Puerto Princesa to El Nido

Even runners in hiatus need a long break, again.

Even on-and-off runners need a long vacation especially if it relates to celebrating special occasions.

To celebrate my 40th birthday, my family and I went to Palawan. This post does not contain very minute details, you must visit Palawan to experience things, good and bad.

It was a three-week preparation for me since I was undecided on how to make my 40th birthday memorable. It was in a spur-of-the-moment that I booked via Air Asia, taking advantage of the fare promotions.

We went to Puerto Princesa via Clark Airport. It was our first time to use this route. I wanted to find out if it is more convenient to travel from Baguio to Clark Airport instead of the most common route of Baguio to NAIA Airport.

There are also no direct bus trips or van shuttle trips from Baguio to Clark Airport. Hopefully, in the future, this will happen aside from the plans of activating the Loakan Airport which will also be very convenient for traveling from Baguio to other places.

We were supposed to ride a 4AM bus trip to Dau via the Caloocan route but when I saw a bus that had an Olongapo route, I took the chance of asking the driver and conductor if we can already ride on the bus that will leave at 3:30 AM. Fortunately, we were allowed and we traveled earlier by 30 minutes.

With two stopovers, we arrived at Dau terminal at 7:55 AM and was lucky to have another Victory Liner bus that will go to Clark Airport. The fare is 100 pesos. The travel time was almost 30 minutes.

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Clark Airport is a clean airport that you will easily notice that there are no food stalls that can be seen upon entering the airport. Just wait for check-in and you will be able to see the difference after.

At 2:45 PM, the plane landed at Puerto Princesa Airport. After a few minutes, we were able to ride on a tricycle and the tricycle driver managed to convinced us to reserved a Van Shuttle ride to El Nido via their tie-up agency. According to him, tricycle drivers also have a cooperative with a tie-up with some travel agencies to promote tourism in Palawan. Although we were already inside the travel agency, we did not book any Island Tour which was one of the highlights in visiting Palawan.

The first tricycle driver we met is Ronald and his contact number is 0995 033 3220. We are thankful because, without him, we may have not booked for a van shuttle. Although I still prefer traveling via the traditional way, on a bus which was also my plan yet, one should be flexible to one’s itinerary. The travel agency wherein we had booked for the van shuttle going to El Nido is named Brylle Bielle Transport Service and their contact number is 0917 913 0947 or you may contact May directly at 0966 861 0680.

At 3:55 PM, we checked in at Ponce De Leon Resort. It was an excellent choice when I booked via Booking Dot Com. Expectations were exceeded because they have a swimming pool that was not under maintenance during our visit because some hotels do not inform their guests that their swimming pools are under maintenance which happened to us before in Quezon City. This is another story to tell.

The twin room that I booked was big enough for us compared to other hotels and resorts. They also have a large restroom or comfort room, as in large compared to an average restroom of any hotels that I have been to. It also has a sliding door which was unique for a restroom.

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My three-year-old son and I immediately went swimming and we were both overwhelmed because it was a relaxing experience. The swimming pool had a depth of 4 feet to 5 feet deep in the central part.

The whole area of Ponce De Leon is large. There were many facilities including swings and see-saws where children can play. It was really an excellent choice including their breakfast buffet.

We stayed for three days and two nights. We had an unplanned City Tour courtesy of another tricycle driver named Jojo (his contact number is 0961 207 3980) which we will contact the next time we visit Puerto Princesa since he was a decent tricycle driver compared to others who took advantage of the tourists.

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For our City Tour, we visited Kuyba Almoneca, Palawan Butterfly Ecological Garden and Palaw’an (this is different from Palawan and nope, Palawan was not named after this tribe) Tribal Village, Baker’s Hill, Palawan Wildlife Rescue and Conservation Center or famously known as Palawan Crocodile Farm, Immaculate Conception Cathedral, and Plaza Cuartel. Tourist destinations in Puerto Princesa are also far from each other, you need to travel via a rented motorcycle or just hire a tricycle driver. Just pray and hope that the tricycle driver is good and honest. If you happened to visit this site and you plan to hire a tricycle driver in Puerto Princesa, you can hire Jojo by contacting him at 0961 207 3980.

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At 30 August, I was surprised by the staff of Ponce De Leon who gave me a slice of chocolate cake while singing “Happy Birthday”. This was my very first surprise greeting ever since. The surprise greeting was courtesy of my lovable wife.

Afterward, we were picked up at 9:00 AM by the van driver and off we went to El Nido. We were the only passengers so I just told him to pick up passengers along the way. It was off-peak season so passengers going to El Nido are limited aside from the fact that the weather is rainy.

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It was a wonderful experience staying at Puerto Princesa even though we did not do any famous tours such as the Honda Bay tours or even the Underground River tour which was hours away. We were still happy relaxing and swimming at Ponce De Leon Resort and contented at the City Tour via a decent tricycle driver named Jojo.

Tricycle fares and van fares vary, depending on the season, off-season and peak season but in our case, it was 150 pesos for the tricycle fare from Puerto Princesa Airport to Ponce De Leon Resort. Van fares cost 500 pesos per person from Ponce De Leon Resort to El Nido.

As with all travels, there is also the worst experience which is another story to tell.