Ursula Island Game Refuge and Bird Sanctuary in Palawan - Philippines
Location and How to Get There
Ursula Island is Palawans bird haven and this is found in Rio, Tuba Village in Bataraza. Bataraza is less than 250 kilometers from the capital city, Puerto Princesa. Ursula Island Game Refuge and Bird Sanctuary is accessible from Puerto Princesa and all it takes is a jeepney ride of about 6 hours. Upon arrival at Bataraza, because Ursula Island is one of the smaller islands in Palawan, a pumpboat ride can be taken to get there. The pumpboat ride is an additional 2 hours from Bataraza. It sounds like a very long distance to travel to get to Ursula Island Game Refuge and Bird Sanctuary but it is 100% certain that what one will see there is worth the trip and the effort.
What to See There
Declared a bird sanctuary, the best time to go to Ursula Island Game Refuge and Bird Sanctuary is 2 hours before the sun sets since this is the time that almost all species of birds that can be found in the Philippines culminate after a tiring day of flight. Most of these birds are endangered species and because their numbers are dwindling, the Ursula Island Game Refuge and Bird Sanctuary was established to help these creatures once again increase in numbers as well as to provide them a place where they will be safe from hunters looking to either eat them or sell them for a measly amount. Ursula Island Game Refuge and Bird Sanctuary has a beach and this is like the other beaches in Palawan with fine white sand and turquoise sea where one can go swimming while waiting for the birds to gather before sunset. The beach is not as developed though as the other ones in Palawan where the 5-star resorts are but it is very clean.
Palawan has always been known not just for its beaches but also for its forests. The island still has virgin forests although quite a bit has been lost due to several factors. The Pista y Kagubatan is attempting to solve this problem and so far it has been successful. Since tourism started to pick up on this island, many species of birds became endangered as they were forcibly taken from their natural habitat to be sold for as little as Php 50 to those who want to keep them as pets. Now, there are several laws in place that prohibit such acts and the DENR has placed Palawan under its close watch to prevent the total loss of these species.
The total amount that one can expect to spend for a day trip to Ursula Island Game Refuge and Bird Sanctuary is about Php 1,500 inclusive of all public transportations.