Palawan 2016: Underground River Tour

3:53 PM
After the Mangrove Paddle Boat Tour, it's time to visit Palawan's most famous tourist site, the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park, also know as the "Underground River". It is one of the places i've been excited to visit because it is the country's pride for being recognized as one of the New 7 Wonders of the Natural World last November 11, 2011 (11.11.11).

Our tour guide got a reservation number before we went to the mangrove tour. We arrived at the port where we will be transported by a pump boat which can carry up to 10 persons. From the port, we travelled to the sea and got to see the beautiful mountains from afar. After 10-15 minutes ride, we arrived at the shore nearest to the underground rive and took some photos with the huge karstic limestone near the beach.

Sabang port with the St. Pauls mountain at the background.

These boats line up to load and unload their assigned group of tourists.

On our way to the underground river.

Jump shot!

I like how their signages are made.

Marker of the New 7 Wonders of Nature.

Amazing infos about the underground river.

Almost there. But first, our tour guide, Mich, explains about the wildlife that can be found in the area. We saw a bayawak (monitor lizard) and a monkey.

The magnificent doorway to the cave..

To avoid noise inside the cave, we were asked to wear these headset in which we can hear beautiful voices narrating stories and giving information and instructions which corresponds to the area where we're at. It felt like I was inside Discover Channel.

It's getting darker..

Amazing limestone formations which are created for thousands of years. A flashlight held by our bangkero guides the light so we can see what the narrator is talking about.

Epic Fail! I set the GoPro to night mode and got these photos instead.hahaha

Pretty cool though! This is the St. Paul's Cathedral gallery. This photo looks like a surreal abstract painting.

I swear it looks better in reality. This portion has rock formations that look like religious icons.

There's water dripping from the ceiling!

I'm on fire!

Done! It was an awesome tour!

Going back to the port. I'm so ready to eat!

The Underground River tour was truly worth the wait. It's a gem of nature and God's gift to us. It's truly our country's pride, being listed as one of the new 7 wonders of nature. Check out my other tours in this series: El Nido, Mangrove Paddle Boat Tour and and Honda Bay Tour.

Zamboanga Hermosa Festival Logo

10:51 PM
Zamboanga Hermosa Festival Logo Emblem Insignia The Hermosa Festival also known as Zamboanga La Hermosa Festival or popularly known as Fiesta Pilar a month-long festival held each year in the city of Zamboanga, the city center of Zamboanga Peninsula Region in the Philippines. It is one of the oldest festivals in the country and the most awaited event in the region.

The festival is held in honor of the miraculous image of Our Lady of the Pillar (Spanish and Chavacano: Nuestra SeΓ±ora del Pilar), the patroness of Zamboanga City which is held in every 12 October. It is also the patroness of Zaragoza in Spain, the sister city of Zamboanga in Philippines. (source: wiki)

The official emblem of Zamboanga Hermosa Festival was launched in October 2015 to celebrate a new age of the festival, bringing a new and fresh look and feel to the grandest festival in this region. The insignia has three aspects: the cultural, community and the religious aspects.

The colorful composition are inspired by the vinta sail, a traditional transportation of the indigenous tribe of Badjaos. The Regatta, a race of the vintas is one of the most awaited events in the festival. The Vinta is considered as an icon of Zamboanga City and perhaps the entire region, representing the different cultures who live in harmony. The boat represents the united community, and above it people are one in celebration, dancing and worshipping the patron saint, El Nuestra SeΓ±ora del Pilar.

This year, the City Government is already preparing for the biggest fiesta of the year. Here's the official look and feel of Zamboanga Hermosa Festival 2016. Check out the calendar of activities below. Click the images for a larger view.

Like the official facebook page of Zamboanga Hermosa Festival for more updates!

Palawan 2016: Mangrove Paddle Boat Tour

9:39 AM
After our one-day El Nido adventure, we went back to Puerto Princesa City and checked-in at Go Hotels, which is just a walk away from Robinsons Mall. The next day, we had the eco-tours including the Sabang Mangrove baddle boat tour, Ihawig firefly-watching and the world-famous, Puerto Princesa Subterrranean River or "underground river" which is part of the new 7 Wonders of the natural world.

After checking-in, we went to the nearest Vietnamese resto coz we miss Saigon! Shout out to my mekmek friends :)

The next day, the van picked us up at the hotel by 7:30AM and headed north towards Sabang Bay.

We stopped first at the Buenavista viewdeck where our tour guide had breakfast while we took pictures of the view.

A photo posted by Ced Zabala πŸ‘‘ (@cedzabala) on

There's also a souvenir shop at the area. This is a small rainmaker with colorful hand-woven patterns.

We continued the 2-hour ride to Sabang Bay and saw cool rock formations along the way. Here is Avatar mountain which resembles the floating mountains from the award-winning Spielberg movie.
This is what they call the "Elephant" mountain. Can you see it?

This amazing view of the karst mountains became a pitstop for two Amazing Race episodes. The signage is still there as a souvenir.

This peacock, the icon of Puerto Princesa Palawan, is the Palawan Peacock Pheasant which is an indigenous species that is threathened to extinction.

Finally, we arrived at Sabang Bay! While waiting for our turn in the Underground River tour, we did the Mangrove Paddle Boat tour first.

Our guide who tried his best to speak English. He know his facts very well!

Together with our tour buddies. The freckeled girl is a solo traveller from France, and the last girl at the back (left) is Korean.

These huge mangrove trees grow tall for centuries and only thrive in these parts of the world.

Manong's paddle is engraved with these cool pattern.

Just chillin'

Back at home, I only saw mangroves a bit taller than me. I felt amazingly small here.

Done with the tour. Groupie!

A photo posted by Ced Zabala πŸ‘‘ (@cedzabala) on

Up next: Underground River Tour! Read here.

Palawan 2016: El Nido

10:08 PM
After the busy summer and month of June, I had the chance to take a break and get to travel to my dream destination, Palawan! Together with my travel buddy/photographer, @josephlou, we went to Puerto Princesa City and El Nido last July 7 to 10. Here's the photo story of our first day in Palawan.

From Zambo to Manila... from Manila, finally we arrived at Puerto Princesa!

Upon arrival, we headed directly to El Nido via van. We arrived by 6pm and caught a glimpse of the karstic islands by the horizon.

We checked-in at Together Pension and had dinner with Jot's highschool teacher, a Jesuit Priest, Fr. James.

Woke up with this view. The huge limestone cliff at the background. Unfortunately, all tours we're cancelled :( but we don't have anything to lose so better seize the day!

We decided to go Sunset Bar where I saw the beautiful view from the previous night's travel.

Love the view! That cliff is the one seen from the pension house.

Then, we went down to a Lugadia Beach cottages to check out the view from the shore.

Time for some snacks! We went to ArtcafΓ©, the most recommended resto in foursquare app. Indeed, it was a nice place to chill! But before we ate, we bought some postcards at the boutique in the ground floor.

Staircase leading to the cafΓ©.

We ordered some crepes and delicious home-made icecream in three flavors of our choice. We had langka, cookies and cream and avocado. Yum!


Stage area with nice decors.

We explored the rest of the area and checked out the shore view of ArtcafΓ© right infront of the main building.

We were surprised to see this amazing view! That's the Cadlao Island from afar. FYI: El Nido is currently ranked #1 in CondΓ© Nast Traveler's list of "20 Most Beautiful Beaches in the World."

We only had a little time left before our trip back to the city, so we had a short swim at the beach after our photo session.

We bought a dome lens for the GoPro and tried it here for the first time.

At the municipal hall of El Nido.

After the swim, naturally, we got hungry. We passed by a carinderia and i noticed a strange viand. I asked what it is and they said it is shark meat in coconut milk, a local delicacy. With no doubt, we tried it, and it's yummy! Another first for us!

Lunch time! *nomnom*

Dropped the postcards at the local post office.

To be continued...
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