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Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Philippines: Day 25 - Puerto Princesa, Crocodile Farm and Baker´s Hill

After our simple breakfast at the Acacia Tree Garden in Puerto Princesa, we set off to a little sightseeing with my family. Our destination was the Crocodile Farm. It is a bit outside of the town, but reachable by tricycle. Crocodiles are actually endemic in the Philippines. But the Philippine Crocodile is rarely seen anymore and - unfortunately - close to extinction. In Palawan, there are no wild crocodiles, with just a few exemptions.

We arrived at the Crocodile Farm at a wrong time, as you can only visit it within a guided tour and one had just left, and the next was due no further than an hour later. So we walked a bit around in the village next to the Crocodile Farm, where you can actually eat crocodile meat (of course we didn't!). The rain was coming to the mountains in the distance, while it was still around 35 degrees. So, we eventually had a cold drink, and ice cream in the little cafe, next to the Crocodile Farm and my little niece got a crocodile plush toy from the souvenir shop. 


When the next tour finally started, we bought the tickets and then proceeded to the first building, where the tour begins. Actually, we ran to it, as a cloudburst started too. We were glad, that the first part of the tour was inside, where we started with some information by the guide. Then we came to the building, where they breed crocodiles, and we saw crocodiles in every age and length. Some even cute (if you can say that to a crocodile). They actually have the Philippine Crocodile and Saltwater Crocodiles. At the farm, they are working to conserve them.


Next up was the enclosure for the bigger and older crocodiles, where you actually walk above them. It was really impressive. I find them fascinating, as crocodiles like that lived on earth already 80 million years ago and they were here way before us. There was the last photo opportunity with a crocodile and a snake, then everyone could enter the attached Nature Park on their own. 


The Nature Park is kind of a jungle with some enclosures for animals found in Palawan, like the Palawan Hornbill, the Palawan Bear Cat and the Talking Mynah. While there are - of course - cages for the birds, there was much more room for the animals than in other parks. It was a lot better than the zoo we visited in Legazpi a few years ago. All said, the Crocodile Farm is really a recommendable tour from Puerto Princesa and easily accessible on your own by tricycle (although you have to pay the driver to wait for you). However, there are also guided city tours, that include it. They are available at many hotels in Puerto Princesa or here.


From the Crocodile Farm, it wasn´t that far to Baker's Hill, where we got by tricycle and met more family members. At Baker's Hill, you get the best bread in Palawan and also find a fantastic restaurant, a park with peacocks, a playground for the kids and much more. We had late lunch there and really enjoyed it and took our time.


We had needed more time than expected for everything so far, so, we skipped the plan to also visit the nearby Butterfly Garden. Instead, we drove by tricycle to the bus station, where we bought tickets for the Lexxus Shuttle Service to Sabang for the next day. Then we continued to the big Robinson's Mall, to meet my other niece and nephew, who had just arrived from Balabac. We had dinner at Giligan's and spent some quality time together. After all, I hadn't seen them for two years.