An escape to Dos Palmas-A A +A
Wednesday, September 18, 2013
GOING to Dos Palmas Island Resort, Palawan was just part of our contingency plan, as me and my travel buddies tried to keep our hopes alive while we were in the waitlist that some tourists would back out to clear five spots for us to get on a tour to Puerto Princesa's Subterranean River National Park.
Prior, we were all excited when we finally set foot in the country's "last frontier." We got our plans clearly laid out for the first day and our beach attires ready.
From the airport, we hied off straight to the Tourism Office of the city to secure our spots to a day tour, only to be told that the list for the whole week and the next was already full.
Unless, some tourists would back out, then we could take their place. But there were more than 10 who were ahead of us in the waitlist, which made our chances so slim.
Nevertheless, we waited until the third day, and yes, three days since, no calls we got from the tourism officer. Hopeless, we instead decided to go out for a short walk around the town center.
However, shortly after we stepped out of the doorstep, an unregistered number called up. It was someone from the Dos Palmas calling.
Thinking that it was a better way to cap our PPP (Puerto Princesa, Palawan) trip than going out for a walk only to burn our feet, we didn't think twice.
It was around 7 a.m. and the boat that would ferry the visiting tourists to Dos Palmas was leaving at around 9 a.m. So, we packed our things fast and hied our way to Honda Bay.
From our inn, we took a tricycle to get us to Honda Bay where the boat bound for Dos Palmas was waiting.
That tricycle was quite slow moving and our time was running out so fast gave us some sort of adrenaline rush. And, not only that, going past halfway to Honda Bay, the trike's tire suddenly blew out on the road.
It was one big procrastination, indeed. Imagine the minutes wasted waiting for another tricycle ride.
After all what we had been through since that hope to be in the underground river had waned, everything was paid off upon getting onboard the ferry. The fact that Dos Palmas is much vaunted for its world famous amenities heaved us a sigh of relief.
It was almost an hour travel. Sleepy, but I dared not to close my eyes because the sight around us was just so visually appealing to keep my mind alert at least for that moment.
The ferry went past Luli Island, Starfish, and Pandan Island -- some of the places we'd been earlier where we went snorkeling and swimming. It was fun, I can say. Mind you, the world down there was much more astonishing than the world we see up here.
Upon arriving, a postcard pretty scenery greeted us and the crystal blue water made us want to jump right in.
To recall, Dos Palmas made headlines because of what turned out to be the most cruel incident that ever hit the island -- the 2001 kidnapping incident -- but the traces of such violence were erased with time.
It was but a solitary feel, with the beautiful sights of trees, the chirping of birds, and the sound of waves hitting the unimpeded shores.
The resort crew also took us around the resort, letting us in their villas, conference rooms, chapel, and spa, not to mention the nesting area where the eggs of the sea turtles were, which by now, could have hatched.
As visitors, we were afforded to some of their water activities such as boat kayaking and snorkeling. We began our day at the resort with a sunblock on because we knew for sure that we would not pass up any chance, especially not with too many things to do in that day.
We went kayaking the entire morning and in the afternoon, snorkeling.
We paddled our way out to the sea and enjoyed the sight of the corals and the fish beneath us.
Suddenly, someone called out to tell us that lunch was ready, yes, we were treated to a sumptuous lunch by the sea where we had our fill of the resort's specialties, among them were grilled octopus and chicken inasal, while seated under the canopy of a tree, plus with a glass of refreshing mango smoothie. "Sosyal!"
In the afternoon, we joined four foreign tourists, two of them were some Korean couple, snorkeling the Araceli Reef off Dos Palmas. The resort's yacht took us there.
The reef was nothing short of a surprise, as we'd gotten more of those beautiful sights of corals, fish and giant clams than what we had in Pambato reef, and surprisingly a wider area and longer time for snorkeling, too.
The snorkeling lasted to about an hour. After which, the yacht took us back to the resort, but it was still too early to call it a day, so we plunged into the swimming pool. As I said, there are too many things to do when you are there.
It was no less than a great escape from the hustles and bustles of the city.
After our short stay there, the boat ferried us back to Honda Bay and from there, we wobbled our way back to our inn as we were so exhausted. Less the muscle sores and the sunburn, it was my best experience so far.
Thanks Dos Palmas for inviting us!
For story suggestions, please feel free to email the writer at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on September 19, 2013.