20 June 2015

Presenting: Puerto Princesa (Part 2/2 of the Palawan Photo Diary)

Here's the second part of my Palawan photo diary! (First part here.) Finally got around to blogging again after months! As I mentioned in my previous post, this one will be about my stay in Puerto Princesa (which was mostly food-tripping lol).

When we got back from El Nido, we spent the remainder of our stay at the Purple Fountain Courtyard Inn. It's the most beautiful place ever! The place is like a blown-up Mary Grace, with vibrant lodges and pretty trinkets. Of course I couldn't not take advantage of the scenery and take photos!

What follows would be a spam of photos from the ultimately picturesque lodging, with some photos of my outfit sneaked in. And at the end of this post aaaaare: food pointers! Enjoy!

The eponymous purple fountain

Camisole: Forever 21
Flip-flops: Havaianas (MYOH 2013)

These pairs are said to bring fortune to the household; you are supposed to put rice grains or bigas in the man's jar and coins in the woman's jar. (We bought a pair for our home!)

Lace top: H&M
Tank top: Uniqlo
Flip-flops: Payless ShoeSource

As promised, I shall now share about some places we ate at in Puerto!

Our stay at Purple Fountain was inclusive of free breakfast at their restaurant. You can choose between a continental breakfast, or a Filipino one. Well, by the photo below, you know what we got. I highly suggest you get the lamayo though! It's Palawan's very own take on the dried fish. You should also buy from the market and take them home (like we did)! Just tell the vendor that you will bring it home with you and they will seal and pack it in a travel-friendly way.

White Fence Country Cafe / 
Purple Fountain Courtyard Inn
Manalo Extension, Puerto Princesa City, Palawan

One thing that I learned during my stay in Palawan is that they have a history with the Vietnamese people, particularly during the Vietnam War. Because of this, Vietnamese food became far from a rarity in the province. We were actually supposed to eat at a Chao Long place near our hotel; however, when we got there, the place was full of people! Thankfully, the tricycle driver knew another Vietnamese restaurant, and brought us there. The downside, he charged us a tad too much for our fare* (in Tagalog, "tinaga kami sa presyo").

*Tricycle would be the best way to get around the city. However, be careful not too appear to tourist-y or else they will take advantage! We were doing well except for that chao long incident, really. It helps if you ask locals at the hotel lobby about the usual fare rates from point to point, so you'll at least have an idea on how much to pay. (Have I mentioned how remarkable the trikes in Palawan are? They are very different, also bigger, than the ones in Manila! Actually, the tricycle looks different for almost every province; interesting, right?)

Overprice trike fare aside, I have no other complaints because the food at Rene's Saigon was good! We all got the Beef Stew, as well as an order of their fresh spring rolls and french bread. The meat in the stew was very tender, and the stew itself was flavorful! Not too salty, but just right. Tasted very authentic too! Maybe the fact that the owner is Fil-Vietnamese helped. The pork and shrimp spring rolls were, well, indeed fresh! The peanut sauce complimented them great. Another perfect partner to the chao long was the french bread. As a fan of garlic bread, believe me when I say that it is really good. They have different variants of the french bread actually, but we opted for the plain one.

Rene's Saigon
Rizal Avenue Extension, Puerto Princesa City, Palawan

Of course we had to eat at local favorites too! On one of our days at Puerto Princesa, we ate lunch at Balinsasayaw. I remember we were supposed to eat at KaLui's, another famous spot, but they were under renovation. I forgot what we ordered, but I do remember their signature dessert! It was ube ice cream topped with cashew and chocolate sauce, served in a coconut. It was so good that we even got another order after, no kidding! In case you didn't know, cashew (or kasoy) is another nut delicacy that Palawan is famous for.

Puerto Princesa City, Palawan

Balinsasayaw has at least 2 branches in the city, if I'm not mistaken. Another tourist food spot we ate at was Kinabuch's. For dinner, we just got their bestsellers. They also serve tamilok, an exotic food that is famous in Palawan! They are like worms; apparently, they are really long oysters. Admittedly, we were all too chicken to try it out, so of course we did not order that.

What we dared, however, was crocodile sisig! It was actually spontaneous; we were just buying pasalubong  (check out one of the photos above for a sample of a traditional decoration we got for our house) when we spotted this stall selling crocodile meat. Like they all say, it tastes like chicken.

Crocodile Meat
Pasalubong Center
Puerto Princesa City, Palawan

For me, destinations can be categorized into the following: for food, for adventure, and for sightseeing/ history. These are not mutually exclusive; in fact, I would label Palawan as a food and adventure destination.

My family really enjoyed my stay in Palawan, and we will definitely return some day. I feel like I haven't gotten the most out of the Palawan experience yet. For one, our Underground River tour was actually cancelled because of the impending storm. Funnily, the next day, which also happened to be our last day in Palawan, the weather was ultimately pleasant. Perhaps Palawan really wants us back haha!

x Erika Rosales

PS: Sorry for the awful alignment of the icons! Apparently Blogger is experiencing some bugs. It's driving me crazy, and now I'm thinking twice about giving my blog a makeover. Also considering switching platforms ha!