Friday, April 29, 2005

The Palawan Chronicles: Day 1

The plane

I hate planes. I hate flying. You'd think by now, after getting on planes at least a couple of times year since I started working, I'd get used to the fact that im strapped onto a cramped seat for at least an hour doing nothing but wait for some terrorist to shout "Bomb!" and cause mass hysteria. You'd think I'd get used to that damn irritating feeling of someone driving a screwdriver through my eardrums everytime the plane takes off or lands. You'd think with all these enhancements like sexier flight attendants and in-flight-movies to ensure fliers get as comfortable as possible it would make me like flying even more... But noo.... I never did get the hang of this necessary evil.

What I usually just do on a plane is wear shades, recline my seat, ask for wine and a blanket, tell the flight attendant to please, please, leave me alone and just sleep through the duration of the flight. And yeah, I sit right next to the emergency exit. That usually fixes my flight jitters gives me the luxury of sleep... that is, until the plane gets into a landing maneuver and causes my eardrums to explode while the flight attendant tries to help by asking me to un-recline my seat.

The flight to Palawan was different. Sort of.

Got on PAL's 830am flight to Puerto Princesa. It's curious to note that it was a Friday flight and the Airbus seemed to be fully booked. Is palawan getting to be that commercialized already? I was a bit late though, and I wasnt able to get my emergency exit seat. Oh well. No biggie. Im brave. I can handle it. Nothing but water down there anyway. And getting marooned in one of Palawan's isles isnt exactly a bad thing right? Not like crash landing in the middle of some african

jungle where no one speaks english and cannibalism is in vogue...

Anyway once I was airborne, i did my thing- strapped on my shades, reclined my seat and asked for wine. Of course, it didnt occur to me that in economy class of a local flight THERE IS NO WINE. So i tried to get drunk on orange juice instead. Didnt work. I tried to sleep, but it was impossible. Too many people talking in a language I understand. And with only an hour for the trip, it was pretty much useless anyway. At least it was a quick one. A little bumpy and a bit too painful for my sensitive ears, but still quick and tolerable.

Touchdown


Got out of the airport a bit before 10am. Noted the number of people coming out of the plane: lots of pinoys on vacation, a group of chinese, a couple of blacks and a number of french speaking white guys. Tourism's picking up, but nothing like Thailand's Phuket (at least pre-tsunami) where europeans come in droves causing long lines at the immigration terminal because the airline officials there cant speak three sentences of straight english.

Anyway, my first destination was our base in Puerto Princesa... The Legend Hotel. Pretty much decent. They fixed the transport coming in from the airport and arranged for our rented vehicles. Its a recently renovated hotel: they expanded their facilities and included more corporate function rooms and a convention center. I think its the best place to hold corporate outings (the legit ones hehe), next to Asturia's in Puerto Princesa.


On the side:
There are no taxis in Puerto Princesa. Just lots of Tricycles. That minus 300 pogi points for each paparazzi shot that gets circulated. But its pretty cool if you're there. The natives are very friendly and you can get the tricycle driver to tour you around the city for less than 50 bucks.

Anecdote: Later on, my brothers cap blew off while we were in the highway. As we stopped to look back and try to retrieve it, the tricycle behind us actually stopped, picked it up, drove towards us and handed it over with a smile.


After checking in and leaving our stuff, we got on a hired van. The agenda for the day was lunch at Vietville, the vietnamese village and a trip to Sabang's underground river.

...to be continued...


____________________________

To those interested with what happened to my Palanca entree: As of this writing, its the last night before submission, and though I have everything in place and I just need to type everything in my head, Im stil 70% to go (yeah after months of
procrastination, tons of work, a palawan trip that didnt give me enough R&R to write, and a helluva writer's block the past few days). I have yet to do any of that technicality crap (filling up the forms, getting the damn stuff NOTARIZED, fixing up those stupid identity issues, formatting.... ugh), and the anesthetic from my recent tooth extraction has just wore off putting me, shall we say, in great pain. Plus, I wont have the luxury of having anyone besides myself read it before submitting...

So between sacrificing some life force to make it to the deadline (still a possibility at the time of this writing) and polishing it up so it becomes a real obra maestra, gunning for next year and just updating my blog... Well, lets just say its with great regret that I choose to go with next year.

Either that, or just submit it to the nearest filmwriting contest... Anyone know anything about these?

12 comments:

transience said...

palanca, eh? treat me out when you win. =)

Celeste said...

"...that in economy class of a local flight THERE IS NO WINE." - he he, been flying international most of the time ba? =D

Debbie said...

aids, still not done reading your entry (so sorry!), but will write you my comments soonest. on palawan people's kindness - that's one of the best things about traveling. we realize that people can be surprisingly kind, and i think this applies best to rural areas.

kat said...

I'd love to visit Palawan. I hope when I do, it won't be too crowded. Sometimes I just want to hop on a plane or bus somewhere and get lost. Hehe.

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