Palawan Mangrove Tour via Paddle Boat

When Jessie and I were in Sabang, Palawan, Philippines for our Puerto Princesa Underground River tour we also took a shorter Mangrove Paddle Boat Tour.  When I first heard them use that term, I pictured the boats in the USA that you paddle with your feet and have a turbine paddle that propels you through the water.  They meant like a regular small boat with paddles.  Silly me.

Palawan Mangrove TourWhile waiting for our Underground River tour we were approached by Ed Garcia who lives in the area. I learned over the course of the day he was an engineer and at one point worked on development of rice seeds that were better suited for growing in China.

He told us about the Palawan Mangrove Tour and explained that a tribe uses the funds to support themselves. He would walk us down there for no cost, he is trying to help the tribe with getting more customers. I would have never known it was there if he had not.

He explained it was a five or ten minute walk. Not for me, it wasn’t. The walk turned out to be way too much for me. It was an easy walk for Jessie though.  I had to stop and rest several times, once we found a thatch covered “waiting area” and rested there for a long time. I was actually starting to get cold, getting chills and my arms started to feel numb.

I found a motorcycle driver for my trip back to our table in Sabang. Jessie walked back, seemed like it took her very little time to walk it. It also seemed like five minutes even on the back of a motor bike.

On the way there is a bridge for walkers and then there is a smaller bridge for the bikes.  All I could do was laugh as we crossed it and the pinoy driver laughed with me. It was interesting. I wish I had taken a picture of it but I didn’t know I would be undergoing such an experience the first time I passed it.

During the Palawan Mangrove Tour

The cost of the tour is not very much, only P150 per person. Our guide seemed very sweet even though she usually maintained the look of Filipina indifference I have written about in the past. I can’t put my finger on it, she just seemed to be a sweet loving person.

During our Palawan Mangrove Tour she made jokes and one of them led into a song. Before she sang she said “Like it or Not now I will sing.”

Soon after we started our Palawan Mangrove tour, we heard a monkey crashing through the trees. Jessie said “Ungoi” but neither of us saw it. We later heard them screeching, either at us or fighting with each other. The monkeys stayed well hidden and out of sight.

The guide told us about all the different kinds of Mangrove trees and how it is now illegal to harvest them. She explained the different types of seeds the Mangrove trees produce. There is a male seed and a female seed but they don’t cross pollinate. I must assume then that the male Mangrove tree can make a female Mangrove tree. Otherwise, I don’t know how you’d get one of each.

As a seed floated past, she plucked it out of the water and offered it to me for closer look. It was the smaller male seed. I wan’t sure if I should keep it or put it back. I gave it to Jessie haha.

She told us the water was brackish  and that was required for Mangroves.  Without brackish water one can have no Mangroves our guide went on to explain. During the Palawan Mangrove Tour she mentioned that the habitat provides for the home of many snakes and lizards. Jessie asked about crocodiles and the guide said no. She explained “That the roots of the Mangrove trees would make it impossible for crocodiles to navigate and there is no place for them to lay there eggs.”

We reached an area where there were towering ancient Mangroves more than 100 years old.  They were majestic. The area was especially quiet and very calming.

After they turned the boat around and as we returned back to our starting point, we saw two snakes in the trees over hanging the channel.

One was a Mangrove Snake with bright yellow stripes on black. She explained itPalawan Mangrove Tour is poisonous but it won’t harm you if you leave it alone. The Mangrove Snake is in the picture to the right. It is hard to see but if you look close you can spot the yellow bands. You can click the image to enlarge it.

A few moments later she spotted a small python on a branch. Both were hard to see but the python was really hard to see. Jessie saw it first and I was at the point of giving up when I finally saw it. Monkeys have to really be on their toes to not fall victim to a python. The birds too. This python was really hard to see.

The picture below includes the python.  He is even harder to see.  A python relies on stealth to lie in wait before springing into action with its death hug. Its eye shows up as bright white in the picture which may indicate he is about to or has just shed. The scales over the eyes will turn whitish when it is shedding time. It could also just be some strange camera effect.  I think it is a lens cap though.

Palawan Mangrove TourAt times, there are many birds in the Mangrove swamp but we were there about mid-day and the birds were not there. It seems they will make quite a bit of noise when they are there. I would have enjoyed seeing them but instead, I enjoyed the peacefulness of the Palawan Mangrove Tour.

The walk to the Palawan Mangrove Tour provided two of the nicest pictures I took while at Palawan. Taking pictures is the main reason I took the walk.

I wanted to walk up the path to see what was there and to hopefully get more pictures. I wanted to see a little bit more of Sabang, the town where the Underground River is.

It was a beautiful walk, just a long walk for me. If you go to the Puerto Princesa Underground River in Palawan, it would be worth your while to go ahead and take the Palawan Mangrove Tour as well.



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