Friday, August 15, 2008

Popular Buys in Puerto Princesa

You can’t go home from Puerto Princesa without doing some major pasalubong shopping you can bring home. There are a bunch of articles like delicacies, wine and souvenir items that you can find only in Puerto Princesa.

Handicrafts, Trinkets and Souvenir Items



Most likely, you’ll get on a city tour when exploring one of the cleanest cities in the Philippines. A visit to the Crocodile farm won’t only leave you with the experience of handling a baby croc – you also get to buy stuff from the souvenir shop before entering the crocodile sanctuary. Handcrafted items made of wood like ashtrays, figurines, necklaces, rainmakers, bamboo decors and other trinkets are sold here. They usually sell keychains, necklaces or bracelets in bulk for about 10PHP each. Rainmakers are sold for 35PHP to 85PHP depending on the size. Woven items like mats, placemats, table runners, bags and all sorts of binuatan woven materials are sold at the Binauatan Weaving station. Bags, shirts, butterfly charms and other trinkets can also be found at the Butterfly farm.



If you’re planning to pass by Sta. Lourdes Wharf, don’t ignore the little market place beside the dock. They sell trinkets and t-shirts which competes with the palengke price. Souvenir t-shirts cost at 100PHP at market price but if you’re too lazy, you can buy a shirt at your hotel for around 150PHP to 180PHP. The registration section also sells goggles, flippers and other swimming gear you might need.

Delicacies

Baker’s hill is a good place to start if you’re craving for different sorts of hopia – ube, baboy or pinya.



Another interesting souvenir shop is located at Vietnamese Village. If you happen to have a side trip to this abandoned community, make sure you pass by their souvenir shop to buy some authentic Vietnamese items like porcelain vases and miniature toothpick holders. You can also order Vietnamese food from the restaurant like their spring rolls. A must try is their French bread for just 8PHP a piece – although you can bulk order and have them delivered to your hotel for a minimum of 30 pieces. The bread lasts for about a week as long as they are kept refrigerated so you can bring it home and just reheat to enjoy. They also sell dried jackfruit chips for less than 200PHP.

You might pass by shops selling cashew presented in all kinds of ways – roasted cashews, brittle ones or you can get them uncooked.

Seafood

Make sure you dedicate half a day to go on a seafood shopping trip at the local palengke – the Puerto Princesa public market. Although the public market caught fire recently, you can ask around where the stores were relocated. I’m sure they still sell very cheap seafood like their staple dried fish – which you can actually buy dried, semi-dried or lamayo style. You can get this for about 200PHP to 250PHP. Lamayo is a perfect item for pasalubong because it can last for up to 6 months after being marinated in spiced vinegar.

Aside from the fact that you can buy your seafood fresh from the wet section of the city’s public market, you can also get them at low prices. A kilo of prawns usually costs around 280PHP to 350PHP. Seafood like prawns, blue marlin, lamayo, tuna, crabs, lobsters, dried tahong, dried squid and tangigue are usually sold 40% to 50% cheaper compared to those in Metro Manila. Don’t worry – your seafood won’t mess up the rest of your stuff when you go on air travel. All seafood bought here are packed and sealed for your convenience.

(written by Faith Salazar)

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