Tuesday, March 11, 2008

honda bay tour and a whole lot of eating

our adventures in puerto princesa wouldn't have been complete without our trusty trike driver, raymond, giving us some tips. he was waiting outside the asturias hotel, and we asked him for a good place to have lunch in.

he took us to badjao seafront restaurant, probably a good 15 minutes away from the hotel. there was a wooden bridge leading to the door of the restaurant, with mangroves flanking the side of the bridge. we ordered shrimp cooked with butter and garlic, blue marlin steak, and chicken adobo with gata. it was a great feast, and the start of our eating escapade in puerto princesa.

after our heavy meal, raymond then drove us over to the sta. lourdes port, where one can rent out boats to tour honda bay. if you recall, the hotel was charging us P4,500.00 for the honda bay tour. when we got to the port, boats are rented out at a mere P1,200.00 for the entire day. add P300 for raymond's fee, and that's P1,500.00 divided by 2 persons. such a far cry from P4,500, right?

we were surprised to find that every island charges an entrance fee per person, except for snake island, which is government property. so every time you choose to explore an island, you have to pay a certain amount. the fees are as follows:

we were only able to explore starfish and snake islands, as we had come pretty late in the afternoon. what struck me most about these islands is that they all have huts on them already, complete with a sari-sari store hut where you can buy your refreshments. i wasn't too happy with that idea, as i have become so used to "landing" in uninhabited islands. susie, on the other hand, was tickled pink at the idea.

we returned to sta. lourdes after 3 hours or so, and raymond drove us back to our hotel to freshen up before our dinner at ka lui's. i was so amused to see our trike drive up to the hotel's driveway. that has to be one of the best things about puerto princesa. cabs are non-existent, and tricycles are king.

unfortunately, ka lui's was packed that night, even with raymond's connections. he gave us the name of the maitre'd, chris, and we asked to have a table reserved for us for the next evening. raymond then drove us to kinabuchs instead, and urged me to try their tamilok, or woodworms. i was pretty excited to do that, but the waiter told us they ran out of tamilok for the week.

to make up for the lack of tamilok, susie and i ordered a feast. we didn't know that kinabuchs served large portions of their dishes, so we just kept ordering! for starters, we asked for tuna sashimi and crispy shrimps. i think there were about 12 slices in the tuna sashimi, and the crispy shrimps formed a small mound in the platter they were served in.

we ordered their fried rice, grilled tahong, and a plate of red eggs for me. there were 3 whole red eggs, about 20 grilled tahongs, and a lot of rice. being the pigs that we are, we were able to finish almost everything. probably left only half a red egg and half a cup of rice. and the entire feast only cost a little over P800!

with bulging bellies, we boarded a tricycle (not raymond's. he had to go home already) and collapsed on the bed at 10pm. needless to say, our meals at badjao and kinabuchs really made our first day in puerto princesa.

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