Pre Dawn Life in Brooke’s Point Palawan, The Philippines

by Dave from The Longest Way Home ~ May 27th, 2009. Updated on July 31st, 2010. Published in: Travel blog » Philippines.
Pre Dawn Night view in Brooke's Point (click to enlarge)

Pre Dawn Night view in Brooke's Point

It was 4.40am when my alarm went off. I had no idea when dawn actually broke. I figured 6am. But also didn’t know how to get to the beach for sunrise.

“Just go straight down this road, and then left.” The old pension house lady said.

Stilt Houses in Brooke's Point Palawan

Stilt Houses in Brooke's Point Palawan

Dawn in Brookes Point

Easy to say when it’s not pitch black. I cheated and went back to the market area, hoping to see it being set up. All was silent. Making my way to the beach I realized it was not one of those paradise beaches. Even in the dark my head torch picked up the course sand, rocks, and stilt houses that lined the shore.

What’s worse is that it was overcast. I thought all was lost. Especially when I disturbed a sleeping pig near a house.  A deafening sound at that hour. Then as dawn broke and I wandered around the coast I started to notice the dawn life of the locals.

Weather beaten houses in Brooke's Point Palawan

I wasn’t in a tourist resort, nor tourist destination. So there were no pretenses here. A flood of memories started to come back from other countries.

The few that made an impact were in places where it was just locals. And here, this was similar. All along the beach the houses looked as if they had just been ripped apart by a hurricane. Indeed most seemed to be missing a section of wall, or half a rooftop. And here people lived.

Dawn life in Brooke's Point, Palawan

Dawn life in Brooke's Point, Palawan

What makes the news in some counties, is daily life here:

News channels were still broadcasting the clean up from hurricane Katrina in the USA, yet here I was in a place that was in a permanent state of semi collapse. A local man was sitting out on his balcony, the house next to him looking as if it had just fallen down the night before. He was staring at me with suspicious curiosity as the early sun started to reflect off the shadowed waters. I raised a hand and  waved. His shoulders relaxed back and he returned the wave.

I walked closer in an attempt to make something of the lackluster sunrise when his dog went off on barking craze. The man seemed embarrassed and scorned the mange ridden canine as it nipped at my feet. I then remembered hearing amount the amount of untreated rabies infected dogs in the Philippines. And, move on quickly.

Dawn in Brookes Point

With the sun now finally breaking loose through the crowds I managed to get a distant glimpse of local fishermen casting out their nets. I imagined in a place like this it was for feeding a family for the day rather than to sell at the market.

Dawn fishing boats in Brooke's Point, Palawan (click to enlarge)

Dawn fishing boats in Brooke's Point, Palawan

Brooke’s Point’s claim to fame is that the world’s largest pearl was found there “The Pearl of Allah.” It’s worth $40 miliion. Bin Laden

Girl playing with coconut and sand on the beach

Girl playing with coconut and sand on the beach

is said to have wanted it to unite the Muslim world. Either way it’s now sitting in a safe somewhere, leaving Brookes Point with just the claim to having a great sunrise.

But also the history about a legendary seaman named Brooke, who became the first White Rajah of Sarawak. But then that’s another story in history. But it did mean one was on the right trail, of a sort. For the moment though, Brooke’s Point crept into being one of my favorite places.

Brookes point is one of those little reality check places:

Poor, weather beaten, small, and unvisited. Peaceful, beautiful, friendly, curious and a place that pulled at me for some unknown reason. This touch of reality was perhaps what I needed in my own search for home.

As dawn became day I headed back to town for breakfast, along the way passing a girl with no more than a coconut shell and sand to play with. Maybe I was seeing my own reflection, maybe that was what was getting to me …

Stilt house and boy at dawn in Brooke's Point, Palawan, The Philippines (click to enlarge)

Stilt house and boy at dawn in Brooke's Point, Palawan, The Philippines

Coming soon:

A mosque and a lone girl on a xylophone (video post)

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7 Great responses to Pre Dawn Life in Brooke’s Point Palawan, The Philippines

  1. Hi there. I just read your article about Brooke’s Point.

    I was born and raised in Brooke’s Point, Palawan, and in behalf of the people of Brooke’s Point we would like to thank you for a wonderful write-up about our beloved hometown. It is true that Brooke’s Point is quite laid back compared to other places in the Philippines but that’s the best thing why we love that place. Life is very normal and peaceful… its just like living your life one day at a time, in the truest sense called home.

    My parents and some of my siblings live in a small nipa house now located in the middle of ricefield with a lot of fruit bearing trees sorrounding our house….

    You may visit Brooke’s Point Yahoo Group for more photos.

    It’s good to hear that you considered it as what you searched for called HOME.

    Anyway, I am ruben, presently i am working in a Petrochemical Company here in Saudi Arabia. I will be “HOME” in a month’s time for a much needed rest/vacation after 11 months of working in a far far far place.

    Again, thank you so much. Good luck on your journey and search for a place that you would call HOME. I just hope you will find the best place that would surely fit in what you aspire for…

    Ingat palagi.

    Note: sorry i made posting on a different topic.

    • Hi Ruben,

      Thank you for your very kind words. Yes Brooke’s Point is indeed a virtually undiscovered place of peace and normality! And yes, quite different from other parts of the Philippines!

      Thank you for the link. And I wish you a very safe journey home from so far away. Enjoy being back with your family.

      Once again for your kind words – Maraming salamat po!

      P.S. No worries about the other comment. I left it at this one.

  2. Lilian says:

    Thank you forr publishing this article.. I was born and raised in Brooke’s Point. I am now living in Vancouver, Canada with my own family but I still remember the old days where my dad and I will go to the market and buy candies and coke.. my dad is gone as well as my mom but I treasured those memories in that little town.

    I still own a house and lot in Brooke’s Point as well as coconut plantation. I go home to see my place every two years and planned to retire in my beloved town of Brookes point.. I’m happy to see your article and can’t help to say thank you.. I hope you had a good experience there…who knows one day, I will meet you. again Thank you.

    • -Lilian- You’re very welcome. I’m glad you enjoyed the article. You come from a very nice town, and I’m glad to hear you return every few years. I bet not much has changed over the years.

  3. Cristine May Ocbina says:

    hello there…i know its late because your article was made two years ago,but still, i would like to thank you for spending your time exploring the place I came from. i was born and grown up in Brooke’s point, Palawan but now I’m here in Singapore, very much different from that place,but still that is the place where my heart is. I miss the times me and my brother ride a bike,and the times me and my father spend a motor ride, HOME is not literally a PLACE where to live but a PLACE where YOUR HEART really is, a place where you are at peace, the place that gives you priceless happiness, place that makes you cry when you leave, a place that you will always miss and a place that will teach and show you the real meaning of love,peace and happiness……at the age of 20,I’m also in my journey now but i’m surely coming back in Brooke’s Point, where my house is standing, where my family is waiting, the place my heart is longing….Hope you also find the HOME you’ve been searching…Have a great journey my friend.

    • Hello, it’s never too late to leave a comment! And, thank you for doing so.

      I’ve stopped thinking that “home is where the heart is” a long time ago. For practical and bureaucratic reasons, it is often times prevents. The place where you speak of is you home, and now you live elsewhere. So yes, reminiscent memories are very powerful, and very good.

      For me, I have no place like that. I must forge forward and find a place that is open to me, as much as I find it to be a place for me.

      So, I continue on in my search. Thank’s for you good wishes, and I hope your return to your home is a wonderful time in your life!

  4. Bob says:

    I read all that you had to say here and the comments that brought tears to my eyes. I am not from Philippines but I am here searching for a home as you were doing. The big difference is that I am already a senior citizen with not a lot of time left on this earth, and I and still searching and have not found a home. What can people like us do about our condition? I do believe it is a condition or ailment of some sort that forces onward. Why can’t we ever be content? Those people who left comments are so fortunate to have a loving home if only in their hearts and memories.