Once I finished out my project, I was free to vacay. The crew and I took Thursday and Friday off to go to Puerto Princesa for our last trip. That Wednesday night, we left for Manila for our 5 am flight Thursday morning. We slept over at the condo for FNRI boys because they were joining us on the trip. That night I cut my pinky trying to fix a fan, it was a great way to start my travel.
We were all ready and excited for our flight. We got to Puerto Princesa at around 8am to start our city tour. We first started our tour at Palawan Wildlife Rescue and Conservation Center. We had the chance to see their famous crocodile farm and some other animals. Then we went to the famous bakery where we had a chance to get a nice view of the city as well as some nice art and sculpture. We also got a chance to see a big ranch, that was owned by a Filipino man and his wife. He used to live there and his house was kept the way it was and you have to pay to get in and see it. He had expensive and beautiful art in his house. We had the chance to see Plaza Curtel, which is like a place to commemorate the American soldiers that were killed during that time. There was a big church right next to it. We spent some time there and went for lunch. Right after lunch, we went to the Airbnb called Uyang BnB. It was a cute little compound that had a dinning place and rooms. We shared the rooms for two and Zoe was my roommate. All of us freshened up and left for dinner around the town. We took a tricycle to one of the places that was recommended to us by the owner of the Airbnb. It was an outdoors restaurant and thank God it didn’t rain because it would have totally ruined our mood. After dinner, we had a walk around town and decided to go to the nearest beach. We basically snuck into a resort and had the chance to hang out there and enjoy the night before we headed home.
We woke up early again at around 6:30am for the Underground River Tour. We got to go through the underground river and have an explanation on how and when the rock formations were made. Everything was so delicate and sensitive to touch, so we were advised to not touch anything. Even the bacteria on our hand can have a long lasting effect on the rock formation. Some of the rock formations had different shapes that they ended up naming. Most of them were based on religious figures like Jesus, The Last Supper and some candles, while others were based on fruits and veggies. Also, there were bats flying around which made the whole experience spookier but still good. A bat flew into Michael’s head. After we left the underground river, we had lunch and moved onto zip lining. We had to hike up a small mountain to zip line down across the ocean. It was not as fast as I expected but still fun nonetheless. After wards, we went back to the same resort we went to the day before and hung out there. The night we went to dinner in a beautiful restaurant called Kalui. The food was so freaking good, I salivating now just thinking about it. We went walking around the city after dinner and had some drinks and eventually went back to the Airbnb.
We had island hoping scheduled for Saturday, so we woke up early and started our day. We got to the first island that was known for snorkeling. We got our gears and got to snorkeling till like 10:30am. On our way to the second island, it started raining heavily and had our boat rocking violently. It was scary at first but then the rain cooled down and we made it to lunch. It rained on us too so we were shivering while we ate. We had to wait to for the waves to calm down before we could leave so we decided to have our life vests on and go into the water while we wait. Since the waves were a bit intense, it was shaking us back and forth which made it even more fun. The water was also warm so we didn’t want to leave at all. The coast guards told us that we had to go back to shore because the waves would be getting worse so we had to cancel our last island and head back. We went back to our rooms and freshened up before dinner. We were supposed to meet up the FNRI girls, Emily and Elia that night. On our way there, Zoe, Jenny and I got in a tricycle accident. Apparently, the brakes were not very good and we flipped while we were in the trike. Jenny and I were fine but Zoe hurt herself so we had to go the hospital to get her checked. Unfortunately, she broke her clavicle and had a lot of bruises. She took her pain relieving shots and headed back home. We ordered her food and the rest of us went out to eat.
That Sunday morning, we went to the airport and said good bye to our mini paradise. It’s sad that our trip had to end with such a travesty. We made it to Manila in the morning and Zoe and Jenny decided to go back to Los Baños while the rest of us went to Bicutan and had lunch before we went back to IRRI. We made it back at around 4pm and we were all beat. I had my presentation on Monday so I had to do some last minute touch up and go over what I wanted to say.
Monday came and I was super nervous about my presentation. It was in the afternoon so I had a bit of time to calm myself down and get ready. I went to the room and there were more people than I expected because Ratna and Tapas were also supposed present that day. I got up there and did my presentation about everything I learned in IRRI. I answered their questions and I was done before I knew it. I was officially done and relieved. After me were Ratna and Tapas and I saw the most brutal presentation. My supervisor had something to say about each slide on their presentation which made me feel like I had it easy. It was scary to just be part of the audience. After that intense presentation, we had some merianda and that marked my last day at work.
For the next couple days, I was just packing and doing some last minute souvenir shopping for my friends and family. I used my time left to hang out with my friends that I made there and make the best out of the time we had left. It was sad in the end as we had to leave knowing that we would probably never go back there to visit them. But Thursday morning came and we were saying our final good byes and handing in our keys and badges. We all left with tears in our eyes and really sad. I am very grateful for my time in the Philippines because it gave me a chance to meet groups of people that I would have never met. Never in a million years would I have thought I would be working with so many people from around the world and being able to hear so many perspectives. It was such an eye opening experience that taught me more about the work environment and how to interact and work with people. I am forever grateful for this internship for giving me such life changing experience. Thank you! Salamat! አመሰግናለሁ! Until next time……