I think a more appropriate title for this is "The Importance of Being More Flexible," especially as so many unplanned, unexpected things happened on this day.
Our schedule for the morning was a dolphin swimming tour, which is an item on my Dream List. (Actually, I wanted to swim with them, but after researching on the internet, I learned that they don't really allow you to do that in the open sea. It's more of in the special resorts that have trained, pet dolphins.) We booked with Hopping Buddies Travel & Tours, which is the cheapest I've seen so far. It was actually a tie between going on a dolphin-watching or firefly-watching tour. I would have loved to do both, but because of time and budget constraints, We could only do one, and we decided that we were more interested in seeing dolphins.
The van from Hopping Buddies picked us up Casitas De Az Pension and brought us to Baywalk. We boarded a boat with a few other tourists and then we were on our way. We learned (through researching online and through our tour guide) that they have "spotters," or fishermen they partner with who will let them know where the dolphins are. As we set out, I could hear our pilot speaking on his radio to a few of the spotters and I overheard some of them say that there were no dolphins to be found where they were. That got me a little worried because I really wanted to see them, and I didn't want our trip (and the fee we paid) to be all in vain.
After about an hour to an hour and a half, we saw some dark shapes moving across the water. Dolphins! So many of them! They rose to the surface, some clapping as they swam alongside our boat. Some would cross so near that if we reached out, we could almost touch them. Some spun in the air, which we learned was their way of removing the dirt from their bodies.
After about an hour of going around the open sea, we headed back to the island and the pension and wondered what we would do for the rest of the morning as the tricycle driver we had spoken to the day before said we would be back after lunch yet.
We resorted to going to the place that would help us find activities: Google! And it paid off! We found this place called Irawan Eco Park which has Asia's longest canopy zip line. How cool is that!
We called the office and asked them how to go to the park from Rizal Avenue and so they proceeded to tell us to ride a jeep with the Irawan signage (I think) and then get off at a certain stop to ride a tricycle to the park. We could also ride a tricycle from Rizal Avenue, but it would cost us a lot more. Being the thrifty person that I am, especially when I am in less-than-familiar places, we decided to commute, which was a good decision, as it was cheaper and we got to see several more places. Plus, the driver of the jeepney we rode was so kind and took us all the way to the Irawan Eco Park instead of just dropping us off at the place where we were supposed to take the tricycle.
We left our things at the front desk, as we were not allowed to take them with us to the zipline area. I told them I'd take my camera and they said that it was up to me and that they would not commit to retrieving my camera in case it fell down. After that, we had a very rough, very bumpy ride at the back of a small jeep for about fifteen to twenty minutes going to the place where we would put on our gear then do our activity. You can do other activities at Irawan Eco Park, no just ziplining. There is fishing, an activity called Sky Walk, Tarzan swing, etc. There's a package fee if you are going to do all and then individual fees if you want customize which one you will be doing.
The Irawan Eco Park zipline is composed of three bases. They hook you up to the line at the first base and you hurtle through the trees to the second base. At the second base, you climb a tree (with steps, of course) and then they hook you to a line to go to the third base. The line between the third and fourth base is the fastest, where you really hurtle through the trees at an amazing speed. You can choose to do the three lines or just one or two of them. Since we were there, we thought that we might as well do all.
Despite my blog name and the fact that a bird's eye view of everything is quite wonderful, I am a little terrified of heights. So you can bet that I screamed while zipping down the first line. The second, not so much, and the third, I just enjoyed the wind and the scenery. Maybe there is hope for me to bungee jump and then sky dive after all!
After the zipline, the staff at Irawan Eco Park advised us to try the crocodile farm since it's just nearby. We decided to and were glad that we did. It is a guided tour where you get to see crocodiles in different stages, as well as a park that houses different birds and creatures. We even got to hold a baby crocodile for a picture!—which took a lot of squealing and eye-shutting on my part, but I did it. They taped the mouth anyway, so there was no chance of anyone being bitten.
After the Crocodile Farm, we rode a jeep back to the city proper, grabbed a delicious lunch, then headed to the World War II Memorial Museum. If you have never been to Palawan, or even if you have been there and are planning to go back, you must, must visit the Workd War II Memorial Museum which is situated near the airport. Just tell the tricycle driver (if you are taking that as a means of transportation) it is on the way to Pardeco. (One note of praise I would like to add is the number of tourist police huts scattered around the main city of Palawan. You have a question, you just ask them. They are easy to spot because of the signages and they are very accommodating. It was they who pointed us to the direction of the museum and it was they who told us how much the fare would cost in case some driver tried to make us pay too much.)
|Canopy of the museum—an old (actual) parachute|
The World War II Memorial Museum is beautiful in its quaint, antiquated way. It looks, smells, and feels history. There are original guns and bullets, warheads, helmets, uniforms—all used during World War II. Some are replicas, some are original. There are photographs and flags, typewriters, food containers, maps, so many things! A tour guide walked us through every room, pointing out significant objects and repeating important details of the history. One of the best things about the museum is their ceiling which is made up of one of the real parachutes that they used during World War II.
From the World War II museum, we proceeded to what is known as Bayanihan Center, where we went pasalubong (gifts, souvenirs) shopping. They say that the items inside the air-conditioned store are cheaper than the items outside, which I think is quite true except when you need to buy in bulk. There are so many wonderfuk things to buy—jewelry (pearls are sold hear at a good price), shawls, sarongs, malongs, wallets, souvenir shirts, refrigerator magnets, dried fish, cashew nuts, and other delicacies.
In the evening we went to Ka Inato, a delightful restaurant (with a quaint, artistic interior) that serves grilled chicken good with fish sauce. A perfect way to end our day!
Day One | Day Two | Day Three