Honeymoon in Palawan

The newlyweds visit the pit stop of the philippines' last frontier

Honeymoon in Palawan

Member Rating 0 out of 5 by manlalakbay on June 26, 2008

The province of Palawan is considered the last frontier of the Philippines. Mother Nature has blessed with the beautiful mocha-colored and white sandy beaches, amazing limestone cliffs and a wide variety of flora and fauna on land, air and sea, among others. The government of Palawan recognize this gift and is quite conscious about protecting their natural resources. The province's main source of income is through tourism.

Puerto Princesa is the only city in Palawan. It is in a tight contest with Davao City as the largest in the country (and in the world, I think).

The city is the main seat of the provincial government, as well as the center of commerce and industry. It has been a consistent winner in the clean and green cities of the Philippines.

The Baragatan Festival is usually held between June 1 to 23, with the culmination on the 23rd. The festival is a celebration of the different cultures and peoples of Palawan. The original settlers of the province are the indigenous peoples, but there has been a steady flow of Tagalogs and Visayans in the area. The culmination of the Baragatan Festival happens on June 23.

During the festival, the different municipalities of Palawan set-up a booth in the provincial capitol to showcase the different products and activties in their areas.

When in Puerto Princesa, don't miss the Honday Bay Island Hopping Tour, the Underground River tour and the dolphin-watching tour. All these are regular activities of the city. You can ask your hotel to hook you up with tour agencies for whatever tour you are interested in.

Make sure you at at Ka Lui Restaurant and at Kamarikutan. These are restaurants that serve some native fare and will also delight you with the various artworks done by local artists. For those who like Japanese food, Lotus Garden Restaurant is the one for you.

We were not able to try the Vietnamese restaurants, but Puerto Princesa is known for the Vietnamese food. Some time ago, Palawan housed Vietnamese refugees, so I'm pretty sure they have the authentic cuisine, especially down at VietVille. ${QuickSuggestions} There are many places to stay in Puerto Princesa, it being a city that thrives on tourism. There are quite a few big hotels which cost around P3000 and above. But if you are the type who prefer simple accomodations or would like the rustic feel of the province, I suggest the Banwa Pension House. Their prices range from P225 for dorm beds to P650 for a private room.

The city itself is alredy urbanized, with easy access to banks and other establishments. However, if you are going out of the city, it is best to carry all the cash you need because automated teller machines are not available.

Palawan is best known for its beautiful beaches so don't forget your swimsuit and sunblock!

There are several websites you can visit to give you more detailed ideas about the island.
www.palawan.com is mostly about hotels and resorts in the area.
www.palawan.gov.ph is the official website of the provincial government.
www.palawantourism.com is the official website of the tourism office of palawan.
www.puertoprincesa.gov.ph is the offical website of the city government.${BestWay} The main mode of transportation in the city is the tricycle. Rates from the airport is P40 to your destination. Regular transport around the city starts at P7.00 and increases depending on the distance.

Some tourists choose to hire trikes to take them around the city because it is more affordable than the van, but it would be less comfortable. Multicabs and small jeeps also travel longer routes.

Most tours, however, include transportaion in their packages. Vans are the usual vehicle since it can carry more passengers, and thus more economical.

However, if weather permits and you are willing, walking around is also a good way to go around the city. One can get to observe the nooks and crannies and may find something interesting, an eatery or small shop perhaps.

DOn't expect to find a taxi here because there aren't any.

Banwa Pension House

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by manlalakbay on June 26, 2008

when jan and i decided to go to puerto princesa for our honeymoon, i immediately went to work looking for lodging. our initial list had asturias, the legend and hotel fleuris because they were the ones on the PALakbayan list of partner hotels. hotel fleuris had good reviews from a friend, so it was on top of the list. things got a little confusing, however, when people started suggesting asturias and legend. legend located nearer downtown and had good accommodations, asturias was farther away and was supposed to be better for honeymooners.

i did further research on puerto princesa hotels until i stumbled along the banwa pension house website. i immediately fell in love with the place. it felt like the kind of thing jan and i would appreciate without having to dent our budget much. for a private room with its own bath, we would only need to shell out P650! it had that artistic, environmental feel of the place that we both enjoyed in camiguin's enigmata.

however, i did not immediately book it because i was still thinking of the asturias package that we stumbled upon. they had a P6000/person package for 3D/2N which included tours to the underground river or the honda bay island hopping and a city tour, 2 breakfasts, 1 lunch and 1 dinner plus airport transfers. it was not a bad package and quite tempting.

as compromise, we thought of staying at banwa for our first night before proceeding to sabang. which was what we did.

we were met by the owner, jane orcullo-campbell with her little girl, ulan (naunahan ako sa pagpangalan ng magiging anak ko ng ganun!) and her mother, celie. jan and i were immediately bowled over by the beautiful tapestries made of coconut beads, as well as the shell curtains that decorated our wooden home for the night. the dog, minerva, was standing guard by the stairs curiously staring.

our room for the night was a queen-sized bamboo bed, with a painting in one corner and beaded tapestry on the other. it was immediately recognizable as the mother and child, but when i read the name, i had to do a do-over. it said magina, without a hyphen, so i thought, "huh, is this a body part?" then thought... oh! mag-ina. hehe.

a quick peek at the corridor would show an open veranda with a wooden sofa adorned with pillows with patchwork cases. i was loving the place more and more.

the veranda was probably the best part of banwa. since most of the lodgers there stay at the dorm rooms, it is where the guests converge and somewhat "forced" to interact with each other. most of our companions were caucasians. the only filipinos around were the owner, the staff and the wife of one american guest. staying at veranda made one feel like one was in the middle of the woods, rather than in the middle of the city. more artwork and tapestry festooned the common room. it was jane's mother who did the tapestries pala. galeng!

one cool thing about the place was the level of trust the staff has with their guests. there was no one to constantly stay at the bar, so we were just advised to take what we need from the fridge and list down whatever we got. the same goes for the use of the internet (P30/hr). at the end of your stay, it will just be included with the lodging fee. astig!

they would also gladly contact tour companies for their guests to ease them from the trouble of looking around for themselves. banwa already knows which ones would give the best service to their guests. it was actually jan who helped jan and i find a van to bring us to sabang.

jane was very friendly and made us feel comfortable by reveling us with recommendations for our stay. she offered a lot of advice regarding our travel itinerary. it was through her that we found out about the new dolphin watching tours being offered. one that i really wanted to do for the longest time.

jan and i discussed our plans and decided to come back to banwa first before going to asturias. good thing we were not able to pay for the asturias package yet because we were suddenly opened to a whole lot of options.

by the way, it was the baragatan festival in puerto princesa the week we were there. more on that later.

thanks to banwa, our honeymoon was starting out a whole lot of fun. :)

the banwa website: http://banwa.com
asturias: http://asturias.ph
fleuris: http://fleuris.com
legend: http://legendpalawan.com
Banwa Pension House
Liwanag Street
Puerto Princesa
+63 48 434 8963

Lotus Garden Restaurant

Member Rating 3 out of 5 by manlalakbay on July 2, 2008

one of the things we really enjoyed in puerto princesa was the dining. while the food was really good, the restaurants themselves were actually quite an experience already. most of the places we ate in showcased architectural and visual artistry that complemented the meals we had wonderfully.

our original intent was to go to ka lui only to discover that it was closed on sundays. since we were hungry already, we decided to proceed next door at the lotus garden restaurant. it was a japanese restaurant. customers are asked to go barefoot (like in banwa pension house) upon entering the main restuarant. one can choose to sit on the floor or take a regular table. we chose the one the table over a tiled hole in the ground so we could still stretch our legs.

when we got the menu, the prices were on the expensive side. each meal started at P250.00 on the average. we decided to get the set menu of P450 for 2 people instead. it consisted of 2 rice, clam soup, 2pcs. of prawns, adobong puso ng saging and pork yaku plus palawan princess (which was just actually graham crackers and condensed milk). not bad for it's price though when we got to taste it, the pork was on the tough side. the rice and adobong puso ng saging were just okay. not good, not bad.

what i really enjoyed about lotus garden was the landscaping and interior design. there were detached cottages that had hammocks and provided more privacy. there were also ponds with fish and had water lilies (at first i thought it was a lotus, the resto being named lotus garden after all).

our meal was far from great, but it wasn't bad.
they do have an all-you=can-eat sushi for P370.00, which seems to be their speciality since they are a japanese restaurant after all. so if you are craving for raw seafood, lotus garden may just be the resto for you.

we also appreciated the very good service the staff provided us. they were quite eloquent, as well as polite. the menu was explained well when we asked what it was. our glasses were constantly re-filled with water. their localized-kimono added to the japanese-zen stuff lotus garden was trying to project.

all-in-all, we did enjoy our first meal in puerto princesa for the quaintness of the dining experience. it's worth trying out, especially if you are into japanse food.
Lotus Garden Restaurant
371 Rizal Avenue
Puerto Princesa , 5300
+63 (48) 4341132

Ka Lui

Member Rating 5 out of 5 by manlalakbay on July 4, 2008

we wanted to eat at ka lui the day we arrived at puerto princesa. it was when we were right at the doorsteps of ka lui did we find out that they were closed on sundays. on our second try, we were 30 minutes early and no reservations. we forgot that they opened at 6PM and that reservations were actually recommended. fortunately, the staff allowed us in. there were still some available tables.
again, we were asked to remove our footwear upon entering the main restaurant.

true enough, the best seats in the house were already reserved. so it really is best to call before going to the restaurant. it is quite famous with the tourists. people start coming in droves by 630PM.

the place was adorned with the various artworks, most of which had fish for their subject. from batik to ceramic plates to windchimes and japanese lights. while there were other interesting subjects for the artwork, the fish ones were the most numerous

sculptures and artistic lamps adorned the interiors of ka lui. fresh fruits also served as additional decor.

they had quite a selection of meals, especially seafood, to choose from. my husband and i decided on their Ka Lui Special which was good for two people at only P375 (exclusive of vat and service charge). based on what was on their menu, it was actually value for money. we get have clam soup, lato (that seaweed that looks like grapes), stir-fried vegetables, fish cordon bleu, grilled tuna, garlic-buttered prawns and fresh fruits sprinkled with muscovado sugar. the food was great! the fish was definitely fresh and i particularly enjoyed the fish cordon bleu and prawns. the muscuvado sugar brought me (and jan) back to our childhood memories of the sugar. mmmmm... good and satisfying meal it was! and my avocado shake was delicious. mmmmm....

what i was most fascinated with, however, was the bathroom. i actually went back there just to take photos because it was just so well-thought off and unique. the sink was made of hard wood shaped in your usual bowl. the floor was made of wood instead of tiles. the door had a small hole when vacant. once somebody uses it, the lock to the door would close the hole up to indicate it was occupied. the hand dryer was the most environmentally-friendly i have every seen, too. it was a loooooooooong strip of cloth the width of a paper towel. users can wipe their hands then just drag it down to a little bucket below, which means it can be just washed over and over. no trees hurt in the making of that hand dryer.

among the three restaurants we ate in, ka lui is my favorite. not only was it a gastronomic feast, it was also a visual and sensual experience.
Ka Lui
369 Rizal Avenue
Puerto Princesa, Philippines
(048) 433-2580


Member Rating 4 out of 5 by manlalakbay on July 4, 2008

Another of our palawan dinner was spent at kamaricutan, as recommended by friends. on our way to banwa pension house, the tricycle driver who brought us there also mentioned the restaurant to us.

it was post-shopping from the baragatan festival stalls so we ended lugging around the giant rattan picnic basket i bought for mom with the rest of our bargain finds inside it.

kamaricutan is a bit far from the downtown compared to the other two restos we ate in. this one was located farther than the airport. it was not by the highway, rather one has to enter a wooded compound, probably 50 meters from the main road (am bad with estimations).

it seemed that jan and i were the only people eating there. i'd account that to the rain. people may know that kamaricutan is not an easy to place to go to in that weather, unlike us.

when the waitress was leading us to our seats, i asked if we had to remove our sandals like what we had to do at banwa, ka lui and lotus garden. apparently footwear was welcome.

at the right wing of kamaricutan was the resto and at the left was the gallery. most of the artworks on display was for sale. the prices were on the expensive side, but then these are unique pieces done by artists so it was understandble (but we could not afford anymore at that point. hehe!). there were shirts, beaded jewelry, books and organic beauty products. amongst the products was a liquid insect repellant. i was tempted to buy one because the mosquitoes were feasting on our exposed legs. but on the pretense of testing the product first, i got from the tester tube. it works!

their menu was more limited than ka lui's and lotus garden's. they did not have set meals either. most of what they had were standard restaurant fares. jan decided on beef salpicao (P170) while i got deep friend prawns with tartar sauce (P150). we each got iced brewed tea (P55).

while waiting we went around the gallery. my favorite title was "gren," a series of postcard sized paintings of forests. i was just so amused by the title because that's how i saw green sometimes, for fun.

of course, i was taking photos. i was on my third or fourth photo when jan pointed out a sign that said no picture-taking. oops.

before we had our dinner, jan and i used the rest rooms first. and lo! another interesting looking room of comfort! bamboo chimes lined the window. there were rocks and pebbles on the ground and artworks festooned the entire rest room. it's tempting to stay longer just to study the art.

we finally had our dinner which looked unassuming and unexciting as it was being placed on our tables. small servings in a big plate. aw.

but oooohh... when we put the food in our mouths. yummmmmmm. jan's salpicao not only tasted good but was very tender too. the tartar sauce of my prawns made it taste better, even if it had too much batter. and our iced teas? reeeee-freshing. mmmmmmmmm.

when in puerto princesa, definitely kamaricutan is another good place to have a meal and to sample the artistry of the people of palawan.


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