friends had a get together in January  2018, my soon to be married friend asked us to be present in her wedding day. 

Of course, as young professionals and a newbie in the “real world”, we were saying… “bes, wala kaming pera, why not Baguio na lang kasi? Mas malapit.”  

But of course, it’s her wedding day and we got a year to save for her big day.  

Fast forward to 2019, January 24 is my friend’s wedding day. As a good “friendship” [friends] that we are, we attended her wedding day. 

But my excitement was more on the location rather than the event. Because heck! It was my first time to travel in Palawan, a well known tourist destination for its beaches and one is considered as the new seven wonders of the world- the Underground River in Puerto Princesa, Palawan.  It also said that Palawan is the ‘replacement’ for the Banaue Rice Terraces known to be the Eighth Wonder of the World. 

Having that in mind, I was thinking that when I landed in Palawan, the Island will be surrounded by beaches where I can be walking on a white fine sand. 

But lo and behold, that was not what I witnessed when I landed in Puerto Princesa, Palawan. All I saw are trees and land. No water. I am actually a bit surprised when I realized that my expectation was very different to reality. 

I even had this idea in mind, that I can stroll along the beach at night after my arrival in Palawan.  

There was no taxi so we hired a tricycle to bring us to the house where we stayed during our trip. 

As a tourist, paying a hundred for few minutes of ride is considerable but if it is very often, paying a hundred for a minute or two long ride is definitely painful in the wallet. 

Yes, we paid P50-100 for a 2-minute ride. Well, we were first timers after all. 

On the first day in Palawan, I and my friend attended the wedding of our friend.  We planned on just attending the wedding ceremony and ditched the reception program for us to have time on the city tour in the afternoon. 

Unfortunately, the wedding ceremony started at 2pm and we were at the venue at eight (8) in the morning. 

Yes, we didn’t know. The bride told us that we should be early like 8-9am at the hotel. Obedient friends as we are, we went to the hotel early only to find out that the ceremony will be in the afternoon which means we cannot do city tour. 

And here’s the thing, aside from being the bride’s maid and groom’s man, we were tasked to host her wedding on the spot. How confident the bride was for putting us on the spot. But everything went well. 

But unfortunately, we have only a day to experience the famous Palawan. I really insisted on my friend to roam around-by hook or by crook. We must visit at least one tourist spot in Palawan, just to really say that we went there. 

We were debating whether Underwater or Honda Bay. I even suggested that we should go to El Nido but it will take us five long hours before we reach El Nido.  

We decided to visit the Underground River. The sceneries along the way were trees and no beaches. But let me tell you that when you arrive at the port, it is indeed worth it. 

Sea. Finally, we were able to witness Palawan sea. It took us a while before we were boarded to a boat that will bring us to Underground River because of the influx of tourists. The tour guide must seek permit and other requirements before we were allowed to board the boat. 

It took us two hours before we arrived at the port from the transient house which is a 5-minute away from the Palawan International Airport. 

Going inside the Underground River made me really appreciate God’s creation. It made me also appreciate audio message. It was my first time to listen to an audio message that explains the Underground River. 

It is not encouraged to talk inside the Underground River due to natural chemical present that maybe harmful to humans when swallowed. 

It sounds easy but when your tour guide has a sense of humor, it was one heck of a challenge plus Palawan Underground River is really beautiful. It is a jaw-dropping sight and yet it’s not allowed to open your mouth when you look up because of the possible drops that might fall into your mouth.

So, if you ask me, it is worth it? Yes, but go there with longer time or no wedding to attend. 

It’s not what I expected but it does not change the fact that Palawan is indeed a beautiful scenery and must go place.

I only wish I had more time to explore the place.  So, if you plan to visit Palawan, go, pack and explore but don’t forget to bring extra money. 

One piece of advice, try to search the place first and check the things that must do in the place so you also know what to pack. And never be afraid to explore. #


Florida Robles