Philippine Island Times Adventures of an American expat in the Philippines

September 7, 2008

Finally

Filed under: Palawan — Donald @ 6:50 pm

Aniceto Pensione

They call Palawan “the last frontier” in the Philippines. Not many people and most of the country’s remaining old trees live here. I’m in the capital, Puerto Princesa. It is only 75 minutes from Manila by air, but a different world. The mayor is a serious man, and when he decided to clean the place up a few years ago, he had a trash can placed every few meters, sent crews to sweep the streets on a daily basis, and started throwing litterbugs in jail. Puerto is the cleanest city of its size (pop. 100,000 or so) that I have seen anywhere in the world. My plan was to snap a couple of decent pics of it this morning to post here, but since there has been rain all day–it’s that time of year–I only have this shot of my room at the Aniceto Pensione. Not very big (in fairness, there is a tiny desk out of shot and a bathroom just across the hall), but it’s clean as a tack, everything works, and I like it a lot. I’ll include a pic of the best thing about this place next time around when the rain lets up. The Aniceto provides very good free wifi, so my posts here should be more regular now. The normal rate for my room is about five bucks, but I’m getting a long term discount of 10%, which is pretty normal.

The food in Puerto Princesa is the best I’ve had in the Philippines. Palawan is an island chain stretching southwestward right down to Maylasia, it has a significant Muslim population, and it took in lots of Vietnamese refugees a few years back. All these cultures and others from southeast Asia clearly influence the cuisine, which makes good use of things like lemon grass, Thai basil, and chiles (even one with the earthy richness of a poblano; when I came across it I almost cried). Palawan is also the primary fishery for the country, so seafood is spectacular and cheap.

I just got hungry so that’s it for now. The sunset call to prayer is sounding through my window against the background of the rain, ending today’s Ramadan fast. Now everyone here can eat, if they can afford it.

6 Comments »

  1. Hi Don…glad to hear that you have found a temporary home and I enjoy reading your blog – it is very interesting and it makes me laugh!

    Comment by Karen Smietana — September 10, 2008 @ 9:04 pm

  2. Keep it coming Don I enjoy hearing about your adventure.
    Uncle Roy

    Comment by Roy — September 12, 2008 @ 7:43 am

  3. A girlyman like you should be staying in a pink room!

    Comment by scott — September 12, 2008 @ 3:31 pm

  4. Thanks, Karen and Uncle Roy.

    Scott: My room is not pink. It is lavender like a real man’s room should be.

    Comment by Donald — September 12, 2008 @ 6:29 pm

  5. Hi, Don..I haven’t been on here for awhile so, it took me awhile to catch up with you. I am just so impressed with this journey that I almost can hear your laugh. Please continue to take us alone.

    Comment by Donna Smietana — October 6, 2008 @ 4:49 am

  6. Stay tuned, Donna. The next chapter involves witches.

    Comment by Donald — October 10, 2008 @ 1:37 pm

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