End of the Year Round Up: Looking Back at 2014

My Beloved Wife Lei planned on preparing our favorite Graham cake and then going to my parents to welcome the new year. But these plans were foiled by the coming of our bundle of joy: Little Ahab.

Our Little Ahab
(Sosurce: princesskaoru)

Lei had a hard time during labor. She struggled for more than 24 hours before our Ob/Gyne decided to do a Caesarean operation. Lei and our baby are fine. Our God kept them safe and healthy.

I couldn’t explain the happiness when I saw my child for the first time. My heart jumped when I heard his first cry. I will surely treasure that moment for the rest of my life.

2014 was an exceptional year for me and Lei because it is the year when we opened a new chapter of our life as husband and wife. We didn’t had a hard time adjusting but there were moments when my personality clashed with hers. Thank God that we overcame our differences and made everything work in our first months of marriage.

Juggling my life
The change in my personal life affected my blogs negatively. 2014 is the year when I contracted the much dreaded Writer’s Block. I had to take a month off blogging just to recuperate and regain my “voice”.

I managed to publish plenty of posts despite all the changes that’s happening to me during 2014. I posted about our wedding preparations. I’m glad that many people found those posts helpful, especially the posts about the bridal gowns in Divisoria, wedding souvenirs at the shops along Tabora and Ylaya Streets, The Venue in SM Mall of Asia, wedding rings from Binondo Chinatown, and wedding celebrations at Max’s Restaurant.

Altar of Shrine of St. Therese of the Child Jesus

I continued my yearly tradition of virtual Visita Iglesia. For this year’s Semana Santa; I posted about the Shrine of Our Lady of Grace in Caloocan, the chapel of Marines Barracks, Malate Church, Our Lady of the Airways Church in Pasay, St. Dominic Savio Church in Mandaluyong, Don Bosco Church in Makati, and Quiapo Church.

Malate Church

Finally, I posted about our honeymoon trip to Puerto Princesa. We truly enjoyed our first trip as husband and wife because of the pristine beach and clean seas of Palawan. That island is truly the last frontier of the Philippines. Aside from the beaches of Honda Bay, we also experienced a breathtaking trip to the world-famous Puerto Princesa Underground River.

Puerto Princesa Underground River

We also didn’t miss the chance for a DIY city tour. We went to the Puerto Princesa Cathedral and the infamous Plaza Cuartel.

It is quite obvious that my blog posts are very few this year. Only three blog series peppered with other blog posts. I have plenty of delayed posts. I’m yet to finish posting about my trip around Thailand. I also have pending posts for my trip to Guimaras, Northern Samar, Cebu, Subic, and Davao. My latest trip to Kuala Lumpur was also added to the queue.

My New Year’s resolution for my blog is to finish all of my pending posts. I also hope to post more on my other blogs. I also wish that I will be able to balance my daily life and blogging. And of course, I hope (and pray) that my income from blogging increase and more opportunity will come to me.

So, expect more travel posts on this blog. I will take you to interesting places around the Philippines and beyond.

To all of the readers of BTES, especially my suki, I greet all of you a very merry Christmas and a happy new year. May the Lord shower you and your family with great blessings.
.

A Christmas of Light and Sound at Aguinaldo Shrine

Christmas is the most festive season in the Philippines. In fact, our country is popular for having the longest Christmas Season in the world. As the much awaited season, every town in the country have their own ways of celebrating it.

Last year, we visited the Kahayag Festival of the town of Carmen in Davao del Norte that features giant Christmas trees and belen (nativity scenes). Many people from Carmen and other towns flock the town plaza to see lights and feel the beauty of Christmas.

This year, we went to the Christmas Light and Sound Show at the Aguinaldo Shrine.

Aguinaldo Shrine during Christmas Season 2014

I visited Aguinaldo Shrine three years ago. It was an edifying experience because I finally saw the house that had an important role in our history. This white house was the residence of the first president Emilio Aguinaldo and this where he declared our country’s independence from Spain.

Aguinaldo Shrine during Christmas Season

Colorful lights danced on the walls of Aguinaldo Shrine in tune to Christmas songs. Christmas lights abound the plaza but I believe that the Kahayag Festival has better decorations.

Chirstmas decor at Aguinaldo Shrine

My sister-in-law informed me that last year’s decorations were more grand. I guess the local government is trying to save money this year.
Toys for sale at Aguinaldo Shrine

Many people visit Aguinaldo Shrine not only for the light and sound show but also for the Christmas bazaar. There are shops for toys, clothes, bags, and other items straight from Divisoria.
Divisoria at Aguinaldo Shrine

The Christmas Light and Sound Show is the best place for kids. My Beloved Wife Lei’s pamangkins enjoyed the place especially that they have a wide space to run around.

Christmas Light and Sound Show at Aguinaldo Shrine is still open until January 4 so you can still come even if Christmas Day is over. Read this schedule for more info:

Schedule of 2014 Christmas Light and Sound Show at Aguinaldo Shrine
(Aguinaldo Shrine FB page)

.

Adios Puerto Princesa

Our fun in Puerto Princesa is over. It was the third day of our vacation in the island paradise and we didn’t want to leave. But we didn’t have a choice but to return to our normal lives in Metro Manila. So we packed our bags and pasalubongs and left Marianne Home Inn to go to the airport for our flight back home.

Waiting area in Puerto Princesa Airport

Our trip to Puerto Princesa Airport was hassle-free because our hotel provided us free transfer. The driver was courteous. Too bad that I forgot to give a tip for his good service. *sigh* I really am scatterbrained.

Puerto Princesa Airport

Puerto Princesa Airport was simple compared to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA). It doesn’t have a jet bridge so we had to walk to aircraft. This was not a problem for us because the weather was fair. We even used this opportunity to take our selfies.

TigerAir in Puerto Princesa Airport

We flew with Tiger Airways. I previously mentioned a good experience with this airline when I traveled to Cebu last February.

I noticed something interesting when I reached the door of the airplane. What made me curious is this:

TigerAir is armed
The airplane door is armed with what weapon?

Our plane finally took off after few minutes of waiting. Adios Puerto Princesa. Hope to see you again soon.


Me and My Beloved Wife have plenty of good memories in Puerto Princesa. We enjoyed the pristine beaches of Honda Bay. We we’re awed by the world class Underground River. We even discovered the gruesome past of Puerto Princesa.

Puerto Princesa is a beautiful place and it made our first husband and wife trip more special.

---

Read more about our Puerto Princesa vacation in these blog posts:

7 Interesting Facts that Every Pinoy Should Know about Puerto Princesa
First Night in Puerto Princesa: Dinner Date at Haim Chicken Inato
Our Overnight Stay in Balay Inato, Puerto Princesa
Honda Bay Tour (Part 1): A Big Disappointment at Starfish Island
Honda Bay Tour (Part 2): Killing Time at Luli Island
Honda Bay Tour (Part 3): Finale in Cowrie Island
Second Night in Puerto Princesa: Sisig Night at Kinabuch’s
Marianne Home Inn: Our “Home” in Palawan
How We Obtained the Permit to Enter the Puerto Princesa Underground River
Puerto Princesa Underground River Adventure Part 1: Playing the Waiting Game at Sabang Wharf
Puerto Princesa Underground River Adventure Part 2: Our Boat Ride to the Underground River
Puerto Princesa Underground River Part 3: Hidden Wonders of St. Paul Cave
7 Important Tips for a No Hassle Puerto Princesa Underground River Tour 
Buying Souvenirs and Pasalubong in LRC Mall, Puerto Princesa
Our DIY Puerto Princesa City Tour (Part 1) – Praying at the Immaculate Conception Cathedral
Our DIY Puerto Princesa City Tour (Part 2) – The Gruesome Past of Plaza Cuartel
Buying Danggit in Puerto Princesa Public Market

---

It’s still the second day of Christmas so I can still greet each every one of you a very merry Christmas. May our Lord Jesus be born in your hearts.
.

Buying Danggit in Puerto Princesa Public Market

One thing that I envy with the residents of Palawan is their fresh seafood (which is fresh as in freshly harvested from the sea and not the other “fresh” that means freshly picked from the cold storage of supermarkets).

Palawan still has clean seas that’s why this province is a source of seafood for Metro Manila. My Beloved Wife Lei knows this that’s why she made sure to go to the local palengke to buy some dried danggit.

Puerto Princesa public market

Danggit is the Visayan (or Cebuano) name for the rabbitfish or spinefoot.1 It is usually dried and then fried. It’s crispy-salty goodness will make you want for more.

Dried danggit is one of Lei’s favorite that why I always buy some of it whenever I visit Cebu.

The Puerto Princesa Public Market is conveniently located near our hotel thus we didn’t had a hard time going to it. It looks the same as the palengke in other towns because it has the wet section for fishes and other seafood, the meat section, and other areas where veggies and other dry goods are sold. The unique area in Puerto Princesa’s palengke is the presence of shops that sell dried seafood, nuts, and other food souvenir items. I guess this area of the palengke reflects the touristy side of Puerto Princesa.

Dried fishes at Puerto Princesa palengke

I enjoyed watching Lei as she haggled with the vendor. The stubbornness of the vendor won so we bought a kilo of danggit for 240 pesos. I know it looks expensive but this can be considered a bargain since dried danggit is twice or thrice more expensive in Metro Manila.

Nuts for sale in Puerto Princesa Public Market

Danggit is not the only dried seafood that is for sale. There’s dried squid, dried anchovies, the common tuyo, the common daing, and many more. There are nuts too. Of course, sweets are also available.

My Beloved Wife Lei checking out the dried fihes in Puerto Princesa Public Market

We checked out other food items in the palengke but we just bought the dried danggit. Well, I guess Lei is already contented with the dried danggit.

---

Read more of our adventures in Puerto Princesa:

7 Interesting Facts that Every Pinoy Should Know about Puerto Princesa
First Night in Puerto Princesa: Dinner Date at Haim Chicken Inato
Our Overnight Stay in Balay Inato, Puerto Princesa
Honda Bay Tour (Part 1): A Big Disappointment at Starfish Island
Honda Bay Tour (Part 2): Killing Time at Luli Island
Honda Bay Tour (Part 3): Finale in Cowrie Island
Second Night in Puerto Princesa: Sisig Night at Kinabuch’s
Marianne Home Inn: Our “Home” in Palawan
How We Obtained the Permit to Enter the Puerto Princesa Underground River
Puerto Princesa Underground River Adventure Part 1: Playing the Waiting Game at Sabang Wharf
Puerto Princesa Underground River Adventure Part 2: Our Boat Ride to the Underground River
Puerto Princesa Underground River Part 3: Hidden Wonders of St. Paul Cave
7 Important Tips for a No Hassle Puerto Princesa Underground River Tour 
Buying Souvenirs and Pasalubong in LRC Mall, Puerto Princesa
Our DIY Puerto Princesa City Tour (Part 1) – Praying at the Immaculate Conception Cathedral
Our DIY Puerto Princesa City Tour (Part 2) – The Gruesome Past of Plaza Cuartel

---

1. The information about danggit came from the Danggit article in WikiPilipinas.
.

Our DIY Puerto Princesa City Tour (Part 2) – The Gruesome Past of Plaza Cuartel

War brings the best and worst in people. A few people rose up to become heroes and served as beacons of hope in the midst of suffering and darkness. On the other hand, there were people who used the war to unleash their evil side. This evil side of humanity was what I discovered during our visit to Plaza Cuartel in Puerto Princesa.

Plaza Cuartel in Puerto Princesa, Palawan


Plaza Cuartel is just a normal park at first glance but in the middle of it is a marker that reminds every visitors of its gruesome past. The marker showing an emaciated man tied by a barbed wire and burned from below. This marker is the grim reminder of the event that took place on December 15, 1944.

World War 2 monument in Plaza Cuartel


1944 is the year when the Allied Forces started the campaign to retake the Philippines from the Japanese. General Douglas MacArthur successfully landed in Leyte in October.3 Due to their impending defeat, the Japanese soldiers in Puerto Princesa decided to kill all prisoners. So on the 14th day of December 1944, they ordered all POWs to go inside the air-raid tunnel. They then poured aviation fuel into the tunnels and set them afire. They also threw grenades to surely kill the POWs. Any prisoner who went out of the tunnel were killed by machine guns.1

Those who managed to escape the massacre were hunted down by the Japs. Of the 154 American POWs in Plaza Cuartel, Only 11 lived to tell the tale.

Entrance to the tunnel in Plaza Cuartel


Near the entrance of the Plaza Cuartel is a small gate to a room which seems to have nothing important. I peeked through the gate and I discovered the entrance to the tunnels where the prisoners were burned alive.

World War 2 tunnel in Plaza Cuartel
World War 2 tunnel in Plaza Cuartel



It was a horrifying experience for me because I imagined what happened (and I know my imagination is less gruesome than what truly happened). I asked how a human being can do such inhumane act to another human being. Such acts are more of devil’s work and I believe that the devil was present during that day, cheering for the Japanese soldiers.

Our visit to Plaza Cuartel was a little depressing but it was worth it. I learned a little history and saw how war promotes atrocities such the one that happened in Plaza Cuartel.

Memorial marker for the 143 soldiers killed in Plaza Cuartel, Pueto Princesa, Palawan


Plaza Cuartel is just few steps away from the Immaculate Conception Cathedral. It can easily be reached by riding a tricycle anywhere in Puerto Princesa. Just tell the driver that you’re going to the cathedral. There’s no entrance fee so you don’t have to pay anything.

Any one who is doing the Puerto Princesa City Tour should never miss Plaza Cuartel. The place is unique in Puerto Princesa because it is the best relic of the Second World War because of the barbarity that happened in that place.

---

Information included in this post came from:

1. A City Paradise in the Puerto Princesa City official website.
2. National Historical Institute marker at Plaza Cuartel
3. Battle of Leyte article in Wikipedia

Some interesting articles regarding Plaza Cuartel

1. American Prisoners of War: Massacre at Palawan in History.net
2. Chicago Tibune (March 4, 1945 issue), page 6
.

Be Fit and Green with the Folding Bike from Taiwan

Traveling in Metro Manila is getting more difficult as Christmas gets near. The crowd at the malls is getting bigger because of the rush to buy gifts. The traffic jam is getting messier and being trapped inside the heavy traffic for a very long time is a daily experience. Even the LRT and MRT are not reliable because of the malfunctions and the long lines.

It seems that the traffic situation is Metro Manila will never improve. Some people say that there’s no solution. That it's hopeless. But they’re wrong because there’s a solution and that is what I call bike revolution.

Riding a bike from one place to another is the most efficient and environment friendly mode of transportation. Bicycles don’t take up much space. Bicycles don’t emit smoke. It doesn’t require fossil fuel to run. It can even pass through the narrowest alleys in the Metro. And the additional benefit is it keep people healthy and fit.

Top brands from Taiwan know the benefit that we Pinoys can get in bike transportation. That’s why they bring to the Philippines their folding bikes.
SlidyBike from Taiwan

Taiwan brands STRIDA, Tern, and Pacific offers high quality folding bike. The good thing with their folding bikes is that they’re easy to carry around. This is important for people who need to ride public transportation. They used light materials so that those who don’t have enough muscle power (like me) can carry the bikes. These folding bikes are lightweight but it doesn't mean that there strength are compromises. STRIDA, Tern, and Pacific used strong materials so that their bikes can withstand the stress from daily use.

All the bikes from STRIDA, Tern, and Pacific carry the Taiwan Excellence quality seal. This means that these three top brands passed the strict standards required by Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA). This is the best guarantee to the quality of the folding bikes from STRIDA, Tern, and Pacific.

TAITRA is committed in ensuring that consumers around the world, including us Pinoys, will get high quality products from Taiwan. Thus I can say that the Taiwan Excellence seal is the best guarantee that consumers like us can rely on.

TAITRA teamed up with Iya Villania-Arellano to promote the top Taiwanese brands and tell the people the benefits of the Taiwan Excellence campaign. 

There’s no reason for us to give up on the traffic situation in Metro Manila. A solution is available to us and Taiwan Excellence campaign is here to help us by giving us high quality folding bikes. So if you’re searching for a folding bike, I suggest that you look for the Taiwan Excellence quality for your great benefit.

Go to the Taiwan Excellence website or the Taiwan Excellence Facebook page to know more of the high quality brands that Taiwan has to offer. You can see not only folding bikes but also gadgets, appliances and many more.

---

This is a sponsored post provided by Nuffnang. Although I get paid, every opinion on this blog post is entirely mine and may not directly reflect the position of Nuffnang and the Sponsor. 
.

Excellent Taiwanese Products for Excellent Lifestyle for Pinay Moms

They say that motherhood is the least appreciated job in the world. I agree with this because mothers serve many roles in the home. She is the nurse (or doctor) when someone is sick. She serves as janitor and clean the whole house. She even acted as the teacher when her children ask her to help in their studies. Now in the modern age, many mothers don’t stay at home because many of them also act as providers for the family.

The Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA) knows the hardship of being a mother that’s they launched the Taiwan Excellence campaign. The campaign aims to introduce to Pinoy mothers and all Filipino consumers the high quality products from Taiwan.

ASUS phone from Taiwan


Taiwan is very serious when it comes to the quality of products coming from their country. The Taiwan Excellence campaign is the proof of this because only those brands that passed the stringent rules will receive the Taiwan Excellence seal. The seal serve as a guarantee that can aid Pinoy consumers in selecting the best products from Taiwan.

Pinoy mothers will benefit from this campaign because it helps them in making sound decisions when shopping.  Now all she had to do is to look for the Taiwan Excellence seal when shopping for home appliances, kitchen items, and even gadgets like phones and laptops.

MiaCare from Taiwan


Iya Villania-Arellano is the celebrity endorser of the Taiwan Excellence campaign. As a wife (and a future mother, hopefully) she is also looking for high quality products for their home. And I’m sure that Taiwanese products with Taiwan Excellence seal caught her attention.

Being a Pinoy mom is a challenging role. Good thing that TAITRA introduced the Taiwan Excellence campaign in the Philippines. I am sure that through this campaign, many mothers will get excellent lifestyles not only for themselves but also for their family.

Visit the Taiwan Excellence website and the Taiwan Excellence Facebook page to know more about the Taiwan Excellence campaign in the Philippines.

---

This is a sponsored post provided by Nuffnang. Although I get paid, every opinion on this blog post is entirely mine and may not directly reflect the position of Nuffnang and the Sponsor.
.

Our DIY Puerto Princesa City Tour (Part 1) – Praying at the Immaculate Conception Cathedral

We have a few hours left before our afternoon flight back to Manila, so, on our third (and last) day in Puerto Princesa we decided to do our own city tour. We did our Internet research the night before and we chose to visit only two spots, namely, the Immaculate Conception Cathedral and Plaza Cuartel. We also planned on going to Baker’s Hill but we weren’t able to do so because we had little time.

Puerto Princesa City doesn’t have plenty of historical sites like Cebu or Manila. The reason for this is that Palawan is one of last islands colonized by the Spaniards. In fact, the Spanish colonial government was just established in 1871 or almost at the end of Spanish rule in the Philippines.

Immaculate Conception Cathedral, Puerto Princesa, Palawan


The Bishop of Jaro appointed Father Ezekiel Moreno (now a saint) as the military chaplain of Puerto Princesa in 1872. An expedition of 272 people went to Puerto Princesa and celebrated the first mass there.1 They chose Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception as the patroness of the new colony.

Immaculate Conception Cathedral, Puerto Princesa, Palawan

The Immaculate Conception Cathedral is impressive. I guess that it is the biggest church in the whole island of Palawan. Its blue color matched the color of Mama Mary the Patroness of Puerto Princesa.

The current semi-Gothic cathedral was built in 1965 during the reign of Bishop Gregorio Espiga. It was designed by Architect Mañalac and constructed under the supervision of Engineer Florencio Llacuna. The wooden elements of the church like the door, pews, and carvings were made by the Iwahig inmates.2

We were welcomed by the words “Haec Est Domus Dei” as we enter the cathedral. It means “This is the house of God”.

Haec Est Domus Dei - Puerto Princesa, Palawan

Our visit to the Puerto Princesa Cathedral has two purposes. The first is to see the cathedral as a tourist and the second is to pray to God. Lei and I thanked God for blessing us during our wedding day. We asked Him to help us in our new journey as husband and wife.

Aisle of the Puerto Princesa Cathedral

The whole cathedral was deserted during our visit. This was an advantage because I can take photos without interference.

Altar of the Puerto Princesa Cathedral

The cathedral’s altar is simple but elegant. The best part is that the tabernacle is located at the center, which is its proper place. Just above the tabernacle is the image of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception.

Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception in Puerto Princesa, Palawan

Some of you are possibly asking who is this lady and why we Catholics call her immaculate. Well, Our Lady of Immaculate Conception is the title of the Mary (the mother Christs) that signifies her being free from original sin during her conception. Her immaculate conception stems from the fact that Jesus is totally incompatible with sin. Thus, it is impossible for Him to be borne by a woman who is infected with original sin or made an actual sin.3

Inside Puerto Princesa Cathedral

The two towers at the sides of Puerto Princesa Cathedral bear 8 bells which are dedicated to San Nicolas de Tolentino, St. Ezekiel Moreno, San Fernando Rey de España, San Jose, Maria Consolatrix Afflictorum, and Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception.2

Immaculate Conception Cathedral, Puerto Princesa, Palawan

Our visit to Puerto Princesa Cathedral was short but meaningful. We’re glad that we managed to visit Him in His house in Puerto Princesa. This completes our trip to Puerto Princesa.

---

Information included post came from the following sources:

1. Apostolic Vicariate of Palawan in CBCP Online.
2. A City of Paradise from the official website of the City Government of Puerto Princesa
3. Immaculate Conception from New Advent

---

Read more of our adventures in Puerto Princesa City:

7 Interesting Facts that Every Pinoy Should Know about Puerto Princesa
First Night in Puerto Princesa: Dinner Date at Haim Chicken Inato
Our Overnight Stay in Balay Inato, Puerto Princesa
Honda Bay Tour (Part 1): A Big Disappointment at Starfish Island
Honda Bay Tour (Part 2): Killing Time at Luli Island
Honda Bay Tour (Part 3): Finale in Cowrie Island
Second Night in Puerto Princesa: Sisig Night at Kinabuch’s
Marianne Home Inn: Our “Home” in Palawan
How We Obtained the Permit to Enter the Puerto Princesa Underground River
Puerto Princesa Underground River Adventure Part 1: Playing the Waiting Game at Sabang Wharf
Puerto Princesa Underground River Adventure Part 2: Our Boat Ride to the Underground River
Puerto Princesa Underground River Part 3: Hidden Wonders of St. Paul Cave
7 Important Tips for a No Hassle Puerto Princesa Underground River Tour 
Buying Souvenirs and Pasalubong in LRC Mall, Puerto Princesa

Buying Souvenirs and Pasalubong in LRC Mall, Puerto Princesa

Traveling to other places is a short and (usually) sweet experience. There are beautiful places to see, unique food to taste, and the moments outside of the usual daily routine. It is a rare experience that’s why I made it a habit to buy souvenirs during my travels.

Our trip to Puerto Princesa earlier this year was not different. Me and My Beloved Wife Lei made it sure that we get some souvenirs and pasalubong for the people waiting for us in Manila. So, before the end of our awesome Puerto Princesa Underground River tour we asked our tour guide to drop us to the best place where we can shop for souvenirs.

Our tour guide brought us to LRC Market Mall.

LRC Market Mall in Puerto Princesa, Palawan

LRC Market Mall doesn’t appear impressive because it looks more of a flea market than a mall. It actually looks like the uncrowded (and smaller) version of Chatuchak Weekend Market in Bangkok. The place is hot and may make you sweaty all over.

But don’t let the appearance deceive you because LRC Market Mall is filled to the gills with souvenir items from all over Palawan.

Souvenir shops in LRC Market Mall, Puerto Princesa, Palawan

This is where I found my favorite souvenir items: key chains and ref magnets. We also looked at interesting items made of shells, wood carvings, bags, t-shirt and more. I was contented with key chains and magnets but Lei was searching for pearl earrings.

Souvenirs for sale in Puerto Princesa, Palawan

Puerto Princesa is a good place to buy pearls because it is located near Sulu Sea and the Sulu Archipelago which are the source of the famed pearls. In fact, this part of the country is so popular for pearls that pearl farms sprouted off the seas of Coron, Busuanga, Dumaran, and Balabac.  The beautiful pearls coming from these farms costs hundreds of dollars a piece.

Of course, Lei didn’t buy the expensive pearls. She’s OK with the pearls in LRC mall.

My Beloved Wife Lei buying pearl earrings in LRC Market Mall, Puerto Princesa

We were satisfied with our shopping in LRC Market Mall. We managed to get bargains for our purchases and the vendors are easy to talk with. The market is not that crowded and very easy to navigate.

If you’re a tourist looking for a good place to buy souvenirs and pasalubong, I suggest that you go to LRC Market Mall. It is located along Puerto Princesa North Road, Barangay San Miguel. Any tricycle or taxi cab can easily bring you to this market.

Look at the Google Map below for directions to LRC Market Mall.




---

Read more of our adventures in Puerto Princesa:

First Night in Puerto Princesa: Dinner Date at Haim Chicken Inato
Our Overnight Stay in Balay Inato, Puerto Princesa
Honda Bay Tour (Part 1): A Big Disappointment at Starfish Island
Honda Bay Tour (Part 2): Killing Time at Luli Island
Honda Bay Tour (Part 3): Finale in Cowrie Island
Second Night in Puerto Princesa: Sisig Night at Kinabuch’s
Marianne Home Inn: Our “Home” in Palawan
How We Obtained the Permit to Enter the Puerto Princesa Underground River
Puerto Princesa Underground River Adventure Part 1: Playing the Waiting Game at Sabang Wharf
Puerto Princesa Underground River Adventure Part 2: Our Boat Ride to the Underground River
Puerto Princesa Underground River Part 3: Hidden Wonders of St. Paul Cave
7 Important Tips for a No Hassle Puerto Princesa Underground River Tour 
.

Pray and Prepare for Bagyong Ruby

I interrupt my regular blogging schedule with a very important post. I’m referring, of course, to super-typhoon Ruby (international name Hagupit) which about to hit Samar Island on Saturday.

Track of Typhoon Ruby from PAGASA
Track of Typhoon Ruby from PAGASA.

It is sad that the provinces hit by Typhoon Yolanda last year will be hit by Typhoon Ruby. My kababayan who suffered the loss of family and friends might suffer the same horror this year.

It is easy to lose hope in the face of the calamity that is about to happen. But hopelessness will bring us nothing but despair. So, instead of hopelessness I suggest that we rouse ourselves and face Ruby. We should call on to God for protection and we should do this as a nation. Typhoon Ruby is nothing but a raging wind and it is nothing compared to our Creator.

Aside from calling to our God, we should also prepare for the coming typhoon. Those who live along the typhoon track must do the necessary precautions. Houses must be strengthened and those who are near the sea must go to higher grounds.

For us who are spared from being hit directly by Typhoon Ruby should not wait idly for the calamity to happen. We must prepare the food, clothing, medicines, and other relief items. Our unfortunate kababayan who will experience the brunt of Ruby will surely need these things.

Typhoon Ruby is truly scary but there is something that we can do: Pray – Prepare – Help of our kababayan.
.

7 Important Tips for a No Hassle Puerto Princesa Underground River Tour


Are you having difficulties in arranging your trip to Puerto Princesa Underground River? Or are you worried because you don’t know what to expect during the tour? Is the tour already fully booked? – These questions and more popped in our minds when we decided to go to the world famous underground river/cave of Palawan Island.

We had these questions because we didn’t book the Underground River ahead of time. In fact, we made the decision to go when were already in Palawan.

I bet that you have the same questions if you’re planning to visit the Puerto Princesa Underground River (also known as St. Paul Cave).

I will try to answer some of your questions. So read (and follow) this list of 7 important things that will surely give you hassle-free tour in Puerto Princesa Underground River:

1. Book the Tour before Going to Palawan


Our queue ticket for getting the entry permit to Puerto Princesa Underground River


Due to being recognized as one of the New 7 Wonders, Puerto Princesa Underground River was placed to international attention. Hordes of tourists descend to Palawan to visit this river. Thus, it is advisable to book your Underground River Tour before going to Palawan.

There’s no online booking for the tour. The official website of the Underground River only provides info and nothing else. The best way to have an advance booking is through the hotel where you’ll stay. Hotels in Puerto Princesa usually are connected with travel agencies.

However, if you found yourself in the same situation as us then you will have to go to a more tricky process. But don’t despair because there’s hope (especially if it is not the peak season). Read my post on how we obtained the entry permit walk-in visitors to know the trick in joining a tour to the Underground River.

2. Be Mindful of the Weather

 

Our boat ride to Puerto Princesa Underground River


Visitors to the Underground River have to ride an outrigger boat. This means that Underground River tour is very much dependent on the prevailing weather. Expect tours to be cancelled during inclement weather. I read of sad stories of tourists who waited in vain for the good weather. Many of them had no choice but to leave Palawan because of their tight schedule.

Take note that June to October is the typhoon season in the Philippines so it would be good to go to Palawan in the months of November to May.

3. Never Forget: Patience is a Virtue


It took us more than an hour of waiting at Sabang Wharf and the entrance to cave. I read that other tourists waited much longer. With the great number of visitors to the Underground River, you should expect to wait. I guess your Underground River tour would be the best opportunity to test your patience.

4. Beware of the Monkeys Thieves

 

Monkey thief of Puerto Princesa Underground River


Monkeys inhabiting the forest around the Underground River are no longer afraid of humans. In fact, they consider humans as source of food. These monkeys are attracted to sound of plastic bags because they think there’s food inside. So, hold your bags and gadgets tightly unless you want to give them away to the monkey thieves.

5. Bring Powerful Flash for Better Photos

 

Photos of Puerto Princesa Underground River


St. Paul Cave is very dark and the light used during the tour is not bright enough for good photos. So it is advisable that you bring a camera that has flash. I used a Lumix point-and-shoot camera which, unfortunately, is not enough to brighten the rock formations that I was photographing. A camera with a powerful flash will surely give you beautiful shots of the stalactites, stalagmites, and columns.

6. You May Need an Audio Tour


Boatmen/cave guides can speak English but there were times that they speak in Filipino. You will not understand the jokes and other things that he is saying. If your very particular in understanding the wonders of Underground River then you must get an Audio Tour.

The Audio Tour is available at a booth before you enter the forest trail. IWelshCo at TripAdvisor said that you should listen to the audio tour before entering the cave because the voice of the boatman and the echo will make it difficult for you to listen to the audio tour.

7. Don’t open your mouth


Make sure to keep your mouth shut especially when looking up. St. Paul Cave is inhabited by bats and some of their poo might drop into your mouth. Bat boo will surely ruin your tour (and may make you hate bats, Batman, Dracula, and all other thing related to bats).

Bonus Tip. Give Your Boatman a Tip

 

Our cave guide for the Puerto Princesa Underground River tour


A boatman/cave guide paddles the 1.5 kilometer length of cave for 8 times a day. Their income is barely enough to support their daily needs. If you’re satisfied with their performance then giving them a tip is a great way of showing your appreciation.

The Park Management allows tourists to give tips to their boatmen. The only requirement is that you give the tip to a boatman/cave guide that performed well. This will make sure that the boatmen/ cave guides will do their best to please park visitors.

The Beauty of Puerto Princesa Underground River


Puerto Princesa Underground River is a truly wonderful place. And every one must visit it. So drop your hesitations. Book a tour and book a flight and go to Palawan!

---

Read more of our adventure in Puerto Princesa Underground River:

How We Obtained the Permit to Enter the Puerto Princesa Underground River

Puerto Princesa Underground River Adventure Part 1: Playing the Waiting Game at Sabang Wharf

Puerto Princesa Underground River Adventure Part 2: Our Boat Ride to the Underground River

Puerto Princesa Underground River Part 3: Hidden Wonders of St. Paul Cave