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Puerto Princesa

PHILIPPINES | Friday, 31 October 2014 | Views [357]

Looking for jail birds, Iwahig Prison,  Puerto Princesa

Looking for jail birds, Iwahig Prison, Puerto Princesa

READERS, BE WARNED!  IF YOU AREN'T INTERESTED in birds and birding feel free to skip ahead until December at the earliest.  We are in the Philippines, about as different from clean, quiet, affluent and courteous Japan as can be.  We haven't come here to learn about the culture or history — only to look for the more than 150 endemic bird species.  And we have already learned that it won't be easy.

We had no plans to spend time in Manila and flew out the next day to Puerto Princesa on the island of Palawan.  It may be the least visit island by tourists and we are beginning to understand whay.  Our "villa" at Dolce Vita hotel is wonderful; spacious, with WiFi, satellite channels in English, breakfast and affordable, again very different from Japan.  However, little else has gone in our favor.  None of the local airlines has any baggage allowance.  In effect, if you have luggage you end up paying for an extra ticket.  Just the cost of doing business we convinced ourselves.  Ground transportation is via "tricycles," a covered side-car bolted to a noisey Honda motorbike.  It's cheap, once you figure out how to negotiate.

cuc

    Philippine hawk cuckoo

But no one knows diddly about birding here on Palawan.  So we spent a rainy morning in the mangroves near the aptly named BM Beach, sweating and dripping, finally finding eight new species.  OK.  Day two was near the Irawan (or Irawhig) Prison and Penal Farm.  There is supposedly a good birding trail on the property but no one informed us we needed to apply for a permit so we worked around the perimiter.  Live and learn.  Four new species and some nice photos.  And no rain.  Today, our last was back at BM under bright sunshine.  A nice morning with several more new species.

 

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