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Palawan Mangrove Forest

If the Underground River is Michael Jackson, then this Mangrove Forest must be Jermaine, decidedly less popular though just as pretty.

Personally, I enjoyed this tour immensely. This ecosystem, to me, had a surreal, otherworldly quality that felt mysterious and primeval. Deafeningly silent, it was teeming with life, maybe even death. The stillness made me feel as if I were drifting through some alien landscape where at any moment some giant tentacle would explode from the water and pull me down to a soupy, tangled grave. The fact that you couldn’t see beyond the surface of the water only added to the mystery. Crocodiles, after all, have been known to feed here.

A staunch animal lover, I relished observing all the wildlife in their natural habitat. On a single tour, we spotted several venomous mangrove snakes, a reticulated python, a water monitor, and a giant hive of killer bees dangling precariously from twiglike branches some 30-40 feet up above the water. Our tour guide told us that they don’t dare pass under it on rainy days for fear of it falling into their boat and releasing a swarm of stinging, certain death. Clear skies notwithstanding, crossing under it just became that much more thrilling. 😈

Mangrove paddle boat tour sign

The voice of the forest, Lady Mangrove. Aside from giving us a splendid, well-informed tour, she also sang us an OPM tune of her own composition that expressed her sincere love for this magical ecosystem.
Popular Lady Mangrove singing

The beauty of this alien landscape was enchanting.
Enchanting mangrove landscape

That coiled black thing with the yellow stripes is a Palawan mangrove snake (Boiga Dendrophila). A mildly venomous colubrid, it grows to an adult length of around 6-8 feet.
Palawan mangrove snake

Here’s a close-up of a beautiful, uncoiled specimen.
Close up shot of Boiga Dendrophila

Can you spot the mangrove snake in this picture? 🙂
Mangrove snake coiled around a mangrove tree

Lush mangrove forest

A juvenile Varanus Salvator chillin’ like a villain on a tree branch.
Juvenile Varanus Salvator resting on tree

Looks like the back of my pc. 😆
Root system of mangrove forest

The forest looked so alien to me that I half-expected to hear predator growling sounds reverberate from the forest at any moment. 😆
Quiet and beautiful mangrove sanctuary

Nestled within dead mangrove roots are tasty “wood worms” known locally as tamilok. We weren’t lucky enough to have the Tamilok King as our boatman, but tourists who do get treated to a taste of freshly harvested tamilok, straight from the forest. Fortunately, we got a taste of this exotic delicacy on another occasion, the pictures of which you can view HERE.
Tangled mangrove roots

At the end of the tour, Lady Mangrove gave us mangrove seeds to plant before departing. Here’s Ren doing her part in preserving and propagating life in this otherworldly forest.
Happy tourist planting mangrove seedlings

If you’ve ever doubted that a voiceless entity such as a forest can’t speak, think again.

Towards the end of the river, before we had to turn back, a giant mangrove tree had apparently fallen on its own some time ago. Like a police barricade, it fell from one side of the river to the other, effectively blocking any boat from getting through and shortening the tour by several boat lengths. Wisely, Lady Mangrove and her crew paid heed to this warning and kept the tree where it fell. If that isn’t mother nature’s way of telling you to “turn back now or feel my wrath”, then I don’t know what is. 😉

More on Palawan

Underground River, Puerto Princesa, Palawan
Sheridan Beach Resort and Spa
Tamilok, the World’s Longest Oyster
The Edge of the World
Kayangan Lake, Coron, Palawan
Ay kay Layo ng Lamayo!

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Richard Scow

Monday 5th of July 2021

I love it! Makes me feel I want to go there ASAP. Thank you for sharing this wonderful and amazing pictures not to mention the story behind this beautiful place PALAWAN, PHILIPPINES.

JB & Renée

Friday 9th of July 2021

Happy you appreciated it Richard!