March 4-8, 2014
This trip had been in the offing since early last year and I’m glad it finally materialized. It’s one of those vacations you book just because of piso fares—which makes my wife even more cuckoo—but it was the first time to Palawan for everyone in our group so it was something we really wanted packed full o’ adventure.
Needless to say, we all fell in love with the capital city of the Philippines’ Last Frontier. We may have only visited 60% of what PP has to offer, but we covered all the biggies—PPSRNP, Honda Bay, Ugong Rock, etc. (Okay, Tubbataha Reef is not really kid-friendly so we Douglas McArthur’d it.)
This post is really nothing but a written account of our stay. This is not a guide (even though you might find it useful), this is not a review (although there are some), and this is definitely not a promotion. What this is is a freaking diary entry, and most of all, it’s a warm-up post as I have not written for three fucking years!
For the sake of storytelling (and to get a little more excitement to this comeback post), let me introduce you to the gang. To respect each one’s privacy, I’ve decided to replace real names with ninja-like code names. Here’s the group:
- Boy Banal – yours truly, aka The Official Heartthrob of Parañaque
- The New Mrs. V – ang Miss Universe ng Buhay Ko
- Baby Bagyo – true love personified
- Ru-FB (roo-ep-bi) – as in FB nang FB (sister 1)
- Ninjanine – looks-wise, the sister who can give The New Mrs. V a run for her money
From NAIA-3 to PPIA and the tricycle ride
Because Ninjanine booked her ticket separate from ours, she got an earlier flight. We had to accompany her to the airport, though, since it was her first time to fly. Unfortunately, this meant waiting in NAIA-3 for 4 hours. NAIA-3 is our best terminal, right? I’m not going to go all Chuvaness here but the check-in area was hellishly hot. Then, the lower-level boarding gates wreaked of cigarette smoke. The smoking areas are sealed and separated but it did not matter. Had we known, we wouldn’t have waited there until the last minute especially since we had Baby Bagyo, who was then only a week shy of turning three.
There’s really not much to say about Puerto Princesa International Airport. It’s a small airport in a sleepy town but it serves its purpose.
We took two tricycles (at the drivers’ insistence) to our first night-hotel and paid Php 100 (Php 50 each) . We would later realize that we got slightly scammed here. We’d comfortably fit in one trike on our succeeding trips, maleta and all. The funny thing, though, was all throughout our stay we were in awe at how honest and trustworthy the Palaweños were. Little did we know, our relationship with them started with a raket. No biggie.
Greenspace Palawan Bed and Breakfast – Like!
We knew we’d arrive post daylight so we got a cheap B&B that was close to the airport for our first night. Greenspace was a top contender after going back and forth through all the online travel aids, and I think it was the professional-looking photo set that got us to finally choose it. Needless to say, it did not disappoint.
Greenspace is located 5 minutes away from the airport—on Dacanay Road—which is perpendicular to their EDSA-equivalent, Rizal Avenue (that is if EDSA were only 2 lanes, didn’t have buses, pollution, and allowed tricycles). What you’d never realize if you’d only look online, however, is that Dacanay Road is a one-lane eskinita. For me, that’s where this B&B gets its appeal. You have everything within a stone’s throw, yet you get the detachment only a semi-inaccessible road can offer.
The place, the main building (house) looks like it’s no more than 3 years standing. Paint looks fresh; furniture, hardware does not look abused. It has a minimalistic cum zen cum modern look to it (whatever that means) which I really dug. They had free Wi-Fi, free breakfast, the works. One of the signages says it’s a pension house but I’m not really sure about that. What I’m sure of, though, is it’s also the owner’s residence.
We spent around Php 1,600 for an overnight stay, officially for 3.
The succeeding photos of Greenspace were taken the morning after.
But first, we go back to the night of the first day, dinner time.
Balinsasayaw Restaurant – a meal worthy of the first
The plan was to unload at Greenspace and have dinner at a sikat restaurant. However, we were all very tired so we decided to look for a nearby eat. Luckily, the corner of Dacanay and Rizal housed a big, open, native-style restaurant called Balinsasayaw. It has this wordless signage that features a bird.
We all really enjoyed the food especially the Balinsasayaw Salted Rice. We had a good first meal and we all thought it was a taste of things yet to come. Little did we know it set the bar high and we’d be disappointed more than satisfied on our succeeding meals.
We asked a lot of natives for the best restaurants in PP. Looking back, I’m surprised no one ever mentioned Balinsasayaw. We were unable to go to all the recommendations, of course, but we did go to a lot. Personally, I think Balinsasayaw should be on that list.
We spent around Php 850 here – for 5 including Baby Bagyo.
After a night of Red Horse and a simple silog breakfast courtesy of Greenspace, it was time to pack move on to the next hotel. We rode a tricycle to their main mall, Robinsons Place Palawan, where we were to be picked up. There’s no SM in Palawan by the way, I think that’s worth mentioning.
Robinsons Place Palawan
We spent the time waiting for our sundo shopping for minor necessities and in this short period of time, we already saw the whole mall. I like their Robinsons. It’s sized just right, easy to navigate, has all the essentials, and does not look probinsya-ish at all. We’d go back there one more time when we got tired of local tastes and craved for unhealthy fast food.
Halt! I really did not think this through.
I’ve already passed 1,000 words and I’m only on the 2nd day. Since the next part will be a long, photo-filled section about our hotel (Microtel), I’ve decided to cut it short here. Watch out for the next part (maybe 2).