My girlfriends and I planned a quick trip to Puerto Princesa in Palawan last August. Despite the torrential rains in Manila, Palawan only had intermittent showers, so we were able to experience and enjoy roaming around and visiting their notable tourist spots. And we saw many of its famous mountains and mountain ranges.
We stayed at a family room in Aziza Paradise Hotel. This hotel is clean and convenient. And they have great breakfast food, including my favorite marinated danggit!
We wanted to get immersed in the local culture for three days, so we opted for local food for our first lunch. We were brought to Ka Inato. We enjoyed their seafood dishes, especially the Panginas Anghang (sisig made of shell meat), the Palawan Inihaw na Isda (very fresh parrot fish with okra, talong, and kamote tops), and the Bulalong Yamang Dagat (seafood in thick gabi soup with malunggay and other vegetables).
Then I noticed these bags of water with a coin inside that hung near the ceiling all around the restaurant. I could not resist asking what they were for. Guess what? They are to ward off flies! The idea is that flies will get scared when they go towards the bags of water. What they see will be their own magnified reflection or the flash of light from the metal coin within and be frightened off!
Dinner was at the famous Kalui Restaurant. We took a tricycle (roomy tricycles are numerous around the city) to get to the place. The place has a warm, local, homey feel.
Their menu is very simple, comprising of mostly seafood. We hear that reservations are required as their kitchen never stocks up. They buy enough for what they need for the day as they don't freeze the day's catch. Everything is served fresh; you will notice it. It was a delicious and satisfying dinner.
We were also able to go thru the world-famous subterranean river. We saw the caves, the bats and the limestone structures. Along the way, we saw monkeys on the trees.
This is the cave entrance, where you enter, riding small boats with no more than 8 passengers and one boat man / tour guide. It's very dark inside the caves. It's an experience too enthralling for pictures to describe. The limestone structures formed slowly thru the passage of time are truly sights to behold.
After the underground river tour, we had a local lunch by the beach. And it featured the tamilok. Tamilok is actually a shipworm, a bivalve mollusk that burrows into the woods of mangrove. It is my very first time to try this native Palawan delicacy. It is eaten raw, dipped into spiced vinegar, like a kinilaw. It's taste is very similar to raw oysters. Not bad at all!
And since we are talking about "firsts", I had the chance to hold on to a live python in the Palawan Butterfly Eco-Garden and Tribal Village on this trip too!
Another not-to-miss attraction is firefly watching in Iwahig. You take a small banca and go around the river among the mangroves in the dark of the night. It is serenely beautiful!
I end this blog with another must-try food place. Go to Rene's Saigon. It is located very near the airport. Mang Rene is always there to give recommendations. The noodles soup and the spring rolls are very good and affordable to boot. And don't miss their homemade french bread.