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March 02, 2012


A few days ago last February 21-24, 2012, the town of Brooke's Point played host to a very successful staging of the MIMAROPA Regional Athletic Association Meet, the annual gathering of the best athletes from the elementary and secondary schools in the MIMAROPA Region for a few days of intense competitions, social gatherings, camaraderie and friendship, and just plain fun. As the name might give some hint, the meet was region-wide and included delegations coming from the provinces of Oriental Mindoro, Occidental Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon, and Palawan as well as delegations from the cities of Calapan and Puerto Princesa. This year's theme was, "Achieving Goals, Realizing Dreams". It was a first for the municipality and was, quite frankly, a daring move. Yet,  discounting some minor misgivings, the affair was a huge success.

The national and provincial colors during the Grand Opening Parade.

The Drum and Lyre Corp of the Sacred Heart of Jesus High School, Brooke's Point, Palawan.

Brooke's Point is a bustling town about 192 kilometers south of Puerto Princesa City. It is a major producer of rice and is the top producer of copra in Palawan. It is considered to be the growth center in the southern part of the province and serves as the gateway to the growth area being developed between the countries of Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines. The town is also the origin of the biggest pearl ever to have been found in the world called "The Pearl of Lao-Tzu" and sometimes called "The Pearl of Allah" which was found by a local diver in Barangay Oring-oring.

The delegation from Calapan City.

The delegation from Marinduque.

Moryons came with the Marinduque delegation.

The delegation from Occidental Mindoro.

The delegation from Oriental Mindoro. 
The delegation from Palawan.

Puerto Princesa City delegation.

The delegation from Romblon.

The meet kicked off with a Grand Parade in the early morning on February 21, starting at the town plaza and ending at the municipal sports complex, where the opening ceremonies were held. Hundreds of delegates, tournament officials, political leaders, and guests gamely walked the parade route, waving and exhibiting some fancy moves, their colorful uniforms lending a festive air to the whole event. At the opening ceremonies, the keynote speaker Congressman Juan Ponce Enrile Jr, a member of the Philippine House of Representatives, exhorted the delegates and everyone to get to know one's self early on in order to determine the right track to take towards the realization of one's dreams. Colorful field demonstrations were performed by selected students to the delight of the spectators.

Dr. Narciso Leoncio, the Mayor of Brooke's Point, Palawan.

Palawan Vice Governor Fems Reyes and Governor Baham Mitra greet the crowd during the parade.

Keynote speaker Congressman Juan Ponce Enrile, Jr.

Competitions started promptly after the Meet has been declared open. In the evenings, social gatherings were organized. There was a Thanksgiving Night hosted by the Palawan Provincial Government headed by Governor Abraham Mitra and Vice Governor Clara Reyes. The Municipal Tourism Office also put up a cultural show at the town plaza and showcased indigenous dances and songs brought to life by selected students from local schools.

Field demonstration by selected students from Brooke's Point Central School, Palawan.

Muslim inspired dance number from students of Brooke's Point National High School.

Students from Sacred Heart of Jesus High School looked like butterflies in their field demonstration.

The delegations were billeted at the different elementary and high school campuses around the town and were given warm welcome by the teachers and their students. They seemed to have enjoyed their stay. Many delegates took time to visit the town's tourist spots, some even extending their stay in Brooke's Point. Hotels and lodging houses were fully booked at the height of the games and local businesses took advantage of brisk sales that extended even a few days after the games have ended.

A male athlete handily clears the bar in the pole vault event.
Swimmers participate in the Friendship Parade towards the end of the games.

Taekwando athletes big and small join the friendship parade.

At the end of the competitions, Palawan was declared Champion with a total of 846.5 points while Puerto Princesa City was in second place with a total of 704 points. Oriental Mindoro came in third place with a total 248.32 points. Delegations coming from Calapan, Occidental Mindoro, Romblon, and Marinduque were declared fourth, fifth, sixth, and seventh place winners respectively.


September 05, 2011


Ka Inato signboard along the highway, Bgy. Tiniguiban, Puerto Princesa City, Palawan.

For those who love grilled dishes, one of the leading restaurants in Puerto Princesa City that serve nice grilled chicken is the Ka Inato Restaurant located along the northbound national highway in Bgy. Tiniguiban. It is about 4 kilometers from the city center and can be reached by public transport going to Bgy. San Jose. It has  bright and airy interiors with a resort-like ambiance, accentuated by colorful wooden sculptures executed by native palawan artisans-- a perfect setting for a grilled chicken dish.

Ka Inato's rear entrance.

Ka Inato's rear walkway adorned with colorful sculptures.

A fountain serves as a focal point.

I have been to many restaurants in the city that serve grilled chicken and, true enough, Ka Inato's version of the grilled chicken was such a delight when I went there with my family recently. But I wanted to be surprised, I wanted something different that day. So I carefully scanned their menu for something that looked unfamiliar. It was their "Sinuglaw" that caught my attention.

A walkway near the center of the restaurant.

Part of the decorations at Ka Inato, Puerto Princesa City, Palawan.

The dish was something new for me, at least. After all, I discovered that "Sinuglaw" was sinugbang baboy (grilled pork) mixed with kinilaw na isda (fish soaked in vinegar until it turned opaque and had the sensation of being cooked). Both dishes have their own individual appeal and I thought it was sort of contradictory to mix sinugba with kinilaw. Yet, I found it had a pleasant taste all its own . Needless to say, I consumed the whole thing in no time.

Ka Inato's menu card.


Living outside Puerto Princesa city can be a real blessing. Every trip to the city becomes an adventure, every mealtime a hunt for a dish that's something different that, occasionally, turns out to be a pleasant surprise just waiting to unfold.

For Reservations, you may call:
(048) 434-1721 and 0917-5531721/0949-6835003


August 27, 2011


Signage for Irawan Canopy Zipline, Irawan, Puerto Princesa City, Palawan

"Are you ready to fly?" The question is printed on a t-shirt that I got as a souvenir at the Irawan Canopy Zipline. I got the answer to this particular question last August 20, 2011.

We were cruising early in the morning on that fateful day en route to Puerto Princesa city when we reached Barangay Irawan, and passed by this huge tarpaulin signboard put up by the Irawan Canopy Zipline staff along a prominent corner of the highway leading to the city. Curiosity got the better of us when, suddenly, we decided to go and check one of Puerto Princesa's newest attraction -- the Irawan Canopy Zipline, reputed to be Asia's longest.

The Irawan Canopy Zipline is quite new, having opened its doors to the public only last June 18, 2011, in time for the "Pista y Ang Kageban". A Cuyuno word which means, festival of the forest, the "Pista y Ang Kageban" is a huge, festive tree planting activity being held in the forests of Bgy. Irawan which is a watershed area supplying Puerto Princesa city's drinking water.  And the festival itself is a major part the Baragatan Festivities being held around the  third week of June every year (see my earlier related post on Baragatan 2011). Bgy. Irawan is about 12 kilometers from the city proper, along the southbound National Highway and can be reached by the city's public transport system. For the remainder of the trip into the area, tricycles can be hired to bring guests to the Art Cafe and to the zipline area but fees can be difficult to predict as it is highly dependent on the passengers' ability to haggle and negotiate. It can reach to about P300 to P500. The staff, who are predominantly from Bgy. Irawan, intimated to me that they take 30 minute walk from the barangay to the zipline areas everyday.

Irawan Art Cafe and Gallery, Irawan, Puerto Princesa City, Palawan

The bar inside the Irawan Art Cafe and Gallery

Inside the Irawan Art Cafe and Gallery, Irawan, Puerto Princesa City, Palawan

A wooden creation on display inside the cafe

A few hundred meters into the road our first stop was the Irawan Art Cafe and Gallery, an airy building full of artworks and wood products where guests register and maybe pick up some food before entering the Irawan Eco-Park where the ziplines are located about 1.5 kilometers into the forest.

Irawan Eco-Park, Irawan, Puerto Princesa City, Palawan

Arriving at their business station, we were greeted by the staff that included an energetic caucasian named Jordan. I've heard his family runs the operations of the zipline. After some convincing by the staff I decided I should try the zipline.

Irawan Canopy Zipline map, Irawan, Puerto Princesa City, Palawan

Business station of the Irawan Canopy Zipline, Irawan, Puerto Princesa City, Palawan

The safety harnesses used by the riders

Pulleys and carabiners

The 68-step stairway leading to the boarding stations

We went up to a 68-step stairway that led to the first boarding platform and geared up for the Juan Tamad Ride, a ride where the rider is at a sitting position. I was met at the landing by Jordan. Soon we were at the next boarding platform all geared up for the Superman Ride, a faster but shorter ride where one gets to experience flying superman-style. And for a fee of P500, it was such an exhilarating experience, one that shouldn't be missed! I just found out I was ready to fly after all. A longer, 914-meter line is still being constructed as of the moment and the opportunity to check it when it is completed would be a nice prospect.

Moments right after take-off..

During the flight..

Certificate of Completion

What about you, are you ready to fly? If not, then don't lose heart as you can always take the Carabao Cart ride that they offer for the less daring..


The Carabao Cart ride..anyone?

For reservations, contact Irawan Canopy Zipline at:
(048) 434-1132/ 434-1658

Booking office is located at:
The Lotus Garden, Asian Fine Dining and Suites
371 Rizal Avenue, Puerto Princesa City

July 19, 2011


Halo-halo at Nokinocs in Puerto Princesa City, Palawan

I'm no expert at this but I think I may have found the best halo-halo in Puerto Princesa City. It is at the Nokinocs Savory House Restaurant located along Rizal Avenue, just in front of the Palawan Provincial Capitol Complex. Of course this claim isn't forever. After all, there's still a lot of restaurants in the city that I haven't been to. But the Nokinocs halo-halo is just so good that I and my wife never leave the place without having a glass each after taking their usual fare. Friends who have tasted the halo-halo also swear by it. I've seen some foreign nationals enjoying the treat too..


Halo-halo at Nokinocs in Puerto Princesa City, Palawan

Nokinocs Savory House Restaurant, Puerto Princesa City, Palawan

June 29, 2011


           Baragatan sa Palawan 2011 streamer along Rizal Avenue, Puerto Princesa City, Palawan.

BARAGATAN is a Cuyono word derived from the word "bagat" which means "to meet". It can be loosely translated to mean a "convergence" and is therefore the most appropriate word to describe a festival in Palawan held every 23rd day of June to celebrate the anniversary of the establishment of the first civil government in the province in 1902. It is during this time that delegates from the province's 23 municipalities literally converge in the city to compete in the Booth, Float and Street Dancing Competitions and just enjoy the company of old friends. The Baragatan festival has come a long way since it was first celebrated in the year 2000 and has now become a major tourist attraction Puerto Princesa City. This year's edition was just as grand.

                                    The booth of the Municipality of Brooke's Point, Palawan.

                                  The booth of the municipality of Cuyo, Palawan

   The fiesta-like atmosphere around the Provincial Capitol Complex in Puerto Princesa City. Palawan.

The Baragatan sa Palawan 2011 softly opened last June 1 with a trade fair, a garden show and an open dining area called "Caraenan sa Baragatan", all scattered around the Provincial Capitol Complex along Rizal Avenue. Earlier, the different municipalities in the province erected their respective booths to showcase their products ranging from foodstuffs, fruits, handicrafts and to highlight their localities as tourist destinations. The private sector joined in with stalls filled with consumer goods, apparel and food supplements resulting into a fiesta- like atmosphere that stretched well into the night.

                                          The Philippine National Flag and the honor guards.

                Majorettes and the Drum and Lyre Corp of one of the schools in Puerto Princesa City.

On June 13, the provincial government formally opened the Baragatan sa Palawan 2011 Celebrations with a grand civic parade early in the afternoon that passed along Rizal Avenue on the way to the Provincial Capitol grounds. It was participated by selected troops coming from the different branches of service of the AFP, some in their full battle gear. Students from various schools around the city also came with their respective Drum and Lyre Corps. Local executives and their staff headed the delegations coming from the different municipalities in the province, showcasing their floats designed to depict their respective municipalities. Provincial leaders also joined the parade. The over-all mood was festive; not even a slight drizzle failed to intimidate the people from coming out to admire the floats brought by the municipal delegations as they passed by them. The entry from Brooke's Point, a bustling town 192 kilometers south of Puerto Princesa, won the float competition with its realistic interpretation of a huge, open   coconut fruit on top of the float and coconut shells intricately placed at the sides. Brooke's Point is a major producer of copra in Palawan.

                Giant "Lapu-lapu", the float entry of the municipality of Agutaya in Northern Palawan.

                    Giant coconut, the winning entry of the municipality of Brooke's Point, Palawan

On June 22, a Beauty Pageant was held to search for the Mutya ng Palawan 2011. Sarah Sopio Osorio, a  young lady from the municipality of Kalayaan on the western side of Palawan, won the title.

         Sarah Sopio Osorio of the municipality of Kalayaan,the newly-crowned Mutya ng Palawan 2011

On the next day, June 23, another parade was held, this time, participated by contestants of  the Street Dancing Competitions. The dancers came in their most colorful costumes and their fanciest moves to the delight of the people who waited for hours along Rizal Avenue to catch a glimpse of them. The delegation coming from Magsaysay won the contest, bagging a hefty P 300,000.00 prize.

                                       The street dancers from Roxas, Palawan.

                                         The street dancers from Sofronio Espanola, Palawan

A male dancer from Sofronio Espanola, Palawan enjoying the moment.

                               The street dancers from Brooke's Point, Palawan won the 3rd Prize.

                     A male street dancer from Brooke's Point, Palawan doing a fancy move.

                                   The street dancers from Rizal, Palawan won the 2nd Prize

                    A female street dancer from Rizal, Palawan concentrates on her moves.

                              The street dancers from Magsaysay, Palawan won the Grand Prize.

                             The dancers from Magasaysay, Palawan showing  their winning form.

                                     A female dancer from Magsaysay, Palawan.

                                        Male dancers from Magsaysay, Palawan