PALAWAN: Pros and Cons *for kids*
Hi! It’s Bailey again. I’ve decided to write another post. So, here it is!:
My parents and I have been traveling the Philippines for almost 3 months. We went to Boracay for a month, Palawan for 10 days, and we’re in Manila now. For 4 days before [and after] going to Palawan, we stayed at the Peninsula Hotel in Manila. You can read my post about that here.
I had a great time there, but I thought, why would I miss writing about Palawan?! Unlike Manila, Palawan is certainly not about the malls, hotels, and restaurants… It’s more about nature. Wait! Don’t X out yet! It was FUN nature! So here’s Palawan for kids: The Pros and the Cons.
Don’t pretend any roller coaster or ride is better than ziplining… When my cousin and I heard we were zip lining, WE WERE SO EXCITED!! We had ziplined before, but only once in a place called, Camp Getaway in Massachusetts during summer camp… It was only about MAYBE 10 feet tall. This zip line was SUPER high and long. You don’t just climb up a ladder. You have to spelunk and climb with your bare hands and feet ALL THE WAY up Ugong Rock, a huge limestone formation. My parents, aunt, cousin, and I did this… It was all worth it. It’s great to do this with kids.
We signed up for the “superman pose” on the zip line. You basically have all your limbs stretched out, and you face towards the ground. You can also do the “sitting position,” which starts at a lower point of the Ugong Rock, and you are literally just in a sitting position. If you’re a kid that’s not scared of heights, I DEFINITELY recommend you do the superman position. The superman position zipline is 380 meters long, which is about 1,245 feet! We went SO FAST. Imagine, we went 1,245 feet to 0 in 21 SECONDS!
The sitting position is not as high, steep or fast… Surely not as thrilling. You also have the choice of just climbing back down the Ugong Rock instead of zip lining down. But, that’s the LEAST fun.
Tip: make sure you’re not too light because you might crash into the wall when you get to the other side! It almost happened to me! Also, try to go on a sunny day, because it rained really hard on us while we were spelunking and climbing! Luckily, I had a bathing suit on. Always be prepared!
2) DOS PALMAS!!
Dos Palmas is a tiny little island that is considered to still be in Puerto Princesa. You do have to take an hour and a half boat ride from the boat station to get there, but it’s surely worth it. This island off Puerto Princesa is SO small, there is just one resort, called Dos Palmas. You literally cannot leave the resort. It’s the whole island! I know what you’re wondering… If you’re trapped, why is it so great to travel there with kids?
Well, there are bikes all over the place that you can just take and ride around. This is great for kids that like to be independent, like my cousin and I. We knew our way all the way around the island. We biked everywhere we wanted to go! There were 2 pools. We always biked there! The first one is the infinity pool, near the main room, aka the only restaurant or lobby in the island. The other pool is the lap pool, which is in the spa. It is supposed to be for a nice and calm, quiet swim. We weren’t all that good at that.*_*
I recommend staying in the infinity pool.
How’s the food, you ask? It’s good. It really depends on what you order. My parents seemed to be pleased with the Filipino food. I had pasta basically every meal except for breakfast, so I liked it… the servings are just a bit small. My cousin liked the pizza, but just make sure they don’t put fresh tomatoes and fresh basil… Just tomato sauce and cheese… Well… If that’s what you want. The breakfast is okay. There are dart boards and ping pong tables and pool tables in the main lobby, and you can ask for playing cards or board games at the front desk.
Tip: My cousin and I made our own creations for breakfast. Since there was cheddar cheese, butter, toast, and toaster ovens, we made grilled cheese sandwiches. If you like that more than any of the plain options, try it out! You have unlimited access to the toaster oven and food!
3) BAKER’S HILL
Baker’s hill is literally a hill with a very popular bakery atop it. My parents, aunt, cousin, and I took a trike there one day. There is also a little park located there where we played and also saw peacocks, mynas, and even golden roosters (or something like that). You can get pizza, Filipino food, pasta, ice cream, baking goodies, and all that good stuff at this hill.
Tip: The Mynas speak a bit of Tagalog and English, You can say hello and they’ll reply, you can then say “Salamat”, which means “thank you”. You can even say “Gusto mo?”, Which means, “Do you want it?”. They will reply, “gusto ko” [yes, I do] or just meow. Yup, that’s right… They meow like cats…
4) PANDAN AND COWRIE ISLAND
We went on an Island hopping tour one day. We went to an Island called Pandan Island as our first stop. We went snorkeling! YAY! I went snorkeling in Boracay a few times before, but it was just okay. I’m a bit frightened by corals. they look like bloodsucking moving creature-plants that turn you into a fish.
However, I LOVED the fish, so when I heard we were snorkeling in Pandan Island, I had to go even though I knew it would mean seeing corals again. My parents and I had a snorkeling guide with us to bring us to the best places to see fish. He had bread and we fed the fish! It was SO cool! First, one fish would just pluck at the bread, then almost EVERY FISH would go insane and just nibble until you feel they might bite your finger. The bread never lasted on my hand for more than 3 seconds.
In Cowrie Island, named after a huge snail, we had a buffet lunch. Wasn’t so great, but it filled me up enough. My cousin and I caught a total of 6 starfish together! I caught 3, and so did he. They were quite small there compared to the ones in Pandan Island, where we caught really big ones which were pink and had bumps. The little ones in Cowrie Island were softer and darker, so they were younger. We played a game called “PATRICK!!!!” Basically, it’s based off the Spongebob Squarepants, the show where there is a starfish character by that name. Don’t worry, we put them back in the ocean, they’re alive…
I also got a henna tattoo in Cowrie Island! But that meant that I couldn’t swim for the last hour we were there. It was okay, though, I loved my henna.
Tip: Wear some water shoes in Cowrie island so you don’t have to directly step on corals or get too much sand stuck in your toes. Also, wear them inside of rubber flippers in Pandan island so that the rubber isn’t uncomfortable right against your feet.
5) UNDERGROUND RIVER
The Puerto Princesa Underground River was also quite far away from town. You have to take a car to a boat station, then a boat to get to another island where the underground river is. Once you get to the island, you have to walk across a bridge, then get a boat number for yet another boat, then wait on line. However, while waiting on line, you have entertainment. You might see monkeys, snakes, lemurs, and even lizards almost the size of Komodo dragons!
However, you have to be careful, when you prepare your stuff and are traveling with kids, don’t use any neon or bright color bags or clothing, and don’t bring expensive items. Because the monkeys are like thieves. For example, if you get your GoPro too close to a monkey, he’ll snatch it. Make sure to try and wear just white or gray or something subtle, so that they don’t snatch your clothing. If your bags are neon or bright, they might snatch it, along with the items inside it. Our tour guide said that the monkeys will, however, hand your phones back because the service/reception in the island is nonexistent, but I don’t believe it’ll be returned in tip-top shape.
I wasn’t a huge fan of the actual underground river. But if you are into science and rock formations over centuries, it’s quite an interesting sight.
Tip: Don’t get directly under a monkey, because it will surely poop on you. Once your boat comes, also make sure to take the front seat. The guide will let you hold the flashlight to spotlight everything he wants to point out to the passengers! Also, don’t look directly up and/or open your mouth too much, because the bats in the cave will poop and pee in your mouth. If something gets in your mouth and tastes like nothing… You’re lucky. It’s mineral water.
1) There are no TV’s in Dos Palmas! There is also no WiFi. Well, they say there is, but it’s horrible connection.
2) There is a restaurant in town called, Kalui, where your parents will probably want to go because it is one of the most popular restaurants in Puerto Princesa. It’s all seafood there, so my cousin and I weren’t big on it. However, if you like seafood and vegetables, not meat and noodles (like me), it is the perfect place for you.
Tip: It is admittedly a very pretty place to walk around! ⬇️
3) The pools in a lot of hotels in Puerto Princesa (city) are really HOT. So they are not refreshing.
As you can see, there are more pros than cons. So I think Palawan is a great place to visit as a kid. We didn’t go to EL NIDO OR A FANCY ISLANDS LIKE THAT, and Puerto Princesa is excluded from being rated by all those magazine critics, but I liked it and I think you should surely give it a go.
P. S. I’m sure that you can’t plan all this yourself so make your parents read my mom’s short travel guide.