Sunday, April 3, 2011

To the Westernfront We Went!

I am sure you guessed from my last posts that I just came from Palawan. I did not go to this place for my thesis because I am afraid of malaria. But after gathering much courage and an intake of prophylaxis, I found
myself boarding the plane, going off to Puerto Princesa. I came with my friend Pinky's family to share the expenses. Travel advice: travelling is expensive, but if you find travelmates to share the cost of lodging and transpo with, it becomes much more manageable. Plus it makes the trip much enjoyable if you have people to share the fun with.

So our group immediately was whisked away to El Nido town where we spent the next 3 days. Geography note: El nido is up north while Puerto Princesa is at the center of Palawan mainland. Puerto Princesa faces the Sulu Sea while El Nido cove opens up to the much bigger South China Sea. To get to El Nido from P. Princesa you have to travel 6 hours by land thru sometimes rough terrain to very winding roads through forests, towns and coastlines. But once you get the glimpse of the El Nido landscape, the trip is well worth every dizzy spell or butt ache you get from the land journey. We had to do the 6 hour trip twice as we went back to Puerto on our last day to see the world renowned underground river, a real must-see for any tourist. I always thought this attraction was very cheezy but once you get there, you will find it enchanting! Every bit of it.

I always thought Palawan is wild country. But by the shape of what landscape we witnessed, it is well on its way to development. Roads are cutting through mountains and forests. Dipterocarps are very visible, showing their bare roots, with the absence of groundcover. Some ground parts are red because of exposed soil with lots of wood shavings. Native species giving way to Gmelina arborea, Acacia auriculiformis and Swietenia macrophylla especially on these roadsides and inhabited places. It won't be long that much of these lands are encroached by villages and agriculture lands. If this continues, all of the mystique that wild Palawan holds may vanish. The unique flora and fauna will suffer if their native habitat is continuously being exploited. There may not be any more beautiful places for tourists to visit. Palawan will just become like any other ordinary place.

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