Saturday, November 23, 2013

Crocodile Farm of Palawan

Palawan is a sanctuary to many wildlife that cannot be found elsewhere in the Philippines.  There is a special place called the Crocodile Farm in Puerto Princesa City where both saltwater and fresh water crocodiles are being cared for.  It is open for public viewing where the crocodiles are kept in their own special containment.

The start of viewing them is in small containers starting from baby crocs.  The aisle in the middle divides the several containers where the left side is for fresh water crocodiles and the right side contains the saltwater crocodiles.  The height of the containers is about 4 feet high.  Viewers are discouraged from taking photos with flash on because this can agitate even the baby crocodiles that can cause them to jump out of their cage.

As one progresses to the farther containers, the crocodiles contained in them are older and bigger than those in the first containers.  There are fewer of them in each container because they are larger.

Going to the larger containers that are actually large concrete pits are the adult crocodile.  A walkway above these pits is where the visitors walk to see them from above.  Again from the first pit going to the last pit, the crocodiles in them are larger than the previous pit.  The last two pits contain the largest crocodiles who are solo in their own pits.  The largest in captivity in the farm is one meter shorter than "Lolong", the biggest crocodile on record that was captured captured in the Philippines.

The largest one is a bit larger than the crocodile skeleton enclosed in a glass cage at the entrance to the crocodile tour lobby.  Don't miss to check out the Crocodile Farm of Palawan when you're there.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Typhoon preparedness

People can say that preparedness is something that can be a hedge against a bad situation or incident.  There are many things that we can be prepared for but there's no way to tell what the forces of nature can do.  The Philippines has experienced heavy rainfall from monsoon rains brought about by weak typhoons.  Many were caught unaware of the floods that happened.

The case of super typhoon Yolanda is something that nobody can prepare for except probably evacuate to a place where it will not pass through.  Weathermen say it was not proper to call the storm surge a tsunami.  They failed though to stress that the storm surge will be equal to a tsunami for a super typhoon like this.

The people living in the places where the typhoon passed through were probably prepared for strong winds and rain.  No one told them of what happened around a hundred years ago when their location was hit by a typhoon as strong as Yolanda.  No one had any idea how nature will take its toll.

Would a government call for donations a week or a few days before the storm hit land?  Who would donate something when no one is in need, yet.  Will planes and boats be put on stand-by for rescue and delivery of relief goods?  If ever such a preparation was made and the typhoon suddenly veered or even dissipated, critics now will be laughing at the government for a stupid move, right?

So there is no point in saying there was no preparation.  Even the staunchest critics of government are not even prepared for anything that can happen to their person.  What happened in the areas that the typhoon ravaged is what is referred to as fortuitous event.  Can anyone say what those people should have done?  Can relief operations be conducted at the snap of the fingers?

Read this:

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Crabs of Iwahig Penal Farms

Crabs sizes can be different from place to place.  How fat they would be will also be another thing.  45 years ago when we were in Palawan, I was amazed on the size of the crabs that were sold to us at the Iwahig Penal Farms.  They were really big in size compared to those what were sold in the market in Baguio City.

The crabs then, if I remember right, were caught in the rice fields
where there were a lot of coconut trees around the rice fields.  As I was just around 13 years old then, I lacked the curiosity of knowing if the crabs were fat or not.  What was important to me was that they were yummy and satisfied my palate.

Crabs - Iwahig Penal Farms
Going back this October 2013, I asked people around Iwahig if there were still a lot of crabs caught in the rice fields.  According to them, there are not as many now as it was way back in 1968.  I thought to myself that if ever there were any, they would probably cost much that it will not be affordable to have them.

Opened Crabs - Iwahig Penal Farms
A good friend though who is from the Iwahig Penal Farms, said he would sponsor lunch for us because we have been away for so long. The lunch came on the day before our departure. The crabs he had prepared were not as big as they used to be but they were really bulging with fat. My daughter feasted on two of the fattest crabs that were specially picked for her by my friends.

Don't forget to have a taste of the Iwahig crabs if you get to visit the place.

Super Typhoon Yolanda's destruction

As far as I can remember, there have been other destructive typhoons that have hit the Philippines of all the times I have been aware of natural calamities.  We were also a victim of one caused by nature which was the July 16, 1990 7.4 earthquake.  There was widespread destruction in our City of Baguio and neighboring provinces.  There was still no internet and advanced cellular phones during those times.

The destruction that super typhoon Yolanda has brought upon in the Visayas region, especially in Leyte, was very devastating.  It wiped out entire towns that were never done by other natural forces of nature.  It wrought havoc that made it impossible to estimate loss of property and lives immediately after a few days.

Super typhoon Yolanda was almost like a giant tornado that was 600 kilometers across compared to only around 150 meters for that of a tornado.  It also traveled across for days unlike a tornado that would dissipate after a few miles.  It was a typhoon and tornado at the same time rolled into one destructive force of nature,

Comparative photos of locations completely destroyed by typhoon Yolanda can be seen at

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Palawan after 45 years

It seemed to have been just a dream to see Puerto Princesa City, Palawan after 45 years.  I studied there at Holy Trinity College (HTC) now Holy Trinity University (HTU) when I was in the second year and half of third year in high school.  That was from 1968 to 1969.

In those years, we lived inside the mining compound of Palawan Quicksilver Mines, Inc. (PQMI) that was around 14 kilometers from the heart of Puerto Princesa.  The roads then were dirt roads with some gravel.  They were lined on both sides with thick vegetation, shrubs and trees.  On our way to school and back, we often encountered monitor lizards and roadrunner birds crossing the streets.

Now, all major roads in the city are concreted and the highway that leads to the Underground River some two hours of road travel from the city are all concrete.  The distance will be something like 120 kilometers as we traveled at an average speed of 60 KPH.

The areas within 15 kilometers radius from the center of Puerto Princesa has been developed and much of the trees and plants were saved.  The existence of many trees and dense vegetation makes the weather cooler than any other place in the Philippines that is near the seas.