Friday, August 17, 2012

Palawan Adventure - Iwahig prison and penal farm

Day 4 - We were scheduled for the half day city tour. First on the list is the Iwahig prison and penal farm. 
A unique penal system is implemented wherein the prisoners are not totally locked up, they can roam around the area and are given the privilege to choose whatever activities they want from farming, fishing and handicraft making. Those activities serve as their punishment. 
If not for our tour guide, I wouldn't think that I'm inside a prison and penal colony. It's like I'm visiting an hacienda in the province. Ducks, goats, cows and other farm animals can also be found within the vicinity. It's much like a typical community with a school, canteen, lodging and a hospital.

The Recreation Hall - the gift shop

The place is a one stop shop for souvenirs. A little pricey than what you can buy in the city but the products sure are worth it. Handcrafted by the inmates, the sales income will go to the inmates and their families by the time their sentence is lifted.

Prices range from P5.00 - P30.00 for key chains, bracelets and refrigerator magnets. 
T-shirts can be bought for P250-P300 depending on the design. Large wall decorations and wood works come at a much higher price ranging from P500-P3,000.

Sungka. wood carvings. crafts made of shells

My adorable nephew grooving with the inmates! 

A wide variety of refrigerator magnets, purses and key chain souvenirs

We had the chance to meet the prisoners. They were inside the gift shop actually selling the goods to visitors.
Warm greetings and heartfelt experiences were shared. I can't help but cry inside and feel pity for those guys. If only I can buy all the goods in there I would. Most of them have a new life waiting outside while others suffer the ill fate of permanent confinement inside until their last day.

Perfectly made wood works. Crocodile and Turtle - inspired stuffs

My mom enjoying her shopping time

This photo was taken by one of the inmates as we bid Adieu. 

One thing that the prisoners taught me:

 LIFE is too SHORT. LIVE it. SEIZE THE DAY as it comes. never do something that you will REGRET in the long run.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Palawan Adventure - Cruising the World's Wonder

It was a dream come true for me and my family to embark on an adventure in Puerto Princesa City, Palawan. Aside from being a disciplined and well-developed community, It is also famous for the Underground River which was hailed as one of the new 7 Wonders of the World.

Day 2

It was a two-hour journey from our pension house to Sabang Port. Upon reaching the port, one has to take a 10-minute boat ride to reach the park's entrance.

Me and my beautiful siblings getting ready for the ride

Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park

As per my quick research, I discovered that the park is one of the protected areas in our country. It houses the underground river and it is also a home to a wide array of plant, insect, mammal and reptile species - thus making it to the list as a world heritage site.

On November 11, 2011, the river was announced as a provisional winner, meaning the decision is conditional and is still subject to a later alteration. On January 28, 2012, the Philippine pride was officially confirmed as one of the world's new 7 wonders.

The guided tour takes about 45 minutes. Me and my siblings went together. We've never been in an underground cave before, we don't know what's out there and we're about to find out!

The water inside the cave is 6-feet deep. Good thing there are no lurking crocodiles and nobody has drowned in there yet.

As our boatman said, “you can find two holy things in this cave. One is holy water and the other is holy shit. Shit coming from the bats. You better cover your mouth because bat urine is everywhere, dripping from the cave’s ceilings”. True enough. The cave serves as a home for insect bats and birds. The pungent odor of bat urine is present throughout the whole tour.

Reaching the end

These wall markers signify the end of our cruise. Our boatman said that we cannot go beyond this point because there isn't enough oxygen on the latter area of the cave.

Till we meet again!

We finished the cruise with satisfied smiles on our faces. Nothing beats the first time!
A unique and rewarding experience only in Puerto Princesa!