Last December 28, 2016, to January 1, 2017, my family and I decided to go local and went to Palawan for our New Year celebration. We rode the plane for a one and a half hour flight for Puerto Princessa.
On our first day, we stayed in Puerto Princessa and checked in Aziza Paradise Hotel. It was my first time to go to Palawan, so I was pleasantly surprised by the quiet beauty of the place. We arrived pretty late in the afternoon, so we headed to the nearby mall for some last-minute shopping for the beach and had a quiet dinner in the hotel restaurant.
We all went to bed early, because we had an early start the next day since we’ll be heading for El Nido by bus. I braced myself for the 6-hour long journey. (Luckily, I prepared for the trip beforehand and loaded my phone with three seasons of FRIENDS!)
Fast forward to six to seven hours later, we finally arrived at our inn! We stayed in the MaryGold Beachfront Inn, which had a beautiful view of the beach:
We spent the remainder of the day playing in the sand and swimming in the beach.
Our third day – which would also easily be my favorite day of the trip – is the day we rented a boat (or a bangka) for the day and go island hopping! When I was younger, I went to Caramoan (which I highly recommend to visit as well) for island hopping, and I remember the entire experience to be memorable. It’s so much fun and it’s something that each person must experience at least once in their life to see and appreciate the wonders of the world.
Since we were on the boat for the entire day, I couldn’t really bring my phone out to take photos for fear of it falling into the water (and later it being the latest addition to The Little Mermaid’s collection). I learned that the hard way; but that’s another story for another day.
We spent the day swimming in the waters, snorkeling (at least I tried to snorkel with my goggles since I forgot my snorkels at home), and playing in the sand. Several hours and some islands later, we stopped for lunch (which was prepared by the boat crew!):
After lunch, we headed for one more stop – one of the highlights of my trip:
We spent around two hours in that area swimming and renting a kayak before heading back to the inn to retire for the day. We’re going back to Puerto Princessa the next day, so I braced myself for another 6-hour journey.
We decided to have a break from the beach and go to a pool place for a change. Luckily, Astoria waterpark is located about 30-minutes away from the hotel.
Honestly, my overall experience in Astoria was pretty bad. The comfort rooms / changing rooms were lacking (and not to mention unsanitary) and not all the facilities were available for use. In fact, they turned the wave pool off so that the other facilities would be available – like a way to conserve electricity? Not to mention that whether you’ll be swimming or not doesn’t matter since everyone will be paying the same; it’ll be better to save your money and go to an actual beach or to a different place instead. (And the fact that you still needed to pay a pretty large sum to rent a towel?!) After the afternoon in Astoria, we headed back to Aziza and rested for our departure the next day.
On our last day (which was also the first day of the new year), we had a late breakfast in the hotel restaurant. I had a pancake made and – of course – I picked Snoopy to be the character!
Our flight was a little after lunch, so we headed for the airport right after an early lunch. Unfortunately, our flight got delayed for an hour or two – which is why, thank goodness, I had tons of books to read and FRIENDS to watch.
Palawan is just a beautiful place with breathtaking views. I would love to go back and explore other areas someday! Those few days in paradise were exactly what I needed to unwind from the stress of school last term and come out refreshed for the next term (and the new year)!