Friday, October 31, 2014

Iwahig Penal Colony and Farm : 2nd stop of Puerto Princesa Tour '2014

Posted by Free-Spirited Vixen (Juliefe Cuenca) at 2:28 PM 0 comments
       We paid only Php1,500 (for the van with driver) for a half day tour of Puerto Princesa. Since our group had around 10 members, it only cost Php150 per person. The tour was already inclusive of the ffg places:
1. Palawan Butterfly Ecological Garden and Tribal Village
2. Iwahig Penal Colony and Farm
3. Crocodile  Farm & Nature Park
4. Mitra's Ranch
5. Baker's Hill
6. Immaculate Concepcion Cathedral
7. Plaza Cuartel


     After visiting the  Palawan Butterfly Ecological Garden and Tribal Village, our second stop was the Iwahig Penal Colony and Farm. According to the Bureau of Corrections, this facility was established during the American occupation.  It was however, during the Spanish regime that Puerto Princesa was designated as a place where offenders sentenced to banishment were exiled.  A specific area of Puerto Princesa was selected as the site for a correctional facility.  The American military carved out a prison facility in the rain forest of Puerto Princesa.

      A merit system was devised for the prisoners and vocational activities were offered.  These included farming, fishing, forestry, carpentry, and hospital paramedical work. Prisoners could choose the vocational activities they wanted.

      As per Reportage by Getty Images, Iwahig Prison And Penal Farm lies within over 45,000-hectares of land on the island of Palawan in the Philippines. The remarkable thing about this prison is that there are no walls to contain the prisoners and barely a fence to mark its boundary. Given its low security, escape attempts are relatively rare. This may be due to the fact that the inmates are allowed to govern and police themselves to a large extent, but also because many of the inmate’s family’s choose to live at the prison too; giving up jobs and houses and moving the entire family to be near their loved one.

   
    This is the facade of the inmates recreation hall which also currently serves as their souvenir shopwhere they offer their goods for sale to visitors. It may look passable on the outside but actually it's already quite dilapidated from lack of building maintenance. On the brighter side, at least the surroundings are clean.

     Upon going inside this worn out hall, the prisoners welcomed us with a dance number and ushered us to join in. They were really friendly and accommodating, and even offered to become our photographers. They also sold souvenirs and other articles, many of which were personally crafted by them. The goods were affordable and tourists are greatly encouraged to  buy some as this constitutes as their livelihood. At least they're not begging.
      Donations are welcome too. There's a box for it, or you can also give in kind. For those who can afford, I think it would greatly be appreciated if you can rehabilitate a portion of the ceiling, roof or, walls, as this would leave a more lasting and tangible contribution to the institution.
Some of their merchandise
     Since we only hired a van, and didn't book with a travel agency for our Puerto Princesa tour, there was no one to guide us to the place and to explain to us several things. We just toured around the place, without anymore stopping to check on some sites inside the penal colony. Here are some pictures we took during our trip.
After Iwahig, we then proceeded to our 3rd destination, the Crocodile  Farm & Nature Park.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Palawan Butterfly Ecological Garden and Tribal Village: 1st stop of Puerto Princesa Tour '2014

Posted by Free-Spirited Vixen (Juliefe Cuenca) at 11:26 AM 3 comments
      We paid only Php1,500 (for the van with driver) for a half day tour of Puerto Princesa. Since our group had around 10 members, it only cost Php150 per person. The tour was already inclusive of the ffg places:

1. Palawan Butterfly Ecological Garden and Tribal Village
2. Iwahig Penal Colony and Farm
3. Crocodile  Farm & Nature Park
4. Mitra's Ranch
5. Baker's Hill
6. Immaculate Concepcion Cathedral
7. Plaza Cuartel
8. The Baywalk

    Our first stop was the Palawan Butterfly Ecological Garden and Tribal Village. We paid 30 pesos per person for the entrance fees. We weren't really excited at first as we thought that this will be just another butterfly sanctuary similar to those present in other places. But boy, were we wrong!
      Aside from the usual butterfly sanctuary, the garden also presents many species of lizards, insects, crocodiles, and the like. The picture shown below are just samples.

    This is the Palawan Bearcat According to the Palawan Council for Sustainable Development, the Palawan bearcat is also known as the Malay civet cat. It derive its name from the tiny sac or gland near its tail that contains civet, a valuable odorous substance used as a base for the world's most expensive perfumes. It is a nocturnal animal with a long husky tail, tufted ears, small eyes, naked soles and palms, a small pointed face and elongated body.

     It is grayish in color and feeds on fruits and meat. Its habitat is in the deep forest, but it also ventures to more open locations, especially when looking for food. A curious combination of stealth and charm with its deceivingly cuddly appearance, natives warn that it is quite vicious when cornered.
 
 Aside from the garden, the place also has a tribal village where visitors are allowed to have a glimpse of the behavior and way of living of some of the local tribesmen. A post by the entrance area states as follows:
        
      "Palaw'an is one of the many indigenous people of Palawan that have been living in the province for thousand of years. A few traits and trades have been preserved since younger generations are nw adopting to modernization. the Tribal Village is to preserve hose remaining traits and trades and by its Cultural shows.  
        Visitors will get a rare chance to interact with these native people that still holds pure Palaw'an bloodline. Visitors will learn the Palaw'an way of hunting survival, handicraft making, daily life and even the Palaw'an way of hanging out."

Here are some of the tools of the Palaw'an
Samples of their musical instruments and weapons
 
 They were really fast in making a fire!
 There is also this really long snake for visitors to touch and take pictures with.
 
    After the lesson, one of the natives went to this "cottage" and played with a musical instrument. The guide told us that each tribal family stays in the village for 2 weeks, then another family takes their place. Donations are greatly appreciated since this will be for the benefit of tribal family who depends primarily on hunting and a little farming for their sustenance.
Our 2nd stop is the Iwahig Penal Colony and Farm.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

The Ranch Resort, Toledo City: Part 2 of our Toledo and Aloguinsan Day Tour '2014

Posted by Free-Spirited Vixen (Juliefe Cuenca) at 3:36 PM 0 comments
After our Bojo River Cruise, we visited the Ranch Resort at Toledo City on our 2nd day tour.

  Entrance Fee is 100 pesos per head which is already inclusive of swimming pool use from 8 am to 9 pm. Aside from 6 different pools, the resort also offers other amenitites such as:

Activity Area (zipline, trampoline, obstacle course)        150/ head
Horseback Riding (2 rounds)                                               100/head
Farm Tour (Bee Farm, Organic Garden, and Aviary)       75/head

The Facade
 The Ranch Resort, Toledo City
 I wasn't able to take a picture of the parking lot, but they had a big one in front of this building, which can be fully packed during peak season.
The Ranch Resort, Toledo City
 Inside the Resort
The Ranch Resort, Toledo City
The Ranch Resort, Toledo CityThe Ranch Resort, Toledo City
Various collectibles and other products are displayed in the reception area such as figurines, cowboy hats, food articles, and toys.
The Ranch Resort, Toledo City

 The Ranch Resort, Toledo CityThe Ranch Resort, Toledo City

The Farm Tour
     The first activity that we had after paying the entrance fee was to avail of their farm tour for just 75 pesos per person. Our first stop was to visit the horses, both those grazing on the grasslands, and others housed in their barns.

The Ranch Resort, Toledo City
Baby Willow feeding a horse ^_^

The Ranch Resort, Toledo City
The Ranch Resort, Toledo City
The Ranch Resort, Toledo City
     After the "horseland", we headed towards the aviary. On our way, we passed by a huge area reserved for fighting cocks. And boy, were they numerous! I could just imagine the amount of feeds needed to sustain them, not to mention their vitamins.
The Ranch Resort, Toledo City
 The Aviary
The Aviary houses several species of bird such as eagles, cuckoos, etc. (sorry, i don't remember the others :D)
The Ranch Resort, Toledo City The Ranch Resort, Toledo City The Ranch Resort, Toledo City
There is also "Moy-moy", a cute, overly friendly monkey who likes to hug and cling on to guests. Our guide told us it is common for visitors to get scared especially since she hops on to almost everyone in the group. Also a word of warning, do not run because she chases!
 The Ranch Resort, Toledo CityThe Ranch Resort, Toledo City
      I'm not really good with names, but there is also a lovable bulldog who looks fierce on the outside but is really very tame and obedient. He knows a lot of tricks to entertain visitors.

    Aside from the animals, The Ranch also has organic farms for plant lovers.
The Ranch Resort, Toledo City
The Ranch Resort, Toledo City

      They also offer horseback riding activities for a fee of 100 pesos per head. This is good for 2 rounds.
The Ranch Resort, Toledo City
The Ranch Resort, Toledo City
   Bikes are also for rent.
The Ranch Resort, Toledo City


The Swimming Pools!
    As previously mentioned, The Ranch Resort has 6 pools of various designs, sizes, and water level depths offering a wide range of choices for the swimmers.
The Ranch Resort, Toledo City
The Ranch Resort, Toledo City

The Ranch Resort, Toledo CityThe Ranch Resort, Toledo City

The Ranch Resort, Toledo City
Cottage rentals are 300 pesos (good for 10 persons) and 500 pesos (good for 11-15 persons) respectively.

For more information on their packages and rates, you can contact them at (032) 318-9599 or you can also check out their facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/TheRanchResort.

 

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