Day 2 at Puerto Princesa found us up for an early start since we were off to visit the famed Underground River, a declared World Heritage Site by UNESCO. It was roughly a two-hour drive to get to the area where you have to transfer to a speedboat and then onto another boat, which would take you to the actual site. Good thing that our tourist guide for that day was the really nice Kuya Ed, who shared a lot of stories and useful tidbits to keep us entertained. We also stopped by one of the places the locals referred to as view decks to check the landscape and some souvenir items. Here’s a photo of the landscape:
After a few more kilometers from the view deck, we reached the registration area for the speedboats and we bid a temporary goodbye to Kuya Ed, who did not join us for that part of the tour, because the boats could only handle six people at a given time. We arranged to meet up at a restaurant near the registration area come lunchtime. The group then spent a couple of minutes on the boat to the Underground River Park, where we were able to enjoy the scenery amidst the roaring of the boat’s engine:
The Underground River tour was fun mainly because of the person who led our group into the subterranean river; he was witty and entertaining in the same way that the other tour guide was. He also said that he’s been at that profession for quite some time and has been part of the documentary about the Underground River when it was shown on television.
The trip itself took just under an hour. There were loads of fruit bats inside and some balinsasayaw too. The rock formations were, of course, a sight to behold. Apologies as I don’t have photos to share since there weren’t a lot of decent ones taken during this part of our trip. 🙁 Back at the park, we saw monkeys and monitor lizards, a.k.a. bayawak, and took some photos. Here’s one which was sunbathing and didn’t give a damn at all while the cameras clicked away:
I ♥ this fella!
After meeting back with Kuya Ed and having a hefty lunch of assorted Filipino goodies, we proceeded to the Mangrove Paddle Boat Tour which was just a few minutes away from where we dined. The guides told us about the mangroves and the advantages of having them all over the area of Palawan were in terms of the ecosystem. We also saw a couple of small snakes up in the trees.
Some of us were looking forward to trying the tamilok, which are mollusks that resemble worms, since they’re supposed to be delicacies in Palawan, but unfortunately for us, they weren’t available at the site during our visit. The Paddle Boat Tour took us less than an hour, but being under the sun for that long without any shade took its toll on us. Some of us felt our skin being “fried” and The Best Friend was already getting dizzy after a while. We found out later on that there were supposed to be umbrellas handed out before the tour started. Unfortunately, other tour groups beat us to the area minutes before our arrival and we no longer had any umbrellas available for our use.
BUFFET LUNCH!!!! 🙂
By mid-afternoon, we were inside the van and headed back to the Casa for some rest. No matter how enjoyable it was being exposed to nature at that time, we were admittedly excited at the thought of escaping the heat. For some, maybe even getting a quick nap! We were all looking forward to dining at Kalui that evening at 8pm. Kalui was another one of those places which were highly recommended by friends and the locals alike. Reservations must be made ahead of time because it’s difficult to get a seat without one.
Kalui was a beautiful restaurant: very homey and filled with paintings and other eye candies. Upon entering the main restaurant, you’d have to leave your footwear by the “lobby” and go inside the place barefoot. Some of the seating areas are on the floor, with a pillow acting as a cushion. Some had your regular tables and chairs. Our area was near the entrance, with an assortment of pillows and a low table. Here are some shots of the things we saw and had that evening:
Our seating area at Kalui
Prawns in Butter Garlic Sauce
Kalui Vegetable Platter, an assortment of vegetables including mashed sweet potatoes and deep fried eggplant
Green mangoes with shrimp paste
Stingray in Coconut Cream: One of the highlights of the evening. It was our first time to try this and it was yummy. The texture reminds of you of crab meat.
Mixed Fruits for dessert; I believe this was complimentary as we did not order this at the start of the meal
We enjoyed all that with garlic rice, complimentary soup, and glasses of fresh fruit shakes. We enjoyed the dinner at Kalui and felt more than glad to have been able to try it out. It was definitely a great way to cap off the evening! 🙂