A group of outdoor enthusiasts held their first-ever meet and greet at Basyaw Recreational Park in Barangay Bacungan, Puerto Princesa City, Saturday afternoon.
Around 50 to 60 people joined the outdoor camping meet and greet of the Overland Offroad Outdoor Palawan including kids, young professionals, and business people who want to just take a break and enjoy the weekend together with their families and friends.
It only started with a group of 3 friends with their families, who love to spend their weekends nature-tripping and exploring the island of Palawan. It was their way of taking a break from the pandemic and just want their kids to learn how to explore and enjoy the environment and unplug them from the gadgets.
The group saw that there are other Palawenyos who share the same passion for outdoor camps, off-roading, surfing, fishing, hiking, and kiteboarding. This gave them the idea to open and plan the first-ever meet and greet where they were overwhelmed with the positive response from other enthusiasts.
Dr. Audie Cipriano, one of the organizers, said that their main goal is to share their passion with other people and do an outreach program for the community and see other places in Palawan to help the government introduce it for the tourism industry.
“We set up this event to see who are interested and most probably there would be other events like this in the future. We just wanted to know how people would react to this community. Our goal mainly is to share the experience, have a common interest. Our main goal is also to do an outreach program, not just for the community and to see other places and market them,” Cipriano said.
“Everybody can join here, they can contact the [Facebook] page Overland Offroad Outdoor Palawan or they can contact Overland Palawan. This community is trying to build up or organizing officers for this club and everybody is welcome here,” added Cipriano.
Rio Sauro Mendoza, an event organizer and also one of the many first-timers who attended the event said that his expectations were exceeded thinking that it will just be a simple overnight camp.
“’Yong ini-expect lang namin, since first time namin mag-join dito, camping lang talaga. But too much ‘yong expectation naming noong dumating dito kasi meet and greet talaga. Nagkaroon kami ng mga bagong kaibigan. And if ever na magkaroon ulit ng [ganitong event magjo-join kami ulit for more experience pa din and siyempre para ma-discover pa natin ‘yong ibang parts na hindi pa nadi-discover dito sa Palawan,” said Mendoza who learned about the event through social media.
Basyaw Recreational Park features amenities ideal for campers and outdoor adventure lovers. It has a river in the middle wherein you could take a dip in its cold crystal water. You also have an option to ride the waves of the ocean in front of the camping site or just chill and watch the sunset on the west coast.
After dinner, the group gathered in the middle of the campsite to meet the other campers. Live acoustic music serenaded them and some campers also jammed in. A raffle draw was also done where organizers gave away camping stuff to the winners.
Considering their first meet and greet a success, the group is expecting more outdoor enthusiasts to join in the next coming months and they are planning for a once a month camp in different locations in the province. And even during the pandemic, the group makes sure that they follow health protocols and will also make sure to secure a permit from the local IMT.