Taking a Gamble in Brooke’s Point, Palawan, The Philippines

by Dave from The Longest Way Home ~ May 22nd, 2009. Updated on July 31st, 2010. Published in: Travel blog » Philippines.
Brooke's Point, Palawan Welcome sign

Brooke's Point, Palawan Welcome sign

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

Brooke's Point Pension house balcony

Brooke's Point Pension house balcony

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.

Fiesta Stalls in Brooke's Point

Fiesta Stalls in Brooke's Point

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.

Coming Soon:

A pre dawn start – discovering tourist free real life in Palawan

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6 Great responses to Taking a Gamble in Brooke’s Point, Palawan, The Philippines

  1. I know exactly what you mean about finding pizza after a long drought . . . it is the best tasting thing in the world. haha.

    Shooting dice over there, eh?

    Well, at least gambling will give you something to do all day when you get old if you decide to stay there haha! Hey, I suppose that is what old guys do all over the world. If I was looking for a place to live, good dice gambling would be high on my list haha. I am going to have to do something as an old man besides smoking my pipe.

    Where is your next stop?

    Walk Slow,


    • Ha ha. Especially “good” pizza!

      I think these guys have the game wrapped up so an old man’s pension might not stretch for too long!
      Still one can always sit and watch others loose their coins.

      No idea where to next. Looking at options as we speak. Planning routes, all that kind of thing.

      Enjoying your blog, keep up the good work and watch out for those taxi men, they are universal.

  2. Get A Trip says:

    Wow what an incredible journey. You probably have more life experience than most people could ever dream of. We love the Philippines and you have awakened our senses and memories of a few years back there.

    Also congratulations for scoring so high on “The Best Travel Blog.” That’s quite an honor–

    • I am glad my site has brought back some good memories for you. Thats a good thing to hear. Yes lots of life experience, and still learning! Hope you continue to enjoy the site. And, hopefully have the chance to enjoy the philippines again

  3. Jeffrey says:

    THE DICE GAME is killing me!! Back in early 70s, I played a similar game against Mang Kayong, an old man who was doing it for a living. My luck that day was as HOT as Tabasco resuting in cleaning up his bankroll of 20 pesos. After that nightmare, he vowed never to let me play again apparently I had a gift to see the pattern of the rolling dice.

    In 1970, I saw White People for the first time and was astonished to see how different they were from us. I mean they are all above 6′ 3″ and later found out that they are Basketball Players from Texas travelling around the Philippines also to share their Christian faith. Before the game, I overheard a man who cautioned them that the tallest person in Brooke’s Point was also playing. One player ask how tall he is and nearly burst in laughter when told “Hey Joe, he is about 5′ 11”. This is a TRUE STORY.

    You see like most Brooke’s Pointers who are now living somewhere else, these two stories are only two of many good memories I will never forget about Brooke’s Point and couldn’t thank you enough for the articles you wrote. I am particularly touched by Lone Filipina Girl Playing a Xylophone.

    Once again, thank You,

    Vancouver, Canada

    • -Jeffrey- Hi Jeffery,

      Thanks for the comment. It’s great to hear about Brooke’s Point back in the 70’s. A bankroll of 20 pesos… Barely enough to buy 2 balut these days!

      Nice story about the basketball players too. Very funny about the 5’11”. I’ve seen some tall locals around the place these days though. Must be the improvement in bankroll.

      I’m glad you have some good memories of Brooke’s Point. And I’m glad you enjoyed the video and took the time to comment. It’s appreciated, and I enjoyed reading it!