Sunday, August 30, 2009

Butterfly Garden and the City Baywalk – Palawan Chronicles Part 6


Puerto Princesa is a city desperately balancing the onslaught of commercialization with the preservation of its clean-and-green status. The scale tips towards the latter, but I foresee a much different metropolis (if you can call it that) in the next 10 years. Modernization beckons.

After visiting Palawan Museum (see previous post), I was taken to the City Baywalk. The new park has generous space for strolling and biking. I was surprised to find the beautiful sprawl of the new city Baywalk, located just beside the port area. There are seahorse-shaped waiting sheds. But there’s hardly any store to buy your drinks from although some ambulant vendors roam around. The stretch of the sea wall provides a perfect place to sit back and observe the sail boats parked nearby.

Unlike Manila’s Roxas Boulevard, the bay side is a safe and refreshing place to unwind. The still-blue waters that lap against the walls sparkle. You can sit back, enjoy the mild sun and feel the fresh sea breeze. An afternoon visit offers very few people milling around, but in the evening, the place transforms into a haven for lovers and friends lazily hanging around (unless it rains). This is obviously a welcome addition to the city’s limited hang-out areas.

I wanted to see the Baywalk at night so after my dinner at the superb Ka Lui’s, I took the tricycle (PhP10) to check it out. The multiple lighting provided a more dramatic effect, but since it was drizzling, there were very few people. It’s easy to hail a ride from the trikes that wait by the entrance of the park. Usual trike fare from and to the city center is PhP7 to 8, but usually becomes PhP10 ($0.14-0.20) at night, and is roughly a 7-minute ride.

Light peacocks and bright lanterns line the Baywalk.

Colorful Fish Art as center piece.

Some of the cleanest, bluest Baywalk waters...

Seahorse sheds...

Can get muddy when it rains, but they are still growing the grass...

Gets bright, romantic and festive at night.


There are few butterflies to enjoy at the Butterfly Garden, located some 20 minutes south from the city center. Your ride will park in front of a small cottage, then you purchase your PhP25 ($0.51) entrance ticket from a counter. You are led to a viewing room to the left of the counter, where you are treated to a short introductory film showing (in English) that documents general knowledge on butterflies, their life cycles, etc. This is a film that probably hasn't been updated in the last 10 years or so. From there, the door in front opens, and you are ushered into a garden full of shrubs. There is a mish-mash of closely planted vegetation. There is a small trail to follow, including a short cave-like section. It won’t take you more than 15 minutes to explore, and for my 2nd visit, I was as disappointed as my 1st time a few years ago. 

I saw 3 butterflies flying around during my short visit. Maybe if I stayed for an hour, I can spot some magical variety? LOL. Maybe not. The establishment seems contented with the status quo, and there is no evidence of acquisition of more specimen, nor of any upgrades to their randomly designed garden. My aunt has a more beautiful garden and I didn’t have to pay any entrance fee to enjoy it. Before you leave the shrubbery, you exit through a souvenir room where shirts, some handicrafts and local wines are being sold. Having said that, I can’t highly recommend this place, unless you’re bored out of your wits and seeing a mediocre place would suffice.

This is the Eye in the Sky.

There's one...

Two... oppps, the 3rd one flew away. LOL

An almost stagnant lagoon, with water being provided by that faucet. Dangerous place for the endemic malaria-carrying mosquito.

Wine souvenirs, anyone?

Up next: A close look at the Palawan Museum

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