Palawan in Stories: Arrival + Crocodile Farm

We arrived far too early at the airport – 2:30 a.m. for a 9 a.m. flight.

That being the case, we did our best to cozy up to the hard, cold airport seats. I’d like to think that I did a pretty good job of it. Sprawled out on the benches with my duffel bag as my pillow, I got at least five hours of sleep while waiting to check-in and board. Unfortunately, I can’t say the same for my fiancé (now husband), Phil, and our friend, Richard.

I would wake up sometimes to check that Phil was still okay, to find him staring at me – weary eyes, strained back, every inch of him wanting to cuddle up next to me – if only.

Later on, he admitted that he was then jealous of my uncanny ability to fall asleep anywhere, anytime.

“A blessing,” he called it.

“And a curse,” I added.

“Agreed.”

Our Air Asia flight went as scheduled. Uneventful, mostly. It took as good two hours – from boarding the plane in NAIA Terminal 4 to stepping out of the plane, into the promised land of Palawan.

We were ecstatic, of course. (Read: Photo below) We had been consumed with wedding plans, both legal and logistic, that we were barely able to squeeze any “adventure time” in between meetings, errands, seminars, and other matrimonial entanglements.

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Baguio to Manila was a six-hour bus ride and the airport downtime was seven hours. Needless to say, we were exhausted beyond all exhaustion.

None of that mattered anymore, though. Simply because this:

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This was the view from our Puerto Princesa accommodation, Sommer Beach House, a quaint home set around 50 meters from the beach. A good friend of hooked us up with Miss Joy, the owner of Sommer Beach House, and she happily arranged the whole of our Palawan trip.

I would usually be up and about, researching, planning the nitty-gritty details of the trip. However, let’s just say that I was indisposed, doing my very best to keep it together, despite the fact that, you know, I was getting married in two weeks.

No big deal.

The six-day schedule that we opted for was nothing short of jam-packed. From the moment we stepped foot in Puerto Princesa, it felt as if we were constantly running around, going on tour after tour, visiting site upon site.

I can’t be one to complain, though. I had a whole week to spend in the world’s most beautiful island and I was in the company of the love of my life, whom I would be married to in two weeks’ time. Let’s just say that things could have been worse.

Our first stop, the Palawan Wildlife Rescue and Conservation Center (also known as the Crocodile Farm), was a good 20 minutes away from the Puerto Princesa central business district. Prior to our flight, Miss Joy had arranged for our tours and sent us a copy of the itinerary for approval.

The tour van picked us up from Sommer Beach House after lunch, and drove us straight to the site.

A charming signage and string of stalls welcomes the weary tourist upon arrival. While waiting for our tour to begin (make sure you come on time for the prescribed schedules), we were able to take photos and take a breather from the non-stop commuting.

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The tour begins with a background of the farm, its highlights and other attractions.

Copyright Notice: Please do not use any of the photos below, or in this blog, without permission. You may contact me through the form at the end of this blog post.

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Though the facility’s main attraction were the crocs, we also enjoyed the mini-zoo situated at the back of the farm.

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Then there was the canvas that allowed for photo ops with a young crocodile, which of course, Richard loved.

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Phil, on the other hand, preferred the stone croc for his photo op.

Let’s just say he’s more of a monkey-man.

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While the Palawan Wildlife Rescue and Conservation Center is a great side trip, travelers who are accustomed to more physically demanding nature trips may find the facility commonplace, with its fixed tour schedules and sections.

Overall, the Crocodile Farm can be considered fairly well-maintained, as compared to similar facilities in the country. The site is a great place for the all members of the family. Kids, in particular, will enjoy the up-close encounter with the crocs and other animals.

But don’t take my word for it! I did a bit of digging and came across the following posts about the Crocodile Farm in Palawan:

Trip Advisor
Lakas ng Trip
Adrenaline Romance
Benson Kua’s Blog
Yannah the Wanderer
The Palawenya Explorer
Free-Spirited Vixen

The highlight of my Crocodile Farm trip was the chance to just stop and behold the crocs, that is, without the slightest fear of being attacked at any point in time.

Here are some of my favorite shots.

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Those who know me well can attest to the fact that I am a big nature docu lover. I don’t own a television set, let alone have a cable subscription, but I do enjoy documentaries on marine biology. I watch for new documentaries like sports bar patrons watch for Monday night football.

I can’t be entirely sure if this is the reason why, but prior to finally deciding on a degree in the humanities, I was in pre-med (Biology) for two years. I didn’t care much for Botany, but I fell in love with Zoology. I was sold on learning about creatures and their secret lives – what they ate, where they lived, how they behaved. For me, it was simply fascinating to know how they were wired – how they were so much like us.

Or is it how we are so much like them?

“I’m a monster,” said the shadow of the Marquess suddenly. “Everyone says so.”

The Minotaur glanced up at her. “So are we all, dear,” said the Minotaur kindly. “The thing to decide is what kind of monster to be. The kind who builds towns or the kind who breaks them.”

– Catherynne M. Valente, The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There

What kind of monster are you? I’d love to be able to claim to be the former, but then that would be a flat-out lie. I frequently vacillate between the two, my husband often taking the brunt of the transition. Thankfully, his forbearance is vast and gracious enough to embrace my monstrosities, and love me no less.

Every day is a mindful effort to do the same for him. Such is the joy of wife. 

 


If you are looking to travel in Puerto Princesa, Palawan anytime soon and need help scoring trustworthy contacts (tour, accommodations, etc.) in the area, feel free to drop a comment/question on this post, or through the contact form below. I was clueless as regards our trip to begin with, but fortunately found people to help me along the way. Think of this as paying it forward.

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