THERE’S more to Palawan than just the Puerto Princesa Underground River, which is a world-famous attraction that packs in tourists from different parts of the world. Well, it certainly is worth visiting, as many of its stalactites and stalagmites and other wonders will surely leave you in awe. If you’ve seen it before and you want to experience the unique and breathtaking wonders all over again, you can do so, of course. But if you’d like to explore other parts of Palawan, which is touted to be the country’s Last Frontier, there are still quite a number of nature’s havens that are just waiting to be discovered.
Truth is that even if you simply stay in the city proper upon arrival in Puerto Princesa City, you can actually get to explore Palawan quite effectively. This I found out for myself when my husband Raff and I joined a group of media friends who visited Palawan last December (specifically December 20 to 22, 2013) and stayed at the new resort in Puerto Princesa called Aziza Paradise Hotel.
Aziza Paradise Hotel, which is named after a supernatural race who lives in the forest according to West African mythology, is actually the first resort venture of the Dy Tecklo family, who are based in Naga. Benedict’s main business, really, is construction, which eventually evolved into a hotel business as well. One time, he decided to talk to officials of a bank that he does business with, and he asked what business opportunities he could invest on elsewhere. Bank officials suggested that he go into the resort business and to choose between Cagayan de Oro and Palawan as places to invest his resort in. He decided on Palawan, but finding a suitable property didn’t come easy. He made several trips to Palawan and talked to a number of property owners, but nothing came of the exploratory talks that he had. He was about to give up when he finally found the property where Aziza now stands, got to talk to the owner, who turned out to be based in Manila, and sealed the deal in 30 minutes.
Another place you can visit if you feel like island hopping and swimming is Cowrie Island in Honda Bay. It’s a 150-hectare island privately owned by the family of Rey Felix Rafols. It’s open to the public for day tours only, where visitors can swim, go banana boat riding and engage in other water sports activities, have a picnic with the family or just plain relax and enjoy the island lifestyle. Visitors can either bring their own food or partake of the buffet in the restaurant on the island for a surprising Php200 per person. The buffet includes crabs, shrimps, fresh fish and squid. There are also massage areas for those who wish to have a good massage.
Cowrie Island is actually accessible via the Honda Bay Wharf where arrangements can be made for ferry rides on either a 3-cylinder engine motorized boat (at Php600 minimum fare for six persons, with an additional rate of Php100 per person in excess of six, plus Php75 entrance fee to the island) or a 4-cylinder engine boat (at Php700 minimum fare for six persons, with an additional rate of Php116.60 per person in excess of six, plus Php75 entrance fee to the island).
Island hopping and scuba diving trips can also be arranged at the Honda Bay Wharf.
We could have gone on a river cruise and floating restaurant lunch in Brgy. San Carlos, Puerto Princesa City, Palawan, but we ran out of time. It’s either we skipped this or completely miss our flight back home to Manila. Well, there’s always a next time.
(Aziza Paradise Hotel is located along BM Road, Brgy. San Manuel, Puerto Princesa City, Palawan, 5300; with telephone numbers 048 4342405, 0917-5801198 and 0998-9833220.)
Credit to : Flavoroflife.com.ph