Mona and I just got back from our Puerto Princesa trip.
A lot of friends wanted to go with us but I warned them beforehand, "We do not plan to go to the Underground River. I already saw the pictures online." Actually, I am claustrophobic. My greatest fear is that while I am doing the tour, the water would rise up and I will not be able to go out of the cave. True enough, the tour has been cancelled for 3 days. Why?!?!?! The water from the sea met with the water from the river! You will not be able to exit the cave via boat, only if you want to swim out of it.
I also told friends that we will not do the island hopping thing. Mona is afraid of the banca ride and I am afraid of the gazillion number of fish that will swim with me!!! But then, they convinced us that the Honda Bay island hopping is such a great experience. So ... OK.... we prepared for it.. We borrowed 2 snorkel gears from Dra. Cristina. I brought 3 kinds of sunblock, for the hair, face and body, my aqua shoes, hat, waterproof bag and camera case. My only condition was that if it rains, we will not push through with the activity.
Upon landing at Puerto Princesa Airport, it started to rain!!! Almost all the passengers were a bit disappointed but Mona and I had this secret evil smile which said, "Yay! It means we do not have to go island hopping!!!" Hahahaha We were practically jumping for joy.
We went Tummy Hopping instead!!!!
We stayed at Hibiscus Garden Inn. I chose the place for the reason that it was voted by Tripadvisor as the number 1 lodging establishment in the Puerto Princesa City.
It is a clean no frills place but they have a beautifully landscaped garden.
Our city tour did not include the famous Baker's Hill, Crocodile Farm, Mitra's Ranch, Iwahig Penal Colony, etc. My own tour included the Public Market on Malvar St.
I could not believe how fresh the different kinds of Lapu-Lapu, Tuna, Tanigue etc.!
And the best part.... the price was only 160 per kilo!!! I was disappointed I did not have a kitchen in Palawan where I could cook all the fresh seafood. Pinky said, "What?!?!? You are already on vacation and you still want to cook?!?!"
Another option was to wake up VERY early, buy in the market and they will pack it for you ready for travel. A little problem though, even before I left for Palawan, my suitcase was already full and I had not even put my clothes in yet!!! I am not a light traveler.
We also went to one of their oldest malls, NCCC and checked out the snacks section.
Look what we found!!!!
We love buying those cheap snacks. I checked the ingredients and they were made from corn grits and not flour!!! Yay!!! I also looked at the pack and it said, BFAD approved. We got the snacks we do not normally see here in Manila.
The JUMBO Chiz Curls was from the new Robinsons Mall.
The first leg of our Tummy Hopping was in Badjao Seafront Restaurant.
We hired a tricycle to take us there and to wait for us.
It is a restaurant on stilts on top of the mangroves and
overlooking the sea.
We had an all-shrimp lunch.
Banana Heart with Shrimps.
This is my most favorite vegetable dish and I do not know how to cook it really well but I enjoyed the one we ordered.
Butter Garlic Shrimps
We went back to the Inn after lunch to rest. We had to wake up at 3:30 because our flight was rescheduled at 6:55 am instead of 7:30 am.
It was Merienda time!!! The next leg of the food journey was at Rene's Saigon on Rizal Avenue.
When you exit the airport, turn left and after a few minutes, you will see his restaurant on the left side. I read about the place from different blogs. His specialty is Vietnamese Food.
I was so surprised because Vietnamese food is the least kind of cuisine that I like and yet .... I enjoyed the Chao Long!
It is Beef Stew with Rice noodles. I am allowed rice noodles but not egg noodles because that is made from wheat.
I hope I could do justice in describing the taste of the soup. It was salty, sweet and spicy. At the same time, "herby" because you will add all the vegetables and herbs from the garden at the back of the restaurant.
I even added more fresh chili sauce and the bottled kind.
I wish they have this in Manila but it is actually an adaptation of the Vietnamese Pho but the Filipinos added sweetness to it. That is why I loved it!!!!! They only serve it this way in Palawan.
We also ordered the fresh spring rolls
with Peanut Sauce ...
but I would have to say, my version is better only because theirs have lots of rice noodles in their spring roll.
Dinner was at Ka Lui ...
another famous tourist destination and it is better to make reservations ahead of time. Because of all the hype they have been getting they are always full. They are also closed on Sundays.
We ordered the set meal for 2.
Fried Eggplant with Sauce
Prawns with Fresh Tomato Sauce
Tanigue in Coco Cream
Fresh Fruits with Muscovado Sugar
Mona tried their Green Mango Shake.
I am not a fan of Filipino Fusion so I cannot comment on the food but the ambiance was interesting enough. Hehehehe I believe in the saying: If you do not have anything good to say, do not say anything at all
Happy Birthday, Mona!!!
A very eager early greeter called her up while we were having breakfast at Haim Chicken Inato House beside our Inn.
We did not have complimentary breakfast but it was ok because I loved the grilled chicken next door!!!!
I want to eat Chicken Inato everyday!!!!
It is like the inasal but not too sweet and not brushed with the orange oil. It was perfectly grilled!!!! And the dipping sauce was kalamansi, sili, vinegar and soy sauce!!!!!
The birthday girl whose cholesterol level is over the roof ordered Crispy Chicken Skin Chicharon!!!
It was so good because it was not coated with breading. I just tried a little because I do not like fried food. I do not even like chicharon but Mona said she could have finished the whole platter if she was not afraid of getting sick.
We went back to our inn. I was just waiting for the 2 hour rest and Mona and I were off again to our next destination.
Chef Tan's Kitchen... I read about it in some blogs.
Seafood Beancurd Soup
Shrimp Sio Mai
Those were just our appetizers..... the main lunch was at Balinsasayaw!!!
We had crabs!
Mona ate all the white meat, well .. except for one half which I tried and I ate all the claws.
The crabs were so fresh because the meat did not stick to the shell! And the meat was so firm and plump. I asked for patis, vinegar and garlic. I wiped the sauce from the crabs and dipped it in my own sauce. THAT was even better!!!!
We also tried the Mango-Buko-Ube Shake!!!
Mango and buko blended together then poured in a glass with milk and topped with a scoop of Ube ice cream!!!! I thought it would taste weird but surprisingly.... I wanted to have another one!!!
Mona had to give up on the next food destination.... she said she was so full already. I waited again for the 2 hour mark and off I went by myself again to Rene's Saigon!
I thought to myself ... why would I wait to go back to Puerto Princesa to eat the Chao long?
I got another order of Chao Long (Beef Stew with rice noodles).
The noodles were really chewy!!!
Pork BBQ - it was as tender as the Pork BBQ I used to sell. I occasionally accept orders every once in a while.
Their vinegar dipping sauce complemented the bbq.
I also tried their Iced Vietnamese Coffee. I am not a coffee drinker but this one was really delish!!!!
I waited until the coffee dripped from the small percolator, then added the crushed ice to the coffee. I really loved it!
I have to find out where I can drink Vietnamese coffee here in Manila.
When I got back to the Inn .... I thought I was going to give birth! I felt like I was 12 months pregnant!!!! I was so full because I asked for a pitcher of iced water at Rene's then I added a lot of fresh chili sauce to my soup. I had to take a drink of water for every spoonful of soup.... so you can just imagine how full my tummy was! I asked Mona to flick my stomach because it was like a watermelon!!!
We heard mass at the Immaculate Concepcion Cathedral.
Dinner was at La Taverna. The cousin of Mona owns it ... who also owns Island Chicken Inasal in Boracay. She ordered Kansi - a cross between Nilagang Baka and Sinigang but Batwan was used as a souring agent instead of fresh tamarind.
I only tried a little because I was still full.
Nite out at Kinabuchs' Grill and Bar!!!
I tried their Iced Tea Slush.
Mona had a beer and I did not want to miss the opportunity to try their food. I had Halabos na Hipon.
When it arrived at our table, I did not expect it to have sauce. I thought it will just be steamed salted shrimps but the sauce tasted fairly good.
Hahahahaha I forgot ... I also told people that if they wanted to join us for the trip ... we fold up at 9 pm. True enough, we were back at the inn by 9.
Breakfast was at Haim Chicken Inato again!!!!
Yes! Again!!! Mona and I even wanted to buy for take out to bring home to Manila. It was that good. Well .... it was, in my opinion. Delicious for me might not be delicious for others.
We went to Ramtan Commercial on Rizal Avenue across Mendoza Park to buy our pasalubong.
Roasted Cashew which was more expensive than the ones from Manila but they said, worth it because it tastes better and Bandi. Lots and lots and lots and lots of Bandi!!!!
We bought it last Saturday and Mona and I could not stop eating! I was not even thinking of my sugar! I worked very hard for 3 months to lower my FBS but at the time I was eating the Bandi ... I said, even if my sugar went up to 500, it was soooo worth it. So, we bought another batch to bring home for our family.
Bandi is like eating Cashew marzipan encased in panocha! It melts in the mouth! And it was not even hard to bite at all! Even the denture-challenged can enjoy this sinful snack!!! I wanted to buy more for all my friends but I did not have enough baggage allowance.
Halo-Halo at Noki Nocs
I liked it because it was not too sweet. Similar to Razon's because the ice was shaved so finely but it had more ingredients.
Last food destination was Bilao at Palayok.
Their water carafe
Mona did not eat lunch anymore because she was still full from breakfast. Nice thing about it ... MORE for me! But she ordered Strawberry Lychee Iced Tea.
I ordered Butter Garlic Crab .....
Then I figured I might get hungry! I also ordered Pork BBQ with rice!
A lot of people were asking me how is Puerto Princesa compared to Boracay.... I cannot answer that question, it will not be fair because Boracay is on a different league of its own in my heart.
I did not tour the city, Underground River nor do the Honda Bay Island Hopping but I had an equally satisfying adventure in Puerto Princesa.
Would I go back to Puerto Princesa???? Yes! Why not?!?!?!
Here are the reasons why:
My favorite Tummy Hopping establishments:
1. Rene's Saigon, Vietnamese Specialties
Rizal Avenue, Bancao-Bancao
Beef Stew with Rice Noodles
Iced Vietnamese Coffee
2. Haim Chicken Inato
248 Manalo St.
Grilled Spicy Chicken
3. Noki Noks
Corner of Rizal Avenue or Robinsons Mall Food Court
4. Ramtan Commecial
Rizal Avenue across Mendoza Park
6:00 am to 7:30 pm Monday - Saturday
Sunday - half day
Bandi - roasted cashew nuts in panocha
5. Public Market
Fresh Seafood to bring home to Manila. They can pack it with ice for you and put in a box or styrofoam.
6. Bilao at Palayok
Rizal Avenue or Manalo St.