Tuesday, November 29, 2016

A Couple of Days in Puerto Princesa

     I get to spend two days in Puerto Princesa after my El Nido vacation last September and my bosses were really bighearted to show my around the city.

       They brought me to the Palawan Wildlife Rescue and Conservation Center, also known as the Crocodile Farm and Nature Park.  It is in Puerto Princesa where the first crocodile breeding farm started (1987). The Crocodile Farm was founded to prevent the further decline of the two species of Philippine crocodile (freshwater and saltwater crocodile).
   Today PWRCC, under the management of the Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau of the DENR, has bred over 12,000 crocodiles for commercial purposes. Crocodile meat is sold locally to tourist and to restaurants across the country, while crocodile leather is sold to luxury fashion brands such as Louis Vuitton and Hermes.

     Displayed at the lobby of PWRCC are the skin and bones of a saltwater crocodile that is approximately 5 meters long. A sight to behold but it tells a sad story of a man it killed in 2011 and of the reptile itself. Rio, the male crocodile named after the place it was captured, was caught by the townsfolk in 2014 and died two years later due to internal bleeding and the stress of being in captivity. Rio was 67 years old.

                    Three month old crocodiles.

         The largest croc that I've seen alive here at PWRCC.

              It felt soft and cold!


      The Crocodile Farm and Nature Park has a vast open space and it was really nice walking under those big trees! If it weren't for the cages I'd feel like I was in a jungle. Palawan is one of the most biodiverse islands in the Philippines and many wild animals usually fall victim to poachers. Some animals here at PWRCC were rescued from their captors and after some time will be released back into the wild.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

El Bohemio in El Nido:
The Poblacion

             Rizal Street
      It was past 7 o'clock in the morning, September 14, 2016, a cloudy day. I thought of having a little walk around the town of El Nido before I head back to Puerto Princesa in a couple or hours. Though I should have taken these photos the day before in mid-afternoon, when the place looks more lively with open shops and tourists walking down the streets. But then again, these early morning  scenes gives us a different mood of this popular provincial town.

   September is actually a slow month in El Nido. I was told that from November to February, these streets are filled with foreign pedestrians, outnumbering the locals. One explanation is that American and European expats in China escape the winter then come back when the Chinese New Year celebration there is over. Filipino tourist, on the other hand, usually come in from March to June. So if you want to see an international crowd, you know when to go hehe.

             St. Francis Of Assisi Parish

       El Nido may sounds like it's a town that was founded by Spanish missionaries but the town's name was changed to El Nido only in 1954. Well it was still the Spaniards who gave it it's former name Bacuit when the place became a new municipality in 1916. But way way before history began, humans already inhabited this place. Fossils and burial sites dating back to the Late Neolithic Age can be found in many caves and excavation sites surrounding the municipality. Cool huh?

           Real Street and a part of  Mt. Taraw. 

   "Nido" is Spanish for "nest" and this town is named so because of the edible nests made from the hardened saliva of the swiftlets, a bird locally known as "balinsasayaw" that builds its nest in the crevices of  limestone cliffs in the area. These nests can be made into a gourmet soup and they say it's packed with nutrients. I think I've tried nido soup before in a Chinese restaurant in Manila years ago. I don't remember the taste anymore haha.

Friday, November 18, 2016

El Bohemio in El Nido: The Hermit of Entalula Island

  I certainly am not leaving El Nido without an artful photo of me in one of those beautiful islands hahaha!

  These photos are a product of kindness. The kindness of the people who brought me to Palawan, of the people who gave me a place to stay in El Nido, the people who showed me the islands, the boatman and his crew, the tour guide who took these pictures, and of the God who I pray will continue to bless them all.