Thursday, December 29, 2011

Grocery Shopping

Updated blog, June-2012
Robinson's Mall has now opened and has changed everything.  Their supermarket carries most of what we need. They still don't have fresh coffee beans so I still have to go to NCCC downtown to get those, but I'm thrilled at the selection at Robinson's mall now.

When I first published my blog there was only one supermarket in Town, NCCC in city center.  More often than not they are blasting religious music so loud you can't even hear yourself think though! They have recently opened a new location at the newly built 168 Building in San Jose outside of town off the National Highway going north.  This is handier for me since I live in Luzviminda.  They do have a small basic meat counter, but it's close enough to the San Jose New Market to make it handy for most meats or seafood you will need. They do carry fresh vegetables, but of course more expensive than the open air market. The vendors used to sell only on the weekends at the outdoor stalls, but recently you can get fresh produce outside all year. It's muddy when it rains, so don't wear good shoes.  The the enclosed section of the San Jose Public Market does carry vegetables all week as well and is covered if it rains;  they are behind the meats and fish.
Click to enlarge

There is also another supermarket downtown by the Old Palengke downtown or native public market called Unitop.  There is parking in a basement lot with a ramp leading upstairs to the market and the dry goods department. There's even an LBC office in that building for sending packages from. The Unitop Supermarket often has goods that NCCC doesn't carry and they do have a good meat counter as well. I like the ground beef meat there better than NCCC which has two kinds, one of which has too much fat and the other is too lean, whereas Unitop blend is somewhere in the middle. The fresh chicken is also cheaper at Unitop.

I buy my eggs at the San Jose New Market in
trays of 24 for 150 PhP per tray.  If any of the
eggs are bad, my "suki" always replaces them
on my next visit, whereas the supermarkets
have not ever done that. They do sell eggs
at the downtown Public Market as well.
If you do live outside of City Center, in the San Jose Public Market bus terminal area there is also a grocery store called Goland. It's in back of the bus terminals and a little obscure and hard to see, but it's on the same side as the Caltex Gas station just a few meters down.  They don't have fresh meats but they do carry the normal variety of canned and dry goods and the aisles are nice and wide and looks more like a warehouse inside recently since they expanded. It's a little harder to find parking because the tricycle drivers usually block the driveway, but I did go there before Robinson's Supermaket opened.

I go to the San Jose outdoor market for fresh fish other seafoods and vegetables..  Don't wear good shoes or you'll muck them up at the Public Markets! When it rains it's usually muddy and they wash down the meat and fish counters so the floors are usually wet even insdie.  You can also buy rice at either of the Public Markets. More varieties than I even knew existed actually!

Since Robinson's has opened, I prefer to get my meat and even my fish there as I'm quite tired of the muddy wet floors at the local markets. Plus, it's rather gross to have flys hopping all over the food. The vendors handle the money and then grab up your meat as it's not all that sanitary. I used to wash the meat when I would buy it there, and cooking well kills any bacteria..but frankly, I like the more sterile conditions at Robinson's and even NCCC.  It's just a matter of what you are used to.

Fresh meat, poultry, fish, crabs
and vegetables can be found at
the Public markets downtown
and the San Jose New Market
off the National Hwy.
The traffic in city Center of late has put me off, so I am very grateful there are more choices outside of town. Now I am just wishing for a quality bakery so that I don't have to get stuck in traffic jams just to feed my sweet tooth!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Irawan Eco Park and Forest Canopy Zip Line

Irawan Eco Park
Bgy. Irawan,
Puerto Princesa City 5300: Check them out on Facebook at:

Not just a zip line any more...although I do believe they have the longest in Palawan. They now have something for the whole family like, horseback riding, butterfly garden, jungle survival course, e
Lovely bluish butterfly at Irawan Eco Park and
Zip Line
The Irawan Eco Park is located off the National Highway going south. It's 3,000 hectares of the Flora and Fauna Protected Area of the Irawan Watershed. You can also take in the Crocodile Farm while out in that area.

The Irawan Forest is one of my very favorites as it is accessible to non hiking persons like myself!  Even if you don't want to take the Zip lines, it's well worth a trip up to the Eco Park just to have a cup of coffee at the check in building and walk along the river once you get to the zip line area. They have a beginners run, 1/2 Kilometer and 1 full Kilometer run.  They opened the 1.3 Kilometer Zipline as well. It's a quick flight through the beautiful Irawan Forest and above its river.

They offer Carabao cart rides in the beautiful pristine forest as well. Inquire at the check in area. Other activities include:
Skywalk adventure
River trail
Fish feeding
Jungle survival demonstration

Click the link below to view their packages and rates.

The Pearl Museum is located at base camp where you check in to avail of the different activities. You can request a tour and you will learn all about real and fake pearls.

Imagine riding on a horse through and under this canopy of trees! It's so green and serene.

This is the kiddie zip line. The younger kids have the option to be attached to a guide.

Beautiful river. So placid. You can contemplate the universe by it's banks.

Zip line gear.

The reception area has lots of space to relax in while you are being checked in.
You can order buko juice and other refreshments. Unfortunately, they no longer serve coffee. Bring your own if you are going to sit drinking coffee while waiting for your kid to be done with horseback riding, like I did!

After you check in you are driven to the higher watershed area to be harnessed up and shown a map of where you will be flying through the trees.

Tree house where you land after the Zip line ride and the line to go off onto the beginners zip route.
Happy zip line guest!!

Forest Canopy Adventure - Irawan Zipline is Asia's longest zipline at the 9meter level of Mt. Tagaod, Bgy. Irawan, Puerto Princesa City

The Zip line is located in the Puerto Princesa Watershed area. It's a pristine and beautifully relaxing area with the river running beside the park.  We like to go up there just to have coffee and enjoy the views and the walk along the clear clean waters of the river.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Hotel Centro Puerto Princesa Palawan

Inside the lobby of the Hotel Centro. Quite lovely actually.
The newest large Hotel to open recently (April 2011) is Hotel Centro which is located in Bgy. San Pedro near the junction of the North and South National Highways.

Lots of people have stayed there since I posted this and are quite happy with the accommodations. However, I have had lunch and dinner there and I must say, it's the worst hotel food I've had in town yet.

My brother and his family occupied 4 rooms recently; 2 honeymoon suites and 2 deluxe rooms.  The deluxe rooms are tiny! Especially for a family of 2 adults and 2 kids.  The Honeymoon suites and family suites which they occupied were sufficient.

Decorative staircase at Hotel Centro.
The hotel also has an elevator, though only about
3 to 4 people at a time can ride in it.
If you need to use the Internet, they do have a small computer room in the lobby. There is WiFi in all the rooms, and it was pretty fast last time we stayed there.

They do have quite a nice large pool, where locals can take their kids for swimming lessons this summer! Also available is a spa and gym.

You can book online which makes it handy.

Entry to Hotel Centro

Hotel Centro reception and lobby.

Puerto Princesa Palawan growing growing

It will be two years this October 2011 that we moved to Puerto Princesa, Palawan.  The amount of new buildings going up is astounding.  The Robinson's mall on the National Highway North is going up pretty fast as well as another mall called 168 Mall, which is already advertising office space, even though it's not quite done. I actually am getting excited about the fact that I won't have to drive to city Center to shop at the lone supermarket when Robinson's supermarket opens.

We live in San Jose, which is off the Natl. Highway North and there is very little traffic on this part of the highway, but at the junction, where North and South Highway split, it now takes me almost 15 to 20 minutes to get to my bank in San Pedro where it used to take about 5 minutes!! The traffic is due to the over abundance of gas tricycles and now, more and more gas motorbikes are showing up, clogging the road even more.  If this keeps up, our streets will be filled with as many motorbikes as Vietnam!  I hate going downtown anymore to shop at the only supermarket NCCC, the traffic is so horrid.

I am so glad we bought a property out of town. Out there, there is no traffic to speak of at all. Soon we will be building a home to live in so we can get out of our rental.  The countryside is so lovely and green.

I can't wait to begin experimenting with sustainable farm practices once we move out there.

Here is a blog about other things to do in Puerto Princesa.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Important Phone numbers in Puerto

Here are some phone numbers you might need when in Puerto Princesa:

Airport Tourist Information and Visitor CenterTourism Bldg, Airport Compound, Rizal Ave.
Tel no: (63 48) 434-4211

Patrol 117 (Emergency number equivalent to 911 in the US)  Tel No: (63) Area code  (048) 433-5322

KAAC/Kilos Agad Action Center:    Tel No. (048) 434-9426

City Police Station: DIRECT-  166  or Tel no: (048) 434-9890

Immigration Office: (048) 433-2248

Provincial Police Station: (048) 434-7053

Police Maritime:  (048) 433-3262

Fire Department:  Dial direct -160   or (048) 433-3262

AFP Western Command: (048) 433-2311

Palawan Adventist Hospital - (048) 433-4666

Ospital ng Palawan - (gov't run)  (048) 433-2621

MMG Cooperative Hospital   (048) 434-5580

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Lotus Garden Restaurant and Suites Palawan

Lotus Garden Restaurant - 371 Rizal Avenue, Puerto Princesa, Palawan, Philippines
Phone: +63-48-434-1132 

Lotus Garden Restaurant and Suites is right on Rizal Avenue down towards town from the Puerto Princesa International Airport. It is a little pocket of tranquility with beautiful water gardens filled with lush vegetation and gorgeous lotus blooming most of the year. We love the relaxing atmosphere and the Sweet Sour Pork on the menu.

They also have very nice suite rooms with airconditioning, Cable TV and hot showers. The rates are quite reasonable.

Irawan Forest Canopy Zipline
They have a 1.3 kms zipline through
the pristine forest canpoy and river
The dishes range from Japanese Sushi to nouvelle Filipino dishes with some Chinese dishes as well. It's quite a mixed menu. They also have a full beverage bar.

You can also book a ride on several of the ziplines at their new venture. At Irawan Forest Canopy Zipline in Irawan, PPC. They have a 1.2 Kilometer zip line which takes you tree level and above the Irawan watershed, which supplies the water to the City of Puerto Princesa. And they also have a huge butterfly garden now as well.  It's not far from the Crocodile Farm so try to include this great eco adventure on your City Tour if you take it.
New tree house dining area at the Lotus Garden Restaurant and Suites.

The outside water gardens...most of the year the lotus flowers are in bloom!
There are Suites in back of the restaurant. You can ask to see the rooms if you want to check them out before renting one. But be warned, there are only 8 suites and almost always fully booked, so if you want to stay there, I do suggest contacting them in advance of your trip.

Photos were taken with my GoPro Hero HD cam which takes stills as well as HD videos. It's got a 170 degree viewpoint which is how I was able to get so much of the restaurant into each frame.