Friday, December 3, 2010

Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony Dec. 2010

The Christmas tree at dusk. No guests yet.
Every year, Mayor Edward Hagedorn,Vice-Mayor Bayron, and PPC City Council host a tree lighting Ceremony at the public park at the Baywalk on Puerto Princesa bay. This event is the begininng of a jolly time in Puerto Princesa. Even the Palawan Government Capitol Building area is decorated in Christmas attire with food and vendor stand during the day and open till late in the evenings.

Puerto Princesa City celebrates its Fiesta on the 8th December, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception of Mary. Fiesta activities begin during the first week of December with the series of religious activities. The celebrations extends towards the Christmas season laced with nightly cultural presentation, yuletide activities topped by the lighting of the giant Christmas tree and fireworks, as well as ago-industrial, tourism and food fairs. The combined month-long activity is dubbed as "Pista Na, Pasko Pa".

The Opening Prayers.

Before the tree lighting, there's an opening prayer by representatives of  6 Religious organizations and groups, after which choirs from many of the local schools and churches sing. Even some white robed priests and other seculars did a fun song in Tagalog to a hip beat, although no Michael Jacksons, it was fun to watch them in their adorable semi-self consious dance stances. You know, if you looked closely, you could tell they were having a good time and getting into it.
One of the many school or Church choirs for entertainment.

Mayor Edwarad Hagedorn greeting Jordan Klow of Lotus Garden Restaurant and Suites

The last song is sung by a very loved Mayor Ed with his wife and helpmate Ellen Hagedorn, or Mam Ellen, as best she's know to the locals. The Mayor has a deep raspy but smooth, country westernish voice.  At the end, the long time power couple sing in duet. Clap, clap, clap, clap!
The Hagedorn Power Couple singing a duet before the tree is lit.

While they are singing, the lights on the tree illuminate the massive handmade ornaments to reveal a giant Santa on a sleigh with reindeer, fireworks exploding in founts and expanding bursts behind it! Each ornament is wrought by the hands of local talent that Ellen Hagedorn has nurtured into a trade. For two years I've seen the various phases of  the trees' construction. I've watched her people sew the individual flowers, create Santa et al made of Styrofoam, each hand painted. There must be a thousand at least. (NOTE to self: Get figures from Mrs. Hagedorn), They cut out and re-use buntings, as well as what they can from previous street decorations and last years ornaments. Many times the wind rips through the tree damaging the decorations.  It's truly a work of love by Mrs. Hagedorn and her team.

The entire Baywalk Park was covered in a sea of people. Even the road up the hill overlooking it was clogged by the throngs. It was a beautiful night with twinkling stars out. Only gentle clouds breezed past overhead to give a reminder to be grateful for what could be. Mayor Ed ended the ceremony with a touching speech of gratitude to the people for all their support in the previous election. This is his last legal term and he's determined to continue leave lasting positive legacies to the environment and it's people. He then endowed 50,000. PhP to each participating choir on behalf of the City Government of Puerto Princesa.
Puerto Princesa Christmas Tree celebration Dec. 1, 2010 by Bob Ocampo. The man far left in  white barong is none other than Mayor Edward Hagedorn. This gives the scale of the tree! Bob, Many thanks for the use of your photo.

Photo by Wine Orlido - Many thanks for the use of your photo!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Ikaw cag Ako Cafe and Native gift shop

On Rizal Avenue on the same side and not too far down from the PPC Int'l airport on the Right.

Ikaw cag Ako
translated means You and Me.  It's an adorable native restaurant that serves a local favorite rice porridge with different toppings, like beef, chicken, veggies etc.  They also serve refreshing and healthy salads and other dishes bought from local organic farmers.

They have a gift shop with items made by local artists such as jewelry, percussion intruments made from seeds, drums on recycle bottles etc.
They make a very refreshing buko, pandan and ginger slushy that I have whenever I'm in town. Sounds weird but it's soooooo very refreshing.

It's not a place for large crowds but for cozy conversations and healthy meals

All the gift shop items are made by local artists. Great souvenirs to take home with you there.

Lawiswis organic soaps, creams, lotions, vitamins and the like. All made in Puerto Princesa
Palawan, Philippines

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Paving Paradise

Update June 2012

I must admit, I was the first complain when they cut down hundreds of old growth trees to put in the Robinson's giant Mall. Now I am a big fan of the Supermarket. However, I am still very sad the developers didn't work around the trees, keeping some of them to shade the parking lot area. It's so very hot to get in your car because there is no shade at all. Not to mention all the cement makes the ambient temperature much higher for the whole area. The loss of hundreds of trees was a blow to the environment. I wish the city had made them replace the trees with plants of equal shade value. The palms the developers seem to love around here are easy maintenance but have no shade value.

Up until a few days ago there used to be a large at least 6 hectare grove of wonderful old Mango and Acacia trees along the highway right after the junction where the North and South National Highway splits.

To make way for progress they have felled practically all of the trees. Even those along the highway that could have given off good oxygen and cut down the heat in the city. Even trees that possibly could have given shade for cars to park.  I don't understand why developers can't build around the trees like they to in American cities. It's really, really sad.

With all due respect to my new hometown...they really need to put some eco-friendly ordinances in place, like protecting the trees already in place. Trees give us our air! The city is not really a City in a Forest as it's been called. It's a city that used to be in a forest but has gotten paved over.

Reminds me of that old Joni Mitchell song, "They paved paradise and put up a parking lot......"

Monday, October 25, 2010

Asiano Wooden Carvings

"Asiano" - A really good place in Puerto Princesa to get authentic made in Palawan souvenirs.  Made with many recycled sticks and objects.  Real locals and some indigenous tribes make the wares. The owner, and designer of many handmade items, actually walks several hours to buy the carvings and raw materials for the native tribes.

Asiano has wood carvings and other handmade items made in Puerto Princesa and other tribal places or towns.

It's one of my favorite places to shop for one of a kind carved items or wall hangings. They even have fashion items like cool bracelets, necklaces, earrings and such made from beads, terra cotte, wood carvings etc.

It's just before a restaurant called "Palayok at Bilao" on Rizal Avenue towards the airport from the Capitol Bldg. Every day something new comes in so check it out for unique gifts to take away with you from Puerto Princesa, Palawan.

They carry hand carved bangle bracelets, household items, wooden statues, wooden bowls and really interesting and unique wall hangings. Great souvenirs to bring home with you are at Asiano! You can be assured they are made locally and nothing imported from China!

A local artist making beaded items.
A little shop filled with native creations. Many by local tribes.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Butterfly Eco Garden and Tribal Village

Bgy Santa Monica, Puerto Princesa
Opens at 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM
Cell:  0917-597-5544

The Butterfly Garden of Palawan has expanded and it is inside a screened in delightful garden.  Butterflies roam freely hatched from cocoons on display in a covered area.
Find them on Facebook at:

This little guy got attacked by ants.Tried
to save it but too late.
The butterfly garden was constructed to educate visitors through a video on how butterflies develop and survive in a particular environment as well as an exhibit of the pupae. Another objective is to attract tourists and make them aware of the beautiful butterflies that are natural to Puerto Princesa and now in the Tribal Village you will meet real members of the Palaw'an tribe who will give you their blow dart demonstrations and invite you to try it or let you pet and be photographed with their pet boa constrictors.

After exploring the butterfly enclosure, you will step into the life of the native Palaw'an. Palaw'ans are only one of the many indigenous peoples of Palawan that have been living in the province for many thousands of years. A few traits and trades have been preserved since younger generations are now adopting to modernisation. The tribal village is to preserve those remaining traits and trades and by its Cultural shows, visitors will get a rare chance to interact with these native people that still holds pure Palaw'an bloodline. Visitors will learn the Palaw'an way of hunting, survival, daily life and even the Palaw'an way of hanging out. At the end of the tour, visitors will get a chance to bring home Palaw'an made crafts and other souvenirs that are hand crafted by the local village folks.

Entrance fee is very cheap. I can't remember the exact cost. But trust me, it's cheap and they do accept senior discounts and for children under a certain age.
There is a little shop that sells souvenir items and house  decorations near the exit.
There is a display of humongous black scorpions, usually with young on its back.
Apparently there is a guy that can handle them, but you won't catch me
doing that.

Butterfly pupa. They look like they are made of gold.
Two rescued bear cats can be seen at the Butterfly garden.

One of the pet boa constrictors you can hold and have a photo with at the Tribal Village
One of the lizards on display.

A strange and unusual flower at the Butterfly garden. A batflower!

A butterfly pupa

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Palawan Wildlife Rescue and Conservation Center

Also known as the crocodile farm, is both a tourist attraction and a research institute. About 30 minutes from Puerto Princesa city center, the Crocodile Farm also has a mini-zoo, which features some of Palawan's endemic species of wildlife.
Dave messing around with a crocodile statue.
We were taken then last year in 2009 by Mayor Ed Hagedorn and were given a tour inside the rescue facilities. About 300 wild mynah bird and parrot babies had been taken from poachers and brought there. Most of them died because of lack of funding for trained staff. My heart really bled when I saw all the starving babies and I didn't want to leave without feeding them, but we had to dash off with the Mayor and I haven't been back. We were only told that more than 80% of the mynah babies died and so with the baby parrots.

It was just too sad for me to see so many mynah bird and parrot babies starving.
So even though they were rescued, they still perished....what a shame. It was a terrible blow to our eco system to have tham many baby birds removed from our environment.

They do have a rambling park like area where there are enclosures with some of the endemic and endangered species, as well as some like the palawan bear cat whom have bred in captivity and were rescues.
Of course there are lots of crocodiles at the crocodile farm. All stages of development too.

An indigenous Palawan bear cat. This is part of a mated couple that had a couple of cubs in captivity! They are slowly becoming endangered. I recently heard in our village of someone eating one because it was eating their chickens...ack. Poor thing,

The park had some beautiful flowers in bloom when we went there in July.

New Patrol boats for Puerto Princesa, Palawan

August 15, 2010
Dave and I drove our electric trikes over to Honda bay, Bgy. Santa Lourdes and got a sneak preview of the new patrol boats. The boats to the local government units is a joint project of the governments of the United States of America and the Philippines.

US envoy to turn-over 4 new patrol boats to Puerto Princesa, Palawan.
Written by admin News, Provincial News Aug 14, 2010

PUERTO PRINCESA CITY NEWS- A representative of President Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III and US Ambassador Harry K. Thomas Jr. are expected to lead the turn-over ceremonies scheduled on August 16 of four new patron gun boats (PGB) at the PNP-SBU headquarters in Barangay Sta. Lourdes, Puerto Princesa City.
The new patrol gun boats (PGB) compliment the expanding force tasked to keep illegal activities off Puerto Princesa City’s waters. FULL ARTICLE ONLINE
Smaller chase and rescue boats as well.

The new US donated PNP chaseboats - PNP Maritime Group

On August 16th, after the patrol boat turnover ceremony at Honda Bay in Sta. Lourdes, we met up with Mayor Edward Hagedorn, Governor Baham Mitra, and US Ambssador Thomas, at Badjao Seafront Restaurant situated in a mangrove forest. We found the new US Ambassador extremely affable and convivial!
At Badjao Seafront Restaurant after the turnover ceremony.
Front Left to Right: US Ambassador Harry K. Thomas, Jr., Diana Limjoco, Mayor Edward Hagedorn
Back left to right: Palawan Governor Baham Mitra, Helen Limjoco and EV consultant, Dave Dewbre

We were hoping to take the Ambassador for a ride in the etrike, but the day's schedule didn't allow for it. He said next time he was in town he would try them out.
To the left of the Electric Tricycle: Helen Limjoco and US Ambassador Harry K. Thomas, Jr
to the right of the Etrike- Etrike makers Diana J Limjoco and Dave Dewbre of Green Tech EcoCenter, Puerto Princesa

US Ambassador Harry K. Thomas, Jr. with Electric Tricycle

All photos copyright Diana J. Limjoco 2010