Saturday, October 10, 2009

Puerto Princesa Airport - Chaos in a Small Airport

Airports can be a source of tension and paranoia for some people. They’re obviously not among the friendliest of places. There are a hundred souls moving around at anytime and people tend to their own affairs. You are a speck in their endeavors. Thus it is important to make airports spacious, airy and accessible. After all, they welcome people into the place. They set the mood of their adventures.

Puerto Princesa Airport is small, which makes you wonder why extensions and major improvements are almost non-existent in this bustling city for the last 10 years or so. Sure, they have refurbished the check-in area and the floors have been dabbed with glazed tiles – but that’s all! The predeparture area still looks tight and cramped and chaotic. With all of Puerto’s wide open spaces and increasing number of tourists, you’d wonder why they can’t afford an airport that’s worthy of its famed beauty. I also wonder why well loved Mayor Hagedorn hasn’t pushed on improvements of Puerto Princesa's airport facilities. I hope they do something about it in the next few years or so.

This is the Eye in the Sky.

Check in counter.

Crowded chaos at the predeparture area.

Upon arrival at the Puerto Princesa Airport

Baggage conveyors. Ooops, brownout blues... Seems as though this major airport doesn't even have generator facilities.

One of the very few remaining souvenir shops at the fringes of the airport grounds. There used to be several. Do not buy your souvenir items from these stalls as they have very very VERY limited stocks of ANTHING and they cost 2x the amount of their price elsewhere. Shirts here cost PhP150-180 - when you can buy them for PhP75 at the city center. Walang tawad tawad kahit piso. LOL

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Tribu Restaurant, Robert’s Resort, Microtel Inn - Dining in Palawan Part 2

Here is the 2nd part of Puerto Princesa Gastronomy 101. Food got more sumptuous – and I got hungry setting up this post! LOL. Palawenos love to eat and it’s evident in the way they prepare their food. Although there’s no particular specialty that separates them from the rest of Filipino Cuisine (at least nothing that’s immensely popular), food is nevertheless cooked the way we Pinoys love them. In this post, we shall feature more restaurants and their food. Bon appetit!

  • Robert’s Resort’s Jewel Restaurant comes highly recommended by “your” van drivers, after an exciting visit from the Underground River. If at first, I was suspicious, I later found out I didn’t mind the hardsell. The place serves “buffet” meals. But unlike most buffets, platter after platter of food is served at your table – and are constantly replenished if you ask for more! Buffet costs PhP200 per person. We initially thought of ordering per-plate-meals, but the waitress smirked, which even motivated me to REALLY order a la carte. LOL. However, upon checking out the prices (pork or chicken adobo PhP130, lechon kawali PhP150, chopsuey PhP95, mixed vegetables PhP85, coke PhP30), a buffet meal is after all more cost-effective! Your PhP200 already includes the delicious buko (coconut fruit). Sabang Beaches have never been this sumptuous. Burp!

Adobong kangkong

Pork Adobo

Lechon Kawali

Buko (coconut fruit)

Look at the size of the rice plates. This is your PhP200.

Jewel Restaurant at Robert's Resort in Sabang, the take-off point on your way to the Underground River.

  • Microtel’s Clubhouse Sandwich @ PhP180 ($3.90)

  • Pesto Pasta @ PhP160 ($3.40) and Coke in can @ PhP50 ($1.10) at Microtel Puerto Princesa.

Soaking in at Microtel Puerto Princesa's Emerald Beach.

  • Fresh Café is a mix-themed diner that has a restaurant at the 1st floor and a bar at the 2nd. They also serve cakes and pastries for those with sweet tooth. It is located along Rizal Avenue halfway between Jollibee to its right and the Provincial Capitol to its left. I enjoyed dining with my friend Elena and her kids, one of whom is a godson. Populating the café with us was a group from the Ophthalmology Department of a city hospital, discussing plans for a postgrad event that they are organizing. It’s really a place where people can hang out, discuss things and enjoy light banter with friends.

Fresh Cafe's 1st floor restaurant (above) and the 2nd-floor bar (below).

  • This is my buffet stash from Skylight Hotel’s restaurant. And it’s not exactly my favorite dining experience in the island. None, and I mean not a single entrée enticed me to get more. The embotido tasted bland. Tocino was a chewy piece of ligamentous meat. Even the danggit – which the locals call “lamayo” (dried fish) was bland. The tortang talong (eggplant/aubergines) was too fresh and undercooked – and as I rule, I do not partake anything that’s half-alive and freshly picked from the ground.

Puerto Pension and Tribu Restaurant are actually part of my first-day itinerary. It is located near the City Baywalk, just across Holy Trinity College. Accommodations here are highly recommended, and regarded as one of the best affordable-rate lodgings. This was among my picks for my stay in Palawan, but it has drawbacks. One, it’s not as close to the center as Skylight or Casa Linda. Two, the surrounding area is the wharf which gets pretty isolated and dark at night. So it isn’t the most comfortable place to walk around at night. The place is pretty impressive though. The compound teems with foliage. There’s a bar at the center. To get to Tribu Restaurant, you have to climb up a steep stairway that goes to the 3rd – or 4th? – floor. The view is spectacular! You have before you an aerial view of the San Isidro’s Baywalk as well as the South China Sea. If you’re in the city, I highly recommend visiting Tribu just for the awesome scenery. Dining is cozy and the atmosphere is sophisticated. So is the price. We ordered a squid dish, canton guisado and deep fried chicken with rice, and our bill was PhP880 ($19).

  • Canton Guisado @ PhP160 ($3.50)

  • Deep fried chicken with steamed rice @ PhP180 ($3.90). That salad is delicious.

The view from Tribu Restaurant - Baywalk and the sea.

Puerto Pension's front desk for your check ins.

Rooms at the 2nd floor and the bar.

Puerto Pension's airconditioned jeepney! It turns out that the people who run Puerto Pension also manage the exclusive Daluyon Resort in Sabang!

Chorizo and scrambled egg at Hibiscus Garden Inn.

This is the Eye in the Sky!

Check out more food and restaurants at this blogpost’s 1st part -