Showing posts with label Palawan. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Palawan. Show all posts

Tuesday, January 06, 2015

What to see in Culion, Palawan heritage town

Culion, Palawan is a destination waiting to be discovered. It's not as popular an attraction to those who visit Coron. Most stays in Coron are only a few days, so one would rather spend time and resources exploring Coron Island, Malcapuya Island further south, or attractions near Coron town. But there's something about Culion that makes it an interesting find.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Palawan: Coron accommodation and attractions

Since the summer vacation is fast approaching, I did some updates to a post on Coron accommodation. Here are some suggestions for hotels in Coron, Palawan.

I also came up with a list of things to do in Coron, Busuanga and Culion. These include visits to Kayangan Lake, Twin Lagoon, Barracuda Lake or snorkeling at Siete Pecados and the Japanese shipwrecks.

Coron also has really good beaches and many secluded ones to choose from. The list actually has many suggestions.

In a recent visit, we rented a large boat from Busuanga Seadive Resort good for fifty, explored Coron Island, had lunch off Dicantuman Beach, and went snorkeling at Twin Peaks and Siete Pecados. Here's a video I made of that visit:

Also got to try out a new hotel in the town center called Coron Ecolodge Hotel. Had a good experience there.

Coron Ecolodge Hotel
(0906) 4556090 / (0919) 2048824

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Into the Green Zone: Palawan Islands

Palawan is one of the jewels of the Philippines. And if there's one book about Palawan that will inspire you even more to visit or one that you should have at home to show visitors, Into the Green Zone: Palawan Islands is it!

As expected, the photos are spectacular. We expect nothing less from George Tapan. The coffee table book features landscapes, wildlife, archaeology, built heritage, the people and culture, environment and industry of Palawan among many other very interesting aspects of this beautiful province.

Palawan is such a vast province, I have yet to explore many of its highlights. George Tapan traveled extensively around Palawan to complete this book which gives a glimpse of many places we only read about in books.

The book costs Php3,500 and is very well worth the price. There are discounts for bulk orders. Details are in the book's website. Photos in this post are from the book.

When news of the book's release was announced online, it got me salivating. Little did I know I'd get a complimentary copy from the publisher. Thank you!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Palawan: Kayangan Lake, Dicantuman Beach, Twin Peaks, Siete Pecados & Mt. Tapyas in Coron

The unpredictability of the weather the past few weeks had got us praying for the rain to take a vacation while we took ours. I brought my tourism class to Coron, Palawan last weekend which is my way of letting them experience our country first-hand. And yes, the sun was smiling at us as soon as our plane landed in Busuanga.

It was a bit cloudy when I last visited Coron. So the clear sky was a welcome development. I wrote some articles then to help plan a trip to Coron such as Things to do in Coron, Busuanga and Culion, Palawan and Coron hotels, transportation and more stuff to help you plan your trip which I will be updating in the next few days with the many new hotels in Coron.

Some of my students visited Maquinit Hot Springs the evening we arrived. The entrance fee had gone up from Php100 to Php150. But with a student ID, you can get in at a discounted rate of Php120. Tricycles rides still cost the same at Php300 back and forth.

The next day, we climbed up Mount Tapyas for a really nice view of Coron Bay. You have to climb about 720 steps to reach the Mt. Tapyas View Deck. Except for that ugly reclamation project they completed beside the public market, the panorama is stunning, especially at sunset.

Our main activity was a boat tour of attractions around Coron Island. We had arranged it with Busuanga Seadive Resort who provided the group a boat with a second floor deck. I actually spent most of the time enjoying the cool sea breeze on the deck as we slowly made our way around the island.

Our first stop was Kayangan Lake. I had actually missed this the last time since we didn't have enough time having been to so many other attractions on Coron. There is a ten to fifteen minute hike up the rock and down to the lake. At the top is a view point where you can take a photo of one of Coron's most popular panoramas.

Guides will require you to wear your life vests when you take a swim in the lake since it can get quite deep. But it's a refreshing swim definitely.

From Kayangan Lake, we proceeded further south to Dicantuman Beach where we were scheduled to have lunch. Banol Beach used to be the popular beach. It was better actually. But we were told that because of some disagreements on the revenue, the local Tagbanuas who own the island of Coron, decided to close the beach.

Coron Island actually has many beaches tucked in small coves. But most of them are off limits. Dicantuman Beach was opened quite recently.

Since our boat was too big to dock close to the beach, we decided to have lunch on the boat. Our boat actually had its own kitchen. And our meals were prepared there.

To get to the beach, we had to take a bamboo raft or a smaller boat. We spent an hour or two there. It was such a lazy afternoon, I actually took a power nap on one of the lounge chairs.

From there, we proceeded to Twin Peaks and Siete Pecados Marine Park which are both popular snorkeling areas. Not that the current can get really strong so you are advised to wear your life vests at all times.

I moved to the Coron Ecolodge that night to try our their facilities. It's a relatively new hotel. We were scheduled to visit Malcapuya and Banana Islands the next day. But our luck ran out since it was raining hard and the trip got canceled. So I literally spent the day in bed, getting my much-needed rest.

Hopefully I get to explore more of Coron soon. For the many activities you can do in Coron, check out Things to do in Coron, Busuanga and Culion, Palawan.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Palawan: La Terrasse is Puerto Princesa's next big restaurant

It all started with a search for this secluded French restaurant called Ditchay's Bistro. I was told about this really cozy restaurant which serves French cuisine in an area near Rene's Saigon Restaurant. It was not even along the main road and you had to go further inside to get to it. When I finally got there, there was a sign that Ditchay's was closed for the time being. And it invited guests to try out a new restaurant called La Terrasse along Rizal Avenue.

La Terrasse is also managed by Ditchay Roxas, who is married to a Frenchman. She was at La Terrasse when we got there and introduced her new concept to us. La Terrasse is a representation of Puerto Princesa's international vibe, owing to the fact that the city has a large expat community. It offers a mix of international cuisine fused with local flavors, in what she calls a balance of Asia and Europe. She also mentions her effort to make some local Filipino delicacies palatable to the foreign tongue such as dilis which she tastefully mixes into fried rice.

We got to try the sumptuous and sinful Adobo Overload which is chicken and pork adobo twice fried served with a generous portion of rice fried in adobo oil and topped with adobo flakes and chicharon. We also ordered Crackling Belly which is her version of bagnet. The menu is still a work in progress though since it's still on soft opening. They expect to launch the restaurant in August.

Also in the works is a deli where they plan to sell locally-sourced products such as breads and locally-processed meats such as bacon and ham from Ernie Lim, sausages from a German national based here, and a Spaniard who makes chorizo. Also available will be locally-made cheeses such as Davao's blue goat cheese, carabao cheese from Nueva Ecija, blush blue and pink and margarita cheese.

While the quality of some popular restaurants in Puerto Princesa are going down as they continue to sit on their laurels (I hope certain by-reservation only restaurants realize that word is going around that the quality of their food and service is decreasing), La Terrasse provides a breath of fresh air, offering a new choice to Puerto Princesa's locals and visitors. Owing to the success of Ditchay's Bistro, I can foresee that La Terrasse will be Puerto Princesa's next big restaurant.

To the fans of Ditchay's Bistro, the restaurant will remain closed until the operations of La Terrasse will normalize. Hopefully, when I do return to Palawan, I can eat at both!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Palawan: Chaolong & Vietnamese food in Puerto Princesa

Puerto Princesa has a lot of Vietnamese restaurants owing to the fact that it was once host to many refugees from Vietnam. Locally, these restaurants are known as chaolongan because they serve a noodle dish called chaolong. I wonder though why they call it chaolong when the noodle dish is more aptly called pho (phở). Chao long is congee (rice porridge) with pork innards.

The best of these Vietnamese restaurants is Rene's Saigon Restaurant. Unlike other restaurants which serve the local chaolong, Rene bakes his own Vietnamese baguette or bánh mì. Plus he's half Vietnamese and his wife is Vietnamese. The other chaolong restaurants are owned by locals who inherited the restaurants from the Vietnamese after they migrated to the U.S.

At the same time, Rene's Saigon Restaurant has more choices when it comes to Vietnamese food including fresh rolls or gỏi cuốn and fried spring rolls chả giò and authentic bánh mì sandwiches among others. In the menu, you will see the sandwiches under the heading French Bread.

We ordered fresh rolls (Php100) and fried rolls (Php85) for starters. Both are not in the menu but are served upon request. The fresh rolls are wrapped in rice paper and have pork, shrimp, bún or rice vermicelli, herbs, and other ingredients inside.

For the chaolong (again the right term for this is pho), we got Beef Stew with Noodles and Beef with Noodles (Php60 each). And for French Bread, we got French Bread with Pork Barbecue wich is a very popular bánh mì filling in Vietnam.

Among the Vietnamese restaurants in Puerto Princesa, Rene's Saigon Restaurant is on the higher end and rightly so because it serves the most authentic Vietnamese food of all the chaolongan. But even then, it's still very affordable.

The masa version of chaolong is served at Bona's Chaolong House and Restaurant. This is very popular among the locals because prices are very cheap. I ordered the Beef Stew with Noodles Special (Php45) and French Bread with Chicken (Php25). I even took home one of their fusion sandwiches, French Bread with Longganisa (Php28). While it is cheap and good, they're also very generous with the MSG. Not good news for the health conscious.

There are several more chaolong restaurants in Puerto Princesa which are also worth the visit. So if you have more time, you might want to visit them too. Tricycles know how to get to most of these chaolong restaurants.

You can also get authentic Vietnamese food at Viet Ville which is on the way to the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Palawan: Weekend in Microtel Puerto Princesa

I just needed a break last weekend. So off I went to Puerto Princesa, Palawan. Having been to Puerto Princesa previously, I decided to forgo the tours: Puerto Princesa city tour, Puerto Princesa Underground River tour and Honda Bay island hopping, and decided to use my time instead to relax at Microtel Puerto Princesa. Although there are two tours I have not tried: Dos Palmas and dolphin watching which is seasonal, which I will reserve for another trip.

Microtel Puerto Princesa just opened last year. Its beach front location is quite secluded and very cozy. But the downside of being secluded is that the hotel is a bit far from the city proper. But they have scheduled lunch and dinner shuttle services to and from the city proper as well as the airport. I took both their lunch and dinner shuttles to the city proper to try out the different restaurants in the city. Unfortunately, if you want to venture out on your own, tricycles charge between Php150 to 200 one-way to get to and from Microtel.

But no need to worry about the tours I mentioned above since Microtel can book all these tours for you and the tour vans pick you up right at the hotel. So it's very convenient.

Those who who want a quiet place with a beach front to relax in Puerto Princesa will enjoy a stay at Microtel. The view is picturesque. And I must admit I spent some time just sitting in the lounge chairs or the hammock for a quiet afternoon nap. The only downside is that the water is too shallow for a swim. So most of the swimming is done in the pool conveniently located beside the beach.

I always look forward to stays in Microtel because of their chiropractic-approved beds which are exclusively made for the hotel chain worldwide. So any Microtel will have the same kind of bed and pillows.

There's free WiFi Internet in the lobby and paid WiFi/LAN connections in the rooms. Ask them for ongoing promos. Right now, they have a Php5,860 per person 3D 2N package (based on quadruple sharing) which includes daily breakfast, the city tour, Honda Bay and Underground River tours, and a one-hour massage. It's almost all-in except for the two dinners. But given that three tours are included, that's a total bargain!

Microtel Puerto Princesa
(02) 8997171 / 8700100 / 8971039
(048) 7320977

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Palawan: Great food at Bistro Coron & Seadive Resort

Coron has its own food surprises. And Bistro Coron most definitely tops the list. It has a really extensive menu which includes pizza, pasta, beef, chicken, pork, seafood, soups, salads, sandwiches and dessert, plus a bar list that includes close to seventy drinks and cocktails.

As always, pizza was one of the choices. They have nine kinds including one called a Panizza which is pizza on bread. We got the one called Bistro which has tomato, onion, garlic, mushrooms and ground beef toppings. They usually come in three sizes and cost Php179, Php249 and Php389 respectively. They served the pizza on a tray which reminded me of another really good pizza I had at the Romblon Deli.

The beef dishes are quite popular among the foreigners. And I'm sure you'll find something there that will suit your taste.

Since we stayed at Seadive Resort, many of our meals were at the restaurant. I was told one of their best sellers was steak. Of course, pizza and pasta was in our selection. One of their pasta has a ginger and coconut milk sauce. Unusual for pasta but it was quite good. You can also check out their blackboard for the special for the day.

Coron pasalubong
Cashew nuts or casuy is one of the things you bring home from Coron. And the place to get casuy is from Coron Harvest. It's close to the port area which a few minutes away from the town proper. Aside from the usual toasted or garlic cashew, the best buys would be Bandi, that is cashew with caramelized brown sugar; and Brittle which has both caramelized sugar and honey!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Palawan: Banol Beach, Twin Lagoon, Kayangan Lake and Siete Pecados Marine Park in Coron

Coron is simply stunning. Since we only had a day to go around, we decided to do both Culion and the Coron in one day. Remember that Coron Town is on Busuanga Island while most of the popular attractions are on Coron Island. Coron Island is characterized by massive limestone karst rock formations, lakes and lagoons and is part of the ancestral domain of the Tagbanua.

We left Culion after lunch and began our trip around Coron Island. The first stop was an hour and 30 minutes away. It was a bit cloudy on the way to Coron Island but once we got to Banol Beach, the sun was out and perfect for a swim.

Banol Beach is a small beach and is perfect for a picnic. You can actually buy fresh seafood or meat at the market before leaving Coron and request your boatman to grill it while at one of the beaches. Remember though not to venture too far from the shore since we were warned Banol has a lot of sea urchins if you explore too far from the beach. Entrance fee to the beach is Php100. We didn't stay too long in Banol since we wanted to see the other attractions.

Our next stop was Twin Lagoon which is two salt water lakes separated by a narrow opening. It's best to swim with your life vest on since it gets really deep in some parts. At low tide, you can swim across the narrow opening to get to the other lake. But when the tide is high, the opening is completely submerged and you'll have to swim through it.

One option would have been to visit Kayangan Lake which is really picturesque. The lake, which is nestled amidst spectacular limestone kasrt rock formations, is simply stunning. But that needs at least an hour: 15 minutes to hike to the lake, at least 30 minutes for a swim, and another 15 minutes to hike back to the boat. So we decided to reserve the lake for another trip. Entrance fee to Kayangan Lake is Php200.

Our last stop was the Siete Pecados Marine Park which is very popular for snorkeling. The boatmen usually refer to it as Seven Islands. Like Coron Island, the islets of Siete Pecados are also limestone karst formations. To make sure that the coral formations don't get damaged, boats anchor on buoys installed for the purpose.

A favorite activity when snorkeling in Siete Pecados would be feeding the fish with bread. So don't forget to bring your supply since the fish literally swarm around you as you gradually release the bread. Entrance fee to Siete Pecados Marine Park is Php100.

Since the sun was starting to set, we headed back to Coron Town. It would have been a good option to climb Mt. Tapyas to watch the sunset. But we got lazy and decided to just chill in our hotel room. Food adventures coming up next!

Related entries
Things to do in Coron, Busuanga and Culion, Palawan
Coron hotels, transportation and more stuff to help you plan your trip
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