Thursday, April 28, 2011

Our Road Trip to El Nido, Palawan

A Long, Winding and Rough Road Trip
by lakwatserong tatay

At last, i've had made again another story about our recent trip to Palawan...hehehehe....This is the start of our 2nd day trip to Palawan, The roadtrip to El Nido, Palawan. From Manny's Guest House, we have to wake up by 3am, so for our estimated time of departure will happen around 6am.Because most of my co-trippers are girls and not a backpack type person, we have to set our ETA so early. Luckily we got our projected time and 30 minutes before my set itinerary, where off to the road....yahoooo....El Nido here we are....
It is still dawn @ Puerto Princesa, Palawan
After few minutes, we had our first stop, coffee break in Dunkin Donut....some of us got only a coffee for a breezy morning....but most of us got a bunwich meal, because for a very long trip day. Of course, we did not miss the chance to have some photo session while on a stop, we had different set of poses inside and outside of Dunkin Donut, as you knew all of us are camwhores....(adik sa pictures taking!!!!!) ^_^.
Coffee Break @ Dunkin Donuts....^_^
Photo-opps even inside Dunkin....^_^
After staying at Dunkin for 30 minutes, where off to road again, and start of the real road trip. According to our driver/tour guide Kuya Ronald, it will took us from 5-6 hours road trip, but it will really be depending our stopovers, that will make a big contribution on our time travel.
The start of our roadtrip......
Kuya Ronald told me, that there no jeepney's that is driving around the city proper of Puerto Princesa, because of the mini cab that you can found around the city and also to lessen the traffic jam in the city. So when we actually almost out of the city proper of Puerto Princesa, i have this chance to take a picture of jeepney, that is maybe going to another town of Palawan. (sorry for the blurry shot because where really running around 80mph that tme...hehehehehe...^_^)
The only Jeep that i've found in the Puerto Princesa
Before our exact exit in the town of Puerto Princesa, i had again this shot while were on going to our roadtrip. A hill that has a huge white cross on top, maybe it is like what we have at Antipolo, a religious pilgrimage place, maybe it's like that.
A huge white cross is placed on a hill
And now, where exiting the place of Hagedorn....our next stop will be on.....
Our exit to Puerto Princesa
After three hours driving in the road of Palawan, we had our next stop, it was not actually the city town proper, but we stop on the boundary of those towns. The place where we stop is Roxas, Palawan, after this stop, the road change, from smooth to partly start of rough road. And of course, one thing in our minds when we had that stops is photo sessions again...hahahahaha....^_^
First Stopover.....
Photo session starts....^_^
The road @ Roxas, Palawan
Here are some of the photos that i've taken while on our stop over at Roxas, Palawan.....
@ another side....
The photographers (?)...hahahahaha
It's me with Chris photo-opps..Welcome Signage @ Roxas, Palawan
Who wants Bi-ik for sale?....hehehehehehe!!!!!
A mini bus coming City proper of Roxas, Palawan
And now were getting ready to get off the road again, because it's getting dark, and maybe in few minutes, it will be raining.....
We to go now...but first.....^_^
And few kilometers, the rain starts.....we were so lucky because the road is already paved in going to town of Taytay.....^_^
It rains after few minutes.....
We had also a one short stop, i'm not really aware of that place, but there is one mini bus who also stops were we stop and get some puto in the store, the signage of the bus is gong to Alimanguan San Vicente.
Next stop is along the going to Alimanguan, San Vicente, Palawan...
After few kilometers, of driving in paved road, we reached the town of Taytay, few years back Kuya Ronald told us, that this town is the main entrance in going to El Nido via boat transfer and also there was small airport (Lio Airport) where SEAIR is the only plane who offers this flight MLA-PP (it was just last December, 2010, when they announced the reopening of this flights...for more information about this story you may click this link.....SEAIR flies to El Nido,Palawan)

A long and open cemented road......
Here is one of my preview picture on our visit and stopover to Taytay, Palawan. A picture of their town name "TAYTAY" placed on a hill side, a picturestique view from Fort Santa Isabel, one thing in mind that the town want to do is like in Hollywood, what do you think?
One of our Major stopover...Taytay, Palawan.....
After spending for almost 2 hours in Taytay, because of photo sessions and all of us camwhores got our own poses in different side of the Fort and even get in the Church of Taytay. and Taytay Port.
The El Nido
We're get back to the road and now it will just the one last stop the El Nido's viewdeck. Kuya Ronald also told us that in few moments, the road will be changed from paved and cemented to terrible rough road...
Are we still going to El nido (?)
And afterwards, the rough road starts.....the road  was a bit dusty and foggy because the sun was really up when we reach this rough was almost 12 nn...^_^
The start of the rough road.....
Kuya Ronald is just relax and focus when we reach the rough roads...
Kuya opps...hehehehehe...
Can you see the road......ahmmm...^_^......Below are some of the pictures i've taken while where in the rough roads of Palawan.
Another van is maybe going back to Puerto Princesa....
A view from our "CR" break....
Just kidding aside....i do hope you don't get me wrong on this picture....heheheheh....^_^
While were on the rough....i had this shot......What do you think (?)...^_^
At last, after more than 5 hours, on and off the road of Palawan, we reached the El Nido's view deck ground, where you will have the chance to view some of the nearest island in the shores of El Nido, and have some photo opps using this island's as a backdraft....hehehehehe.....^_^
At last El Nido at our sight....
Another island.....
and so many more islands.....
One of the nearest island in view deck of El Nido, Palawan...
There were so many islands......yahooo......
The other side shores of El Nido......
El Nido's view deck stop over
Here is one of our group photo-opps while on El Nido's viewdeck ground.....^_^, and few minutes we reached the town proper and proceed to Marina Garden Beach Resort, i do have separate story for our El Nido's accomodation and adventures.....
How to get to El Nido, Palawan from Puerto Princesa, Palawan:

Thanks to Kuya Ronald for giving me this detailed information. In commuting going to El Nido,Palawan starts at San Jose Terminal. From the city proper (Rizal Ave.), take the multi-cab going to San Jose Public Market (about 20 minutes travel time). The multi-cab will take you directly to San Jose Terminal. When you arrived at San Jose, ask where the buses going to El Nido can be found. If you are planning to take the 5:00am trip to El Nido, it would be better to rent a tricycle (the fare is Php50-80).


Estimated Travel Time: 5 to 6 hours
Rent Cost: Php 10,000 (one-way trip); Php 13,000 (round trip),
*** Negotiable & depending in your package trip.***
Max Passenger/Van: 10pax (depends on your agreement)

Note: Renting a van is the most expensive mode of travel to El Nido, but one of the most convenient too because you could manage your time travel.

Estimated Travel Time: 5 to 6 hours
Fare: Php 500
Estimated Time Departures: 5:00am; 7:00am; 9:00am.
**** Always a lot few minutes before the scheduled departure and would also be much better to reserve some seats prior to your trip.****
Max Passenger/Van: 10pax

Note: It has the same schedule if you are traveling vice versa.

Estimated Travel Time: 6 to 7 hours
**** It includes 2 stopovers, first in Roxas for breakfast and restroom break and next Taytay to pick-up some passengers.****
Bus Fare: Php 300
Bus Schedules: 5:00am; 7:00am; 9:00am

Note: It has the same schedule if you are traveling vice versa and the cheapest mode of  transportation.
El Nido here i am........this is L.T. signing on....
And this is the start of our El Nido Adventures, our photo walk at city town proper of El Nido, the two days of island hopping adventures and the chance to eat the famous El Nido Soup. I'll be doing different entries on all of our adventures in El Nido.....^_^

This story is part of: Five Days of Trip at Palawan

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Iwahig Prison and Penal Farm

The Prison without Barriers
by lakwatserong tatay

After our visit to the land of live crocs of Palawan, our next destination is one of the most unique destination i've ever been and far away from Puerto Princesa City proper, known to be one of the most popular prison in our country. The Iwahig Prison and Penal Farm, upon entering this colony you will notice that it is just a front! There were no barriers surrounding the gate to keep the prisoners in. Maybe from it's location, that your in Palawan, so there no prisoners discourages to escape from it's prison, because it's sides are mountains surrounding the prison is the South China Sea. Transportation off the island is pretty impossible for a prisoner to arrange by himself, and if ever he decides to run off to the mountains, he is sure to die of malaria.
Iwahig Prison & Penal Farm
Iwahig is approx. 23,000 hectares of farming land (which used to be more than 40,000 before). Prisoners were classified as either maximum, medium, or minimum security prisoners. Murderers fall under maximum security. They are kept and guarded in houses. Medium security prisoners are the ones who are grouped by 10's to take care of and harvest 6 hectares of land. Minimum security prisoners are the ones who are going to be released soon.
The Statue of Justice
Upon entering the prison farm premises, there is one unique thing that you could found out, there where many guys with light brown shirt, and just walking around, houses and farming is also present within the penal farm.
The road inside Iwahig Prison & Penal Farm
Here is some information that i've got while talking to a lady inside the Iwahig's Souvenir Shop.....Iwahig Penal Colony was established in the early 1900's and to this date it's still operational. It is where criminals from other parts of the country were sent, jailed and forced to do hard labor while serving their sentence. Later on, the reformed ones are allowed to roam within the compound and mingle with the community while the "hard cores" remain in maximum confinement. Within the compound, there are farmstead tended by former prisoners who, after serving their sentence, have decided to stay in Puerto Princesa and start a new life. After a probationary period, long-term prisoners are allowed to become farmers, fishermen or wardens, as the prison is self-supporting and self-managed. The “lifers’” families organise their own community existence.
The Old Recreational Hall of Iwahig...
The other side of Old Recreation Hall
This colony encompasses a 37-hectare scenic farm planted with coconut palm trees, rice, and other crops cultivated by the prisoners and their families. The prison has about 4,000 population, as of now...many inmates live with their families in so-called rehabilitation areas. Within the farm is Balsahan River, known for its cascading waters coming from the nearby mountain. Iwahig is more like a modern farm, rather than a prison, where prisoners toil their farms unguarded and are allowed to earn an income by working in the many shops which turn out various handicrafts, most popular of which are the handcarved items made of mahogany wood. The farm is definitely a good shopping stop for tourists.
Iwahig's Souvenir Shop
At first, we are all afraid of getting inside to this colony because of walking with some of the prisoners, and even talking with them is one of a kind experience. But guess what, this prisoners is so easy to talk with their just mingling around, offering some of their handicrafts when we were having our photo sessions around it's ground. The products of their labor are sold at a souvenir shop inside the colony. The most popular product of the prisoners are the animal keychains they create out of recycled plastic from Jollibee cups. Iwahig souvenirs are the cheapest. A bracelet I found was sold for Php40 which normally sells Php50-70 outside the prison. They also sell wooden weapons. I was pretty interested in the Arnis sticks made of Kamagong. They cost around Php180 a pair. But wasn't able to buy it...huhuhuhu....Below are some of our photo opps when were roaming around its ground.
One of the most unique handicraft i've ever seen...^_^
A cute shitsu dog inside the souvenir shop
Zen's really love the dog...^_^
One of my most unique and unforgetable experience is to talk with a prisoner, and that is such a experience that i'll treasure, see the guy that stands by the post, he is ..., one of the inmates that could roam around it's premises, this is our conversation......he was a jeepney driver of Antipolo-Cubao in Manila, see we hailed in same place now...Antipolo....^_^. He is accused of murder and sentence to imprisonment, he also shares the experience of transferring from Muntinlupa to Iwahig is such a sad experience, but now he is really contented in what he have, he lives a normal inside a colony like a freeman although their are some limitations specially going outside it colony premises. Actually that time, i feel really lucky for Kuya, because he now on a safer grounds and has it is own normal life, not like the prisoners in greater cities that you will really afraid off.....

Trivia: For a prisoner to qualify to stay in Iwahig, he must at least have a sentence of 3 years and 1 day.
The Front Old Recreational Hall of Iwahig
At another angle....^_^
Here are some of our photo-opps, btw, not all of us got off the van, because some of us still afraid to roam around...hehehehe...^_^, and thank to kuya....for taking shots of some of our photos....^_^
Trippers photo-opps
Our photo-opps....Chris, Carlo and Me....^_^
Chris & Rhakz photo-opps...^_^
We stayed on this colony for almost half an hour, roaming around it's ground, taking photo-opps of the old reacreational hall, jose rizal monument, the new recreactional hall and it church. It was bit tiring day, although we had great experience in every places that we visited that day, specially mine, is one of my unforgetable experience...after buying souvenirs on their shops. we have to say goodbye's to this inmates...thank you..^_^
A basketball court with it ground together with Zen to be their muse...^_^
The Church inside Iwahig Prison & Penal Farm
A Jose Rizal Monument inside Iwahig's...thanks to our Photo guro...wendz...^_^
Iwahig Prison & Penal Farm is located in Barangay Iwahig, Puerto Princesa City, Palawan, 35 minutes by tricycle from the city proper. One can take a jeepney along Valencia Street or may hire a tricycle/private vehicle going to the penal farm. It is located 16 kilometers south of Puerto Princesa.
L.T. was here @ Iwahig Prison & Penal Farm
Upon visiting this place, there's one thing that i've learned, don't ever judge/accused a person on what he/she right now, even though criminals has to live a normal lives.....^_^

This story is part of : Five Days of Trip at Palawan


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