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Puerto Princesa

Travel Tidbits: The Road Southwards, Puerto Princesa, Palawan

Palawan By April 5, 2013 Tags: , , , 4 Comments

I got an invitation from the owners of Makulay Lodge to go to their house south of Puerto Princesa and I was eager to go. The lodge in El Nido is now being managed by their sons, Likha and Kalikasan, while the owners live in their house in Luzviminda, about 20 kilometers outside of the city proper of Puerto Princesa. There are two ways to get there, by land via bus or van bound for Aborlan or by boat, from the port at Callebajo to the port in Mangingisda.

Fresh from the very first flight of the day from Manila via ZestAir, I stepped into the cool and crisp morning air of Puerto Princesa and headed directly to Itoy’s Coffee House. I love Itoy’s Coffee House. I have been going there since 2008 and I like how they have improved through the years. The service is great, the staff, friendly, the coffee, good, even if the food is not so much. What I like best about them is that they are open at 7am. I stayed there for three hours before hopping on a multicab going to the San Jose terminal.

When I got to the terminal, the van that would pass by where I was getting off only had three passengers and was waiting for, probably, 10 more people, and I was told that it might take an hour for it to leave. I was advised to take a bus instead. A bus bound for Aborlan was pulling out of the terminal when I got there and it was full to the point of overflowing. I nevertheless threw my bags into the bus, near the doors, and hoisted myself up. I was laughing while thinking, “Igzoydiiing!”

I sat on my bags and held on tight. The sun was bright, the sky, blue, and foliage, green. The fresh breeze rushing through the windows rustled everyone’s hair, clothes, luggage, and even our spirits. Especially mine. Sitting on top of my bags, my booted feet dangling almost out the bus doors, I felt happy and free. I love open bus rides through rural areas.

It was a very narrow bus with two seats on each side, bright green outside, and very colorful inside. The baggage was so much that it was as high as the passengers’ shoulders and heads. Even I sat on two layers of bags.

Travel Tidbits: Puerto Princesa to Aborlan

Travel Tidbits: Puerto Princesa to Aborlan

Travel Tidbits: Puerto Princesa to Aborlan

The highlight of this bus ride was being reminded it was the blooming season for one of my favorite trees – the Palawan cherry (Cassia nodosa or Cassia x Palawan Cherry). The trees lined the road and made the scene very pretty.

Travel Tidbits: Puerto Princesa to Aborlan

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Hibiscus Garden Inn, Puerto Princesa, Palawan

Palawan By October 24, 2012 Tags: , , , , , , 1 Comment

Hibiscus Garden Inn is ranked #1 out of 29 hotels in Puerto Princesa on Trip Advisor and #1 out of 32 hotels in Puerto Princesa in popularity on Virtual Tourist. I went through the various reviews, blogs and photos and saw how Hibiscus Garden Inn looked like when it was new and had just opened. It’s looking a bit different now because the trees, the grass, the plants have all grown lush and the garden is looking so much more beautiful.

Hibiscus Garden Inn, Puerto Princesa, Palawan

I wanted to stay there primarily because it is owned by the Blasselle family, three of which were my students from six years ago, and I wanted to visit them. On the day I was to leave El Nido bound for Puerto Princesa though, I could not get in touch with the kids and I ended up staying at the newly-opened Purple Fountain Courtyard Inn, as recommended by my friend Andy who had stayed there a few weeks before. You may want to read the blog here. As it turns out, the two inns are a few meters away from each other on the same road – Manalo Extension. It was gloomy and rainy the entire time we were at Puerto Princesa and I never did see the sun even for a bit but even in the gloomy weather, Hibiscus Garden Inn looked beautiful.

Hibiscus Garden Inn opened to guests in the last quarter of 2008 in Manalo Extension, a few minutes away from the airport and accessible to restaurants, shopping and commercial centers and/or government offices in Puerto Princesa, either by tricycle (minimum fare of Php8) or by foot, depending on your inclinations.

The single-storey 14-room Mediterranean-inspired building sits in a spacious garden accented by local furniture, native arts and handicrafts. The tropical, relaxing and laid-back ambiance as well as clean, quiet, cozy and modern accommodations make the stay and the price of the rooms well worth it.

Hibiscus Garden Inn, Puerto Princesa, Palawan

Hibiscus Garden Inn, Puerto Princesa, Palawan

Hibiscus Garden Inn, Puerto Princesa, Palawan

The front building with its reception, lobby and souvenir shop:

Hibiscus Garden Inn, Puerto Princesa, Palawan

The restaurant:

Hibiscus Garden Inn, Puerto Princesa, Palawan

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Purple Fountain Courtyard Inn, Puerto Princesa, Palawan

Palawan By October 12, 2012 Tags: , , , , 2 Comments

On our way back to Manila from El Nido, the option of flying out straight of El Nido to Manila was unavailable, due to the fact that the Lio airport was in the middle of renovating, expanding, and basically building a concrete runway, and operations were suspended for the time being. Lia and I had to take the RORO bus from El Nido to Puerto Princesa – a trip that was supposed to last 6  hours, but became 10 hours because we we’re stuck somewhere in the middle of Taytay and Roxas for 4 hours because of some problems with the engine and the brakes, so on and so forth. We left El Nido at ten in the evening and arrived in Puerto Princesa at some time past 8 in the morning. By then, I was already nearing the end of my patience with the trip because Lia had already woken up and was starting to feel the toll of such a long trip and kept on saying, “Mama, I’m dizzy. My head is ouchy… hold me… stroke my head…,” looking very pale. I could see she was fighting the urge to throw up.

I chose Purple Fountain Courtyard Inn upon the recommendation of my friend Andy, who had stayed there a few weeks before, saying that I would like it because its new and quite nice. I primarily chose it because they provided free pick up from the bus terminal, as well as free transport to the airport. With my 4 bags, 38-kg baggage, 14-kg carry-on, and 16-kg toddler, I really needed that. I was eyeing the Hibiscus Garden Inn as a place to stay for the night because my students’ family owned it but I could not get in touch with them at first.

Purple Fountain Courtyard Inn in Puerto Princesa is owned by the same family that owns the Marina Garden Inn in El Nido. I liked the fact that they responded very well to customer inquiries, called back for updates promptly, and texted back right away when messaged on the phone. I must say that they have very good customer service.

It was rainy in Palawan that entire week so we didn’t get to see the sun at all. From the street, the inn could easily be missed.

Purple Fountain Courtyard Inn, Puerto Princesa, Palawan
Purple Fountain Courtyard Inn, Puerto Princesa, Palawan
Purple Fountain Courtyard Inn, Puerto Princesa, Palawan
They were still in the middle of construction for the front building, which might be either a restaurant or more rooms.

The Toyota Avanza that was used to pick us up from the bus terminal brought us into the driveway and straight at the doorstep of the reception area.

Purple Fountain Courtyard Inn, Puerto Princesa, Palawan

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Chronicles: Puerto Princesa City Tour, Palawan

Palawan By April 9, 2012 Tags: , , , , , , , , 1 Comment

When I was 23, I looked 14, is what I was thinking when I was going through these photos. It was 2005, we were on a school break, and I decided it was a good time to take the bus to Puerto Princesa and endure the 12-hour day trip. The roads were so bad back then that the 238 km (148 mi) trip took that long. There, I met up with H who flew in from Manila, and we took off on a day trip of Puerto Princesa. He arrived early in the morning and we went straight to the Puerto Princesa Catholic church, also known as the Immaculate Conception Cathedral before going for lunch at Badjao Seafront Restaurant. (Just click on the thumbnails to view full size).

IMMACULATE CONCEPTION CATHEDRAL

   

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Photo Memories: El Nido 2005-2006

Palawan By November 26, 2010 Tags: , , , , , , , , , , No Comments

I went to… wait for it, my Friendster account, and saw a lot of photos there that had me going through my old folders and files, looking at photos. I love looking at my photos from the year that I spent living in El Nido. It was the happiest times in my life, I suppose. Life was simple. We went to work everyday, went out island hopping, taraw-climbing, trekking to waterfalls, visiting inner baranggays on weekends. Work was light, so we had time to go out at night to hang out at Balay Tubay Bistro and have long talks over coffee at restaurants by the beach, read books and watch movies we had not time to read and watch. We ate six times a day! I was, I suppose, at my best there. Weight-wise at least. 😉

On our way to diving and snorkeling at Twin Rocks

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