Monthly Archives: August 2010

Zentraveler pumpboats to Sabang, Palawan!

Pumpboat from Port Barton to Sabang

Sometimes when you travel you begin to wonder if your choices are any good or you are just tired out from banging around in airports, tricycles, vans, boats, etc, When Perla and I decided to leave at 4:45 am in the morning, which is still pitch dark, we were beginning to check our sanity as to whether this was the right move. The French couple living next to us in our beach cottage came in drenched the day before and they said it took nearly six hours coming from Sabang to Port Barton and were rather weary from the tip. I mentioned to Perla you know we are not that many hours from Sabang by bus… we could simply retrace to Roxas by jeepney and catch a direct bus to Sabang or hire a local van!

At any rate not only is it eery to jump in the pumboat with two strange men in total darkness, but who knows what lies ahead. I began to wonder if they have any life rafts and I whispered to Perla they don’t even have a flashlight. But isn’t that the mystery of travel— the thrill and to get the adrenaline moving. We felt like we were stow-aways and hugged each other before departing.

As we worked our way out of the Port Barton harbor we effortlessly stole into the night moving along so silent it was if we were gliding over the water. We looked up at the stars and said a secret prayer that this was going to work out ok. In the distance we could see the outlines of a few fishing boats and soon the morning sunrise began to appear in brilliant reddish colors… exploding over the sea as if a painter hand designed this just for our trip.

Baitfish were jumping out of the water and a pod of dolphins raced toward our boat and began jumping and frolicking alongside as if to guide us through the next set of turns and to show off their acrobatic skills. The silloutes of the mountains loomed large as our boat Captain expertly navigated toward our destination of Sabang,the home of the world famous underground river and cave system, which is one of the largest in the world.

We arrived in only two and one half hours and bought the crew a fish breakfast and thanked them for a great trip. They indicated they were heading back to Port Barton before the waves began to build and the afternoon wind would come up. Our pump-boat crew waved good-bye as they navigated out of the busy port of Sabang.

Sabang Harbor

So there you have it a great scenic boat trip and it is highly recommended you bring either a waterproof sea bag or wrap everything in double plastic so nothing gets wet on the trip. You can also ask the boat captain to stop for breakfast or lunch at Coconut Garden Island Resort, located at Cacnipa Island. San Vincente…approximately15 km 45 minute boat ride from Port Barton and enjoy some of the nature the island has to offer. The owner is Swiss and is very hospitable with a lovely resort for lodging or make a daytrip or stopover to experience some great home cooked meals and many walking trails with some wildlife, flowers and stunning seascapes.

Sailboat Anchored near Port Barton

QUOTE: “The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.”-St Augustine

THINGS YOU MAY NOT KNOW:The fur of the binturong, also known as the “Asian Bear Cat,” smells like popcorn. The scent is believed to come from a gland located near the tail

THINGS YOU MAY WANT TO SAVE: Asian Bear Cats! The Binturong (Arctictis binturong), also known as the Asian Bearcat, the Palawan Bearcat, or simply the Bearcat, is a species of the family Viverridae, which includes the civets and genets. It is neither a bear nor a cat, and the real meaning of the original name is lost, as the local language that gave it is extinct. Its natural habitat is in trees of forest canopy in rainforest of Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia and Palawan Island.It is nocturnal and sleeps on branches. It eats primarily fruit, but also has been known to eat eggs, shoots, leaves and small animals, such as rodents or birds. Deforestation has greatly reduced its numbers. When cornered, the Binturong can be vicious. The Binturong can make chuckling sounds when it seems to be happy and utter a high-pitched wail if annoyed. The Binturong can live over 20 years in captivity; one is recorded to have lived almost 26 years.

ZENTRAVELER SAYS: It’s all in zee travel—so get hopping grasshopper!

From here to Infinity is a relatively short ride! The next leg takes eons and eons as you fly through the Barycentric Dynamical Time Zone!

Follow the Zentraveler Blog often for Travel, Health and Zen-like stories and such. Where else can you get a three in one blog for the price of free?

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Zentraveler discovers super-fruit Garcinia Mangos!

Garcinia Mangos


Scientifically known as Garcinia mangostana L, mangosteen used to be just another tropical fruit the size of a tennis ball and is greatly desired by fruit lovers for its juicy and delicious pulp. That was until its healing power was discovered, and the fruit’s phyto chemicals was carefully studied in the beginning of the 70s.

You will never fail to recognize the fruit because of its royal purple color and its green flowery crown. It is an ultra tropical fruit commonly found in Asia,Thailand, and the Philippines. When opened, the hard Pericarp reveals a white pulp which many refer to as manna from heaven if only for its curative elements.

Garcinia Mangostana belongs to the emerging group of delicacies known as super fruits due to its polyphenolic acids content to include the anti-oxidant xanthones and tannins that can help cure most illnesses, from heart diseases to cancer.

The healing power of Garcinia Mangostana is now available in various forms, including capsules, coffee, and tea under the brand name MX3….source The Freeman

Disclaimer: This website is simply the writers views and is not an attempt to practice medicine or provide specific medical or health advice and should not be used to make a diagnosis or to replace or overrule a qualified health care provider’s judgment. None of the statements on zentraveler are to be understood as a recommendation on how to treat any disease or health related condition. If you require medical or other assistance Zentraveler strongly encourages users to consult with a qualified health care professional.

QUOTE: The trouble with always trying to preserve the health of the body is that it is so difficult to do without destroying the health of the mind. ~G.K. Chesterton

THINGS YOU MAY NOT KNOW:The English word “soup” comes from the Middle Ages word “sop,” which means a slice of bread over which roast drippings were poured. The first archaeological evidence of soup being consumed dates back to 6000 B.C., with the main ingredient being Hippopotamus bones!

THINGS YOU MAY WANT TO SAVE:Trees! Trees can be very meaningful to people. Almost everyone can recall at least one special event in their life spent under a tree. Whether it is one’s wedding day or just a picnic, almost everyone in the world loves the serenity that trees bring naturally.

ZENTRAVELER SAYS: Drink your daily MX3 tea for good health!

From here to Infinity is a relatively short ride! The next leg takes eons and eons as you fly through the Barycentric Dynamical Time Zone!

Follow the Zentraveler Blog often for Travel, Health and Zen-like stories and such. Where else can you get a three in one blog for the price of free?

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Zentraveler on Blind Men and an Elephant!

Blindmen trying to describe Elephant

There are quite a few versions to this story originating from India about the blind men and an elephant. As a test to reach for the ultimate truth.

A Jain version of the story says that six blind men were asked to determine what an elephant looked like by feeling different parts of the elephant’s body.

The blind man who feels a leg says the elephant is like a pillar; the one who feels the tail says the elephant is like a rope; the one who feels the trunk says the elephant is like a tree branch; the one who feels the ear says the elephant is like a hand fan; the one who feels the belly says the elephant is like a wall; and the one who feels the tusk says the elephant is like a solid pipe.

A wise man explains to them:

“All of you are right. The reason every one of you is telling it differently is because each one of you touched the different part of the elephant. So, actually the elephant has all the features you mentioned.”

This resolves the conflict, and is used to illustrate the principle of living in harmony with people who have different belief systems, and that truth can be stated in different ways.

So there you have it everyone since the beginning of time defends their religion and will fight to the death if their religion is challenged, but this very simple fable shows how you can be different and still reach harmony.

QUOTE: “There is a saying that different religions are like blind men trying to describe an elephant.”

THINGS YOU MAY NOT KNOW:Look at You! Along with dolphins, apes, and humans, elephants are among the only animals known to recognize their reflections in a mirror. ~source: Scientific American online

THINGS YOU MAY WANT TO SAVE: Elephants! Unless we act quickly we are losing one of the greatest species on this earth at warp speed. Poachers still illegally kill these magnificent animals for their ivory… farmers, homesteaders and loggers are burn slashing their natural habitat at an alarming rate. What can you do? Get involved by volunteering with one of the many agencies to save the elephant or go to your checkbook and write a check! Extinction is forever!

ZENTRAVELER SAYS: How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time!

From here to Infinity is a relatively short ride! The next leg takes eons and eons as you fly through the Barycentric Dynamical Time Zone!

Follow the Zentraveler Blog often for Travel, Health and Zen-like stories and such. Where else can you get a three in one blog for the price of free?

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Zentraveler arrives in fishing village Port Barton, Palawan!

Port Barton

Leaving El Cido we cherished our time spent there and looked back as we roared off toward Roxas in a bus type mini-van where we changed into a Jeepney to cross over the dirt roads and over the scenic terrain to the fishing town of Port Barton… located on a sheltered bay along Palawan’s west coast. There are about ten guest houses, several restaurants and places to get cold beer and a few small stores selling the basics. You can walk everywhere throughout the village and select fresh fruits and purchase fresh fish from the locals for your lunch and dinner.

Arriving late afternoon we proceeded directly to the Bamboo Hut and learned they were filled so I took off on foot exploring the area and found a great place to stay. We found a cottage right on the beach for 600 pesos. Ideally situated Port Barton is the kind of place you dream about. A great beach escape with absolutely nothing to do but enjoy the palm trees and quiet lifestyle. However, you are only minutes from great snorkeling destinations… and Island Hopping is as good as it gets. One good side trip is to visit Paradise Island which has several reefs with some beautiful fan corals.

You simply make arrangements with the locals and tell them what you would like to do such as nature watching, snorkeling, diving, visiting a waterfall, or relaxing on a private beach with a lunch prepared by the boat staff.

After checking into Elsa’s cottage we made arrangements with the owner to take her sisters pumpboat for a day of island hopping. I invited the owner to come along and at about eight am she came with a parade of food fit for a king. We loaded into the pumpboat and headed toward one of the local islands named Exotic Island with a cut directly into the sea between islands. The water was crystal clear blue and excellent for swimming , snorkeling, or just hanging out.

Grilled Lapu Lapu

The boat crew asked if we wanted fresh fish for lunch and we gave 130 pesos to the captain. Twenty minutes later he returned with three bright, fresh, lapu-lapu fish, which is the Philippine name for grouper. One lapu lapu was a golden color… absolutely beautiful specimen of the fishes in the area. While we relaxed at the beach they prepared the lunch which included watermelon, homemade garlic potatoes, cucumber salad, fresh mango and grilled fish.

Just Hanging Out at the Beach

We then headed out to another island and proceeded up the island, where we met the caretaker of the falls named Bigaho Falls and gave him a donation to keep up the walks and keep it clean. He followed us telling us interesting stories about the area and dove off the highest rock into the pool below. We enjoyed the cool water and spent time swimming and sliding down the waterfall… as if it was a water-park tourist attraction. The Bigaho waterfall is approximately 20 minutes by boat from Port Barton and a one km walk to the water pool below the cascading picturesque waterfall… and certainly makes a great outing for lunch and cooling off. Be sure to take your camera!

Fun on Bigaho Waterfall

From there we went to another island and just enjoyed the ambiance of a great day with great people. We then returned to our seaside cottage, where we watched a series of different colored skies and a magnificent sunset, We turned in early as we made arrangements to go by local pumpboat to Sabang, where the famous underground river is located. The normal travel time by water can vary according to whether they stop for lunch or if the seas are rough. The couple living next to us in our seaside cottage from France came in late in the afternoon and were completely drenched. It is recommended to have either a waterproof sea bag or wrap all of your valuables in waterproof plastic. It took them approx 5 hours coming from Sabang to Port Walton! The normal travel time by boat is approximately three hours and it is best to leave early in the morning before the waves increase in size and intensity.

Local Made Native Boat

We boarded our pumpoat at 4 am in the morning and slipped out silently as we made our way in the night… without a light I might add. As the sun came up we moved along so effortlessly. Our Captain steered the boat thorough various gorges which anyone without local knowedge could have dead-ended, hit a rock or ran aground in the shallows. We were amazed at their navigational skills and pleased to spend quality time on a new adventure. Feeling as if we were royalty… we could see pods of bait-fish spraying the water in the distance and dolphins racing alongside the boat showing off their acrobatics.

Island Hopping Pumpboat

We arrived in near record time…only two and one half hours and had the entire trip to ourselves. We spotted only two or three fisherman in their boats off in the distance. Upon docking at the busy port of Sabang we bought fish breakfast for the boat crew and thanked them for such a scenic and safe private boat trip. They finished their breakfast and said goodby as they were heading back to Port Barton before the seas would get too rough and make it difficult to travel.

So there you have it! Port Barton is an excellent destination just three hours by bus and jeepney from Puerto Princesca and a great jumping off point either going to El Nido (which you can also go by pumpboat approximately five hours or go by private van or jeepney, and just three hours by pumpboat to Sabang… and then another hour to Puerto Princesca by jeepney or visa versa. If you want a quaint fishing town very much the same for hundreds of years with very little hustle and bustle… then Port Barton should definitely be included on your travel list to the providence of Palawan….the last frontier!

Bigaho Waterfall

QUOTE:“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain

THINGS YOU MAY NOT KNOW:The World Wide Web was invented in 1990 by Tim Berners-Lee
as a tool to link scientific research. It was not widely available to the public until the mid-1990’s.

THINGS YOU MAY WANT TO SAVE: Bonus travel miles…your just a computer keyboard away from your next trip!

ZENTRAVELER SAYS: Island fever may be incurable but look at the upside…. I still have over 7000 more islands to travel just in the Philippines… then there is Borneo, Malaysia, and the list goes on and on!

From here to Infinity is a relatively short ride! The next leg takes eons and eons as you fly through the Barycentric Dynamical Time Zone!

Follow the Zentraveler Blog often for Travel, Health and Zen-like stories and such. Where else can you get a three in one blog for the price of free?


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