Taiwan North Coast Tour with Klook (A Review)

For our Day-2 in Taiwan, we traveled through the North Coast of Taiwan through KlOOK shuttle bus tour. Here’s the link of the exact tour itself in KLOOK site: Yehliu Geopark, Jiufen, and Shifen Shuttle Bus & Golden Waterfall One-day Tour

CONTENT OF THIS BLOG

Day 1: Our Experience Using Taipei Unlimited Fun Pass Card

DAY 2: TAIWAN NORTH COAST

VLOG version

DETAILED ITINERARY

MEET-UP at GAKUDEN BAKERY

It was a good thing the meet-up was beside a bakery. People lined up to have a quick breakfast and I must say, I love sandwich we bought from Gakuden. I was also surprised that there were a lot of Klook bus tours here. It’s important to find your appropriate tour and tour guide. Tour guides has a list of names that will be under his supervision and will be calling out names from time to time.

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On our way to our first destination, our tour guide told us important things that we should keep in mind. Like it’s against the law not to fasten your seatbelts while on the bus ride. She even showed a video clip that passengers were usually being thrown out of the bus as an impact of the collision and can get hit by another passing cars. If I remember correctly, penalty was 3000 NTD. Another, it was against the law for drivers to work more than 12 hours to avoid overfatigue which will result for another road accidents. So they made a point that they are strict with time and tourists shall comply. Or else, they will leave and the tourists will have to take a taxi ride to the next destination in the itinerary. While these are very strict, I appreciate the re-enactments videos they showed on why these are important. They are entertaining and informative. And as well, made me question why rules does not exist in the PH. Or is there? Maybe I am not aware.

Destination 1: Yehliu Geopark

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I have a confession to make. Whenever I see pictures of Yehliu Geopark in instagram or other blogs I was thinking “What’s the big deal about this place?” The photos of the rocks reminded me of foot warts and it honestly irked me. I was ready to scratch this place off the list when I was still planning our Taiwan itinerary. But in the end, since its part of the Klook tour that I considered then I let it be. But our Klook tour guide was just awesome and presented to us videos on what is Yehliu Geopark and why it was a national treasure before we arrived here. So the gist was due to the unique limestone composition of the land here in Yehliu, wind and soil erosion naturally formed various rock formations that can’t be found anywhere else. They refer those rocks as sculptures made entirely by nature. They have rock formation that looks like a shoe, elephant, gorilla. The most popular is the Queen’s head because it looks like a head of a lady in bare shoulders. The rocks that looks like foot warts for me were mushroom rocks. Somehow, when I was here they don’t like warts anymore because I find the land color gorgeous to look at personally. So the photos maybe just don’t give enough justice to the beauty of this place, I tried to capture it on my own but even my captured photos may not be enough. I tried my best though.

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Here’s the Queen’s Head. The line for this one is soooo long and we just have little time inside #YehliuGeopark so we decided not to pursue having close photo-ops with this rock and just have photo with her from where we stood. It’s just sad to know the inevitable fate of Queen’s head. It’s neck is significantly thinner compared to ten years ago naturally because of erosion. So in the future, it is expected that the head will eventually fall-off.

In the end,I enjoyed my time here because ir’s like a museum or exhibit made by nature. BUT sadly, the alotted time by Klook was not enough to see all rock sculptures. We did not see Queen’ head up close and I didn’t see the candles rock which looks like nipples for me.

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Is the time alotted by KLOOK enough for Yehliu? A big NO! Unfortunately 70 minutes was not enough. Just walking to the site would already take you 15 minutes and then going back will cost you another 15 minutes. The time left for everyone to see the rocks will just be around 30-40 minutes.

Destination 2: Yin-yang Sea and Thirteen Layer Remains

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These are some shots of Yin Yang Sea from the observation deck and the 13-layer remains which was the old copper factory that was suspected to be responsible to Yin-Yang Sea phenomenon. It was called Yin-Yang as it looks like the duality symbol from top view. Our tour guide said that it only looks like this on the surface. That if you swim just a bit deeper in the sea, it’s just all blue.

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IS the time alotted here enough? Yes, We only stayed there for 15 minutes as there was nothing to do much here aside from sightseeing. We also didn’t see anyone swimming there.

Destination 3: Golden Waterfalls

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The stones are coated with gold due to several mining around the area during old times. The sun was not directly hitting the waterfalls that day so it was not that obvious in pictures. Other parts on the way here though were indeed glowing in gold color. At this point, I realized that Taiwan was really big in gold mining industry before.

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Is the time allotted here enough? Yes. We only spent 10 minutes here. There’s no activity here other than sightseeing also. No swimming is allowed as the water is poisonous for skin contact.

Destination 4: Jiufen Old Street

Wandering the place that inspired Hayao Miyazaki’s Spirited Away! Jiufen Old Street. We ate a lot of food here.

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This is not for those who doesn’t like narrow and crowded spaces.

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Amei tea house is a hundred years old tea house in Jiufen Old Street. It’s the most popular site because it is said to be the inspiration of Hayao Miyazaki for the design of the Bathhouse in Spirited Away. For those who are not a fan or not even familiar, you may find this teahouse very expensive. I saw a lot of pictures of this teahouse and I believe it’s more gorgeous at night because of the red lantern ornaments.

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Comparison of Amei tea house and Spirited Away’s Bathhouse from Tofugu.com
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Random shots food stalls. Filipinos will be delighted to stroll around Jiufen because once Taiwanese vendos see your faces, or hear you speak, they will go “Pogi Maganda, bili na kayooo!” It goes to show that Filipinos became common tourists in Taiwan after the country lifted the visa requirement.

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Food tripping in Jiufen. Basically what we did in Jiufen.

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In summary, Jiufen Old street is a haven for Spirited Away fanatics. For non-fans, this is haven for food trips and souvenir hunters. The streets are narrow and full of stairs. Our tour guide said to be wary of going upstairs as tourists could easily get lost in the myriad of stairs. If you are not into crowded narrowd spaces, you may get annoyed as this place can be Really crowded. Base on blogs that I’ve read it could be really hot in there too specially in summer. We’re lucky to be there in Autumn season. Klook gave us two hours to roam around here as this is also a perfect place to spend lunch time.

Is the allotted time in Jiufen Old Street enough? We stayed here two hours and I can say that was enough. We came back in time. I must say though to be careful in wandering here in Jiufen as it the narrow streets could make someone lost it’s way.

Destination 5: Shifen Waterfalls 

This the little Niagara of Taiwan as it resembles the popular Niagara falls. And true that statement, it was really cute. It also create a mini rainbow when directly hit by sunlight. Like golden waterfalls, this one was also barricaded and it looks like it’s also prohibited for swimming.

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And since Shifen is known for Sky lanterns as well, we found this shop selling mini sky lantern lamps. And I found them really cute and perfect for portraiture background.

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Aside from gazing at the waterfalls, what we did here is …you guess it right, eat again!

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Is the time allotted here enough? Well I can say yes. We had little time to finish our food but it was on us. The area was not that big. We only stayed here for 50 minutes.

Destination 6: Shifen Old Street

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It’s my personal choice not to fly a skylantern in Shifen Old Street. The reason would sound “kill joy” so I woud rather not disclose it here. But I enjoyed watching families, friends and lovers as they successfully launch their sky lanterns riddled with their written wishes. I just silently enclosed my wishes as they fly it haha. Kidding aside, our tour guide told us how sky lantern started in Shifen Old Street. In times of war, a soldier was stranded in a field and desired to get help silently as the enemies were around. Given that there are no cellphones before, the means of long distance communications is through smoke. But it was night time and smoke would look rather invisible. So the smart soldier imitated the principle of hot air balloon with just papers. He designed it and successully sent a “Send Help” through the sky. He was saved after that. That’s how the sky lantern was born.
It’s good to know that there are only few places in Taiwan licensed to fly sky lanterns and Shifen is one of them. In this place this is a cultural tradition. Out tour guide also noted that if ever your wishes in the skylantern came true, you should go back here and send a “Thank you” message again by flying another sky lantern. But she stressed that when you wish,you should also work hard to achieve it. Makes sense.

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When I see Shifen Old Street in instagram, I thought this train tracks are already inactive. Well, I was wrong. It was completely active. And people have to rush out bringing their lanterns away when the police whistles signalling the coming train.

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SO ONCE AGAIN, WE EAT AGAIN!

MUST EAT: CHICKEN RICE!

Just want to share this chicken wings with rice. This was included in our Kloor tour in Shifen Old Street. This was absolutely delicious. We thoughts it was just an ordinary fried chicken wings. It turns out it was grilled and I think it is marinated in a different way because of its rich unfamiliar taste. The rice also was infused inside the chicken wings. This is definitely a perfect meal for someone on the go.

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MUST EAT! PEANUT ICE CREAM ROLL!

One also must not skip eating this Taiwanese Dessert , Peanut Ice Cream Roll. One of the uinforgettable eats in Taiwan that we had. We also availed this as part of our Klook Tour and their stall in Shifen Old Street was just beside the tracks.

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IS THE ALLOTTED TIME ENOUGH? YES, 70 minutes was enough. I did not feel deprived with our time here.

This is the end of our tour. We returned to the same meeting place we had that morning in Ximen MRT. We arrived at around 6:30pm just like what they promised in the itinerary. After that we went souvenir shopping in Ximending and Shilin Night Market. We also had a memorable dinner in Modern Toilet Restaurant . Below is the link for the continuation of our Day2 adventure.

FINAL VERDICT!

4.5 out of 5 stars!

I totally recommend this tour specially for first timers in Taiwan because of the following reasons

  1. Our tour guide Vickie is proficient in English and were able to present historical facts about the places we have visited which made the tour more enjoyable while we were on our way to next destinations.
  2. The inclusive food (the chicken rice and peanut ice cream roll) were delicious and truly memorable. I recommend everyone to avail this version of the package.
  3. The bus is cozy and full of safety features for the passengers.
  4. It is affordable and it covered a lot of places in North Coast of Taiwan! As of this writing, this tour only costs P756.00 per person.

The only cons that I can think of was the lack of time in Yehliu Geopark. We missed a lot of rock structures because the area was really big. But overall, the experience was great!

Once again, here’s the VLOG version of this blog. See this magnificent places in action.

And if you’re interested to check on our Day 1 Adventure, here’s the link.

I hope this blog would be helpful to you in planning your next Taiwan trip!

Remember, you are awesome!

Gurezu ❤

El Nido Adventure- Tour C (Palawan Day 4)

and  Before we jump into the last day our Palawan Adventure, here’s our Day 1, Day 2, and Day 3.

Hidden Beach

Off to our first destination is the Hidden Beach. Our journey going there made me realized why it was named this way. We have to swim, make our way through curves and giant rocks to reach this place. Actually we “cheated” the swimming part. The tour guides just instructed us to float and he pulled our life-jackets while swimming. If they didn’t drag us through the waves, we might have spent full hour swimming to reach the place.

.Just like before, a short time in the boat going to this island made me instantly hungry. The first thing,  search for food or drinks. Here is a short clip of me ordering a coconut for P60.00 from the boat vendor.

Finally, this is me with my “buko”. Take note of the crystal clear water. Too bad we only brought mobile phone here. I did not dare to bring my camera anymore due to the damage it had from yesterday’s adventure. Also, it was kind of stressful to bring a full-blown camera. I was lucky that I had a reliable waterproof bag. If not, I would go home with a dysfunctional one.

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SHIMIZU ISLAND

This island was named after a a Japanese diver who died while exploring the El Nido and eventually was found in the shore of this island. His surname is Shimizu.

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The source of it’s name could be born out of tragedy but hey look at this! With its pristine water and white sand, being here is far from being tragic.

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Of course, pardon me for having my photoshoot again. I travel for pictures with me in it.

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Lunchtime in Shimizu Island

We spent longer hours here in Shimizu that any other island because this was the place where we had our lunch. This photo is an evidence on how my friends guarded our table. Their eyes fixated on the food. With the spoon and fork in their hands, they were so ready to attack.

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What do we have here? Crabs, fish, liempo, eggplant salad, cucumber, banana , pineapple, coke and rice.

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Snorkeling Area

Here’s one thing I hate about myself. I don’t like underwater activities. Snorkeling , Scuba Diving, and any other activities I might not know that involves a lot swimming and going into the deep. I’m not scared. It’s more like I easily get tired. The “I-am-going-to-die-tired” kind of way. But one thing I like about myself, I do it anyway. Who would like to miss the sight of the corals? I only lasted less than 10 minutes though.

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SECRET BEACH…NOT!

What disappointed me in this trip is we have to skip Secret Beach due to large waves. A local said it should have been the highlight of tour C since it the most adventurous to reach. We have to swim through a small crevice in a cave before to enter this mysterious place. It also known as the real inspiration for a bestselling novel ” The Beach” written by Alex Garland. Although the novel was set in Thailand, Alex Garland derived the geography of the setting from Secret Beach during the time he spent vacation here in Palawan. So that’s we have missed. But safety first, right? And we can always go back.

Helicopter Island

This island was named this way because it is truly shaped like a helicopter in a distance. It is not the only thing that sets this apart from the other destinations we toured. The sand of this island is golden! A fresh sight from all the whites we have seen.

Here’s a short clip of our arrival in this island.

And yes, photoshoot again and again!

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Here’s a short clip of me just enjoying the waves and fooling around. I just let my action camera stood by a tripod. Enjoy the sound of waves that will surely calm any restless heart.

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TIP: When you feel stressed, one of the things you can do is to listen to the sounds of nature. One of them is the sound of beach waves. Of course we are not always in the beach. But we can always search online, plug our ears with earphones and close our eyes. Here is me contributing to the #soundOfWaves available online. This is captured while we are chilling in the Helicopter Island, the last beach from Tour C and our last stop overall for our El Nido Palawan Tour. It is unique among the beaches we visited because its sand is more golden than white. And that's why it is special. I'm glad I took some time to capture this moment. I miss the beach already. #goldenbeach #elnidopalawan #travelph #travelclips #xiaomiyi #yicamera #yiactioncam #bloggersofinstagram #Travelph #travelgram #itsmorefuninthephilippines #travel #palawan #helicopterisland #beachplease #vitaminsea #dagat #beachph #beach #gztravels #stressreliever #stress #dealingwithstress

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ENJOYING THE SUNSET AT THE PORT

Helicopter marked the end of our Palawan Adventure. But we couldn’t get enough. So even if we were tired, we went back to the port to watch the beautiful sunset. What a sight to behold.

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But before I truly end this blog entry, I will share the awesome and affordable accommodation we had in El Nido Palawan.

St. John Island Pensionne House, Truly Affordable!

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My friend booked the room thru Agoda. It has no fixed priced and is according to season.

But I just checked in Agoda now that I’m typing this and it is still around this price. You can also visit their official facebook page.

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As of this writing, its P1,768 per night, 4 persons, inclusive of breakfast.

What I like about this place. It is spacious. It has t.v, aircon and clean bathroom. They also have towels for four. They also provided hot water and coffee. The free breakfast is satisfying enough. They also have other meal offering just in case you are too tired to dine outside. It is also just walking distance away from the tour ports which is convenient. And its really affordable. If you split the price per night to 4, it would only cost P442.00 person per night. However, please take note that we went there off-season. The prices may subject to change.

What I don’t like about this place is they don’t have free water. They do sell water but it was too expensive. A bottle of mineral water costs P40.00 which would normally costs around P25.00 at Manila 7-eleven. Generally, the price of groceries n El Nido Palawan was really steep. But it’s understandable considering we had super affordable accommodation here.

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This is the dining area.

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You can see the shore from this area.

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They also have a mini-bar here which I had my self-portrait shoot. I have another blog entry for that. Their mini-bar was really cute. And it was completely empty! Here’s one of my photo. Check out more on my self-portrait indulgence on my other blog: Alone at The Bar (Photoshoot)

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Finally! I finished my backlog from last year. It’s hard to pick my favorite part of the trip but I got to choose Shimizu Island because that’s where we got to eat. Haha!

I hope this Palawan blog series would help you decide to go on a Palawan adventure specially in picking your accommodation. If you are not from the Philippines and you are interested to go here, you must not really skip Palawan. This is truly a paradise.

 

Remember, it’s not too late for everything,

Gurezu ❤

Lets’ connect!

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El Nido Tour A (Palawan Day 3)

Our real Palawan adventure began on our Day 3 in the island. We barely have enough sleep from the wedding event and the hours of traveling but we managed to wake up early. I mean we have to.

In El Nido, Palawan, tours are usually divided in to groups most commonly known as Tour A, B, C, and D. Each tour has its destinations. We only got two days left to explore the El Nido beaches so we couldn’t take all tours. When we asked the locals at the tour port, they recommended combination of tour A and C.

So for our day 3, we proceeded with tour A. The highlight of this tour was definitely the Kayaking Experience in Big and Small Lagoon. I didn’t help my team to row the boat because I was busy taking the video on how we entered the small lagoon through a narrow rock opening. It was specially hard because you have to wait for your turn and it took a while with a large number of tourist lining up also to enter the lagoon. But the hassle was all worth it. The water was perfect and the view was just magnificent. Below is the short clip of our Kayaking experience. The rest are some of the photos from each Tour A destination.

Big Lagoon

Our tour barely started and yet I am already hungry.
Our tour barely started and yet I am already hungry.

The boatmen were cooking our lunch already and I can;t help but to feel awfully hungry.
The boatmen were cooking our lunch already and I can’t help but to feel awfully hungry. We haven’t reached the first destination yet.

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A Girl in a Red Bikini Manning the Ship
A Girl in a Red Bikini Manning the Ship. Well I have to divert my attention from the food. So it’s time to strut that red bikini I specifically bought for this trip.

A Lady in Red Bikini in Big Lagoon
We are already in Big Lagoon. I made it seem like its a stolen pic but it’s obviously not.

Awrahan in Big Lagoon
Awrahan in Big Lagoon. My beach shoes did not go well with my Bikini. But I have to wear this to avoid sharp rocks and corals.

Buko Vendor in Big Lagoon.
He’s a Buko (Coconut) Vendor sailing while selling fresh Buko to the thirsty tourists. And also some softdrinks. 

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Selfie with my travel buddies. We still have the curls from the yesterday’s wedding.

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I spotted a hot looking foreigner couple kayaking over there. Damn, they got the beach bodies.

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Ahhh Vitamin Sea

Ahh this is life.
Ahh this is life! Fresh Air! Sparkling Sea. Good weather.

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Small Lagoon

Waiting for Small Lagoon
Waiting to enter Small Lagoon with other tourists. Obviously a box-office.

Looking back to Big Lagoon while we are still waiting.
Looking back to Big Lagoon while we we were still waiting.

Finally here in Small Lagoon
Finally here in Small Lagoon. We barely have photos here because I was afraid our boat will turn upside down if I move a lot. But hey, we didn’t come here for photos anyway. Just enjoy the ride.

Secret Lagoon

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This is the small opening for the Secret Lagoon which is not a secret anymore because we were already here.

I found this lagoon not so special actually.
This lagoon not so special actually.

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Maybe what made secret lagoon special is the difficulty of getting here. Our other two travel buddies did not make it due to strong waves. I was actually in the waters when I thought of backing out and swimming back to the boat. But the tour guide did not let me. Instead he pulled me into the waters until we reached the shore. It was hell of a journey.

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Our tour guide which is also our photographer. He’s the one who did not let me go back to the boat when I freaked out. At least he proved that everything will be alright. And we managed to get here safely.

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One of the reasons I freaked out was I did not trust my waterproof bag. My precious and expensive cameras were in there and I jumped into the water for the first time with it. Thankfully, it was reliable indeed. It also became my salbabida (floater).

A girl in the red bikini.
The shore outside the secret lagoon looks more awesome. It’s time for more red bikini action.

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A Girl in a Red Bikini Standing Beside Big Stones
A Girl in a Red Bikini Standing Beside Big Stones

Lunch Time on the Boat.

Damn those boatmen are excellent cook!

Enseladang Talong
Eggplant Salad or Ensaladang Talong is a simple Filipino Salad composed of grilled eggplant, tomatoes, and onions. This is eaten as a side dish and is best if partnered with grilled fish and meat; it can also be eaten along with fried dishes such as crispy pata and lechon kawali. –from panlasangpinoy.com

Boat Food
Oh my God! These food were all cooked while we were sailing on the boat. Imagine the agony.

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It looks like I was just taking photos but I’m actually guarding the food. Waiting for the go signal to attack!

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The presentation is awesome.

Grilled Pork!
Grilled Pork! It’s no time for diet today.

7 Commando Beach

7 Commando Beach
Rumor says it was called 7 Commando Beach because 7 soldiers used to live here. But other than that, there’s no more in-depth story about those soldiers. And if they are true,

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The tour guide got this photoshoot idea.

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7 Commando Beach
Rare photo of four out of seven soldiers who are said to live in this island.

That ends Day 3 of our Palawan Adventure. My favorite in tour A was the the 7 commando beach because it was really beautiful even from the distance.   El Nido Palawan is truly a paradise and I totally recommend to all the foreigners who would want to visit the Philippines to never miss this place. But of course, we Filipinos should not miss this one too.

Tune in for our Day 4. There, I will talk about the affordable accommodation we took here in El Nido,Palawan.

Remember, it’s Not Too Late for Everything!

Gurezu ❤


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Iwahig Firefly Watching and Puerto Apartments (Palawan Day 1)

Arrival at Puerto Princesa

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We were four in this trip but we had different flight schedules. I was alone in my flight and perhaps I arrived Puerto Princesa Airport around noon. I took a tricycle to bring me in Puerto Apartments where one of my friends was already waiting.

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Puerto Apartments details

I highly recommend this house to those who want a budget accommodation here in Puerto Princesa. It has complete amenities for cooking, has aircon and quite spacious. It’s near tourist attractions, markets and the airport. My friend booked this room for P765.00 per night its for four persons already. Incredibly affordable right? She booked it in Agoda.com by the way. I really liked our stay here.

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Chilling while waiting for other friends

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Beside Puerto Apartments was a restaurant named Coco Garden Cafe’. The place was relaxing but the food was quite expensive for me with respect to the quantity or servings.

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I chose to eat Danggit  to taste something native in this place. But I didn’t like it. The Danggit meat felt like a rubber and I had a hard time chewing it.

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Eating Danggit

This is actually a chill day and we didn’t have particular plans. But I didn’t want to waste our time here in Puerto Princesa. So I searched the internet for an attraction nearby that we can also visit during nighttime.  Iwahig Firefly Watching fits the bill. As soon as my friends arrived at around 5pm, I immediately told them to drop the bags and hit the road immediately.

Iwahig Firefly Watching

I have never seen a firefly myself. The visuals I know would only be from what I saw in movies and animations. So this got me really hyped.

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IMPORTANT DETAILS

  • We traveled to Iwahig by renting a tricycle for P500.00 and that would transport us back and forth. We had to rent because transportation from Iwahig would be very difficult specially at night. Most people come here by car.
  • Firely watching is done by a 30-40 minute boat ride. Only three passengers + 1 tourguide can fit a boat. Since there were four of us, we were later merged with a couple in one package of P1800. So that would be six of us in that fee.  Then we split in to two boats.
  •  There is a buffet restaurant here for P250.00 each person.
  •  There are a lot of mosquitoes here. I had to buy a repellant eventually because my legs were bombarded with itchyness.
  • There is an official photo during the boatride. It costs P50.00 per print.

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Iwahig
Iwahig Firefly Restaurant

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Iwahig Firefly Watching
of course, the life vest is a must!

 

The boatride was a little bit scary because it was super dark. But once you get near with the trees and see the fireflies lit up together, it was really cute. However, don’t expect too much that they will come of as magical sight. The fireflies are quite too far and they are too small. It doesn’t looks like the movies.  But still I enjoyed it. The boatman which was the tour guide as well had told as many stories about Philippine fireflies during the ride. He said that the existence of fireflies in a place means a clean environment. This was the reason why you won’t see a firefly in the city. Another interesting thing we encountered here are the sparkling planktons. If you shake the riverwater, the planktons will sparkle. However, the most memorable thing that happened has to be when the firefly flew near our boat and actually landed on my palm. It looked like a mosquito but with lightbulb on its tail. I wish I had taken a photo of it.

Like I told you, the river was so dark my camera had no power to capture anything. These are the only things that I captured while the boat was sailing.  I eventually gave up and just kept my camera in a waterproof bag. I advise, just focus on watching the fireflies and disturbing the planktons when you get here.

By the way, here’s the official photo of our ride. They edited the firefly glows in the picture. That was funny. It costs P50.00 to get a copy.

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After that, we retreated back to the Puerto Apartments and get ready for our adventure the next day.

That’s it for the Day 1.  I hope this blog will contribute to your ideas in planning your Puerto Princesa Palawan trip. Because this is a really worthy experience.

Remember, you are awesome!

Gurezu ❤