Friday, July 29, 2016

Kayak in Turtle Bay

Kayak Rental
Al Hamra Resort - Luziminda
Cell: 0977 608 8715

About 45 minutes (with the traffic these days) from Puerto Princesa City is a beautiful natural bay, Turtle Bay. It acts as a nursery for many types of wildlife and sea creatures. It's shores are lined by varying ages of mangrove trees, especially deep into one of its longer rivers estuaries. Right outside the mouth of the bay is another gem, Binunsalian Bay where there is a white sand beach called Puting Buhangin. Kayaking is a perfect and non intrusive way to explore this natural fish nursery.

I am really excited that a neighboring resort nearby is now offering kayak tours or kayak rentals. Turtle bay is no easy to get to unless by banca. The folks at Al Hamra Resort will take you and the kayaks to choice launch spots.

Turtle bay is a hidden treasure for the most part. It's peaceful and quiet. Far from the hustle and bustle of typical tourist spots. Because it is a protected bay, with a small neck opening, there are rarely any waves to worry about. I have never been in the bay where the waves prevented me from swimming or boating.

Beautiful Turtle bay from the air. Across the bay Seven Seas Properties wants to put in an Ocean Park. I highly recommend you kayak around this bay before it is destroyed by that development. Go now and you will have the place to yourself.

These are the actual kayaks they rent out, with or without a guide. They seat two adults and one small child. Don't let windy weather keep you from enjoying the sea. This bay hardly ever has any waves even in bad weather.

One of their launch spots. They will bring you and the kayaks to various spots of your choosing.

Taken from our private banca. Now the are kayaks so closeby, I will be able to explore the nooks and crannies of this delightful bay.
This is right outside of Turtle bay where the waters are clearer. As in emerald green at the right season. There are a couple of beaches you can land on to pic nic. Be aware there are sand fleas in many parts of the mangrove system. So a lot of Virgin Coconut Oil on the skin will drown the little buggers. Insect repellent doesn't seem to bother them.

The opening is the mouth of Turtle bay, these are the green waters right outside the bay.

Turtle and Binunsalian bays are homes to the now vulnerable Asian Small clawed otter. They are nocturnal so chances of seeing them are slim, but they do come out late at almost dusk.

Al Hamra also has clean kubos for those who want to make a weekend of exploring Turtle bay via kayak. It's pretty basic and the CR is a bit of a walk at the moment. But for the rugged individuals this won't bother them. They also have a nice pool to refresh in and a bar and restaurant.

The food is mostly Continental, such as Sausage and Bangers, Shepard Pie, hot dogs etc. They do have BBQ chicken wings and lumpia for local fare.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Dolphins of Puerto Princesa, Palawan April 2016

We got out on the bay by 7:30 AM. It only took us 10 minutes to find them. Watch the video to see the dancing dolphins of Puerto Princesa. Seriously. Watch this video, and all your cares and woes will go away for the few minutes.

There are now dolphin watching tours starting at Bay Walk in Puerto Princesa, Palawan. Google it! April and May is peak season for dolphin watching!

We have our own private boat for family and friends, so we can go any time we want!! But never guaranteed to see them. The pros have spotters they pay.

The experience is always magical, exciting, and peaceful at the same time, it's wonderful for me and all our companions. One young fisherman who was with us, who never even saw a dolphin before, said he could now die as he's seen and felt everything wonderful and perfect in life!

Here is another video with shots of the dolphins underwater! It's so amazing.

Dolpin and her calf. She was looking at me!
Dolpin and her calf. She was looking at me!

So many dolphins I didn't know where to look.

I do so love dolphins. There is nothing like them. What a magical morning.

I saw this AD on Facebook. Try them's amazing.  6:20 AM to 10:30

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Canvas Boutique Hotel

Update. Finally had a short staycation at this hotel!

The superior room was very clean and roomy. I like that the shower, commode and sink are all separate. The breakfast buffet was ok, but the chefs don't know how to make sunny side up eggs so that the yellows still wiggle!

The elevator is brushed stainless steel, and it's not being cleaned properly. I have this fetish about clean elevators, and dirty brushed stainless steel drove me a little crazy.

From a resident's point of view, it is a handy spot. They left enough trees, thankfully, for it to feel foresty when you look out the windows. It is across the street from the local gift center, which carries native gifts and cheaper pearls to bring back home with for our guests who might stay there.

It's near enough downtown, one could take a trike or taxi to most of the dining areas from there, if you chose not to eat at their in house restaurant. Not far from Robinson's mall either.

It's off a very busy street, so don't look for relaxation when you hit the streets walking. Indoors, it's a combination of art and industrial-ish decor. I like the tall ceilings which give it an airy feel. Very stark but easy to navigate.

Art on the walls by local artists with themes on each floor for the rooms. Of the walls, the hotel has this to say,

"If walls could talk, what would you want it to say? The walls at Canvas speak volumes, and—quite literally—every storey has a story. Weaving that narrative into life were a team of visual artists who rendered Palawan culture, life forms and mythology onto colorful, vibrant reverbs of the island's most celebrated cultural traits. The result is a refreshing surge of life, breathed to perfectly weave into the hotel's contemporary fixtures. To wit, the walls whisper this: staying at Canvas awakens an innate instinct for adventure. Start from the ground up and allow the Canvas walls speak to you.

The first floor, dubbed Underworld, is painted with otherworldly elements that'll leave the observer daunted.

'As you reach the second landing, drown out in awe as you explore Under The Sea, teeming with water creatures floating in colorful concrete. Trek the steps to Land at the third floor, as you imagine yourself at a hike through earthy ground and rich soil, and bask at the summit in the top and fourth floor, aptly called Sky and Mountain, where airy explorations await. See, your adventure has already begun—and you've only just arrived at the hotel."

The Under the Sea themed 2nd floor.

I'm not sure it had that effect on me, but, I live here you see, and I am aware first hand of it's wonderful and rare, endangered native plants and animals, as well as it's tribes.

Getting back to the hotel, they let me shoot one of their rooms, which was the deluxe. The room was well appointed with everything you need to enjoy your stay. The room was quite modern, but the paintings on the wall softened the effect and the green tree tops made it feel cozy. I also like the different ways you could light the room.

I'd definitely stay at this hotel on my next trip to a late night party, so I don't drive back home in the dark south of town. They haven't posted the rooms rates online for some reason. Hope they do soon. I did send an email asking but they haven't gotten back to me yet.

Deluxe room at Canvas Boutique Hotel
Deluxe room at Canvas Boutique Hotel.
Deluxe room at Canvas Boutique Hotel.
Canvas Boutique Hotel- Lobby and facing restaurant. 
A couple of friends and my parents ate at the restaurant a week after it opened. My friends remark was that the waiters hovered too much (in their desire to please), but it got annoying. Neither said the food was great yet. But if people would speak up when there, and tell the waiter or manager what is needed, I am sure they would listen. Remember, if we don't learn to speak up, nothing will change.

I didn't get around to shooting the pool as it was raining..but will go back soon.

Cell number is 0917 807 1360
Visit their website at:
Email for reservations:

Palawan brewed beer - Ayahay

If you love beer, then while in Puerto Princesa, you must try this locally brewed beer.   It is the first micro brewery in the Philippines.

Their line of specialty craft beers are carefully prepared with ingredients hailing locally and from all corners of the world. "Ayahay" means relaxed. Aptly so, Palawe├▒o Brewery's signature beers set the cool pace in any occasion. Enjoy a bottle and relax... "Ayahay"!

Check out their website at:

Check out their Facebook page:

Hours are: 1pm to 9pm except Sundays
It is located at: 82 Manalo Street near corner of H. Mendoza Street
Puerto Princesa City
Palawan Philippines 5300

T (+63) 048-434-0709/725-6950
C (+63) 917-5599109

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Save Turtle Bay Marine Sanctuary

7 Seas Corporation based in Singapore in a joint venture with Hotel Centro in Puerto Princesa, want to put in an Ocean Park in the protected bay and marine sanctuary outside of Puerto Princesa city, called Turtle bay, renamed (Kamia Bay for a resort by a local developer). If you click the link,
UPDATE JUNE-14th-2015
Seven Seas properties has taken down the artist renditions on this page. PCSD seemed not to know the extent of their development. No building should commence until Seven Seas has resubmitted the new exact plans.


An orphaned otter from Turtle bay.

All permits should be rescinded for bad faith and Turtle and Binunsalian bays should be zoned back as marine sanctuary as per an ordinance declaring Turtle and Binunsalian bays as protected bays. ORDINANCE NO. 13-92
THIS PROJECT HAS ALREADY BEEN GIVEN PERMITS BY Palawan Council for Sustainable Development (PCSD) ! WITH NO environmental impact study. It was taken only to the city and the BARANGAY! Since when are Barangay officials qualified to make such decicions of such great consequence?

Otters and other species live in this protected cove called Turtle bay.The 7 Seas corporation want to put in manta rays and captive imported dolphins!! The water is brackish from the fresh water estuaries flowing into the bay, I can't imagine the creatures will thrive in there. The corals are already a mess from cyanide poisoning; it used to be a common way to harvest fish.

The company wants to offer:
Oceanarium - (do we really want to encourage the proliferation of the illegal live fish trade by featuring the native fish taken from our very own environment.
Witness the best of marine life with an awesome display of manta rays, whale sharks, dugongs and sun fishes. (There are no more dugongs in Turtle Bay. I am in that bay many times a week in our native banca and there are no dugongs there. Where will they get the dugongs? Sun fishes? Are you kidding me? The brackish water in the bay will kill them and it's certainly not deep enough, nor food naturally food occurring for it.

WHALE SHARKS? (Now they are hallucinating. Talk about hell on earth for any of the aforementioned sea creatures forced to live in that bay.) There is NO KRILL in this bay to feed them...the water is brackish..they will all die.

In order to view whale sharks this deep from a room, Turtle bay aka Kamia Bay will have to be deeply dredged...and the water is never this is a brackish bay. It is totally unsustainable as there are no krill for the CAPTIVE whale sharks to eat.

Mangrove Exhibit - (No issues there) Forest mangroves are one of the most productive and complex ecosystems in the world. Known to have originated from Southeast Asia, these biological marvels are home to a diverse array of flora and fauna.

Aviary Section-Meet formidable coastal raptors called Brahminy Kites and feed them by hand as they glide near you. (Is this even legal? Or recommended? Hand feed wild birds? If you look at the photo they are CAPTIVE WILD BIRDS netted in)

Take a leisurely stroll in the Lorie Canopy Walk and let friendly lories rest on your shoulders while feeding. (Encourage wild birds to shit on the shoulders of hundreds of people a day? Are you kidding me?)
Feed wild birds? There is a new above them and people can touch them? Maybe take them into their rooms and smuggle them out too? Give them germs? Is this sustainable?

Croc Cage- Immerse in an exhilarating crocodile diving experience with some the largest saltwater reptiles in the world. An acrylic, cylindrical shaped cage will let you have an up close session with crocodiles in a 360 degree clear view. See these prehistoric creatures like no other. (Seriously? They spent years removing them from the environment here and now that new species have moved into the cove, they take a chance on escapees?)

Dolphin Cove - (It is not right capture dolphins from one area and then hold them captive in a less than ideal habitat for them.)

How is keeping captive dolphins sustainable, oh ye of PCSD?
Swim with these lovable marine mammals in the open sea. Take a photo and have a memorable time together. (Now you're talking. Swim in the sea with wild NOT captive dolphins is fine, not something you can always guarantee, but nothing like seeing them in their own environment.)

Stingray Cove - (This bay is not big enough for all the creatures they want to feature, nor is it an ideal habitat. This bay was a Marine sanctuary and even then, it's health is already declining by immigrant fishermen who build into the mangroves, corals already destroyed by cyanide fishing in the past.)
Go beyond the waves and as you touch and take a dip with friendly stingrays in an engaging and cool attraction.

To ply the bay In our small native banca/boat, we have to be careful when leaving the cove not to get stuck on sand bars that appear at low tide.

This is the reply of Mr. Art Ventura, former Executive Director of PCSD when he was invited by one of the staff as their "former boss" to celebrate the 23rd anniversary of R.A. 7611 known as the "SEP Law", a unique law that was created supposedly for the protection of Palawan. 

Sunday, May 10, 2015

The raping of Palawan-Tourists be aware

UPDATE: A sad day for Palawan when a COAL FIRED plant is approved by PCSD, or Palawan Council for Sustainable Development!

However, we who live here will continue to fight! You can help!
Help us stop the coal fired electric plant. Sign this petition!

To accommodate tourists who come here for the pristine beauty and wildlife, Palawan is literally being raped. Forests are being cut for building materials, as well as rivers, rife with life. A coal fired plant is being shoved down our throats with lies upon lies.  Be a responsible tourist. I have listed the agencies you may contact so you can write to them with positive suggestions.

Tourists...don't come here blindly.  If you do come, make sure to make your voices heard so you will not be the cause of it's destruction. Tell hotels to put in solar, and water harvesting solutions. We, the residents, are already rationing water and we have electrical power outages that last 4 hours a day every single day!

Tell people you want to see other sources of livelihood. If you want to see our wild life, train guides to do jungle survival courses! Live wild indigenous animals and plants with a proper guide. Heck! Start a guide for jungle adventures and bird watching. Train trike drivers to do something more sustainable and useful. There are so many of them they cannot each make a decent living. Thousands of gas powered trikes clog the inadequate main roads, spewing C02 emissions. Help create the pristine Palawan we are being told is the best island in the Philippines. Bring us the technologies that will not pollute our beloved land. Let's make this a global concern; because it is! Be a part of the change!

A day or two old little otter was already a victim of human encroachment into Turtle Bay, aka Kamia Bay, where wants to put in an ocean park with captive dolphins, whales sharks, sun fish and crocodiles. This is a relatively small, shallow and brackish bay. Dogs from immigrant fishermen making homes near or on the mangroves killed it's siblings. This little guy was given to me to try to keep alive. He was a real fighter but his little body just could not survive without his own mother's special milk, which is contains 6 times more fat than cows milk. He died after 5 days. He broke my heart. But his life will and does have meaning.

This river below is being raped to harvest rock and sand to make building and roads without proper environmental studies. You come to Palawan to see it's pristine beauty and wildlife, but the very beauty is being destroyed to accommodate you!
This was our favorite river to go to, it's just 8 minutes from our home. It is now raped for gravel, rock and sand to build tourist hotels.
Forests are being raped of hardwoods to put of exotic huts and resorts.
Photo by Demto Anda - A combined enforcement team led by Supt. Benjamin Acorda on the way to Naglayan Island on 10 Apr. 2015 to serve two search warrants to the Sunlight Ecotourism Resort. The mangroves surrounding the resort were raped and white sand from other beaches was brought in to fake you all out to it's "pristine" beauty!
Photo by Demto Anda - That this beach used to be a mangrove area till it was covered with white sand and planted with coconuts. The all done by Sunlight Ecotourism Resort. the Eco in their company name is a joke! Disgraceful. The white sand you see is from another beach with white sand that they raped to put in in there for you tourists.

A road through old growth forests leading to the naval facility in Oyster Bay, Macarascas is nearing completion. 
A road through old growth forests leading to the naval facility in Oyster Bay, Macarascas is nearing completion. Yet its proponent and contractor have not even secured the proper permits including tree-cutting permit and SEP clearance. 

Brooke's Point, Province of Palawan, Philippines Large scale oil palm plantations
Massive expanses of virgin forests all over Palawan, are being raped to make way for the monoculture of Palm oil plantations.

Deforestation for a palm oil plantation in Sumatra, Indonesia. Such practices are starting up in Palawan. Photo by Rhett A. Butler.

Mining threat to remote tribe in Philippines. The Palawan live in the south of Palawan Island in the Philippines. Thousands of new settlers and a big mining push by the Philippine government now pose a serious threat to the tribe. It just doesn't end for the indigenous tribes here.

The icing on the cake of horror, is a planned Coal fired plant in a barangay in Narra.  You can sign this petition to try and help stop this.

You can read more speculation about the issues surrounding the planned coal fired plant at this link:

What YOU can do to stop this!

Write to our local agencies and tell them you do not want a commercialized Palawan that will compromise it's natural beauty and wildlife. Make POSITIVE suggestions for change and what you would like to see happen instead!
Here is the ordinance declaring "Kamia" (a fake name) a protected area: READ IT.  It's really Turtle Bay also known as Binunsalian bay.