You might ask, a visit to the market is a thing to do?
YES!!! The city's public market has a good wet section where you can get the freshest seafood at low prices! When we went island hopping in Honda Bay we dropped by the market to get seafood and found that the shrimps, crabs, lobsters, tuna, etc. are 40% cheaper than those sold in Manila. For example, good sized prawns are sold at P280/kg, big fat crabs at P160/kg, tuna panga at P70/kg.
Of course there's also a lot of stores that sell souvenirs and dried fish, dried tahong and dried squid that are very popular pasalubongs.
VietVille's exterior looks like a native Filipino resto as it is made mostly from bamboo. Its interior is basic and typical of provincial pitstops with a little touch of Vietnam, mostly through pictures and mural.
They serve local refreshments like Halo-Halo, their version of Kimchi, some Vietnamese noodles, and their best-selling French Bread.
What to buy: Try their freshly baked French Bread. It takes like the Bagel bought from French delis in Manila. According to the food server, it can lasts more than a week provided it is kept refrigerated. Just re-heat or toast it before serving.
What to pay: A piece which is around six-inches long costs P6.
It's a small shop that I first mistook for a "sari-sari"(general merchandise) store or canteen. It does not have a signage outside and it was only when my trike driver stopped infront of it and asked me if I want to buy souvenir items that I realized it was not what I thought it was. I was not even sure I wanted to go inside, but when I was told that the items on sold were crafted by the prisoners and part of the proceeds goes to them, I decided to take a look.
What to buy: The shop sells souvenir items mostly made from wood like key chains, mail opener, back scratcher, figurines, etc. There were also fashion accessories made from beads.
What to pay: I bought key chains in different shapes of animals (seahorse, turtle, frog). Each piece costs P10 but the shopkeeper gave it to me at 12 pieces for P100.
Another case of mistaken identity... I thought Baker's Hill is the name of the hill and was even impressed by the houses built on the area, only to be corrected by my trike driver... Baker's Hill is the name of the bakery/bakeshop atop the hill.
I was a bit surprised to find that almost half of the breads and pastries they sell are from Ribonette's and available in Manila.
What to buy: I decided to buy their freshly baked Raisin Bread that I brought home for my parents. According to the shopkeeper, it has a shelf life of 4 days.
What to pay: The prices of the baked products are on the same level as Manila's. I paid P27 for a loaf of raisin bread.
Make sure you get some cashew nuts for your 'pasalubong'! The roasted ones are great and cheap too! Make sure you go to the wet market for this and not on the big stores.
Buy lobsters! for less than P500 per kilo! I think if you're going to buy a lot (5kilos+) they can make an arrangement about the packaging.
What to buy: Cashew Nuts!
NCCC Department Store is just off the main street, so most people will pass by without knowing it. It does not look like much from the outside, but inside it is a three floor department store.
What to buy: There are clothes, food products, and the last chance for some otherwise hard to find supplies in the smaller villages of Palawan. For example, a watch battery for a diving computer, a mask & snorkel, sun lotion, snack foods, beach & camping supplies, etc.
What to pay: It is billed as a department store, but prices are much lower than that. It is a typical grocery store on the lower level and discount stores on the others.
It is a typical wet and dry market but I love shopping here for Pasalubong. I think they have everything!
What to buy: Must have in my list are:
1. Dried fish (from danggit to fish bones - you name it they have it)
2. Big bottle of Cashew wine (mom loves it)
3. Big bag of cashew nuts
4. Dozen containers of Spicy Dilis (anchovies)
What to pay: Depends on the quantity but:
1. Dried fish are charged per kilograms (you may sample all by buying 1/4kg)
Php250/kilo of danggit
2.Cashew wine (small bottle with handle and decorative design Php100)
3. Cashew nut ( Sorry, I forgot the price)
4. Php50/small container of Spicy Dilis
5. Pearls (Php100/set of necklace and earrings)
Most tour guides bring tourists to Cora's Palawan Pearls & Souvenir Shop. As the name implies, Cora's Palawan Pearls & Souvenir Shop sells Palawan pearls and other "pasalubong" items. You may buy the pearls loose or as pieces of jewelry. The prices are not yet fixed so don't be shy to haggle for a discount. The shop is air-conditioned so you can shop in comfort even if you have a hard time deciding what to buy yet.
What to buy: Palawan pearls (loose pearls or as jewelry), faux crystal bracelets, native trinkets, souvenir items like key chains, local food delicacies, sari, malong, swimwear, souvenir t-shirts, sun dress & duster, woodcraft, baskets, etc
What to pay: Our guide said Cora’s supplies almost all the pearls in Palawan outlets so their s are cheaper than other stores. You'll probably spend more or less P500-P1,500 depending on what and how many you buy.
Tiangge-Tiangge is a non-aircon area where you can choose from a cluster of stalls selling souvenir and "pasalubong" items. It is not necessarily a cheaper place to buy things so I don't recommend it. I canvassed some items and ironically, the items sold in this non-aircon area are more expensive, and quite outdated in style. I also found the salesladies quite cranky when you hold/examine an item but don't buy it.
What to buy: pearl & faux crystal jewelry, trinkets and other souvenir items.
What to pay: Be cautioned that their pricing is 20-30% more expensive than the items in Cora's. Perhaps they are expecting you to haggle so they already tagged the items at a higher price.
Baker's Hill has a bakery where you can buy breads and pastries in boxes as "pasalubong". They also have a souvenir store where you can buy good quality souvenir t-shirts, board shorts, etc. The price might be costlier than other shops, but its real value for money.
What to pay: P300 up
The Iwahig Penal Colony Souvenir Store offers products handcrafted by the prisoners. The store is manned by minimum security prisoners. I was amused at how well they conducted themselves as sales staff; they talked articulately about their products' unique qualities. Most of the items sold here are not available at other souvenir stores.
If I understood it right, the store is operated like a cooperative, and the prisoners benefit from the proceeds. That way, they gain self-respect and dignity being able to help support their families.
When you buy souvenir items here, you help the prisoners and their families.
What to buy: intricate woodcraft, key chains and fridge magnets handcrafted from recycled plastics, trinkets, wall decors, etc.
What to pay: P100-500 depending on what and how many you'll buy
National Highway, Brgy. San Pedro Puerto Princesa City, Palawan 5300
Satisfaction: Very Good
Good for: Solo
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