Destination: Puerto Princesa

As the weather gets hotter, ENLighten introduces a new series all about travel destinations in the Philippines as seen through the eyes of our very own faculty. In the first post of the series, T. Dannah talks about a hidden gem in her hometown, Palawan.

I’ve always loved traveling, even on my own. I embrace thrilling escapades, camping, hiking, mountain climbing, and even white-water rafting. I sign up for tour groups and join strangers on random adventures. It sends an inexplicable rush, the kind that flows through you when you’re on the peak of the roller coaster’s first hill, and you’re about to go on a head-on battle with gravity. And as exhausting as it may be, traveling is my ultimate go-to whenever I need an escape from the fast-paced life in the city. I’ve been to many places, both in and out of the country, but as they say, there’s no place like home.

I was born and raised in Palawan, the Philippines’ last frontier. Growing up on an island meant that I had instant access to the beach. It was literally 15 minutes away from where I lived, and that’s on foot. I still can't get enough of the sepia-tinted sky during twilight. You hear nothing but the bold waves breaking as they hit the rocks in the shallows. That warm and gentle feeling as I bury my toes under the fine, white sand is what I call home.

Palawan is almost always on the list of places tourists want to visit, both local and foreign. You can even find one of nature’s seven wonders here, the world-renowned Puerto Princesa Subterranean River. In 2018, Palawan welcomed almost 2 million tourists. Most of them visit El Nido or Coron as these two municipalities are famous for their pristine island beaches. Little do most tourists know that if they are in Puerto Princesa, they don't need to travel 6 hours to see what Palawan is all about. An hour from the city center lies a picturesque view that offers the same peace and tranquility as any other beach destination in the province.

Pakpak-Lauin Day Tour Destination is located at Sitio Talaudyong, Brgy. Bacungan. It boasts of a white beach with an amazing view of the West Philippine Sea. The entrance fee is a hundred pesos. They have beach huts and cottages available for the day and bamboo cabins for those who want to stay overnight. If you are the more adventurous type and would like to sleep in a tent, you can bring your own or rent one for a reasonable fee. You can bring your own food, but they also have a restaurant where they serve fresh seafood. You may have to call them in advance if you’re a big group. They also have grills that are free to use, so you can have a barbecue party with your family and friends. At night, you can set up a bonfire and enjoy the sound of the waves while you bond over stories and smores.

To go there, you may rent a vehicle from one of several rental companies in the city. You may also arrange land transfers with the resort or local travel agencies. It will only take about an hour to reach the destination since all roads on the way there are already paved. Enjoy the scenic route on your way there. Unlike some beach resorts in the province, there is cell reception here so you can stay in the loop, but with the view that Pakpak-Lauin has to offer, you won't feel the need to be on your phone in the first place, aside from taking photos.

If you’re planning on visiting Puerto Princesa in the future, put this on your list of places to go to. It may not be as popular as El Nido or Coron, but the experience is just as spectacular, and the view of the sunset is just as magical.

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