Monday, December 15, 2008

The road to Sabang + Seen on the road

Sabang is the jump-off point to Palawan's pride: the Underground River. It takes about two hours to get to Sabang from Puerto Princesa. You pass by the Viet Village, which once housed Vietnamese refugees. (It is now closed as the refugees have returned to their country.) You will also see this cross in the mountains, erected by a faith healer.

cross in the mountains

The road is ok for the first 45 minutes or so. Then it gets interesting. "Massage time," announced our driver. You need good suspension for the dirt road. Very muddy in places, alternating between newly cemented sections and unpaved parts. It's not so bad anymore, our tour guide Rose told us. There was one time that she and her guests had to jump out of the window so as not to fall into the ravine. Dogs like to like down in the middle of the road, so the foreign guests would often scream when approaching them, thinking the dogs would get run over.

nobody is cheaper

Saw lots of interesting signs:

Boyzone marine product (pang-boyband!)

Umasa kay Lord,
Huwag sa drug lord (Amen!)

Bes-Bye Imported Goods UK! UK!

In front of Heavenly Touch Reflex Clinic & Sparlor:
Ay, Malambot?
Narito Na Ang Sagot
Papa Cologne Pill
Subukan mo, Kuya...
Free Delivery 09194040408

I dare not translate.

secret store
Can you believe them when they have two signboards?

Would you like Swedes or Siatcho massage?

strange menu
Not what we ate, but I'd be interested to

As if the comma, is not enough, there are two exclamation points!!

one, two...

jeep mountains
three (and i didn't count the rest)

jeep mud road

Palawan is a very long island. Farming is the main livelihood in the south, fishing in the north. It is 8.5 km thick at the narrowest part of its width, 45 km at its widest. On the way to Sabang, you can see two seas, Sulu Sea and South China Sea, in half an hour. We encountered many jeeps with bamboo furniture loaded on the roof, if not more passengers. The happiest ones are the foreigners, who have something to brag about when they get home. We passed by closed rock quarries on the way where they got the materials to build the road.

Stopped for a wiwi break at Buena Vista Viewdeck. This is what we saw there.

buenavista viewdeck buenavista viewdeck

the sleeping elephant

For some reason, you need to stop at the Ethnographic Museum to register. Then you register again at the tourism office on Sabang Beach to get a boat. The waves were rather strong (typical of this time of the year) and the boatmen would not go out to sea. The alternative? Two hours trekking, one-way. My brother and I were game. I really had to see the Underground River. My parents wouldn't trek, so our guide told us to wait.

So we did.

sabang beach

komatsu boats

But waiting near the sea isn't fun when you don't know how long it will take. So I dropped two suggestions into the suggestion box. One was from my dad: buy a bigger boat that the boat owners could operate as a cooperative. This will make it easier to transport passengers even if the waves are higher. The second was mind: have an system to notify tour operators about sea conditions before they leave the city so that the tourists can be advised if they have to trek. That way, they can cancel or postpone and won't be inconvenienced. I did not include this, but a third one would be good: get a chopper.

sign at tourism office

Overheard from a guide referring to getting a boat: "M'am, we are almost near." (My translation makes more sense: malapit na malapit na)

After nearly two hours later, we got a boat. Hurray!

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful pictures!

    I love the Secret Store one. Haha