ENJOY A MASSAGE
Thai Nuat recently opened up a second branch in town that is located at One Manalo Place, Manalo Extension. The company have branches all over the country and are known for their excellent massage and spa service. My wife has been here 3 times since it opened its doors last December, and she finds it a cosy place with outstanding ambiance with soft music, soft lights and the scent of eucalyptus. She has the Swedish massage which takes just over an hour, but many other services are available such as hot oil massage, Thai Massage, Ventosa massage, foot spa , manicures and other alternatives.
Prices are quite reasonable
NBI, NOT THE FBI
The National Bureau of Investigation has it's office next to Plaza Quartel behind the Cathedral in Taft Street, but there should be no reason to go here unless you need a clearance for something or other. The NBI deals with high profile cases that are in the interest of the nation and was formed in 1947, the same day as the Republic Act 157 was approved.
Here are the functions of the NBI
FUNCTIONS OF THE NBI which i have copied from another website.
A. Under R.A. No. 157
1. Undertake investigation of crimes and other offenses against the laws of the Philippines, upon its own initiative and as public interest may require;
2. To render assistance, whenever properly requested in the investigation or detection of crimes and other offenses;
3. To act as a national clearing house of criminal and other information for the benefit use of all prosecuting and law enforcement entities of the Philippines; identification records of identifying marks, characteristics, and ownership or possession of all firearms as well as of test bullets fired therefrom;
4. To give technical aid to all prosecuting and law enforcement officers and entities of the government as well as the courts that may request its services;
5. To extend its services, whenever properly requested in the investigation of cases of administrative or civil in nature in which the government is interested;
6. To establish and maintain an up-to-date scientific crime laboratory and to conduct researches in furtherance of scientific knowledge in criminal investigation;
7. To perform such other related functions as the Minister of Justice may assign from time to time.
A HOUSE MADE FROM CORAL
I used to jog past this house everyday and even today i still gaze at the building, wondering who built it. It looks really strange but i guess the owner saved money on construction materials, as in that area of town there are many corals just lying a few feet below ground level. The house is located on Mabini Extension between Liberty Road and Lacao Street.
HEADING SOUTH--A BEAUTIFUL DIVERSION
If you are heading south on the National Highway you may wish to branch off on the old road when you reach km 32. You will see the old road winds up the hill through a beautiful forest and at the top you will have a good view of the surrounding countryside. It will join the new road 3-4 kms later.
There used to be so many accidents on this road the government built a new road 5 or 6 years ago which bypasses the hill, and winds its way around it, but unfortunately there have been many fatal accidents on the new road which has some deadly curves, the authorities just re-opened the old road and trucks are asked to use this one, so be careful of crazy truck drivers.
The Baywalk near the Port
Walking near the port, around the baywalk, is was pleasant, there are gardens and cafeterias and nice views over the mountains. You can get there very easily, walkinf from Rizal Avenue, you do not need to take a rickshaw.
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SPEND A DAY AT COCKATOO RESORT
As the name suggests this is an Australian owned resort which just opened up recently. It is open for visitors to swim in their pool or have a drink at the bar, and i believe that the charge for using the pool is 50 for children and 75 for adults. There is a small pool for infants and cottages to rent for your picnic. It is also available or functions such as weddings, birthdays etc. At the moment there is no sign up but head to the end of Manalo Extension and just as the road turns to the right, take the entrance through a gate on your left. Pass by one development and turn right and you will see the establishment which is situated next to the beach (although there is no gate to the beach-- not good for swimming anyway)
SNAKES of the PHILIPPINES, POSTER at ALOHA HOUSE
Having lived in Palawan for nearly 20 years i have never seen any good information or photographs regarding the local snakes. We quite often see snakes on our land but we can only identify the cobra and viper, but are familiar with the colors of a few more. The only place i know that has photographs of snakes is at Aloha House at Bakers Hill where the owner has made a poster of around 20 snakes, but unfortunately this does not help me as the ones we see regularly are not included in the poster. I believe that the poster is for sale, at least it used to be a few years ago!!!
ALOHA HOUSE--- VISITORS NOT WELCOME
Kieth Came to Palawan around 17 years ago and started a small orphanage and farm in Puerto Princesa but after a few years he transferred to Bakers Hill where his farm is very successful. They sell honey , cheese and products from their marvelous farm. I run in to the owner now and again and usually have a good conversation with him, so the other day while we were in the area we thought that we would drop by and see how things were going, and perhaps buy some products. Nobody seemed to be in attendance so i looked around the area and saw the wonderful improvements that had been made since my previous visit 3 or 4 years ago. Unfortunately the owner's wife (at least i think it was her) came out and was quite rude, wondering why we were here and what did we want, but in a very aggressive way. This will be my last visit as i will never purchase anything when spoken to so rudely, even though the owner and his wife have established a wonderful place!
UNDERGROUND RIVER---THAT THE TOURISTS DON'T SEE
The trips on the bangka (outrigger) that take you inside the underground river at Sabang normally only last 30 minutes as the boatmen will only take you less than a kilometer inside and the other 8 kms remain a mystery but there are some excellent photos to be seen at the Butterfly Farm. The photos that are taken deep inside the cave are shown on a screen and well worth seeing. The Butterfly Farm is located 7 kms south of Puerto Princesa on the south highway.
To go deeper inside the underground river you have to get special permission that takes weeks for approval
The butterfly farm has been open for more than 10 years and is situated 7 kms from town just as you leave Santa Monica. It is rather a small place surrounded by nets so the butterflies cannot escape. There is a good display informing you of the life of a butterfly (cocoon-b/fly and back again). There are some beautiful plants in the garden and some butterflies that are not found elsewhere is Asia. Small entrance fee of 50 pesos which also includes the Tribal Village. . Only interesting if this is your thing.
Catch any jeepney going south and ask to be dropped by the junction, then a 2 minute walk.
THE TRIBAL VILLAGE --- BORED NATIVES
Entrance to the Tribal Village is included when you buy a ticket to the Butterfly Farm. After a quick jaunt around the gardens there is a gate that leads to the tribal village but don't expect anything spectacular as the village consists of one native house, and another smaller house next to it. The tribal people come from Brooke's Point in the south of Palawan and i am not sure if they are paid a salary by the Butterfly Farm or they live opff of donations.
I am afraid that the tribal family look extremely bored as they demonstrate to visitors how to shoot a dart from a blow-gun, how to start a fire with a flint and a couple etc..... Of course you will see their native hut complete with gongs, jaw bones of animals, cooking pots etc which may be of interest if you have never seen this before.
The Butterfly Farm/ Tribal Village costs 50 pesos for entrance and is located 7 kms south on the highway at Santa Monica.
AN ALBINO PYTHON AROUND YOUR NECK
I am not so keen on this myself but should you want to have your photograph taken with an albino python around your neck then head to the butterfly farm and tribal village. At the tribal village ask for the python which is usually kept in a plastic box. A donation will be expected.
THE BIGGEST CASHEW IN THE COUNTRY
In the grounds of the Palawan Agricultural Experiment Station you will see a large concrete cashew nut, still attached to the fruit. Palawan is famous for its cashew (kasoy) production and you can often buy cashews at the market much cheaper than the rest of the country. The cashews are harvested in the early months of the year (Feb- May) and grow on a tree, often reaching 10 meters high. The cashew is attached to a fruit which can also be eaten, but the nut is attached to the bottom of the fruit (not like in the photo) and it is twisted off easily by hand. The nuts are then laid out in the sun to dry before the shell is split to obtain the nut.
The Palawan Agricultural Experiment Station is located around km 5 on the South Highway and its main goal is Agricultural Intensification and diversification as well as breeder based expansion programs. They will sell fruit tree seedlings for a very cheap price and one can visit their office and ask for advice ( i have done this several times and the people are very friendly).
BEAR? CAT? NEITHER BUT IT IS A PALAWAN BEARCAT
The Palawan Bearcat is endemic to the island of Palawan and you can see two of them at the Butterfly Farm at Santa Monica around 7 kms south of Puerto Princesa. I believe that there may be more at the crocodile farm (at least there used to be a few). Other than that you are unlikely to see them in the wild as they are nocturnal creatures that feed on fruits and meat (rodents and birds). It is a cuddly creature around 4 feet long, but be careful as they have sharp claws and teeth that are dangerous when cornered. The bearcat is grey, has a long tail, elongated body, tufted ears, small eyes, small face, naked soles and palms. They will hang by their long tails on trees. They are quite motionless in their enclosure, probably because they are nocturnal, but one of them managed to turn round so we managed to take a photo. Normally they live in the deep forest but sometimes will venture in to open areas when searching for food. Unfortunately they are sometimes killed by farmers as they sometimes tend to enjoy a chicken. In the south of the island sometimes the locals will eat them.
It is also known as the Malay Civet Cat as it has a tiny gland near its tail containing civet which is used in producing expensive perfumes.
NOTE Unfortunately the number of bearcats are declining due to the demand for their fur, meat and medicinal purposes.
WELCOME TO THE CITY JAIL
I don't know if the 'WELCOME' sign above the gate is for visitors or new inmates, anyway it is a nice touch, no matter who it is for. The jail can be found at the side of the South Highway around km 5 marker and you cannot miss it because of the signs and the high wall. The jail is intended for 200 inmates but i believe that the figure is more than double that, which makes for cramped conditions in the hot and humid cells. The city jail is actually a holding facility for inmates who are awaiting trial, but with the slow pace of the justice system it could be months or years before the cases actually appear in court. One inmate actually spent 3 years in jail before his case came up and was sentenced to 30 days!!! Any compensation? I do not think so! Many prisoners have no money to hire an attorney so one is appointed to them by the city.
Several classes are held in the prison such as carpentry, handicraft, electronics seminars. The nearby fields are used by the inmates to grow vegetables that are sold at some stalls behind the jail. Inmates don't spend all day in their cells because some are involved in the before-mentioned studying and others have their chores to perform. The inmates have volleyball, basketball and boxing matches. Boxing matches against other opponents are held in the jail and the inmates do rather well against all-comers. They are nick named the Red Dragons because the inmates wear red t-shirts. They also have their own discos and singalongs, as well as mini-golf.
There are also female inmates held at the jail. In fact an old friend of ours spent 9 years in the jail for drug involvement, and she actually met a male inmate and got married before she was released last year!
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