Palawan

My solo trip to Puerto Princesa

By on October 18, 2010

PPS airport

I thought that my trip to Puerto Princesa (PPS) City in Palawan last month was good as shelved for three good reasons. One, my co-worker informed me the tickets we bought last year were already refunded along with those that were erroneously charged to his credit card. Second, I am saving my precious remaining leaves for the upcoming holidays. Lastly, I’ve already exhausted my travel coffers after previously going to three other provinces in just a span of three months.

But the universe seemed to conspire for me to go to Palawan despite the seemingly unfavorable circumstances at the onset. A few weeks before the scheduled trip, two non-working holidays (one was local and the other was national) were declared. These covered for the absences I would incur if I should pursue the PPS trip. I played then with the wishful thought that the ridiculously-priced tickets we bought were not included in the refund. When I called up the airline about it, I found out that those were still good to go.

Since the tickets and the leave credits were already taken cared of, I then decided to use the small cash that my parents gave me for my birthday. Because of Project PPS, the new pair of hiking shoes will have to wait.

I traveled solo because my colleague backed out for personal reasons. The idea scared me at first, but after considering that this could be my only chance to visit the Philippine’s Last Frontier, I did not hesitate anymore. I was also confident that I can pull off an ambitious adventure like this because I was banking on the support and prayers of my sister and a few good friends. Someone even surprised me with a Honda Bay tour as a belated birthday present.

I was able to accomplish some things easily because I was on my own. I rearranged and even altered my schedule without the consensus of the majority. Most of all, I saved some extra cash since I chose a backpacker’s accommodation instead of staying at a resort or a more comfortable hotel room.

various palawan destinations

Various PPS spots from top left then clockwise: Kinabuchs Grill and Bar, PPS Subterranean River National Park, PPWRCC and Snake Island.

But it has its disadvantages as well. I remember that a lot of people I met in Palawan were puzzled as to why I did not bring anyone special with me. There were also some instances where I had to be extra gracious. One time, a girl asked me where I hailed from. I answered that I am currently based in Cebu City. She then told me that she wants to visit Cebu someday because her boyfriend lives there. When I asked her for a more specific location in the city, she told me that it is somewhere called Leyte. In those situations, you would rather be stuck with a whiny travelmate than a stranger who forgot her Grade 4 geography lessons.

various palawan destinations 2

Various PPS spots from top left then clockwise: PPS Subterranean River National Park, Mangrove Paddle Boat Tour, PPS Baywalk.

On a more serious note, the line between calculated madness and reckless adventure can sometimes be blurred. In the movie Into The Wild, Christopher McCandless, a disillusioned fresh college graduate, decided one day to leave everything and everyone behind to embark into a wild journey. Later he wound out find out, albeit in a tragic manner, that real happiness can only be found in the comfort of familiar relationships and shared community. This poignant lesson has kept me both inspired and grounded in all my trips up to this day.

At the very least, a time alone with yourself provides you with a necessary diversion from the frenzied hurly-burly of the city life. After Project PPS, I appreciated what has been on my plate for quite a long time: overdue deadlines at work, food leftovers inside the refrigerator and a growing collection of unread books. This unexpected trip gave me a fresher and more upbeat perspective of those and the many other responsibilities I tried to escape all along. If only it would lead towards this end, then my future adventures would not be in vain at all.

at the airport

But I promised myself that my next destination would not be too far. Any municipality in Cebu or nearer would suffice provided of course that the expenses would be well within my budget. Your suggestions are most welcome below. Until then, my Palawan series officially begins with this post.

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18 Comments
  1. Reply

    brinee

    October 18, 2010

    hahaha.. nalingaw ko pics.. its either u took them yourself, or u asked someone to take your picture.. haahahha..

    looking forward to the PPS series!!! yey..

  2. Reply

    baktin

    October 19, 2010

    Exactly. I asked a lot of strangers to do that for me!

    • Reply

      Anonymous

      March 27, 2014

      ahay Kuya brenz nakatawa ko sa Cebu unya somewhere in Leyte d.i.. hahaha!
      we miss u.. i miss u..

      mona here..

    • Reply

      brennan mercado

      March 27, 2014

      Hi Mons. I miss you too! I hope makalaag ko Davao balik. 😉

  3. Reply

    Bagz

    October 20, 2010

    I'm shocked. I thought you went to PPS years ago.. only to find out na days ra interval nato before I also went there. Sayang, I could have suggested my friend's restaurant- Balinsasayaw in Rizal. 😀

  4. Reply

    baktin

    October 20, 2010

    Sayang, I would have met your pretty friend… 🙂

  5. Reply

    alvanman

    October 21, 2010

    Good stuff Bren. Dare I say "keep on traveling and blogging"? Well, I just did.

  6. Reply

    baktin

    October 25, 2010

    Wow. I'm honored. Welcome to Baktin Corporation Kuya Alvan! 🙂

  7. Reply

    tingting

    October 28, 2010

    Bren! I think 60% of my travels, I go alone! Two weeks ago I went to Bora alone, my boss cancelled! 🙂 If I had a choice, some places would be meant to be discovered alone while others would just have to be shared with friends. Paris and Italy dapat with a special someone.. I think the German towns kahit mag isa ka lang! You should have invited me to Palawan! I mightve just flown!

  8. Reply

    baktin

    November 3, 2010

    Hi Ting. I think that you would have flown along with your teddy bear too. 🙂

    How was Boracay? I wonder now why I never included that island in my travel list this year.

  9. Reply

    Anonymous

    November 4, 2010

    teddy bear doesnt do reckless adventure only calculated adventure!

  10. Reply

    eunice

    November 4, 2010

    bren, nalingao ko sa geography…cebu…leyte..with regards to your honda bay tour…i'm proud of you, you've conquered something. CONGRATULATIONS!!!

  11. Reply

    baktin

    November 10, 2010

    thank you for the kind words te eunice! 🙂

  12. Reply

    Mustachio

    March 4, 2013

    Have you read Into the Wild? 🙂

    • Reply

      baktin

      March 4, 2013

      I've only read one Krakauer book but unfortunately, it's not Into The Wild. I do like his writing style. Would you mind lending me your copy someday? 🙂

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Brennan Mercado
The Philippines

Brennan is an electronics engineer by profession. From time to time, he gets to travel beyond his office cubicle, try new restaurants or catch up with his terribly long list of unread books. He likes museums, spicy food and talking with habal-habal drivers. For now, he's still deciding on whether to play Pokémon GO or not.

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    2014
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