Coron town to Puerto Princesa was a 5 day cruise in perfect motorboat conditions. We pressed on, worried that it was too good to last and that we would get another "typhoon" before long. But we've been here three weeks now with weather as benign for cruising as most of the trip around Palawan has been.
PP goes by the moniker "city within a forest" and most of it lives up to that name. The "forest" being giant figs and mango trees and other fruiting trees that the majority thatched buildings of the town shelter beneath. It's also surrounded by layers of mountains. The inner part of the city, unfortunately, has been all but denuded by development and is a rather dusty, hot place - full of tricycles. But, as we're learning, not without charm.
We're now anchored in the bay in front of the Abanico Yacht Club, envisioned, owned and run by Cissy and John. Since we arrived the bay has gradually filled up and we now have a small community of about 10 cruising yachts en route to somewhere and 2 or 3 boats who live here all the time..
**26 JUNE **
Since I wrote the above lines a week ago, Typhoon Frank has passed over the Philippines. Safe here, we only got overcast weather some squalls and rain. But the typhoon could hardly have passed over a worse track
Abanico Yacht Club.
Madeline, Nanette and Arleen looking pretty.
View from our anchorage.
Stud farm for fighting cocks - just down the road from the yacht club in Puerto Princesa.
This little lady made and sold me this, my new backpack down at Aborlan, 70kms south of PP, where we rode on the bike one day.
Coconut milk shop.
Hardware stores for housing materials.
Ensconced near land again, I can indulge in some serious garden fantasies. A "Garlic Vine" at one of the nurseries near the San Jose new market in Puerto.
Loading bamboo wall siding onto the roof of our bus. This stuff covers a 9' x 15' wall and weighs a ton. But no problms, they made a couple of timber runners and heaved it up.
In little shops like these people fix electronics we'd have to throw out in Australia.
This is our local restaurant at the end of our street. We sometimes eat a breakfast of Arus caldo (rice porridge like congee) or batchoy (soup with noodles) there.
One of the local fish sellers.
Staff dancing in the local department store.
Traffic jam, Puerto Princesa style.
Jesus Heals, but so do drugs!
Wonderful traditional Philippino Crispy Pata - pork knuckle cooked so it's 50% crackling....I'm afraid to ask how they cook it just in case it's bad for the cholestorol.
In June, Puerto Princesa has hosted the annual Baragatan Festival - the "coming together" of all the provinces. One of the things we'd been keen to see, ever since we'd watched them practising at Liminancong, was the competitive street dancing. Most of the provinces put up a street dancing team - often of 50 people - who dance in formation about 2 kms down Rizal Avenue accompanied by driving tribal style rhythms beaten out on a mixture of steel drums. It's exciting, colourful, imaginitive, a mix of traditional and modern. We couldn't believe the hundreds of people dancing in formation were not professionals - just local village people. Here are just a few of the many phots we took:
These same small villages constructed fantastic floats for the parade too and then transported hem to Puerto over Palawan's famously terrible rough roads - an incredible feat in itself...
Coral made of Corn cobs.
Fish made of palm leaves.
Pangolin made of thousands of capiz shells.
The army got in on the act too.
But maybe the most incredible sight was hundred of provincial government employees dancing up the street (rap style) in formation. The leaders here are the senior executives. Now there's a form of team building I haven't seen in Oz yet...
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