I wasn’t expecting much from Brooke’s Point. In fact one of the only reasons I was going there was that no one had anything to say about the place. Apart from Sir Jame’s Brooke himself of course, but then it is named after him.
The minivan driver turned out to be a nice guy and drove me straight to a well known hotel in the center of the small town, right opposite the market. Silinan’s Pension was 250 pesos a night with private bathroom.
Untold truths about Palawan
This pretty much again knocked all online forums and locals on the head who said Palawan was incredibly expensive. But, the place was pretty much a dump. Stained mattresses and in need of disinfectant. I had one small tip about another hotel and set off.
Along the way I passed through the Market, hoping in kind to get some friendly remarks about a great hotel. Instead for the first time in the Philippines I got the impression I was a rarity. A foreigner walking through their local market doesn’t seem to happen everyday. Manila like heckles of “Guapo come here” and chirpy “Welcome to Jollibee!” were long gone. Replaced instead by polite smiles of curiosity and “Hello’s” It all seemed so normal.
How to search around Brooke’s Point
The only other hotel I knew about was closed. In a situation like this I dreaded asking locals as usually they will send me to the
nearest expensive hotel. The thing with Brooke’s point is that there are none. I kept asking, and eventually found a road with two pension houses. The first had me as the old lady running Brooke’s Point Pension house was very nice.
“There’s nothing to see in the town,” she said showing me to my pristine room. “But it’s fiesta time, so you might like that.”
The house was an old pre war building and was covered in rich dark wood and was as clean and well run as you could get. The cost, 350 pesos. This was the type of place I could stay a while. You just get that feeling.
Night was approaching so I set off for the fiesta in the center of town. In the Philippines it seems there is a fiesta every other day somewhere on the Islands. Here it was more a collection of food stalls around the center square. Nothing too exciting either. Chicken gizzard, chicken feet, and … more gizzard.
Then I saw it, fresh home made pizza slices. And honestly saying .. it was better than Pizza Hut. What’s more right beside me was a row of brightly painted wooden framed stalls. All running simple childrens games like, throwing hoops, darts, and the odd gambling game.
Gambling in Brooke’s Point
I drew a crowd of bright smiling kids as I approached the Dice Game. The object – place your pesos on the colored square and if the dice match your color, you win. I couldn’t quite understand the logistics of how much everything was worth. But within 5 minutes I was up 10 pesos and the kids were finding it amazing. Then within 10 minutes I was out 15 pesos, and their faces were beaming even brighter. I took my loses and moved on before I was removed of anymore coins.[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=84nuOtzUdBg[/youtube]
Behind the square I took in a small school concert before heading back to the pension house. I was planning an early rise the next day to see the fabled Sunrise, camera charged I was looking forward to something special over the South China Sea.
I liked Brooke’s Point, it wasn’t jumping out at me as great. But with Lu gone I was alone and trying to get a feel for the Philippines as a lone traveler. The idea place to live? No. An ideal place to sit and write a book … maybe.
A pre dawn start – discovering tourist free real life in Palawan
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