March 7, 2013
We were only the third cruise ship to dock in Puerta Princessa, no one including our tour operators really knew what to expect, in fact they pretty much said don’t expect much. We arrived around 6:30 a.m. and they had singer, dancers , a band and half the town there to greet and welcome us. One of the acts was about 40 guys dancing “Gangnam Style”, I am not sure all of the passengers knew that one. As we disembarked we were greeted and given a shell necklace welcoming us to their city. The main attraction here is the Puerta Princessa subterranean River National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site. An underground river that runs through bat filled caves and empties out into the South China Sea. I did not like the sound of bat filled caves so we explored the city on foot. As we left the port area we were greeted by a long line of Motorbikes with covered sidecars which are their cabs wanting to take us to various shopping areas. With all the eating we are doing we need the exercise so we politely declined and they accepted this and did not keep pestering us and just went on to another passenger. This was a very busy town with people bustling around, motorbikes and jeepneys everywhere. We found a small donut shop with WiFi but it wasn’t very strong or fast, I am still surprised about all the WiFi access in all of these countries. Kelly decided to head back to the ship, I went of with Horace, my new friend, to the marketplace. The local market consisted of stalls selling everything from Housewares, dried fish, chickens and every kind of rice you can imagine. The people here are so very friendly, they all greet you with a smile and a hello. Horace and I wandered off into some sections of the city that I do not think too many tourists visit, we saw some of the poorest housing I have ever seen. It sure makes me realize how lucky I am and count my blessings.
Just as they greeted us on our arrival, we were treated to entertainment for our departure. We had children, elementary school age, playing violins it was so sweet it actually brought tears to my eyes and I wasn’t the only one. Then we had college level girls singing, what a beautiful Bon Voyage. So for not knowing what to expect this was a great stop, one of our fellow passengers went snorkeling here and she said the beaches are beautiful and the coral very healthy teaming with fish.