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Lessons Learned Inside A World Wonder

Otherwise known as "FHM Goes to Palawan!"
by Gelo Gonzales | Jan 21, 2012
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The reasons why people travel can be as varied as the number of islands that the Philippines famously lays claim to. The most obvious: To get away from it all. The most obnoxious: to be able to upload pictures on Facebook and go “Hey! Look where I’ve been to!” The most melodramatic: to “find” oneself. The most pertinent: What if I die tomorrow? 

This trip is predicated on that last one: the world coming to an end. Go check out a world wonder, we listed down on our bucket list.

How convenient is it then that such a spot on our very shores has just been named as one: the Puerto Prinsesa Underground River. We’re sure you’ve heard of it; there was a massive campaign months ago urging everyone to vote for it, as if the whole thing were some gaudy beauty pageant.

So we packed our bags. We flew over, along with tempered expectations regarding the place. “Ok so it’s a huge cave, with weird formations jutting out from all angles, and icky, little bats. Is it worthy of being a world wonder?” The short of it is yes, it is one of a kind—magnificent, rewarding, and an ideal counter-argument to the saying that it’s the trip, not the destination.

Our sincerest apologies for being anticlimactic.

Let us rewind a little. Every traveler would tell you this: there are lessons to be learned in every trip. And this one proves to be no exception.

Excitement washed over us the night prior to our flight. To quell some of it, we decided a night cap was in order. One beer to help us sleep, and prepare for our 8 am departure. There is a myth called the myth of the one beer—a myth we weren’t able to break because soon enough, we were on our 5th or 6th bottle. As we downed the last, only a few hours remained before check-in. Realizing that, we headed home, crammed our bags with travel necessities, and with little shut-eye in between, shuffled our way through flight procedures.

The first lesson: Sleep well. We arrived safely, but because of our unfortunate condition, we were no better than sleep walkers. When traveling, they tell you to soak it all up, the sights, the sounds, the soul of whatever place it is you’re visiting. In such a state, that is much more of a challenge.

We managed though thanks in part to caffeine. But if coffee’s not your cup of tea, there’s another solution to pulling off a no-sleep travel affair: bring along high-energy friends. The ones who draw energy from god knows where. Or simply, the ones you enjoy hanging with. To that end, this is the second lesson: Who you’re with always counts. As for yourself, take our advice, and don’t be no buzz-killin’ scrooge of a travel mate.

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