Friday, December 22, 2017

Puerto Princesa Palawan Family Reunion


"Palawan is a sight to behold. The people are friendly and warm. We are happy to be there."
These were the last entry in my last Palawan post, when my husband and I visited in 2010.
(Read the full post here...>>>Out Working in Puerto Princesa Palawan)


When we left for Manila, we promised ourselves to come back and bring our family next time.  We finally had the chance to do just that, when my brother and his wife, visited us from abroad.


Our return to Palawan, has just become a Family Reunion.


We got very little time to prepare and we were all busy at work, since we needed to make everything hassle free for the youngest and oldest of our family members, we decided to book our tours via a travel agency.


 I found Legendary Tours Palawan in one of the travel expos we have visited in Manila and I am proud to say we got our tours at real good discounted rates.  It was a swift transact with Carina and Christian of Legendary Tours. They were very efficient and accommodating, highly recommended




Our itinerary:



Day 1 (Noon Arrival) Check-in and City Tour

-Check in at One Manalo Place (the hotel's van picked us up from the airport, airport pick-up and drop off was part of our package);
-Left our luggage at the resort and took the resort's van to Ka Lui for lunch (which we pre-booked through the help of the hotel concierge; Palawe├▒os are so helpful.) ~ I will write about our Ka Lui experience in a separate post; We asked Legandary Tours to pick us up at Ka Lui for our City Tour.
-City Tour started at about 1pm and covered: Cathedral, Plaza Cuartel, Butterfly Eco Garden and Tribal Village, Mitra Ranch, Crocodile Farm, Baker's Hill and (the best part) Souvenir shopping.



Our first stop was the Cathedral


Then off to the Pretty butterflies at the Butterfly Eco Garden...



Also housing some icky insects (I am not touching those)



Later we were treated to quick show at Tribal Village (also located inside the Butterfly Eco Garden).



One of the more famous attractions in Palawan is the Crocodile Farm.

Here is my youngest son goofing around.


Crocodile overload 




Followed by the wonderful view from the Mitra Farm. It is a vast farm land owned by the family of the late Senator Raul Mitra.  






Our tour included a stop at Baker's Hill, which is known for its beautifully decorated garden and their baked pastries and delicacies.

Our guide bought us Baker's Hill's best selling "hopia" to try. It was good  (my mom liked it) and makes good "pasalubong" as well.   

Our boys harassing Ms. Monroe (headed by my Dad)


And my son, gamely striking poses before the camera...


Day 2 ~ Underground River (inclusive of lunch)

This is our (my husband and I) second time at the Underground River ~ so we quite knew what to expect.  It was the first time though for our children and my Balikbayan brother.

Unlike our previous tour, they now lend guests recorded narration giving out information of the Underground River.  I understand that this effort is to ensure conservation of the park, as loud noises is disturbing the bats' ecosystem. 

Note: My parents skipped this tour.  The "banca" has low seating, which would make it difficult for my PWD father to sit down.









If you can only take, one tour in Puerto Princesa, make sure you choose this one.  And remember to book your tour in advance as this is one of the most popular tours ~ and is often fully booked.  

Check this video taken inside the Underground River cave~







Day 3 ~ Honda Bay Tour (inclusive of lunch)

~We were travelling with seniors plus my dad, can't walk too well, so instead of the usual island hop on and off, we decided to stay at Isla Pandan.  


My parents, playing the role of "Bakasyonistas".



Welcome to (picture perfect) Isla Pandan. 



I missed these fishes from our previous visit.  They are so relaxing and fun to watch at the same time.



Coconut was more expensive on the island, but what the heck ~ the beautiful view of the ocean makes it, taste a lot better!




After tiring ourselves from feeding and swimming  after the fishes, we've earned our passes to a lunch buffet spread. 


We had a wonderful 3 days adventure packed, but restful  holiday at Puerto Princesa Palawan ~ so apt to say that  Puerto Princesa is a piece of heaven on earth.


We hope to be back in Palawan,
next time to conquer Coron and El Nido. 



Saturday, December 9, 2017

Birthday Road Trip to Kamay ni Hesus


Wondering of a special thing to do for my birthday weekend led us to a roadtrip to Kamay ni Hesus Shrine.  Kamay ni Hesus is a famous pilgrimage site, known for it Healing Church.

It sits on a 5 hectare land that also includes a Via Dolorosa Grotto, Noah’s Ark, Sea of Galilee, Holy Family Park, and the Pastoral Center founded by the Healing Priest, Fr. Joey Faller.

I thought it would be nice to attend mass to give thanks for the past wonderful 41 years and pray for an even more blessed years ahead.


The Healing Church

 


We arrived at 10am and missed the  9am. The following mass starts at 5pm anticipated masses during Saturdays (I have appended below the daily mass schedule, for reference).  




Next stop is the Via Dolorosa Grotto, which features the Fourteen (14) Stations of the Cross. 

It was a tiring walk up the grotto's steep (290+) steps, you would literally have to carry yourself to reach the top.


So tired, but we got to look fresh in front of the camera...


Yehey, almost at the top :P


Made it...


The Kamay ni Hesus grounds is truly picturesque, with activities even for the youngest member of your family.  

Our 9 year old,  enjoyed and lingered a bit at feeding Koi fishes at the Sea of Galilee.



I never thought, feeding Koi Fishes will be so relaxing.
I could play this video, over and over again.







Beside the Sea of Galilee is the Noah's Ark.  This building houses accommodation, for retreatants and those wanting to stay overnight or longer at Kamay ni Hesus.




Kamay ni Hesus is a perfect place to rekindle faith, give thanks and seek guidance.


MASS SCHEDULE

Sunday:
7:30AM, 9:00AM, 10:30AM, 11:30AM,
2:30 - Healing Mass
Monday/Tuesday: 9:00AM
Wednesday: 9:30AM - Healing Mass
Thursday/Friday: 9:00AM
Saturday
:
9:30AM - Healing Mass
5:00PM - Anticipated Mass

For more information, please visit Kamay ni Hesus webpage: kamaynihesus.ph

=================================

If you are looking for a place to spend the night in Lucban Quezon, you may want to check my post on  Villa Elma (Back to Nature).


Friday, December 8, 2017

Back to Nature at Villa Elma ~ Lucban Quezon


For my birthday weekend, we went on a family road trip to Kamay ni Hesus Shrine (a well-known Catholic pilgrimage site).
As it was quite a long drive back home to Manila from Lucban, Quezon Province, so my husband and I decided to stay the night at Villa Elma.


Villa Elma is a scenic nature park with bed and breakfast, located at the foot of Mt. Banahaw.

We stayed at the Log Cabin.  This accommodation is good for 6+ guests.  There is a room upstairs with a queen sized bed and a sofa that converts to a bed on the ground floor.  There is a small restroom downstairs and full bath on the 2nd floor.
 


Only the upstairs bed room is air-conditioned, but it was okay at the ground floor too, as weather at the foot of Mt Banahaw is fresh-cool.  It felt like we were in Baguio.


The room upstairs is nicely decorated ~ adorned with paintings and other work of arts.





There is also a veranda upstairs.   




Our window opens to this delightful view (Yes, I wanted to take this papaya tree home with us).




Chickens roaming around ~ This is rural living!






It was raining a bit (and the steps slippery)  during our stay so we never got to visit the rest of Villa Elma.   

The cold weather is perfect for snuggling (bring a light jacket).



FINAL VERDICT:
  1. There was very little to do at Villa Elma. There is no television and no wi-fi (we brought our own, but signal was intermittent). You might want to bring board games to pass time, if you have kids along ~ A true "no-gadgets" weekend.
  2. Villa Elma boasts meditation and prayer areas  and a brook to go swimming, but since the weather was off, we did not get to see these.
  3. Weather is wonderful.  We loved the cool mountain breeze, especially when we woke up the next morning.  We felt so rested and relaxed.
  4. Food options at there restaurant is limited.  You can bring in cooked food though or go out to buy food or just eat out. Villa Elma is about 10-15 minutes drive the town proper.
  5. As you are one with nature, expect to see lots of bugs and insects around.  Though the room upstairs was clean, there were a lot of ants down stairs.
  6. The bathrooms were clean too, however, I cant seem to make the hot and cold work.  We had to take cold showers. 
  7. Staff were nice and very accommodating. 



Villa Elma
A. Mabini Street, Brgy. Palola,
Lucban, Quezon Province
Tel No. +639955045385
Email Address. info@villaelma.com.ph
Website: Villa Elma