Wednesday, December 31, 2008

For your mp3 collection, part 22

Thought bubble: "If it's any consolation, we're sitting on top of the centerline fuel tank" [actual quote]

My farewell to the music of 2008.

Atmosphere:"Sunshine"-positive rap
DM Stith:"You'll Be in the Air"-not a flying meditation
Emma Pollock:"Limbs"-breakable
Laura Veirs:"Ocean Night Song"-crying out to sea

Let's Drive to Alaska:"The energy amongst all things"-staying power

Lily Allen:"Womanizer"-stripped-down version of Britney
Patrick Park:"Here We Are"-quarter hayride
Poxfil:"Solid Ground"-blues, strings, heys
Prefuse 73 (Feat. School of Seven Bells):"Class of 73 Bells"-trippy tribe
The 1900s:"Two Ways"-folksy rock

Also loving this netlabel: The Resting Bell. Silence is golden, but their releases equally precious.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Biksa Cafe

I went here twice last month simply because it's so unexpected in the P. Tuazon area that you'd want to show it to people you know. Between the girlie bars and the tapsilog eateries, there's a white cafe with high ceilings and expensive furnishings. It makes you scratch your head.

Biksa Cafe has wifi, a conference room, and both indoor and outdoor seating. They close late, too.
The coffee and tea are quite good. The food could be improved, though. But come for long conversations, to lounge in comfort and pretend for a few hours that you're not in Marikina.

Yeah, I didn't mean to post this today. The scheduler went awry.

capiz lanterns

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

For your mp3 collection, part 21

wooden star lanterns

For Christmas morn.
Will take a Christmas break until the month's end and deal with the blog backlog in 2009. Happy Holidays!

Belle and Sebastian:"Are You Coming Over For Christmas?"-one less lonely person
Blitzen Trapper:"Christmas is Coming Soon"-here at last
Ez A Divat:"Must be the Neitherlands"-minimal maxi from Hungary

Gangpol & Mit:"Pocket Knife"-Richard Dean Anderson, where art thou?
The Helio Sequence:"Keep Your Eyes Ahead"-layered psychosis
Hula Hooper:"Reach"-far away, far away
Lightspeed Champion:"Another Song About Being Alone at Xmas"-he once was a Christian boy
Melpo Mene:"I Adore You"-suddenly child-like
Niwa:"When She Looked at Me (I Saw Her Wondering)"-mood-altering states
PianoChocolate:"Les Souvenirs"-sweets for your ear to remember
Thiaz Itch:"Earth, Wind and Fire"-what's coming next?

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Twenty guys in my living room, singing

I had some evening callers serenade me this month. Just kidding. These are seminarians invading our little house to raise funds for their schooling. Video taken with permission from the priest with them. God bless these boys.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Shopping in Puerto Princesa

Cora's at Tiangge Tiangge is your best bet for pearls of any kind, cultured or South Sea. Whatever they're selling on the beach still probably comes from here. Don't be fooled. One of our tourmates bought a pearl set for P650 at baybayin which they found out only cost P150 at Snake Island and P70 at the market. But if you want South Sea pearls from Zamboanga, they will really cost you thousands. The perfect ones are sent to Manila, so don't expect the highest quality pearls here.

NCCC, the only large shopping center has a department store and supermarket. Goods are generally cheaper than in Manila.

majorette boots at NCCC
Majorette boots in four colors!

There are craft stores along Rizal Avenue if you want native souvenirs (which you should have bought at Iwahig if you needed pasalubong in the first place).

It's worth going to the market for food such as dried fish, dried squid, and cashew products. If you want fresh fish, they would be happy to wrap them well for you so that you can handcarry them home. But to temper expectations, compare:

Presentation, presentation, presentation!

Mango products cannot be brought outside of Palawan because it is forbidden. There is a weevil infestation that they are trying to contain.

If you're looking for familiar names, Jollibee, Chowking, Dunkin Donuts, Mister Donut, Mang Inasal and Shakeys have branches in Puerto Princesa city proper. No McDonalds. I didn't notice Mercury Drug but Biochemist seems to be the known drug store.

I really have to mention that the money circulating in Palawan is old, Often taped together. Nothing a vending machine would accept. But other than that, you'll have a good time shopping.

Sunday, December 21, 2008



I don't know why Kinabuchs Grill and Bar has a large outdoor screen when you can't hear the sound. But that's how laid-back the place is. Think huts in a parking lot, three billiard tables and two bars. Don't be fooled by its beer garden appearance. Families eat here; teenage cliques meet here; tourists drink here.

bar at kinabuchs

We had Kanin ni 04, eggplant salad, fresh lumpia, and gambas. But the highlight for me had to be the local delicacy, tamilok (wood worm). If you're squeamish, skip the rest of this paragraph. For P115, you will get a dish with several pieces, enough for a group of brave souls. When I saw the dish, I remembered dissecting earthworms in biology. I ate a few short ones and one long one 14 inches in length. That was my Fear Factor moment, putting it into my mouth and trying to imagine myself in a contest, thinking I musn't puke. I took it slowly and managed to eat a few more. The taste isn't bad at all: my dad tried one and confirmed that it tasted like oysters. The difference is that this one does not look appetizing at all, since you can see what seems like the veins through its translucent body.

We all had shakes: pineapple, banana, mango banan and mango ginger (I was still feeling adventurous), but none of them turned out right. Damage: P1039. Still ok.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Honda Bay

honda bay

It was fiesta at Honda Bay when we went. But we didn't notice. Sulu Sea, unlike South China Sea, is calm. The same couples from the Underground River joined us, plus P&K, who joined us on the boad. Incidentally, P was my college coursemate. Forgot which classes we took together.

honda bay

honda bay
honda bay

coconut three
coconut three

The first stop was Pandan Island for a bit of snorkeling (masks for rent at P100). I had a hard time in my kid-sized lifevest because the styro kept moving around, but at least I didn't step on a sea urchin like three people in our party did (ouch!). After lunch, it was time for Snake Island, which has this cool curved shoreline.

snake island

It's said that there's a wolf at the far end, so beware. The snorkeling here is much better, with more diverse species of fish, a lot of them the kind you'd find on your plate. Angel fish, clown fish, parrot fish and some more of the ones you see in the market. Bring feed them, of course! The shelf suddenly becomes a sheer wall of darkness. The corals are mostly dead here and you do feel that eerie sense of being in a graveyard.

Luli Island (above) is not named for the President's daughter. It's short for lulubog, lilitaw (submerging, emerging) because of the tide.

The last stop was Starfish Island. By this time, we didn't want to go into the water anymore. Don't leave your slippers behind!


Two of the dogs limp. They fell off somewhere when they were just puppies. They are really sweet, though.


Friday, December 19, 2008

Ka Lui + Paskuhan sa Kapitolyo

bamboo chimes

Everyone takes their shoes off at Ka Lui. The restaurant's bamboo flooring and interiors all made of natural materials. There are many bamboo chimes and artworks. At some tables, patrons sit on cushions on the floor.


The free clam soup has a strong ginger base. The shakes are garnished with a watermelon slice and the fish in coconut milk had basil inside. We had seafood and vegetable tempura, camote tops, prawn and gindara. I especially liked their squid sisig. For dessert, there was fresh fruit salad served in a halved coconut, sprinkled with muscovado sugar.


Ka Lui is open every day 11 to 2 for lunch, 6 to 11 for dinner, save Sundays. Reservations practically essential to avoid a very long wait. Call (048) 433-2580.


We walked down Rizal Avenue to the provincial capitol, where there were two copies of the huge Christmas tree at Baywalk.

The capitol is surrounded by tiangge selling all sorts of things. There is a light and sound show which we didn't wait for because we caught the very end of one. I suppose the locals don't have much to do in these parts, so this is a welcome diversion for the holidays.

too much dust!

I really liked this snowglobe

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Lunch at quarter to three + the way back

We arrived in Sabang close to 3pm and had buffet lunch near the beach before going back to Puerto Princesa.

tribal restaurant daluyon carabao carriage


Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Boat to Underground River + The caves

approach approach

that's how you move a mountain
Ooh la la!

limestone cliffs beach

Our tour mates were two pairs of young couples. The guys share the same name. So do the girls. Coincidence?

We finally got on two boats (four persons each), plus the boatmen. The swells, which reached about five feet, would be negligible to other craft, but in a small boat, you feel it all.

Good view of the waves hitting the rocks. Landing on the beach, you need to walk another hundred meters through the forest to reach the opening of cave. It was another long wait to get a boat going in. There are few boats available and even fewer boatmen. And we were caught by their lunch break. But we still arrived ahead of those who trekked and the line got much longer by after lunch, so we were still lucky.

monitor lizard

path going in


cave entrance

if you really want to know what's in the cave, this is the vid for you

boats formations formations formations tourists

formations formations

Palawan's Subterranean River is the longest navigable underground river in the world. It is the Philippines' nominee to the New 7 Wonders of the natural world and is currently number one (vote here). It is more than 8km long, but only a little over a kilometer is open to visitors. The water is still and cold.

Monkeys are said to snatch plastic bags because they think there is food inside. But since the dogs are around, they're out of sight. The monitor lizards, which eat fish and crabs, were out near the beach, unafraid of people.

We were eight to a boat. Wearing hardhats for protection, we listened to our boatman who pointed out the formations inside, including the large Melting Candle, the Christian imagery in the Cathedral, the Vegetable Section and the Expressway. It is nearly pitch black, so the light our fellow tourist held for us was very important. This is the kind of thing you have to experience for yourself. Go go go!

A caveat: a limited number of people can enter the cave, which makes you think what an awful wait there is for a boat during peak season. How can you develop tourism if that is the case?