Palawan Chronicles: Hanging On

Apulit Island may be small, but three days are still not enough to fully enjoy this paradise.  But before we finally depart, there’s just one more “crazy” thing I wanted to do…

Soaking in the view from our balcony one last time…

This is part of a series

We were supposed to start our last day early with a sunrise cruise, but alas, cloudy skies greeted us.  I was hoping to take photos of the island again, this time with my zoom lens, but the weather wasn’t cooperative.  Oh well, more time to sleep I guess!

A cloudy sky greeted us on our last morning in the island.

Sometime later, we were out of our room for our last adventure on the island—rappelling.  For some reason, I felt a little anxious!  Thankfully, I did rock climbing the day before so somehow, I had some practice.

Heading out for some rappelling!
Safety first: all gears checked, ready to go!

The Cross on top of one of the peaks of Apulit Island not only serves as a landmark—it is also where we’ll be rappelling from.  And of course, before we could go down, we have to get up there!   Our trek to the Cross began from the enclosed trail near where our cottage is located.  But before anything else, we had our safety orientation under the prominent balete tree of the island.  The same tree where we started our trekking and where we assembled for the rock climbing.  This orientation included setting our harnesses and gears, how to use them, securing ourselves while we climb, etc.  Afterwards, we were on our way.

Our climb started around here, near our neighboring cottages.
Started our climb… the area where the Cross is located is where we’d rappel from.

I really had no problems in navigating the steep route.  The metal cables where we clip ourselves, along with our helmet and gloves, gave me the confidence that we are safe in case of any slip ups.  The rocks were really jagged going up and if we weren’t properly suited, we would’ve had a lot of wounds on our hands.  Our helmets also prevented a few bumps on our heads.  And once we reached the top, we had a breathtaking view of the entire island.

At the top, looking at one of the ends of the island.
Sitting down, admiring the view of the seemingly endless sea…
There’s the water cottages, pool, beach, floating islands, etc.
That’s the Cross up close… our co-rappellers (if there’s such a word) waiting for their turn as I wait for my turn.

It may not look like it’s that high from afar, but it’s the total opposite when you’re there.  It seemed like you’re on top of a building as you see everything below you become so small.  I don’t really know how high we were, but it certainly is a long way down there!  Just imagining falling from this height gave me the chills—and I guess that’s what kept me anxious despite being secured on our harness.

It’s a long way down!

Since we’re already up there and there are people waiting their turn after me, there’s nowhere else to go but down!  I wasn’t the first so I had some preview on what to do, and when it was my turn I just had to listen to the instructions of our guide on how to navigate the rocks.  It’s not a flat surface so you have to mind where you’re heading or else you might get your foot stuck on some crack, or something like that.

About midway through… I’m hanging!

One of the things I didn’t know until I got there was that before halfway down, you’d be dangling freely—you’d be hanging too far away from the wall to reach it with your foot and so you can’t really control where you’d face.  And as I reached this point, I did spin around a bit as I descend—a bit unsettling especially when I faced away from the wall as I can’t see if I’d hit it, and I can’t do much about it.

Almost there… just hanging around…

Eventually, I reached the bottom platform.  I really don’t know why I got so nervous in doing this, but I’m so glad I did despite being so!  I consider this to be the most “extreme” activity I did on the island.

Glad to say that I was able to rappel down that!
Not so intimidating from this distance.

Now that I got that out of the way, it’s time to have some good breakfast.  I can’t describe how good it feels to eat after that activity.  I was expecting an uneventful breakfast, but it was made memorable when one of the resident lizards decided to hang out near where I was sitting and quickly ran off when one of the kids noticed it and tried to approach it.

I love every meal I had here!
This little fella almost stepped on my foot as it ran, giving me an adrenaline rush!
And as I went back to our cottage, I saw some of our morning “guests.”
One of the most common visitors near the water cottages are baby sharks.
I didn’t ask where its mom hangs out.

I stayed around the beach afterwards, just savoring the sights for the last time.  No stress, no deadlines, no problems, and with nature at its finest—if I could slow down the ticking of time to prolong my stay…

The beach volleyball area with the bar seen on the left.
They comb the beach daily so every morning it looks pristine like this.
A section of the beach.
See how clear the water is?
That’s where we had all the buffets.
Of course I need to have a selfie with this beauty!
Take nothing but pictures.
Leave nothing but footprints.
Kill nothing but time.
(I was actually on my way back to our cottage to change into my swimsuit)

And so, after a hearty breakfast and changing into my swimsuit, I’m back again at the beach to enjoy the clear waters.  We played around with the “toys” that are hanging around and did kayaking around the island.  Maximize what little time we have left.

Look, their vest match my trunks!
I did not just get tanned, I got burned!
Took some selfies on these floating islands that we passed by as we kayaked around…
I don’t have a good balance so I checked if I can stand on this paddle board…
Good thing that I can and can paddle for some distance, but I’d rather just kayak.

Eventually, we ended back in the pool to “rinse.”  This would be our last activity before we prepare for check out.

Enjoying the infinity pool one last time…
I was able to squeeze in a few laps to burn some of the calories I gained from all the buffets I feasted on these past three days…

On our way back, I took one last look (and some photos) of the sceneries I’ve grown to love these past few days.  And before we go to our cottage, we had to make one last stop at the Grotto which I’ve not taken any decent photo of up until this day.

The Grotto where masses were also held.
I’m sure this would make for some good Instagram-worthy photos.
Never got any selfies here though.
Back to our cottage for the last time.

If you’ve spent the last few days in paradise, leaving is difficult.  But as they say, all good things eventually come to an end.  And this epic summer getaway is nearing just that.  Not much else to do but prepare ourselves, pack our things, and savor the last moments we have.

Packed our bags, ready to go!
One last shot with our home for the last few days.

As you might have guessed, our last activity on the island is the same as our first: buffet!  While our check out is being processed and before our boat back to Taytay pick us up, we had our final meal in Apulit Island.  As always, there’s a good selection of food including Filipino delicacies.

Our lunchtime view
I wonder what’s for lunch…
Of course I would not miss the chance to try the island’s local coconut before we leave.

And then came the inevitable, it’s time to leave…

Taking one last look at this beauty which I’ll surely miss…
Heading back to Serena Pier where our boat off the island awaits…
Thank you very much for a memorable summer, Apulit Island!

My three days at Apulit Island is nothing short of epic!  I’m lost for words to describe it and it definitely far exceeded all my expectations!  I’ve done, seen, and felt more things on this small island in three days than probably the entire year prior to this trip.  Now that this unforgettable trip is over, I look forward to my return in the future.  Next time, it should definitely be longer!

360° view of the beach.
Courtesy eyeNAV Street Vision

Can you see what I wrote?

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