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Posts tagged Palawan
Nacpan Beach, El Nido
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The overnight storm from Typhoon Basyang caused us to rearrange our schedule while we were at Erlittop. The rains came down so hard during the night that the next morning the travel company was reporting mudslides and unsafe highways that led into the city of El Nido. We previously planned on doing the island hopping tours, but we were unfortunately forced to reschedule those to later in the week. Thankfully, there were still some roads that were drive-able. The travel company suggested visiting Nacpan Beach and Nagkalit-Kalit Falls. We had no other choice as those were our only available options. We hopped back on another terrifying van and we were ready for our beach excursion.

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Our first stop was Nagkalit-kalit Falls. We came to a stop on the side of the main road. A number of small shacks lined the highway and what looked like someone’s Lola (Grandma) greeted us. Our guide handed us walking sticks and said we had to follow him to get to the falls. I was expecting a short stroll past the shacks. Instead, what we got was a 45 minute hike through the actual jungle, all while in our flip flops and swim suits. We were prepared for relaxation on the beach but were surprised with an impromptu hike through shallow rivers and rough terrain. It was unexpected, at times it was tough, but it ended up being a wonderful journey. It felt like we were transported to Jurassic Park with the open fields and beautiful landscape. It was an experience like no other. The end of the path finally led us to a pair of waterfalls. There was a small waterfall that welcomed us. We were able to swim in the plunge basin. It was refreshing and cool as the heat of the day started coming down on us. To get to the second waterfall we had to climb up the side of a steep incline, overlooking the first waterfall, using a slippery rope. I was not going to risk bringing my DSLR or my iPhone, so I left those behind with one of our guides. This path was maybe a quarter of a mile up that led to the main falls. The Nagkalit-kalit Falls were absolutely gorgeous, a literal hidden gem, and an overall amazing adventure to get there. We took some time to be immersed in the falls and hang out and enjoy the water. Then we made our trek back to our van to head to Nacpan.

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It was a short drive west to reach our destination. There were some sketchy parts of the road due to the storm but we were able to make it. When we finally arrived to Nacpan Beach our jaws just dropped. The views of the beach were breathtaking. Bold blue water matched the blue skies. Lush greenery contrasted with the clean and clear sand. Massive islands outlined the sea in the distance. This was a sandy stretch of Heaven. It was the most picturesque postcard. There were a lot of people but there were long stretches of beach that were just untouched and peaceful. There was a large gazebo and a rock jetty that stuck out in the middle of the ocean extending pretty far out. We took the time to soak in both the beauty of the beach and warmth of the sun and just enjoy our time.

We were ready for some lunch and some drinks. There were a couple different options directly on the beach. We stopped by Sunmai Sunset, a more modern looking outdoor restaurant compared to the other establishments. This place was buzzing with a live reggae band and party atmosphere. The food took a little long as it looked like the kitchen was slammed. But the drinks were flowing quickly, Mango Margaritas, San Miguels, Pina Coladas, and of course, a whole coconut with a straw. Such an awesome find.

We didn’t even plan on coming here but I’m so glad we did. The rainstorm was a blessing in disguise, and led us to this beautiful beach with the most amazing views that I will never forget in my life.

Previous: Erlittop Garden, Sibaltan, El Nido

Puerto Princesa, Palawan
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After a couple days spent in BGC catching up with family and getting over our jet lag, we were off to start our journey to the island province of Palawan. When we flew into Manila earlier in the week, it was in the middle of the night and there was nothing but darkness out of our windows. For this trip we had an early morning flight and our eyes were glued to the window the entire time. The endless blue seas highlighted the thousands of islands that make up the archipelago of the Philippines - it was simply a sight to see. The short one hour flight was certainly not enough time for us to take in the beauty that 30,000 feet above the ground could provide.

We arrived to the City of Puerto Princesa or “The City of the Living God”. This was our first experience without the guidance of my parents, and without the comfort of the city life we got accustomed to in BGC. We touched down and immediately noticed the removal of the high rises, the bustling businesses and most importantly, the excruciating traffic of Manila. Just like that, everything was different - it felt like we were across the world in a completely new land. It was slow, the air was fresh and it felt like we traveled back in time. There were roads that weren’t paved, undeveloped areas, old buildings and lush greenery. We grabbed the first tricycle we saw (which is the best mode of transportation, by the way, and so much fun) and we took a short ride to our hotel, the Blue Lagoon, which was located right on the main street of Rizal Avenue. We settled in and immediately got right to exploring the city.

Rizal Avenue runs right through the city, it was about a 3 mile stretch from end to end. The day was absolutely beautiful and the sun was beating down. We walked the streets, observing all of the different businesses, local restaurants and people. We came across a few blocks of different markets and vendors. You could buy a fake Supreme shirt, freshly caught fish and freshly baked pandesal all at the same time. There was anything you could possibly need (and want!). We wandered over to the west end and found the City Baywalk Park. It was a beautiful landmark that housed a sense of eeriness. We couldn’t quite tell if the park was abandoned or just not open yet. Nonetheless, we had the entire park to ourselves to take in the views that overlooked the mouth of the Sulu Sea. There was nothing but silence, a light breeze and stunning views. What a blessing it was to be there, we were able to sit in peace and take in everything.

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We walked back down Rizal Avenue and visited the Immaculate Conception Cathedral, where to our surprise there was a mass being conducted. We visited Plaza Cuartel, which was a Japanese controlled military fort during WWII. In 1944, American POW’s were tortured and eventually killed by their capturers, later becoming known as the Palawan Massacre. The Plaza looked like an ordinary park, but with its dark and devastating history, it was hard not to feel the overwhelming somberness.

We finally arrived back to our hotel for a quick nap and a refresh.

We only had one night to enjoy Puerto Princesa, for we had an early morning trek to El Nido the next morning. After doing some TripAdvisor research, we found our must go to’s for the evening. Our first stop was for coffee at Eightynine Cafe. What an awesome find. I think we missed it the first time we walked by. It was a small, modern cafe that could’ve been found in any big city, but instead was nestled in the small town of Puerto Princesa. I had to get the instagram worthy Rain Cloud Coffee. They bundled a cotton candy “cloud” above a hot cup of coffee where the steam from the coffee made it “rain” into the mug. It was awesome! We ventured a couple streets down to Haim Chicken for dinner. This was a large outdoor restaurant full of local art, with smoke from the kitchen grills flooding the air. We ordered Fresh Lumpia and the best Lumpia Veggie Shanghai I’ve ever had. We followed that up with the famous Haim Spicy Chicken Leg and Pancit Bihon. Absolutely delicious. It was the perfect way to end our short time spent in such a great little city. Day one down of our island hopping adventure, and we couldn’t wait to see what was in store for us ahead.

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The Motherland

Have you ever seen that "Master of None" episode where Dev and Brian discuss their heritage and their parents upbringing? That episode is a perfect representation of how I've always felt growing up. I am Filipino, yet so much has been unknown to me about my own heritage, about being Filipino. Growing up I never took the time to learn about where my parents are from, it was never a real priority as a kid. I never knew how my parents grew up and their entire journey of how they got to the United States. Yeah I've heard bits and pieces and different stories about them and the Philippines as a whole, but I feel like I've always taken my parents for granted and what they've accomplished in their lives. I feel like as normal human beings living our own lives we all take our parents for granted in some sort of fashion. How well do we really know our parents? I know that my parents are from the Philippines, but to be blatantly honest, I really know nothing about the Philippines. I've always had our famous Filipino pride but what does that really mean??  For so long it has always been on my list to travel to my parents' homeland and in February of this year all the cards aligned. Timing, finances, work, just everything lined up and my girlfriend and I were blessed to make the journey all the way around the world to the Motherland of the Philippines. In the next few weeks I'll be posting our journey and trek all the way across the world. Follow along on the blog and subscribe!