IRAWAN BRIDGE: BRIDGE OF GINTO POMELOS
I do not expect anyone to take a ride out to Irawan bridge (km 12 on the south highway from Puerto Princesa) to buy a pomelo but the tourist vans that go to the Crocodile Farm, Iwahig Penal Colony and the Eco Park all cross this bridge so it is easy to tell the driver to stop for a couple of minutes while you buy the tasty fruit. This is an area famous for the Ginto Pomelo (golden pomelo) and during the season there are many stalls just before the bridge, just after the bridge and even lined up on the bridge itself where locals will sell their produce. Prices range from 35-70 pesos and the season is usually November to March.
The fruit is normally pale green to yellow and once peeled the citrus segments may be pink, red or white (as in the ginto). They can grow up to 10 inches in diameter and weigh as much as 2 Kgs. It tastes like a mild grapefruit but no trace of bitterness except for the membrane around the segments which is normally discarded. The locals usually eat it after dipping into a bowl of salt, vinegar with chili pepper mixture
IWAHIG PENAL FARM SOUVENIR SHOP: HELP THE MURDERERS, RAPISTS & CARNAPPERS
Buy a gift at the Penal Farm's souvenir shop and you will be helping the prisoners get a few pesos in their pockets. Apparently, if they are to be believed each souvenir item that they see they will receive a small percentage of the cost for themselves. The shop is located in the large building near the Administrative Center and i believe that there are 5 or 6 rows of tables with various souvenirs for sale, including key rings, ships in bottles, wooden carvings, honey, hats, photo frames and even inmates t-shirts as well as other items too numerous to list. Upon entering the shop the prisoners will play some music and dance for you, and then you are expected to make a small contribution to their donation box. The prisoners will also try and sell you fried bananas, dumplings, fruit etc, but the prices they quote are quite high so remember to bargain with them.
NATIONAL BOOKSTORE or BOOKSALE: BOOKS---NEW AND SECOND HAND
A few restaurants and hotels will have a few books lying around for exchange or even free, which have been left by previous guests, but there are two bookshops in town that have quite a good selection and yoy should be able to find something of interest. Both are located in Robinsons Mall.
The NATIONAL BOOKSTORE is on the ground floor, in the right wing as you pass through the main entrance. There are travel books, non-fiction, fiction and even a shelf where there are discounted books.
BOOK SALE is on the second floor on the left wing and has a good selection of second hand books , most of which are around 100 pesos.
BOOK SALE has just opened up a second branch on the second floor of NCCC in Lacao Street in the center of town. This branch is much bigger than the one in Robinsons.
HALEY'S BEE FARM: 100 % PURE HONEY
Many visitors to Palawan bring back to Manila cashew nuts, dried fish or honey, those being the three popular items for pasalubongs (gifts). While you can't go wrong purchasing cashews or dried fish, buying homey is a different matter. Honey is available at some souvenir shops and the market, but much of it has been watered down, sugar added or even the famous green honey has had coloring added to it.
Honey that has been produced by the PUERTO PRINCESA BEEKEEPERS MULTI-PURPOSE CO-OPERATIVE is guaranteed to be 100 % pure honey, it costs a little more but it tastes a lot better. One of the leading beekeepers is a woman called Lelit who has a small bee farm in Gabinete Road, Jacana, not too far from the airport, and she usually has some for sale.
You may call the number below to see if there is any honey available.
What to pay: 200 small bottle
GRAVITY WINES AND LIQUOR: MAYBE YOU CAN FIND SOMETHING SPECIAL HERE
This liquor store opened up the other day and has a good selection of single malt whisky, many expensive wines and other spirits that are difficult to find in the city.
I am told that there are bottles of wine for over 100,000 pesos.
SOUVENIR OUTLETS: EXCELLENT CRAFTMANSHIP
I am not promoting any particular shop here but just pointing out the marvelous skills that some of the locals possess and although it is bulky to carry home there are some marvelous souvenirs to buy such as the one in the photo. Can you imagine how long it took the craftsman to make this two floored native building, complete with huts, tables and even two coconut trees!
You will also notice that it says 'Palawan Souvenir' between the two floors
BUTTERFLY FARM & TRIBAL VILLAGE: QUALITY BASKETS and OTHER ITEMS
I must say that the hand-woven baskets that were on sale at the Butterfly Farm/ Tribal Village looked very good quality and well made. The baskets are for sale in the Tribal Village area. By the entrance where you purchase your admission ticket there are butterflies encased in boxes and a good selection of hand made ear-rings.
The Butterfly Farm / Tribal Village is located at Santa Monica, km7 on the highway south.
THE MARKET: TAKE HOME A HAMMOCK
Many young travelers buy a hammock (made from rattan) to take home as they are cheap and would probably not be available in their own country. You can find hammocks in the old market at the handicraft stalls and should cost around 300 pesos. I have no idea how these people manage to return to Manila, then the International airport with such a cumbersome object. I guess if they intend to hang the hammock inside their own house it would last a while, but if it is for use outdoors it should be taken inside when not in use as the rain and dampness will destroy it within a year. It would also be a good idea to varnish the hammock to prolong its life.
BINUATAN CREATIONS: LOCAL CRAFTS----BUY A QUALITY BAG
Binuatan Creations has a showroom where you can buy local products that are made here. The products are exported worldwide and such products as bags, table mats, coasters, caps and many other items. Everything is made in the weaving shop next door from local grass, bamboo on the island.
PASALUBONG CENTER: LOCAL SOUVENIRS
Robinsons Place Pasalubong Center recently opened up at Robinsions Shopping Mall. There are several stalls inside selling t-shirts,bags, key rings, fridge magnets, shell products, wooden products and various other items for you to remember your trip by. The outlet is located on the ground floor at the northern end on the mall.
Oh, by the way pasalubong means 'homecoming gift'
DUTY FREE PHILIPPINES: GOOD QUALITY WHISKY, CIGS AND CONFECTIONARY
Yesterday the new Duty Free shop opened up in Puerto Princesa so i thought i would visit it today and write a review. It is rather a small building located in San Miguel area, around 1 km from The Capitol Building on the National Highway where the souvenir complex is. I found that there was not too much to become excited about as the store sold whisky and other spirits, imported cigarettes and some chocolates. On one shelf there were cans and cans of corned beef and luncheon meat. This may sound strange but many Filipinos who work abroad sent boxes of the ghastly meat home to their relatives. A ream of Marlboro cost around $21 and A bottle of Johnie Walker Red was $26 if i remember correctly.
Filipinos who have arrived in the country in the last 48 hours may purchase items.
Overseas Filipinos and their spouses may purchase items within 15 days of arrival
And luckily enough for me Senior Citizens and disabled people may purchase items for up to a year!!!
- Budget Travel
KAINGUD & CASTAWAY SHACK: BEST TRIBAL SOUVENIRS IN TOWN
This place is located 500 meters before you reach the airport along Rizal Avenue and has a wonderful selection of native crafts. You can also sit and have refreshments there and even catch the locals having a drumming session on traditional drums.
MERCURY DRUG: MEDICINE
One of the biggest pharmacy chains is Mercury Drug and should you need medicine this would be the shop to head for as they would have the most stock. For many medicines you do not need a doctor's prescription and antibiotics are sold over the counter without a problem. In Puerto Princesa there are at least 6 branches of Mercury Drug.
1) Rizal Avenue, opposite Mendoza park
2) Malvar Street , at the southern side of the market
3) Malvar Street, near junction 2, with the National Highway.
4) National Highway, near the traffic lights at junction 2
5) National Highway in San Pedro
FRUIT STANDS: NEED SOME FRUIT
Just near the intersection which is called junction 1 there are maybe 10 fruit stalls art the side of the road selling a good selection of fruit. You will find the stalls on the National Highway 50 meters from the intersection in the direction as if you were going out of town. Normally the prices are not displayed and the sellers demand more than the local market so be prepared to bargain a little.
Wagowagan, Ukay-ukay, Bagsak Presyo etc: PLENTY OF SECOND HAND CLOTHES
There must be 50 second hand clothes outlets around the town and since i lived here in Puerto Princesa i have never bought a new shirt or shorts for working in. The second hand clothes mainly come from America, Japan or Korea and quite often you may find large shirts, or even a new shirt for around 50 pesos. Ukay ukay means to sift through or dig up in Cebuano and many Filipinos take advantage of the clothes on offer. So if you need a new shirt while traveling pop down to the nearest Wagowagan . You may see the sign Bagsak Presyo which means lowest price.
- Budget Travel