Sunday, 12 February 2012

Philippines - Rocky roads and Jollibee burgers

The minute we stepped out of Puerto Princesa Airport, we were confronted by a barrage of what I'd simply call 'tricycle men'. Several months back I remember friends telling me about the interesting tricycles they have in the Philippines as well as famous Jeepneys, but nothing prepared me for this. 



You guessed it!  They are not your average bicycle with three wheels, they are motorbikes that have been converted into these unique vehicles what I like to call: 'low riders'. If you've been on one before, you'll immediately know what I mean.  If you have not, then let me assure you that the carriage is very close to the ground, and it feels quite scary at times.  To add to the thrill, tricycle riders often travel at questionable speeds and like to bend around corners, for what seemed to me an adrenaline rush.


Regardless of what image I've helped you conjure, let me convince you that they are definitely worth a go and you'd be missing out on a great deal if you returned from the Philippines without trying one.  If you did manage to I'd be surprised, as it's pretty hard to avoid travelling on one.

As we arrived at our accommodation, we immediately unpacked and chilled for the next hour or so.  We started making arrangements for the next few days and payed the lady at the hostel for our stay.  This place was an adventure in itself...  Dallas Inn is quite well known for attracting many tourists from all around the world, and the ladies that look after the place are more than happy to help with any plans you may have.  Obviously, you may be thinking that they financially benefit from booking tours on your behalf, but I promise you that their services are worth it!  They speak good english and call up the tour operators the minute you agree to go ahead.  Unlike later places we visited, they were not pushy so were happy to let them make arrangements on our behalf.  Plus, it gave us time to explore the town of Puerto Pricesa which I really loved and dearly miss!  Whether it be day or night, the town was a great place to uncover: shops, restaurants or markets.  But I couldn't continue this post without introducing the Philippines fast food chain Jollibee. 


I guess you could call it the equivalent of a McDonalds and believe me, they are doing VERY well in the Philippines!  I'll admit that I had mixed feelings about the food at Jollibee.  Firstly, if you've never tried a hash brown burger, here is your chance to experience one.  Basically think of a basic McDonald's style hamburger minus the buns. Instead, two hash brown pieces are the substitute.  It was delicious, but not something that should be eaten daily...  

Check out this link, where another blogger has photos of the famous burger

What the Philippines is also famous for is the overly sweet food.  Bread seems sweet, desserts have 10 times the normal sugar content...  Don't get me wrong, it's just difficult to adjust to.  But, there is something I have been craving for over the last few months after my return.  Can you guess?

Yes, that's right.  The fruit there is amazing, it just tastes different.  If you've ever had a boost juice smoothie (very popular chain in Australia), you'll be aware of how ordinary their juices are.  Here in the Philippines, they actually use ONLY real fruits. It's a great way to start your day when you're here for a holiday :)

By now, you may be wondering what the prices for transport, accommodation and food are.  At the time of our travels, these are the average prices we found:

Tricycle ride: Average price was 30-45 pesos and maximum of $100 pesos p/p if you decided to go to a beach or other area which is approx. 1 hour away.  We did this in El Nido. 

Food: Burgers were 40-80 pesos, smoothies we're from 60-140 pesos. An amazing and high quality restaurant in Puerto Princesa Town Centre was under $300 which translates to $7-8 US dollars/pp for a three course meal with 1-2 drinks!!! They have a nice mix of Salads, Mains, deserts and refreshments.

      The Address:  KINABUCHS Grill and Bar - 348 Rizal Avenue, Puerto Princesa City, PALAWAN

Accommodation: Hostels @ $450-500 pesos per/person.  Usually rooms cost 1000-2000 pesos per night and you can fit 2-4 people inside.


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