When ask, “What’s the best place you’ve been to in the Philippines?” Hands down I will say PALAWAN, PHILIPPINES- the Last Frontier.
It was 2003 when I got hit by the travel bug, back then my list was just
- Palawan. This being separated to mainland Luzon I heard stories of untouched paradise, virgin beaches, mesmerizing coves and diverse flora and fauna. I want to make the last frontier my first priority
- Cebu. This being the oldest city in the Philippines and the center of the Philippines I believe.
- Romblon. I’m fascinated by the egg marbles my grandfather use to give as “pasalubong” back in my elementary years and I want to see first-hand how it was made.
I said, “if I’m able to set foot on these islands, I’m done.” I was able to see Romblon (2003), Palawan and finally Cebu (2008). Guess what? I ate my words and told myself, “I think I’m just starting out.”
Since then I have traveled a third of the country. Very seldom would I come back to a place I’ve once set foot on. Yet Palawan, specifically, Puerto Princesa City is a different story. I can’t count the times I’ve bought tickets to and from Puerto Princesa City. A fitting song would be, “And your face is tattooed on my mind. And I can’t get you out of my dreams..Yes I know you’re tattooed..On my mind you’re tattooed.” Really, Puerto Princesa City, Palawan is on my mind, yes, even in my heart. But why it’s the best place ever?
- I call it my home. Puerto Princesa City is family to me. I have considered a lot of people there a family. I have developed good and lasting friendship to a lot when I stayed there for almost a year.
- I know a secret place by river where I can unwind forever. This place has been my refuge, a place where I reflected about my life and purpose. A place of prayer, a place to have a retreat. A place of solace, maybe not because you’re with the birds, the fish, the insects, the mangroves and the sweet breeze of the nearby sea. I was thinking of asking the owner if the Pinoy Travel Bloggers can visit sometime to relax and enjoy God’s nature. Hmmmm?
- I love the food, especially the fresh seafood. I miss my Palawan days when after a morning run at Baybay, I would just walk towards the public market and buy some fresh tuna or tanigue so I can have some a hearty grilled breakfast. That would just cost me less than PhP50. I have Top 10 Must-Try Foods while in Puerto Princesa, be sure to check it out too.
Balinsasayaw Chicken Grill is my fave restaurant (Note: This is not mentioned in Lonely Planet but as a local this is the best) which is located in Rizal Ave. I was trying a local delicacy “tamilok,” (an edible wood worm found in dead mangrove trees) in the lower right photo. It was slimy and fishy, a perfect beer match.
- It’s a backpacker’s paradise and I want it stay just like that. Backpackers from all over the world has been raving Palawan for years and I hope that Filipinos have time and money to spare to see this spot. Here you will see nature at its outrageously best. The Palawan Underground- the second longest navigable underground river measuring 8 kilometers, home to bats and balinsasayaw birds famous for its nest which is made soup, the most expensive soup in the world.
- I love the islands, Pandan Island to be exact. Of the 7,107 islands of the Philippines, I’m in awe of the in Honda Bay called Pandan Island. Not only that its white, not only that its corals and diverse school of fish are colorful but because the locals are my friend. I was able to spend a night in the island for free just using my hammock. And I can still remember when a teenager brought me to the inner island to harvest some eggs from birds that build their nest about 5-7 feet under the sand.
- I love the vibe, chillax and not fast-paced. Ohhh yeah, I’m a surfer wannabe. But because there are no surfboards in Palawan, I was contented with skimboard. That’s me skimboarding in a hidden cove. What does skimboarding and surfing have to do with the chillax vibe? Reggae dude! Just don’t ask. Relax after a tiring day at the beach.
Ask me anytime of the day what’s the best place in the Philippines, no thinking twice, I will forever say PUERTO PRINCESA CITY in PALAWAN. The first in my list, the last frontier, the city in the forest, the untouched paradise, the place I call HOME.
Not only that this place is the most stunning island I have ever seen, but because this place is blessed with people with warm and good heart. Puerto Princesa City has been a benchmark of what paradise is. This is a place where I want to retire, a place I can call heaven on earth. Btw, I already chose an island where me and my future wife can have our wedding ceremony. I hope that she likes the idea.