Puerto Princesa, I will always return to

November 07, 2012

*cue music* Josh Verdes' original song Home; The iPhone case named Zee on his first adventure.
Whenever I'm coming home to Palawan, I have made it my tradition to listen to and sing this song on the way to the airport, and sometimes on the plane. It makes me reminiscent and somewhat tells my mind to let go of the stress.
Old airport facade as seen from the runway/plane drop-off. I forgot the target date of completion is for the new one.
I have been away from home waaaaaaay too long, even the tricycle drivers outside the airport thought I was a tourist and kept on hustling us in trike fare. Like any other local would do, without a ride waiting that is, we went outside the airport premises and flagged a trike right there. But then the tricycle driver asked how much I'd pay and there I was, clueless. It has been three years! Who could've guessed how much a regular trike fare would cost? So there I was, frantically calling my mother, trying to ask how much I should pay the driver to take us home.

French Bread, but it's really Vietnamese. This is the thing I miss the most from Palawan, also Chao Long.
So after washing our face and settling the bags, I immediately went to my itinerary. I planned a long walk in Rizal Avenue with a side trip to my high school to visit some of my teachers. Shame on me for not taking photos! Maybe I was too mesmerized? The french bread stall above, by the way, was situated across the building where we spent our first to third year. There was a forever locked gate in between so we always had to buy via shouting for manang french bread to sell us some.

The iconic piece by Baybay. I hope by the time I return next year, this area would be done. So much potential.
We went to Baybay aka Baywalk under sweltering heat. I wish we went to Plaza Cuartel first so we could've enjoyed the sunset here.

History Lesson: This is where Japan sentenced 150 Americans to death by burning them alive during World War II.
This, indeed, is a part of the Philippines' dark past, which is why this place is a stop in every City Tour you could book while you're here. But to my generation, we grew up knowing this place by another name. To us, this will always be called the "Lovers' Park". Yes, guys used to bring their girlfriends here on dates until it became part of the city tours. 

We walked some more along Rizal Avenue, even stopped at my tita's house to visit my grandma.

For dinner, we went to the famous Ka Lui restaurant. It's also part of most packages that includes dining. For travelers, locals would always recommend this. My high school classmate does not find this amusing though, she says the popularity of the restaurant caused for even the locals to book an appointment at least a week before the dining date.

Complimentary dessert from Ka Lui
One would think this long day was over but nooo. I had to watch a movie from the cinema. Why, you ask? It's because all of our cinemas went bankrupt and it has been ages since they all closed. Until Robinsons decided to open and brought cinemas. I'm happy to report that the ticket prices were cheap, even the 3D cinema.

It felt very surreal. It was the longest time I have not set foot in my hometown. I'll tell myself over and over again that I'm crazy for not staying here forever because it really is a paradise. Someday, when I'm rich enough to not be part of the rat race, I shall make a stand and choose to live here for the rest of my life. 

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