Monday, February 18, 2013

PPUR Online Booking

I found out about this from A lot of people were quitely happy about this good news. Finally, we can see the end of booking problems that lot of tourist complained about - bookings for PPUR!

Here's the report of Cai Ordinario of

Tourists no longer need to wait in long queues to visit the world-famous Puerto Princesa Underground River (PPUR).

The Department of Tourism (DOT) and the Puerto Princesa City government launched an online booking system for the river, one of the world’s New 7 Wonders of Nature.

The DOT said the system would help tourists plan their trips to PPUR, even before they book their hotels and flights. They may access the booking site via

Once they’ve completed their reservations, they will receive an email notification that will serve as digital invoice they need to present when they reach the site.

“We worked very hard for Puerto Princesa’s tourism. And we could not be happier that it, indeed, worked and flourished. But the demand was quite overwhelming. It eventually caused us more problems than rewards. We had more than what we can handle, and we weren’t prepared for it,” Puerto Princesa Mayor Edward Hagedorn said.

The DOT said tourist arrivals in Puerto Princesa surged by 45% after the underground river won a slot in world’s New 7 Wonders of Nature, a global online poll.

The increase in traffic, the DOT said, overwhelmed the PPUR office and the city government. The two offices need to carefully plan tourist visits to the PPUR for environmental and conservation reasons.

“This is merely the beginning of our efforts together and one of the measures that will help ensure that the world-famous attraction’s carrying capacity is not compromised. We should be thanking Puerto Princesa more obviously for the efforts of its people in making fun a real and palpable experience in the country,” Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez Jr. said.

The booking system was presented for comments to the officers of the Philippine Travel Agencies Association and the Philippine Tour Operators Association.

Prior to this, a series of public meetings were made with tourism stakeholders in Puerto Princesa.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Puerto Princesa Underground River: Wetland of International Importance

Once again, another good news for Filipinos and Palawenos. The Puerto Princesa Underground River (PPUR)once again been designated as a "Wetland of International Importance" by the Ramsar Convention.

Being in the list of Ramsar designated sites would bring the PPUR increased publicity and prestige as an important global area of ecology, botany, zoology, and hydrology critical for sustaining human life. The PPUR would also be entitled to various forms of support for its conservation and wise use, including information and expert advice on its management in accordance with internationally accepted standards. The Convention on Wetlands (Ramsar, Iran, 1971) -- called the "Ramsar Convention" -- is an intergovernmental treaty that embodies the commitments of its member countries to maintain the ecological character of their Wetlands of International Importance and to plan for the "wise use", or sustainable use, of all of the wetlands in their territories.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

New species of beetle discovered in Palawan

PUERTO PRINCESA CITY (—Scientists have discovered a new species of beetle that dwells in the mountain rivers of Southern Palawan and said the find indicated that the Philippines was the world’s “center of diversity” for beetles.

Dr. Henrick Freitag and and Dr. Michael Balke of the Senckenberg Museum of Zoology Dresden and the Bavarian State Collections of Zoology in Munich described the new specie of the Spider Water Beetles (Ancyronyx) as having “extremely long legs, often accompanied by an eye-catching cross-like elytral color pattern, so that they remind of spiders.”

The discovery was disclosed in a news release posted on October 18 by EurekAlert!, an online global news service operated by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), an international nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing science around the world.

According to the two German scientists, the presence of the beetles in undisturbed mountain rivers of Palawan indicated that the river system was in good biological health and strengthened the reputation of Palawan as an important area of biodiversity.

“The new discoveries from the Philippines lead to the assumption that the region is the actual diversity center of the genus. By now, 10 of the 18 described species are known solely from the Philippines, of which most are endemic to the country or even to single islands,” Freitag said in the statement published online.

The new beetle specie was discovered in a research undertaken early last year in cooperation with the Palawan Council for Sustainable Development and the De La Salle University Manila, the EurekAlert! report said.

Aqua Palawana

The activity that led to the discovery of the new beetle was part of the foreign-funded research program Aqua Palawana that had been exploring the unique freshwater biodiversity of the Philippines and the biosphere reserve of Palawan for more than a decade, the report added.

Other new species of plants and animals, particularly a white orchid and a mountain shrew, have been reported in recent years after scientists surveyed portions of the newly proclaimed Mt. Mantalingahan Protected Landscape, Palawan’s longest mountain range.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Discovery of the 20 million year old Sirenia fossil in Palawan

A short trailer for Puerto Princesa Underground River with the discovery of the 20 million year old Sirenia fossil.
THE BONES of an extinct sea cow species that lived about 20 million years ago have been discovered in a cave in the Philippines by a team of Italian scientists. Several ribs and spine parts of the aquatic mammal were found in February and March in limestone rock above the waters of an underground river on the island of Palawan, said University of Florence geologist Leonardo Piccini. "The fossil is in the rock, in the cave. We cannot remove it and we don’t want to extract it. We would like to wait [for] when the technology will allow us to study the fossil without extracting it," Mr. Piccini told AFP. Speaking on the sidelines of a symposium at the presidential palace where the find was announced, Mr. Piccini said it was a rare discovery in the region from the Miocene era -- 20 million years ago. "It’s the first remains of this kind of animal in the area, so it is important in reconstructing the habitat and the diffusions of this animal in the Miocene," he added. Initial comparisons with fossil specimens suggest it belongs to one of two extinct species of plant-eating sirenia, also known as sea cows, according to research by Federico Panti and Paolo Forti, a member of the Palawan expedition. They said the animal would have been about 180 centimeters long. Two sea cow species live to this day, the dugong of the Indo-Pacific region and manatees of the Atlantic basin. The paper said such fossil finds in the East had been limited to India along with some fragmentary finds in Madagascar, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and the Indonesian island of Java. "The specimens [found] in the Palawan Island represent the first from the Philippines and the easternmost occurrence in the region," it added. It called on the government to protect the area of the find in the Puerto Princesa subterranean river, which is being heavily promoted as a major tourist destination. -- AFP

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Palawan safest, no earthquake faults -, Philippine News for Filipinos

Palawan safest, no earthquake faults -, Philippine News for Filipinos

By Alcuin Papa
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 23:50:00 01/16/2010

Filed Under: Earthquake

APART from the profusion of spectacular landscapes and seascapes that has made it the favorite of many travelers, it would seem that the paradise island of Palawan also offers the safest haven for those fearful of a Haiti-like tremor occurring in the country.

Compared to other parts of the Philippines, Palawan is “relatively stable” geologically, according to Mahar Lagmay, a professor of the University of the Philippines National Institute of Geological Sciences (UP-NIGS).

“There are hardly any earthquakes in Palawan and certainly none strong enough to cause major damage. The whole island is probably the most stable area of land in the country,” Lagmay said.

An expert on earthquake faults, Lagmay has constructed a map of earthquake epicenters which he plotted using information from the United States Geological Survey (USGS) from 1929 to 2009.

Lagmay said there were hardly any active faults under the island compared to the rest of the country. (A fault or fault line is a fracture in the rock within the earth’s crust that is the causal location of most earthquakes.)

Continental, not oceanic, rock

While Palawan does have fault lines, these are “old” and experts are still debating whether these fault lines are active or not, Lagmay said.

For instance, there is an ongoing and heated debate on whether the Ulugan Bay fault near the famed Palawan Underground River is active, Lagmay said.

Lagmay believes Palawan is stable largely because the island was once part of continental Asia which separated around 100 million years ago and drifted toward the Philippines.

“The rock of the island is continental and different from other parts of the country, which is made of oceanic rock,” he said.

Hence, the crust of the island is thicker at 30 kilometers, compared to the oceanic rock’s 12 km, having derived from the Pacific seabed.

“The crust of the island is thicker and older and, therefore, not as prone to earthquakes,” said Lagmay.

No major faults

The island is also not bordered by any major trench or fault line, he said.

“The South China Sea area is more stable tectonically. Combined with the continental material, there is little chance for the development of active faults in Palawan,” he said.

Also, the movement of the ground in the South China Sea is not as fast as the eastern side of Luzon, which is moving toward the Asian mainland at the rate of 7 centimeters a year, and the eastern side of Mindanao, which is moving toward the Asian mainland at 10 cm a year.

“Because of the slow movement, there is no compression of forces in the island,” Lagmay said.

On the other hand, large parts of the Philippine archipelago are sandwiched between two trenches, the Manila Trench in the west and the Philippine Trench in the east.

“Movements in these trenches generate stress in the faults. That is why there are so many earthquakes in the mainland [Philippines],” he said.

“If you ask me where I would build a house in the country, I’d say Palawan,” he said.

Monday, October 6, 2008

The Exotic Tamilok

One of Palawan’s exotic delicacy is the Tamilok. Although commonly known as “woodworm”, it is actually a mollusk – a mangrove-tree-boring mollusk.

It is rich in protein, calcium and iodine and is said to be an aphrodisiac. Not nearly as awful as it looks, (long, slimy and grayish white) it tastes like a sweet, delicious raw oyster.
It is served raw after the insides are removed and cleaned and usually are served with dips – a choice of either vinegar or calamansi juice. Some, however, prefers the native coconut vinegar, locally called “sukang-tuba”, as this usually tastes better with tamilok than the commercial vinegars.

Gathering tamilok isn't all that easy. You have to chop your way through trunks and trunks of mangroves to get this delicacy. Embedded inside the trunk, you have to pull the tamilok (which grows up to several inches long) slowly and carefully. It actually has a pair of claws at one end of its body, which must be its only means of defense.

When in Palawan, you can try this exotic delicacy in Kinabuch Restobar in Puerto Princesa or when in Sabang (where the Underground River is) just ask the locals where to get some.
This is one thing that uniquely Palawan’s, or so I thought, until I made a “research” on the internet about it.

Tamilok –so I found out - is a delicacy not only in other provinces of the Philippines (Bohol, Agusan del Norte, and Panay Island provinces) but also in other country like Papau New Guinea. Further, this specie can be found any place in the world where mangrove trees thrive. In Australia, tamilok was actually considered as pest to mangroves.

I think the name “Tamilok” did not came from what some people believed to have a came from – “tammy look!”. As a native of the province, I know that the name had been there since the people able to speak and eat the thing. In Papau New Guinea they call it “tambelo”. So the word could have a malayan-indonesian origin (just a guess).

Tamilok, known scientifically as Bachtronophorus thoracites, is a bivalve mollusk that belongs to teredinidae family.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Born to be Wild: Palawan: The Last Frontier

Watch GMA7 TV's "Born to be Wild" feature about Palawan entitled Palawan, the Last Frontier

For the latest Philippine news stories and videos, visit GMANews.TV

Born to be Wild takes you to the country's last nature frontier. Considered a haven of biodiversity and the environment's strong hold, Palawan Island is slowly threatened by various issues.

Romi Garduce and Doc Ferds Recio go on an adventure to discover what truly makes this island worthy of its title, "The Last Frontier." While many other parts of the country have denuded forests, exploited mineral reserves and grave degradation of the environment, Palawan boasts of lush mangroves teeming with wildlife and green forests home to hundreds of species, many of which can be found only in the island.

Romi explores Puerto Princesa's subterranean area and finds a truly awesome underground river and nature preserve which is considered a UNESCO World Heritage Site. But what makes this geological wonder remarkable is that it serves as home to native wildlife, including a very playful endemic bird which has taken a liking to Romi!

Palawan's beauty lies not only in its geology and rich wildlife, but also in its pristine seas! Doc Ferds goes underwater to prove why Palawan's waters hold some of the most well-preserved marine ecosystems in the country. He takes a boat ride along the rich mangroves that make up Palawan's waters and marvels at how lush these fish sanctuaries really are.

But as Doc Ferds and Romi discover, Palawan also faces peril with the arrival of new environmental threats. Its rich sediments and minerals are the target of industrial progress. While some see Palawan as a source of energy and resource for the rising demand of the population, environmental groups caution that Palawan should remain untouched and unexploited. As the last remaining environment frontier, they believe that island must be preserved for future generations.