Posts Tagged ‘Palawan’


Gloria Macapagal Arroyo in Coron with Governor Joel T. Reyes during the inauguration of the Busuanga Airport. Tourism business is pouring in the Calamianes Group of Islands.

SO MANY things are happening in Puerto Princesa and Palawan these days. I don’t exactly call Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s visit to Coron “a good thing,” considering so many broken promises made to us in the past, but she was there to inaugurate a SONA commitment made in 2006 — the improvement and rehabilitation of Busuanga Airport.

Governor Joel T. Reyes was happy, and so were other local government officials who went there to join the Calamianes Group of Islands’ recent feat in tourism. That picture above shows our governor showing Arroyo something on the map. Behind was 1st Palawan District Rep. Antonio C. Alvarez.

Alex of PNA, who has been covering Coron lately, said the President’s visit was seen as “something good” for the group of island municipalities that’s currently experiencing really bombastic booms. William Gatchalian, the plastics magnate, is reportedly eying an investment on an exotic property there called “Dinaran Island.”

There’s also a large islands tour vessel that has placed the Calamianes in its cruise map — 7,100 Islands Cruise Ship — and it’s ready to bring in visitors to see the beauty of the place. New in the sky Zestair is set to fly the route soon, after it opens here this month.

I miss Coron. I miss Darayonan, where I would stay whenever I’m there. And when there’s nothing to do at night, since I don’t like staying in ex-pat bars (coz they’re the only ones open late at night), I’d coop myself in the lodging place and just read magazines. It’s a fashion and home living magazines paradise. Although the issues were several months late, they’re still informative to read.

There’s also no forgetting that first time I went to Kayangan Lake. Our boat cruised on the bluest sea and the sky was amazingly lighter in the same shade, it was definitely the day to enjoy the outdoors. Though it was a steep climb before one can see the inland lake, it was all worth it. The view was just fantastic, and water was clear with little shrimps (I don’t know how they got there) promenading under, on the sand.


Photo borrowed from http://malvado.net/coron2.htm

There’s a hot spring in Coron that’s just so lovely on a moonlit night, and its near the sea that cradles Coron Bay. Makinit Hot Spring is warm as it’s heated geothermally, and many say it can bring good therapeutic results to someone who’s tired and will take a dip. I did that. In fact, a friend who was with me then, took a picture, but I forgot where I’ve stashed it all these years.

Makinit can be better enjoyed at nightfall. With the melodic warbling of crickets and the stars for company, it’s definitely the place for a tired mind and body. Entrance fee is very affordable, and it only takes a tricycle to get there — trip is only a few minutes.


Photo borrowed from http://www.panoramio.com/photo/9621688

If you’re up for a little Safari adventure, not too far in Busuanga is the Calauit Wildlife Game Preserve and Wildlife Sanctuary.

The Calauit Game Preserve and Wildlife Sanctuary (CGPWS) is located within Calauit Island in the northwestern part of Busuanga, the main island of the Calamianes, Northern Palawan. It is separated from Busuanga by extensive mangroves and the Ditapic Channel, where the waters of Illultuk Bay and the Ditapic River of Busuanga flow eastward. The CGPWS has a land cover area of approximately 3,760 hectares, wherein about 40% is open rangeland, 20% moderately undulating, and 40% hill areas. Average elevation is 50 meters above sea level (50 masl) with the highest point in Namultan Range with 237 masl. It has four major creeks that have sections that are usually dry during summer, except the Abanaban Creek that retains water even during the driest month due to an intact watershed. It has a pronounced wet season from May to November and a dry season from December to April. Average monthly rainfall is 39.4 inches, while annual precipitation is at 139.4 inches. Mean temperature is recorded at 27.6 centigrade. The marine zone area is approximated at 252 square kilometers, which is delineated seven kilometers from the mean sea level.

You won’t think a place like it exists in Palawan. Tales said it used to be Marcos’ hunting ground. He would bring his son Bong-Bong there to hunt animals, and also with his friends. Am not sure if this is true. Today, Calauit is already a tourist spot in the Calamianes with giraffes, Calamian deer, zebras and other animals, endemic or otherwise to Palawan.


Photo borrowed from www.pcsd.ph/protected_areas/calauit.htm

These days, I dream a lot about going back to Coron. About that wonderful sunset I witnessed on my way to Culion. Calamianes’ personal contribution to me was it set me up to appreciate and love sunrises and sunsets.

Sunrise offered a very beautiful spectacle; the water was quite unruffled, but the motion communicated by the tides was so great that, although there was not a breath of air stirring, the sea heaved slowly with a grand and majestic motion. — George Grey

And I ride with the wind… on a color-filled sky, with the sweetest sunset’s warm kiss.

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THERE’S A new airline coming in to Puerto Princesa, and it’s called Zestair. Sounds like a fresh mint, but hey, why not?

Zestair was formerly Asian Spirit, which was apparently bought by the owner of the popular juice drink in tetra pack, according to my visitor in Palawan Times office the other day. Am not sure who owns Zesto. I only encounter it whenever we go on medical and dental missions; it’s handy to give as refreshing drinks to our people in the team.

I don’t want to appear ignorant about Zesto Corporation so I went on a 3-minute Internet journey to personally meet whoever the owner is online. The chief executive officer of Zesto Corporation is Ambassador Alfredo M. Yao, who is quite good looking despite his age.

Yao also holds the chairmanship of Zest-O Corporation (excuse me, not Zesto as previously encoded). Simultaneously he is also the president and general manager of Solmac Mktg., Inc. (boy, I’m only limiting my www travel on Zest-O, am not looking for what this is) and president of other companies, including Semexco Marketing, Inc. and SMI Development Corporation.

Sounds like he’s a busy guy to be involved in running an airline company, but again… Zestair is flying Palawan so, why not?!

I was told that two aircrafts of Zestair are brand new 56-seater ones. They’re newly acquired and will be servicing several routes: Puerto Princesa, Cebu and Manila. There are more but silly memory forgot to take in every name of every place where it’s going to do business. What happened to Asian Spirit’ old planes?

Zestair will also be flying Coron, the newest tourism destination in the country today.

I came across this blog that says funny things about the name the new owner chose. The blogger claimed he doesn’t want to ride something that sounds like a drink… or something along this line of thought.

I had to smile at this blog. I must admit though that I like the way the blogger thinks — it’s kind’da fruity too!

Puerto Princesa is a favorite destination among domestic and foreign tourists. Last year, our tourism arrival doubled from 2006’ figure. Finally, we’re back on track after that Abu Sayyaf kidnapping incident at Dos Palmas Island Resort that rendered many establishments here to close shop. I can only name a few restaurants that remained in business while the weight of the disaster was taking its toll on us. Kalui is one of them.

Now that we’re seeing changes in our tourism industry get higher, new opportunities are, of course, welcome. Whatever sounds fruity, refreshing, minty, thirst-quenching, stimulating and energizing is welcome to Puerto Princesa, Palawan. Welcome to the air, Zestair!

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I’m back now after reading the draft of the 124-page “Ploning” written and soon-to-be directed by Dante Nico Garcia a.k.a. Angga. It felt like reading a book!

Two or three days ago, I was with Angga. We strolled along the airport area hoping to find the perfect location for our future bar-cafe which we will most likely call “Tabirab” because we find the name cute and has a lot of character. In Cuyunon, one of the vernaculars we speak here in Palawan, it means “I don’t know about you or I don’t believe you.” If I say: “Elam kanimo, ang katabirab kaw!” that would be saying “I don’t know about you, baloney!”

This photo of Angga was stolen from his Friendster profile. His hair is no longer like this. I told him I want this hair back because it’s full of character. Angga is, of course, the writer of Ploning. He will soon direct the movie too!

We were with Emilyn, Malou and Ruth that sunny afternoon. Rash, another friend, who’s interested to partner with us in this bar-cafe was somewhere we don’t know. I couldn’t wait for her since I hate waiting, especially when I’m early or on time, so I cajoled everyone to do the foot trip without her.

Angga, Ruth and I and the rest of the foot gang were eying this particular place where there’s still a souvenir shop. Before we even got there, we met Redempto D. Anda a.k.a. Dempto, my mentor and former editor in Palawan Sun. He was riding his mountain bike, and that day too, he won the essay contest for the media sponsored by Shell Philippines Exploration B.V. and the Provincial Information Office.

It was Dempto to whom I sent Angga’s first and second drafts of Ploning a few weeks ago. That afternoon was an opportunity for me to introduce Angga to him since he told me he’s very interested to make a review of the future movie in his blog here at wordpress. But he said he hasn’t read it yet because he was busy.

Angga with popular Philippine actress Judy Ann Santos who will play the part of Ploning. He’s best friends with her; for friends money isn’t a matter of importance just to do a film that primarily seeks to promote the unique culture and traditions of the Cuyunons of Palawan. I stole this picture too from his Friendster. This was taken when they were filming “Ouija.”

The meeting with Dempto reminded me that I, too, has a copy of the drafts. I’ve already uploaded the teaser video of Ploning here. Since it’s 124-page long, I’m forced to discuss it piece by piece. It’s a long read, besides I couldn’t print it because I’m out of printer ink right now.

The story started at Tabunan Shore in Cuyo. From the dark, one slowly hears two voices singing “Ploning” (yes, Ploning is a popular song of the Cuyunons); a guy and a little boy; they were accompanied by guitar.


Nga labing maleban

Ang gegma mo Ploning

Nga ing kandadoan

The singing goes on until near the calm shores of Tabunan, a mystery is revealed through the reflections of a gas lamp. There are many gas lamps and people are on the shores gathering shells. Picking shells is a typical event in Cuyunon communities. I was reminded by my lola — when we were children, my grandmother, a Cuyunon, would take us every weekend to Canigaran beach to also pick shells we can cook for food.

Although to many this is a way of being careful with money and resources because they don’t have to go to the market to buy, it’s also a form of meeting together to catch stories about their lives; not necessarily to gossip, but just to see how they are doing. Of course, those days were gone here in Puerto Princesa. We no longer go to Canigaran to pick shells. But I’m pretty sure that in Cuyo, residents still do this.

Back to Ploning, the mystery revealed was that of two teenagers passionately and tenderly making love inside a small crude shack. They kiss and they almost don’t want to do it, but their emotions show great love for each other. You can see tears falling from both their eyes.

The sound they emit is like there’s something hard being rubbed on the floors made of bamboo strips. Before they reach their key moment, the young woman stretches her arms above her head, the guy slides some balugo (tree) seeds to her palms and closes them tightly with his own.

I can’t wait to see this scene on the film because it’s so bold, vivid and strikingly impressive — very exciting and intense to start a film. For a minute, I thought it’s like “Blue Lagoon.” Angga’s creative mind was probably oozing that time he was writing the script. He gets a standing ovation from me for this opening of the “Ploning.”

More to follow.

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