Wanted to share a YouTube video that came out today, shot at the coral sand islands of Honda Bay, Puerto Princesa, Palawan. I have had many day trips island-hopping to these tiny islands, celebrating family birthdays, anniversaries, guiding tourists, etc during my time in Palawan. Honda Bay is a easy 20-30 minute ride from the provincial capital of Puerto Princesa and the islands are reached in just 10-30 minutes from the mainland. Starfish island has lots of starfish along the beach and the mangrove is home to various herons and kingfishers and other birds (birds are not my strong side!).
One island, commonly called "Bat Island" is home to one of Palawan's largest populations of flying foxes, as is also featured in the video. Each night, as the sun is setting, the flying foxes come rolling in by the thousands, across the Puerto Princesa peninsula, on their way to their forest foraging sites in mainland Palawan. During fruiting season of the Bankal tree (Nauclea orientalis, Rubiaceae), these huge bats will circle the trees even in downtown Puerto Princesa, often just 2-4 meters above ones head, allowing a stunning up front experience right in the city!
The video also show the Palawan mainland and the gloomy sky over Mt. Clopatra's Needle, a really good place for many butterflies, like Trogonoptera trojana and the rare Papilio paradoxa melanostoma and Delias singhapura yusukei. This mountain is being prepared for future National Park status.
Do I miss that life? What do you think!?!? Working now on having it back, in that mainland area again, asap!
Earlier this year the Philippine island of Boracay - which won several international awards as one of the world's best beaches - was totally closed down by Executive order of the Philippine President. It had gotten to crowded, chaotic and some sewage led directly into the beaches where tourists were bathing! A lot of illegal and unlicensed establishments had been put up in not only legally restricted zones, but even on public forest lands. Now reopened, the island is operating according to all pertinent laws and new and organized infrastructure has been set up to deal with commercial and responsible tourism. Some of the negrito native Ati families that was forced out by development have been given land titles on the island. Single use plastics, like straws, cups, bottles, have been banned and electric vehicles will soon be operating the roads of this small island. Other touristic places around the Philippines are planned for similar overhauls. This just proves that commercial tourism can be done in a good, sustainable and decent manner and there is actually no real excuse for NOT doing it responsibly now and in the future. Ten thumbs up for sustainability and decency!