Big Trouble in Paradise

HERE’S A STORY I wrote for the Philippine News Agency (PNA) about Coron, a beautiful island municipality in northern Palawan. It’s about a planned undersea park being proposed by Coral World Park (CWP), which claims to be “the largest Marine Reserve and Coral Reef Conservation program in Asia. ”

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Beautiful Kayangan Lake in Coron Island, Coron, northern Palawan.

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This photo of the small inlet that leads to Kayangan Lake was taken from a promontory where I stood for a while to take in the charming view.

The reason why it’s controversial is in the story.

Tagbanua tribes in Coron spurn Nickolodeon undersea park

PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, July 27 — The Tagbanua indigenous peoples (IP) community in Coron and nearby islands gave the thumbs down Thursday morning to the propositioned 400-hectare Nickolodeon undersea park due to fears of irreversible negative environmental and cultural impacts.

Amil Abella, representative of the Tagbanua Tribes of Coron Island Association (TTCIA), said in a Greenpeace Philippines-hosted press conference here that the project will only displace them from their ancestral domains, and will spoil their traditional fishing grounds.

“If there are investments that will build structures that will cause destruction to our ancestral domains, our agreement is we will not accept them,” Abella said, adding they live independently and are reliant on Calamianes’ beauty and blessings.

The Calamianes is an area in the northern part of Palawan that includes Busuanga, Coron, and Culion island towns, and the islands of Calauit, Malcapuya, Banana, Pass and Calumbuyan, and several minor islets.

“The legendary heroes of Coron will unite and defend the last ecological frontier of the country, where we live with freedom and abundance,” he added.

Continue reading the story here: http://www.pna.gov.ph/articles/1003332

It’s really difficult to marry development with environment conservation, especially if it would have irreversible impacts on the lives of the indigenous peoples and their ancestral domains.

I am for development. The SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT kind. The one “that meets human development goals while at the same time sustaining the ability of natural systems to provide the natural resources and ecosystem services upon which the economy and society depend.”

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You’ve never been to Coron if you haven’t been to Kayangan Lake.

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Sustainable development should not be compromised.

 

 

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Sabang’s Rich Landscape

When it comes to beautiful landscapes, Puerto Princesa is a dime a dozen, and I didn’t say that to be negative. Everywhere you look in this city, the landscapes are great — wide-ranging, sweeping, overwhelming, and they’re as alive as the people, who live near them.

The Puerto Princesa City Subterranean River National Park (PPCSRNP) in Sabang, Barangay Cabayugan, for instance, does not only have the underground river to be proud of. It also has an amazing landscape.

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For more photos, please visit and like my page: https://www.facebook.com/PalawenyaPhotographybyTRFormoso

Berjaya Hills, Bukit Tinggi

An hour’s ride from Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia is Berjaya Hills, Bukit Tinggi in Pahang rising some 2,500 feet above sea level. It’s the closest one, who has never been to France, can get to experience a little bit of the lifestyle of the French people.

Colmar Tropicale, located in Bukit Tinggi, Pahang, is a replica of a collection of buildings from a north-eastern village in France dating back to the 16th Century. The French themed resort was opened in July 2000. It’s surrounded by tropical forest land.

The theme hotel is made up of eight blocks of architectural wonder, each with its unique style, from its colourful roof tiles to cobblestone ground. The hotel has several outlets, where you can dine in the French way. Central to the village is Colmar Square where the aroma of the blooms will tantalise your senses. There are fountains and park benches in the square for relaxation after a hard day’s work browsing in the 17 theme shops, or should one wish to take a breather from participating in the various activities. The drawbridge reminiscent of ancient castles, clock tower with an original cuckoo bird clock, and the viewing tower complements the ambience.

That’s according to Wikipedia 🙂 I had to Google because when I was there, there was no chance to talk to someone and ask how it came to be without disturbing the need for me to take photos everywhere I turn.

The place is so wonderful!

An Island Named After A Shell…

On the eastern shores of Palawan in Puerto Princesa City, there is a bay that is popular among tourists because of its tropical island destinations — it’s called Honda Bay. The islands are named Luli, Pandan, Cowrie, Starfish, Fraser, and the high-end Dos Palmas Island Resort on Arraceffi.

Of all these, Dos Palmas and Cowrie are my favorites except that the first is rather expensive to visit even if I already live in Puerto Princesa. I was on Cowrie Island with some friends a couple of months ago; let me share some photos I took there 🙂

Here’s our motorized boat going KNOTS to Cowrie Island, Honda Bay below nice blue sky and clouds.

Floating cottage off the waters of Cowrie Island, Honda Bay.

From what I heard, Cowrie Island was named after the egg-shaped marine gastropod mollusc that goes by the same name in the family Cypraeidae. Recently, the owners of the island have developed it into an island resort destination, where families and other guests can relax and enjoy.

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Ask local travel guides on how to get to Honda Bay because they have packaged tours that are perfect if you want to be trouble-free on your trip. If I’m not lazy to drive my car, I use it to go there. If I am, I just take a multicab or a tricycle.

Multicab fare ranges between PhP15.00 to PhP20.00, I have to update this information though because it’s been a long time I rode one going there. Tricycles, on the other hand, that can accommodate about 4 passengers, may charge up to PhP70.00 or PhP100.00 — depending on how many are traveling.

Boats to get to the island destinations charge differently. You may go to the information center to ask how much an island hopping tour costs (4 islands at best). If you’re visiting only 1-2 islands, the charge is also different, maybe even cheaper.

Some islands, like Cowrie, charge entrance fees but if one’s going through a travel agency, this is normally included in the packaged tour along with your meals and snacks for the day.

Southern Palawan Road Trip

I am so busy, I forgot that there was a road trip I did with some friends last July; out of that, I have wonderful photos I only got to see last night.

These photos were taken from Bataraza, a mining town in Palawan. I thought there’s nothing I’d be able to document that would turn out beautiful because of the character of the place as a mining town. But I was wrong. The place has its own beauty.

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The bridge helps transport ores to barges.

Bataraza Reflection

Beautiful reflection

Philippine Navy Boat

A Philippine Navy boat off the shores of Bataraza. This keeps the border secured between the Philippines and Malaysia against illegal activities, such as human trafficking, drug trafficking, smuggling and illegal logging.

Bataraza Sunset

The sun sets beautifully over the mine tailing pond of Rio Tuba Nickel Mining Corporation. The tailing pond is where the mining company’s left over materials flow after the process of separating valuable fractions from uneconomic fractions of ore.

Tropical Breeze @ Puerto Princesa Underground River

Somebody hired me middle of this month to take photos for her of the Puerto Princesa Underground River, the most popular tourism site in my city, for her Tropical Breeze Travel and Tours. I could not say no even if I was busy because she’s my friend, and I am addicted to the beauty of the place.

I’ve been to the PPUR countless times, and when it was held one of the New Seven Wonders of Nature, I was naturally happy since that would mean more protection to the park where it is located at Sitio Sabang, Barangay Cabayugan.

Here are some photos I wish to share 🙂

The PPUR always has that relaxing effect to a tired mind…