Five years ago, I decided to settle and work in a local high school here in Puerto Princesa City. The city is located in the mid-section of the sword-shaped Palawan province and is 306 nautical miles away from Manila. The city is lush and verdant. It is most of the time quiet and peaceful.
At my arrival in the island in 2006, I wrote:
“The then unconceivable island of Palawan to my mind suddenly appeared before my very eyes. As the ferry approached the dock after 6, the island became more visible and pleasantly appearing before the window of my soul.
I could see tiny vancas afloat the waters surrounding the port. There were also small nipa huts sporadically scattered along the shores.
The city was generally peaceful and calm, far the overt mixture of pollution in the Metro. The honking horn of the ferry I was in seemed to wake up the city, calling its people to welcome her.”
Just gone out of college, I chanced upon the place through a close friend’s invite. He and his group was putting up a summer camp and I was asked to observe, to teach the kids about government systems, and to help put up the youth organization he leads, which was then known as PowerYouth and is now known as Champion Youth Philippine. Fortunately, I ended up in a work that I came to love and later on discovered as my passion.
So anyway, to cut the long story short, I am now teaching in this city in a school named LifeCollege. I’m going to tell more about the school some other time, but for now I’d like to share that the city where I am in right now aptly fits my wiring—suburban, I get a doze of fresh air when I needed, while I am still in touch with the world.
Today, the city has become one of the favorite tourist destinations in the Philippines. It even claims to be the “Ecotourism Capital of the Philippines.” Thanks to the Puerto Princesa Underground River, which placed not only the city but the province and the country as well to the world map. Its bid to the New7Wonders of Nature placed the city into a strategic position for tourists around the world to see. According to that website,
The Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park is located about 50 km north of the city of Puerto Princesa, Palawan, Philippines. It features a limestone karst mountain landscape with an 8.2 km. navigable underground river…… [It] is reputed to be the world’s longest.
Recently, the city was also declared a zero-carbon (or carbon-neutral or carbon negative) city, meaning it produces more clean air than the carbons emitted by the population and the industries combined. According to a Philippine Information Agency press release, the Puerto Princesa is the first city in the country and in Southeast Asia to be declared as carbon-neutral using the international guidelines set by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
Most of all, I just simply love the place because of the community I have here. It is free, authentic, and purpose-driven. The reason why I am teaching is primarily because I stayed here. If not, I could not be doing this and I would have probably not discovered that I was wired to become a teacher, a mentor, and a lifecoach all rolled into one.
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