They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but even a thousand words or the tickled image of Palawan cannot begin to explain the tremendous beauty and absolute serenity of its Islands. Having read in various blogs and websites about the most beautiful island in the world, I was not let down when I finally got to visit it.
We left Manila on a 45-minute flight to the island of Busuanga aboard a small plane, probably a hundred-seater. As we descended towards the island, the aerial view was breathtaking and I took a moment of silence just to take it all in. Mmmmh. Breath in, breath out, smile and thank God for His wonderful creation.
When we arrived we set off to our hotel, Pearl which had affordable rates. Coron Town was small and overflowing with tourists; the locals are friendly and have endless souvenir shops, tourism being their obvious main source income.
Coron Town © Matt Kieffer
The next day we hired a boat with two guides and set out to a tiny island called Tara, a typhoon stricken region where government assistance had not helped the residents much to rebuild their storm stricken houses. As we sailed through we hopped through so many islands I lost count at fifty something. When we arrived at Tara, we brought them some relief food of rice. Being the missionaries we were, we got to preach and tell them about the gospel of Jesus Christ. My mother in law and I also got to teach them a Swahili song “Mambo Sawa Sawa.” It was a beautiful time. On our way back we passed by the Twin Lakes, a tunnel in between the hills that lead you to two fresh lakes.
We then set off for a hike, about 15 minutes of climbing steep stairs, and finally the view of Palawan from above. Up the hills is another fresh lake with the most beautiful variety of fish. The rocks and the boulders sculpted in nature’s perfection. One can only wonder whether you just happened to take a peak of Paradise. For thine eyes have only beholden such beauty in dreams and fiction narrations by movie editors, but to stand in the very midst was a reality I wasn’t prepared for. I was in love.
In the evening we took a tricycle, (the local ride) a 30 minute drive to the famous Maquinit Hot Springs. This was my first time to be in a God-made Jacuzzi because that’s exactly what the hot springs were. The place wasn’t crowded and the ambiance was inviting. We each paid an entrance fee of 300 Pesos each which is equivalent to 600 Kenya Shillings, small price to pay for the exquisite experience of sitting in nature’s pool of hot water from an active volcano—what a thrill.
The next day we went scuba diving. We had a short 30-minute lesson on how to use the gear and what to watch out for while in the depth of the seas. Our guide had 20 years’ worth of experience so I had no doubt my life was in good hands; but it still didn’t stop me from the countless prayers I made. Oh well probably the Kenyan in me was not as daring. We went down the sea in 15 min breaks. It was such a beauty and whole new world down there, that I was in awestruck wonder at the magnificence the seas had to offer.
That evening we had our dinner. What surprised me was the food and restaurants were all very affordable. For 200 Pesos (about 400 Kenya shillings) you get a very good meal of fish, rice and other variety of Filipino dishes. This little beautiful town is quite budget friendly.
We headed back to the Hot Springs for one last dip as we packed our bags and left for Manila on a ship that had just docked. Again it was my first time on a ship. It was beautiful inside, sort of felt like I was in a cruise ship. The ship was divided into various classes. First class through to third class. Meals were served on board; we had our sleeping areas as we began our 12 hour journey back to Manila. There was a storm that made the ship row back and forth. I got sea sick so I decided to sleep through the journey. Hours later we got to Manila. I left Palawan with fond memories, and it is a place I would definitely visit again!