My DIY tour of Puerto Princesa City
After the HB tour, I decided to use the extra time to explore Puerto Princesa City by myself. I also noticed that there were a handful of people staring at me while I walked around probably because I was carrying an ‘environment-friendly handbag.’ It was quite an unmanly accessory I suppose. But since it contained everything I needed to survive and enjoy PPS on a very limited budget – 1L of bottled water, my camera, an extra shirt and my weekly planner, I had no choice but to endure every bewildered look. Function, for me, will always precede form.
I started at the Puerto Princesa City Hall which had a huge city seal on its facade. It depicts a Palawan Peacock-pheasant (Polyplectron napoleonis), which is said to be endemic to the island. If you would care the count, the bird on the seal should have a total of 66 feathers. The 38 in the outer portion represents the rural barangays while the 18 in the inner portion represents those located in the urban section.
The government building is also near the Ramon Mitra Jr. Sports Complex. This was the location for the 2008 Palarong Pambansa. It is complete with an oval track, a 50m swimming pool, and many more outdoor sports facilities.
My next stop was the Palawan State University. It is unique in the Philippines because it is the only education institution that offers Petroleum Engineering as one of their course offerings. The graduates get to chance to work at Malampaya, 80 kms northwest of Palawan.
I then rode a multi-cab for the city proper. At the far west end of Rizal Avenue is Plaza Cuartel. This is where the Japanese soldiers burned to death 143 American POWs during the World War II. Only 11 escaped the massacre by swimming towards Iwahig. A memorial marker by artist Don Schloat, one of the survivors, now stands in the park as a reminder of that tragedy and a tribute to honor the fallen.
Right in front of the park is the Immaculate Concepcion Cathedral. The predominantly blue church has pointed spires which is reminiscent of some churches in Europe.
A few blocks away is the PPS Baywalk. This is a popular place for people who want to relax or just hang around. It is said that informal settlers have been living in the area until a fire gutted down their homes. They are now relocated to a condominium-type complex nearby where they pay the city government a modest rental fee.
I asked a kind gentleman sitting in one of the benches at the park where I could buy danggit lamayo for pasalubong. The man suggested that I should go to the nearby public market. I don’t have photos though but I must say that their market was clean and organized. It has a wide array of fresh fish, vegetables and other produce. MarketMan would probably be thrilled at that sight. Unfortunately, I was unable to find a stall selling the uniquely fermented delicacy.
My last stop was Ka Lui Restaurant at the opposite end of Rizal Avenue. I also walked my way to the famous restaurant instead of hailing a trike which would have cost me only Php7.00. It was actually tiring but I enjoyed the experience. Along the way, I passed by Mendoza Parkand the Palawan Provincial Capitol.
For this accidental DIY walking tour, I only spent Php14.00 for the multicab rides to and fro the PPS City Hall. It is to some extent, a breather to the 3 organized tours that I took the days before. I think I lost a few pounds in the process but I also gained a raw and personal perspective of Puerto Princesa City.