We had a long overland drive from El Nido to Puerto Princesa, the largest city on the island of Palawan. For the majority of the journey, we really only see jungle to the left and right of the bus.
We found dignified quarters in Puerto Princesa. The city really gave the impression of a settlement between the jungle and the South Pacific. In the harbor the bankas lined up side by side, while in the background one could see the expanse of the trees.
Of course we stroll through the city, in which there were no sights, but a lot of very lively city life to see. We found the walk through the market particularly exciting.
There was everything to see there that could be imagined. From traditional foods, tropical fruits to drugstore items, day care products, seafood and weird stuffed animals.
There are a few things to see in the surrounding area. First we visit a crocodile farm. Nobody thinks of crocodiles in the Philippines, although the largest crocodiles in the world come from this group of islands. It is not uncommon for them to be over six meters long.
“Lolong” became famous, a stately specimen with a length of 6.17 meters and thus the largest crocodile in captivity. Unfortunately, Lolong’s attitude behind walls didn’t do anything good and – as was to be expected – perished.
We were also interested in the culture of the indigenous people of the Philippines. While the archipelago was mostly populated by Indonesian settlers and Spanish colonialists, the indigenous inhabitants had to withdraw more and more and can now be found mainly in Palawan.
Hardly anyone really lives in seclusion, but the culture is maintained and also presented to guests.
Not far away there is another interesting occurrence. There is an underground river that can be visited and guided along.
The place is very beautiful, but already too far developed for tourism to be able to exude a magic.
What the underground river lacks in naturalness can be offered by the forests around it. People forget that there is a little more to explore besides the tourist attraction, so we find the jungle in the area alone – apart from abundant wildlife.
We have to stop quickly because suddenly a monitor lizard looks at us in surprise. It seems that we just disturbed him at the bath.
Unfortunately, our trip through the Philippines ends in Puerto Princesa. We had a fantastic time and wish we could have stayed longer. The people were very hospitable, even in the areas that were already heavily influenced by tourism.
There is still a lot of nature to see here and villages in a pristine state.
Shortly after our departure, the Philippines should be in the media more often, but for serious reasons, as President Duterte attracted attention with his bloody fight against drug crime.
We have fond memories of the Philippines and hope to be able to visit the other islands as well in the future.