April 2017: #TeamPuertoPrincesa

My first blog entry for 2017! 

Ano na! NASAAN NA ANG SINGAPORE BLOG! That is a work in progress… Haha!

Before I start my actual blog, let me just give a warm shout out and super duper madaming thank you to Kuya Norman, Mika’s brother-in-law, for being super hospitable, extremely funny tour guide, photographer, taga-tawad sa mga bilihin and for driving us around Puerto Princesa. Kuya Norman made sure we visit as many spots as possible. Thankful kami na nandun si Kuya Norman kundi, nganga kami sa pagpunta sa mga gusto naming puntahan. Kaya Kuya Norman, if mababasa mo po ito, super thank you talaga! May God Bless you and your family more! Thank you for showing us around and for being extra extra funny! His best line was “Isipin niyo nalang animals sila!”

 Our PPS (Puerto Princesa) trip was extra special because of Kuya Norman!

We left Antipolo at 5AM as we were anticipating a Friday rush. We waited about 3 hours for a delayed flight – CebPac as usual – but we were able to catch up on things we want to do sa PPS so sige na nga!

Flight time! Borlog na sila kaagad di pa kami nakaka lipad!

Touchdown Puerto Princesa!

Selfie while waiting for the Go Hotel Shuttle Service.

We were already starving when we got to Go Hotels. Literal na gutom! Buti nalang dumating kaagad si Kuya Norman at dinala kami sa Balinsasayaw Restaurant! Bes, laps na!

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The restaurant was surrounded with trees, nipa huts, very much like your garden at home. Feels like eating in your own veranda.

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 Food!!!

We ordered Group Menu #2. There’s shrimp, squid, lumpia, cheesy tahong, crabs, soup, chicken bbq and shanghai rice. We ordered Balinsasayaw rice but was changed to shanghai rice because it was not available. Balinsasayaw rice was recommended by Kuya Norman pa naman. Refund please! Charrot! 

Can’t really say that the food was great but it was enough for the prize. I personally liked chicken bbq and the crabs. The rice was good for 6 persons btw and the serving was generous. They also served us with fruit platter with pineapple, watermelon and crazy sweet mangoes! This was the moment we fell in love with Puerto Princesa’s mangoes! 

TASTE: Just Right.  PRIZE: Affordable considering the food serving and the garden vibe. BUDGET: 400 to 450 pesos per head but they also have platter meals for more affordable options.

After the much deserved lunch… We are ready to conquer Puerto Princesa!

Sep took the lead on creating our itinerary for this trip so she and Kuya Norman were  picking where to go next and also Kuya Norman knew which spots were close to each other therefore we didn’t waste time on looking for our next destination. #Teamwork!

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First Stop is Rancho ni Mitra. It was privately owned by the Mitra family, a well known family in PPS and it is open for public. In here you can enjoy the view of PPS, can see the Honda Bay and feel the province vibe. May mga jackpot nga lang so ingat lang.

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Better visit in the late afternoon to enjoy cooler breeze. 

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Selfie muna si Inday at Dodong. Haha!

Rancho ni Mitra was few minutes away from Baker’s Hill. So let’s go!

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Ready your cameras as you have a whole hill waiting for your poses! This place is perfect for selfies, groufies and your tummies because the yummy Hopia is always available in the bakery!

There’s no entrance fee so mag-sawa ka sa pagpapapicture! The bakery serves a wide assortments of pastries, breads, sweet treats and the famous Hopia! My fave was Hopiang Baboy but there’s also, Mongo, Ube and those in vegetable or pork oil. The Hopia price ranges from 45.00 to 50.00 pesos per box while pastries and treats were from 50 to 350 pesos per pack or per bag. 

P.S. You better get yourselves a lot of these Hopia as I think these were the best pasalubong for your fam. They sell boxes so packing it would be easy.  Just make sure you have enough baggage allowance! Haha!

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LOVE AT BAKER’S HILL!

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Yas! Suggest you come here early in the morning so you can take even better photos then take your lunch at the restaurant inside too.

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#SweetNiIndayAtDodong

Before heading to our dinner, we went to the bay walk, it was a spin off of Roxas Blvd in Manila Bay. There’s restos, inuman tents, bands playing and of course, we can’t resist the mango shake!

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Dinner Time! Kinabuchs is one of the famous restaurants in PPS. The ambiance and vibe was taken from Caribbean Huts so there’s a bar, the tables and chairs were outside for those who likes to chill. But the main reason we went here was because of Tamilok, a famous local delicacy in Palawan. It is said to be the longest oysters. It does tastes like oysters and they are from the same family. It is found in the mangroves branches and YES, all of us had to try one.

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I don’t know if  you can tell but were already sleepy here. Haha! There’s a big screen behind the cars which plays NBA Games for the customers. Most were foreigners btw. 

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YUMMEH!

Lower right is the Tamilok! Ang daming nakaserve pero kaunti lang nakain namin. I do not like the taste rin. Ang slimey pero syempre kumain ako nandito na ako eh! Lowest left is the CROC SISIG! You definitely have to try this one! MESEREP!

That’s Kanin 04, Hagedorn’s recipe and their ribs were yummy too. Soft meat and savory sauce. We had to get soup too so we ordered pork sinigang, it was sour but perfect enough to forget the Tamilok after taste. Haha!

TASTE: Two thumbs up! Croc Sisig FTW!  PRIZE: Still affordable for 5 hungry full grown aliens like us. Hahaha!

One of the best highlight about this trip is going back to Go Hotels.  I am not extra picky with where I stay whilst I’m travelling as long as it clean, safe and is closer to where I wanna go, should be fine but Go Hotels is bringing something extra while still being affordable for tipid-travellers like me. Rooms have just-right space, clean sheets, working aircon with small TV which you won’t be using anyway since you’re probably dead tired from all the walking, clean bathroom – very important, towels are available, single use toiletries are available, the beds are comfortable plus you get two pillows each person! Will definitely recommend Go Hotels to other travellers.

Bonus Points: PPS Go Hotels is right beside Robinsons Malls so if you have any errands or forgot this and that, you can easily get it from the mall. Nice! My tip is to book a room way ahead of your flight schedule because that would mean even cheaper rates. We stayed for 3 days 2 nights but only paid 1,000 pesos per head – not bad right? You can also add an airport service. Make sure you book through their website cause that’s cheaper.


♦ PUERTO PRINCESA SUBTERRANEAN RIVER

NATIONAL PARK ♦

Unesco’s World Heritage Site |  New 7 Wonders Of Nature


 We were extra excited for our second day as we will experience the underground river! Yey!

We booked ahead with a 3B’s Travel and Tours (Anne – 0936 904 1749) and we just sent our names for the permits needed. We were not asked to deposit any payments to reserve that booking which I personally liked because nowadays, it is difficult to know whether travel agencies are legit enough but yes, 3B’s is certainly legit. I saw their office while we were on the way from aiport to Go Hotels. We were also able to book our tour on a discounted rate, we paid for 1,650 pesos per head from the original rate of 2,200 per head. Super nice deal! I made sure to contact them once we landed at the airport so we can also confirm our booking and know our pick up time.

Our pick up time was 7AM to 7:30AM at Go Hotels. We decided to take our breakfast from Kinamai Sa Puerto, a restaurant right at the entrance of Go Hotels because of the early pick up time. We also asked the desk personnel to call up our rooms at 5:30AM as we’re sure to hit the snooze button and miss our call time.

BREAKFAST

We ordered 2 sets of tocino and hotdog with egg plus coffee or juice. It costs us 180 pesos each breakfast set. Nothing special about this breakfast set, we just needed a boost for the ride of almost 2 hrs ride to Sabang Port and the boat ride to the underground river.

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We have arrived! The shuttle ride took roughly 2 hours so we were at Sabang Port around 9:30 AM.  Btw, the Sabang Port is the entry port to the underground river. It will take about 15 mins boat ride from Sabang Port to the entrance of the subterranean river national park!

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Since we booked a tour, our tour guide did all the “paper works” needed for us to take the boat and enter the underground river which means more time for us to roam around the port and take selfies! Haha!

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More mango shake please minus the rum though! Haha! I tell you the mangoes here are extra sweet compared to the ones we can get here in Manila so grab all the opportunity to munch on this sweet treat because you can’t take their mangoes as pasalubong. The Department of Agriculture doesn’t allow anyone to take fresh mangoes out of Palawan due to the Mango Pulp Weevil. It is a pest found in their harvest which if transported to different areas of the PH or internationally may affect their mangoes/other fruits too. The pest should be contained and controlled in Palawan alone. I was super sad to know about  this because if only I can send the sweet taste through my laptop to your palette then I would. I tell you, they have the best mangoes I’ve tasted so far. (Feel mo yung feelings ko? Ang sarap kasi talaga besh! Haha!)  

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Boat Number 50.

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#ExcitedAngMgaBesh

Let me just give you quick facts about the Puerto Princesa Underground River:

1. The 8.2-kilometer river, said to be the longest navigable underground river in the world, winds its way underneath a mountain range, through the St. Paul Underground River Cave, and then goes out into the South China Sea.

2. Of the 252 bird species known to occur in Palawan, a total of 165 species of birds were recorded in the park.

3. Only 4.3km of this are easily traveled by tourists. If tourists wish to travel the other 3.9km they have to obtain a special permit. In some of this 3.9km it is possible to wade in the river.

4. Geologists and environmentalists discovered a second floor to the river in 2010. This led them to believe that there are waterfalls in the cave as well.

5. The monkeys in Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park are so used to being fed by people that they will now grab food from visitors.

Source: http://ppur.com.ph/general-information/

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Thanking the heavens as we were blessed with a sunny day! Yey! The cabana area is where you can get your audio tool which will be used while travelling inside the underground river.

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Going to actual entrance of the underground river, you have to walk for 5 mins, extra careful on mosquitoes and monkeys but we didn’t see one. Monkeys usually take away food and loose items from the tourists while walking on the trail.

Magsawa kayo sa groufies namin! Blog ko to! Hahaha! Charrot lang.

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We boarded a small boat which was very scary because it is not as sturdy as those with engines. A boatman will have to paddle 10 people throughout the ride, eh hello 45 mins yun besh! Kapag napagod si Kuya, paano na kami? Hahaha! Pero totoo, that boat was not sturdy enough to make you feel safe pero conquer your fear kana lang, sayang bayad besh!

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We were welcomed by big chunks of lime stones, stalagmites, stalactites, and bats. The audio device was helpful during the the whole trip because it gives explanation about the underground river and also it will be your audio tour guide inside. BUT half way through it, I took out the earphones because the bangkero had the best punchline through out the trip. We can’t stop laughing at his jokes and he kills it every time.

I was in awe. Can’t believe that there’s so many things inside this cave/underground river. The rock formations were endless, the question of how did all of this happen or came to be. Truly it was a wonder of nature. Nakakamangha sa loob. Best highlight of the trip. Kung pwedeng iplay paulit ulit yung memory, irereplay ko talaga.

Don’t ever skip this in your itinerary, you’ll regret it.

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This is the bangkero I was telling you about, Kuya Eric! Grabe bes, panalo ang punchline niya, kung pwede humalakhak sa loob, hahalakhak ka talaga kaso makakaistorbo ka ng mga bats kaya cute na tawa lang muna, sa labas nalang tatawa ng malakas. Hahaha! The trip was extra extra fun because of him! Thank you Kuya Eric!

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Minsan kailangan mo lang talagang kapalan ang mukha mo para makakuha ng group picture eh. Haha! Thanks to the couple who took this shot. We made sure they had their couple photo too 🙂

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Di papahuli sila Inday at Dodong! Papicture rin kami oh!

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Originally only Sep and I wanted to try the zipline. I’m a sucker for these kind of adventures, yah know! Raymar and Mika were a bit MEH about it but we gotta do these as a group and besides they will have to wait for us either way so they better get on that zipline or I will fire the gun! Charrot! So yun na nga, from the underground river we took a boat to the zipline mountain. We had to hike up the mountain for good 15 mins (cardio ito mga bes!) then we were welcomed by the vast sea view and the 800 meter zipline! We were made to sign a waiver and then geared up for the ride! Yeah men!

The zipline was 550 pesos per head and for those extreme thrill seekers, this may not be the best zipline you’ll experience but for those who wants to have a good time and doesn’t mind the height, this is a good deal to do. The ride was approximately 1 minute and 30 secs depending if it is windy and of course the rider’s weight.

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At the end of the zipline, we were welcomed with a beautiful shoreline, white sand, and  calmer waves with no peeps. It made us want to jump right in the sea! Ang ganda talaga! Lord, thank you for giving us a wonderful weather to enjoy all these.

We were transported back to Sabang Port for buffet lunch as it was part of our tour package. The food was okay and we had to eat fast because we had to leave agad agad! Also because it was past lunch time narin eh marami pa kaming itinerary for the day. Haha!

We left Sabang around 2PM and we were all tired and even though ayaw kong matulog, wala akong choice, pinaspasan na ni kuya manong driver ang pagddrive, tinodo na niya masyado na kung di ako matutulog ay masusuka na ako. Buti nalang at dinalaw ako ng antok kung hindi bumaba ako sa gitna ng bundok. We arrive back at Go Hotels around 3:30PM.

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We had a quick wash up before heading out, Kuya Norman picked us up again. Our first stop was the Croc Farm. It was not what we were expecting. The guided tour lasted for 10 mins and there was nothing fascinating about the crocodiles either. You can take photos and that’s it.

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The nature park wasn’t exciting as well. We were sure to tell that the park was not being taken care of. Sobrang sayang because this park used to be famous. Btw, there’s an entrance fee of 40 pesos per head. If you have other places to visit, you may opt to skip this one unless they will renovate and clean up the area. Surely, they will because this is a money-making park anyway and that because I know they are the best promoters of eco-tourism.

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Kuya Norman was kind enough to book us up at this restaurant. This has got be the best restaurant I’ve been in terms of interiors. I swear, I wish KaLui will branch out in Manila soon! Aside from the food being great, the interiors made it all special. It feels like we’re eating on big nipa hut with paintings and art pieces all over the place and the Filipino vibe of magkakamay at nakaupo sa sahig was all here.

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Among all the yummy food we ordered, I personally liked the Tubbataha Salad as the tuna strips were delicious and also the coco flan as dessert! Yummers!

 TASTE: Two thumbs up!  PRIZE: On the high side, serving is small compared to other restos pero bawi sa interiors! Busog pati mata mo!

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Look at these teapot bells that rings with the wind. Somebody make this for my future house or pwedeng makahingi nalang kay KaLui. Haha!

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This resto gives a whole new meaning to Bahay Kubo. What makes it even more like nasa-bahay-ka-lang vibe is that you have to take off your shoes to dine in the resto, oh diba, feel at home ang mga besh!

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Let’s not forget to mention how artsy and creative the washroom interiors were. Ito na talaga ang malupit, pati yung washroom nasa theme at mga bes, it is clean and doesn’t smell like washroom kaya feel na feel parin na kahit sa washroom picture pa more!

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Make sure you guys book in advance because everyone else crowds up this resto, who wouldn’t? Thanks to Kuya Norman we were able to book an 8:30PM table. Yass!

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Our next destination was the Iwahig Firefly Watching. That’s me and Raymar trying to get a decent photo but haller, mauubos na ang film wala parin.

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Do an early booking for this as well because it gets fully booked with other tours coming here. Good thing the Ate’s were kind enough to book us at 10PM and we think, we were the last group of the night. Buti nalang!

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Sorry that we do not have any photos during the boat ride it was pitch dark. This was another boat ride adventure btw. We boarded a small boat, we went by two’s and rowed gently through the river, don’t worry there’s a boatman which also acts as your tour guide. For those with phobia of water and darkness – this is not for you BUT please just for this, conquer your fear. I can’t believe my eyes that the trees were glowing beautifully through the night because of the fireflies. This was my first time to ever see fireflies this many. The guide has a red light which makes the fireflies shine even brighter. It wasn’t a cloudy night too so the stars were also extra twinkling. The guide showed us one constellation which was easily viewed in the sky, plus Jupiter too! I can’t put into words how amazing the experience was. Aside from the fireflies and the stars, the plankton in the river were glowing as well. If you play the water with your hands or a stick the plankton will glow. I’m so amazed! If my eyes can only take videos, I wish it did so I can show it to you.

I enjoyed this a lot lot and lot! It was very relaxing and our tour guide, Kuya Edwin, was very passionate about telling us stories and facts about the river, the fireflies, the stars, the plankton and Palawan in general. He made sure we were comfortable during the ride. And as a personal reflection, it made me realize how passionate people of Palawan is in promoting eco-tourism and for also making me feel that there’s a lot more to discover in my country! Thanks Kuya Edwin!

After the relaxing ride, we called it a night.


LAST DAY IN PUERTO PRINCESA!


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We started our day at 9AM and Kuya Norman suggested we check out already and he’ll be the one to take us to the airport for our flight. So good bye Go Hotels! We had a wonderful stay!

It has been our panata (tradition) that in every trip we have we should visit at least one church and yes we did and attended a sunday mass as well. Yes friends, we are religious, di lang halata. Haha!

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Our Lady of Immaculate Conception Cathedral.

Photo grabbed from @garchelee

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After the mass, we headed straight to food tripping, Hello! Ano pa ba!

Kuya Norman has been raving about this Chaolong since we got in PPS and we found out why he was eager that we try it. Yes, this Chaolong was cheap but it tastes better than the Pho Hoa we have in Manila! One bowl is 70 pesos, we all tried the beef stew as it was the best seller. As recommend by Kuya Norman, it best paired with garlic bread plus add one or maybe two eggs too! Haha! Ang sarap! Don’t forget to add the spicy sauce for an extra kick. The bread was 20 pesos for 2 slices.

Make sure to try this when you’re here because it’s worth it and cheap too! We ate at Bona’s Chaolong. There are other Chaolong resto’s in the area so take your pick. (Recommending Bona’s of course)

 TASTE’s Expensive! PRIZE: Very cheap! Pwedeng dumalawang bowls! Walang magjjudge sayo!

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After the soupy meal, it is but right to follow up with a Halo-Halo at Nokinocs Savory House, this is what they are famous for. Yung moment na di pa nawawala yung sarap ng Chaolong sa bibig namin pero bawal tumigil kasi uuwi na kami kaya kailangan sulitin kaya kailangan mo ulit namnamin yung sarap ng halo-halo. – ito yun! ito talaga yung rason kung bakit kami nagttravel – para kumain! Hahaha!

Each order costs 95 pesos and it is comparable to Razon’s but BETTER! Comparable pero better, ang labo! It is milky, it has corn flakes which I find interesting in a halo-halo, of course I didn’t like the beans as usual, the ice are fine just like Razon’s but it does tastes better. Masarap mga mamshie! Promise!

 TASTE: Better than Razon’s  PRIZE: Cheaper than Razon’s

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Sa harap ng Nokinocs nandun yung arko ng “Thank you come again” so papicture parin kami! Walang makakapigil saamin. Teka, meron kami nung sa gitna ng kalsada eh.

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Sa gitna yan, di lang halata kasi hello baka masagasaan kami kung mag-jumpshot pa kami diba! Hahaha! Thanks Kuya Norman for taking all our photos! Our trip will never be the same without you!

After the eating and the picture taking, Kuya Norman took us to the airport na. Sadly, this is the end of wonderful trip. Grabe, ayaw ko ng umuwi!

As usual with CebPac, delayed ang flight. we boarded around 2:04 PM which originally was 12:55 PM. Anyare mamshie? Laging delayed pero expected naman na yun. So here’s the fun story, we knew we were over baggage na because we had 3 boxes full of Hopia – talk about being matakaw pero pampasalubong kasi yun. So buti nalang I’ve web checked in na so we don’t have to go through the gate and get our boarding pass therefore makakalusot pero pero pero nung boarding na the boxes were intercepted as it was not allowed as hand carry thus should be checked in. Waley naman sinabi kung may bayad pero syempre, kinakabahan narin kami baka meron pero waley naman mga friends, matiwasay naman naming nakuha sa conveyor belt ang mga Hopia! Hahaha!

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“Sep, picture dali! Hahaha!” Mabilis na mabilis lang baka magalit ang mga guards!

Attention to Yana, sana umabot yung pagbabasa mo hanggang dito – bakit kasi di ka sumama! Sobrang saya ng trip na to!

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Borlog agad si bes pagsakay! #NakakapagodKumain #NakakapagodMagtravel #PeroSobrangSaya #KahitWalaNgPera. Ipon time nanaman para travel ulit next year!

Thank you so much for reading through this blog! Thank goodness I was able to finish it before April ends!

Before you hit the close button, please watch our vlog here. Watch in HD!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PWWzfmqy2Sg

 

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