Friday, October 26, 2012

Visiting the unspoiled City of Puerto Princesa

Much has been written about Puerto Princesa city in Palawan, the place dubbed as the “City in the Forest”. When I visited the place last October 18-20 for a special trip with my colleagues, I validated everything that has already been inscribed and I couldn’t help but affirm all the good things of the city that has long been part of my bucket list.
The new Davao-Puerto Princesa flight courtesy of Cebu Pacific Air has given us opportunity to explore Palawan easier
When we arrived via Cebu Pacific flight from Davao (this flight was only launched last August this year), we instantly noticed the warmth of the people residing in Puerto Princesa as we were treated with an affectionate reception right at their airport. And when we were ferried to our transient house, the other thing that captured my interest was the city’s hygienic thoroughfares. I couldn’t remember other places in the Philippines as clean as Puerto Princesa, and it will be worthy to be emulated, if not surpassed. My salute to the local leaders of this place for crafting a very comprehensive clean and green policy and for religiously implementing it. 

Puerto Princesa Airport arrival lounge
Our visit to the Underground River was scheduled on October 20, but we already secured the permit on the 19th with the help of the travel agency catering us in the city. Another thing I admired about this place is that travel agencies are taking care of the tourism sector especially in arranging tours to the famous Underground River. Unlike any other places in the country where most of the natural park tours are still being partly managed by the national and local governments, Underground River tours are solely handled by the private sector, that’s why the tour rates in Puerto Princesa are way cheaper as compared to other popular destinations in the Philippines.

Hardi Joy is shown here enjoying the breathtaking view of Puerto Princesa landscape
The local government in Puerto Princesa is also exceptional in terms of placing the city in the chart of Philippines’ growing cities. According to Mayor Edward Hagedorn, they only have two priority programs: Agriculture for food security, and Tourism to basically augment livelihood for its people. When these programs are stable, the rest of the programs would just compliment. In terms of agriculture, Puerto Princesa has been a major supplier of food products (most notably marine products) to Luzon and the rest of the country. Its tourism program, on the other hand, is also anchored on the protection of environment, proof of which is that it is the only city in the entire country that the forest cover is increasing every year. In Puerto Princesa, there is no mining, no logging, no hunting whatsoever which made its forest cover still unspoiled. Another salute to the local government officials for that. 

This is a towering karst formation covered with thick forest vegetation
I was amazed then when we traveled to Underground River the next day because the infrastructure needed to support tourism was in placed like roads and bridges. Local and foreign tourists alike are flocking almost everywhere. Sabang Bay, as a jump off point to the sub terrain, is also amazing. Just before we headed to Underground River, we were treated to a sumptuous lunch which was already part of the tour package. I also used to taste their native delicacy called “tamilok”, a fresh and very delicious mangrove-living sea worms.

Left: My wifey Michelle taking a pose at Sabang Bay. Right: Glenn Mark eating a fresh "tamilok" during our lunch on October 19
After a 20-minute boat ride from Sabang Bay, we were face to face with the magnificent Underground River with beauty beyond compare. The huge cave formations inside has fascinated us. Indeed, this piece of our natural heritage is worthy to be declared as one of UNESCO’s world heritage sites and one of the world’s Seven Wonders of Nature.

Entrance of the glorious Puerto Princesa Underground River
On the third day, we availed of a seascape tour in one of their known islands comprising the Honda Bay as part of maximizing our time in Palawan. While enjoying the island tour, we witnessed the other side of Puerto Princesa, a pristine environment in the ocean. The water was crystal clear, the coral reefs are simply abounding and the fishes always try to befriend with humans. 

One of the islands in Honday Bay
 Our 3-day trip to Puerto Princesa was very fruitful. My wifey Michelle also enjoyed it very much along with my other companions Hardi Joy, Glenn Mark, Camila, Cheryl, Liezel, Baran, Kendall, Anne, Zaldy, Mam Flor, Ate Vivian, Engineer Susie and Charina. It was one of my most memorable travels. 

This blogger with buddies Hardi Joy and Glenn Mark during our island hopping
Puerto Princesa now belongs to my own list of most admired places to include Bohol, Cebu and Tagum.


Text and Photo by: DOREEN JOY D. BAUYA

“There was only nature in the beginning and all creations are so beautiful and wonderful.”

Imagine working and working everyday and you don’t even know what’s happening around. And I think we all need some time to rest and take some time for leisure, many different choices, options and reasons not to get bored.

Thirteen years after spending life somewhere outside our beloved barangay, my friend Rea Gay revisited our place to experience once again the best view of Mr. Sunrise and personally witness the now -renowned Passig Islet Agri-Eco Park.

Very early morning on August 11, 2012; our First stop was at LOG POND. We both patiently waited for Mr. Sun to come out. And we did just that, straight ahead of us appeared a very tiny circle and seconds by seconds it was getting bigger and bigger….. and before we knew it, we were stunned, seeing the grandeur of Mr. Sunrise, right before our very eyes. What an amazing and breathtaking sunrise. We just simply kept on clicking our camera and took pictures in different angles as many as we could.


Our next stop was at the wooden path surrounded with green mangroves. It serves as a boardwalk for guests who want to go to the docking area of Passig islet. We felt the fresh air embracing us while seeing the pristine mangrove-scape in all its glory. And as we walked through the bridge, we decided to take a rest to take some pictures. To our delight, we felt as if we owned the world during that time, away from the bustling commercial life with the chirping of birds as our background music.  

Our last stop was at Passig Islet where we were welcomed by the fantastic scenic view of white island and endless ocean. I and Rea Gay enjoyed very much clicking our stuffs and I just let my friend do whatever she wanted to do around the Island. She couldn’t believe that after 13 long years, the island now offers extraordinary beauty and experience. 

After exploring the entire island, we took a breather and shifted our eyes   northwest to see the majestic gorge of Mt. Apo towering over the other sceneries as dominant as the friendship I established with Rea Gay. Basking the warmth of Mr. Sun and looking up in the sky, we felt as if we were lifted up by the gorgeous clouds. The serenity of the place was indeed beyond compare.

That short moment allowed us to enjoy nature at its best while also creating another page of memory to our checkered lives. I realized then that these simple things are God’s manifestation that He really loves us. He created many beautiful things for us to enjoy. 

Moreover, it will be our prime responsibility to take care all these creations.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Mangrove Clean Up Drive at Our Paradise Resort

On October 23, 2012; our group LOGSAC has spearheaded an extreme clean up drive at Our Paradise Resort in sitio Talao, Barangay Tuban, Sta. Cruz, Davao del Sur. It was scheduled through the verbal request of the resort management and was directed by Sta. Cruz mayor Joel Ray Lopez through a Memorandum Order.

Our Paradise Resort is known for its vast mangrove reserve area but since it is situated in an area flapped with a long brackish water outlet connecting Tuban and Barangay Zone 4, trashes are flowing at the resort compound. There are even cellophanes knotted within the roots of the mangroves, as well as some other debris creating eyesore to resort visitors.

In an effort to free the mangroves of these trashes, the new management of the resort has tapped the services of mountaineering groups in Sta. Cruz. Along with LOGSAC in unloading those trashes are Team Palaka of Coronon headed by Evan Bandoquillo and the ever supportive Calumpang Mountaineering Club (CAMOC) led by Kimber Clark Acson.

Half of the mini dump truck non-biodegradable and residual wastes were generated during that half-day clean up drive which was then collected by the Solid Waste Management personnel of Sta. Cruz.

Thank you to my club-mates who joined the clean up namely: Trecelyn, Faridah, Catherine, Butchie, Hardi Joy, Glenn Mark, Kirvy, Eboy, Jonas, Jercpas, Hector John, Mulong. Special thanks also to the Ecological Solid Waste Management Committee of Sta. Cruz Engr. Jessie Joy Berallo and his crew. 

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Jonas joins DavSur planners to Visayas trip

Chartered member and LOGSAC vice president Jonas Florencondia has participated an organized trip to Cebu City and the province of Bohol on October 3-6, 2012 to personally witness two of Visayas’ most-visited places.


By virtue of a drawing of lots in their office, Jonas was fortunate to have drawn as Sta. Cruz’s representative to the trip which was composed mainly of Planning Officers and Coordinators in the entire province of Davao del Sur. 

LOGSAC undergoes Naturalist Guiding Training

Several members of the Local Government of Sta. Cruz Adventure Club have undergone a special training on Naturalist Guiding as jointly conducted by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Department of Tourism (DOT) and the LGU of Sta. Cruz, Davao del Sur.

The training was conducted at Tibolo Cultural Village, Sta. Cruz, Davao del Sur on October 10-16, 2012. According to DOT Regional Director Art Boncato, the training will be part of capacitating the human resource component of ecotourism in the region. He further said that with the continuous effort of the DOT to promote tourism development in the region, there is a need to produce DOT-accredited naturalist guides who will be assisting the agency in terms of steering outdoor-related tours like mountain trekking, kayaking, cultural tours, bird watching, among others.

The one-week intensive training had numerous important components which had also eventually formed part of the accreditation process being set by the central office of DOT’s Standard and Accreditation Division. In order to be an accredited naturalist guide, one has to pass the following factors: practical exam, actual basic mountaineering course, written exam and attendance.

Aside from the participants coming from Sta. Cruz, the training was also participated by tour guides coming from provinces of Davao del Norte, Compostela Valley, Davao Oriental and Davao City including participants from Mountaineering Federation of Southern Mindanao (MFSM). The bigger bulk, however, of the participants were from Sta. Cruz basically because of its present program on Mt. Apo trekking.

According to training facilitator Roderick Gonzales, the training was only the sixth in the Philippines. Other regions already receiving the same training includes Banaue, Bicol, Lake Sebu to new a few. The result of accreditation will be revealed in the next months to come.

LOGSAC members who joined the training aside from this blogger were: Jonas Florencondia, Noel Bartolome, Julius Biala, Michael Gapula, Hardy Joy Desuyo, Jose Sabandal, Glenn Mark Bauya, Kirvy Palanca, Arjay Semilla, Kimber Clark Acson, Chester Mitz Manuel, Darwin Juntilla and Nikko Rosillo.