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Monday, July 16, 2012

Palawan Day 7: Coron Day 3 - (Pasalubong) Shopping Spree

Aww. This is the last post of the second part of my Palawan escapade (see part 1 here). The last post  always feels like the last day of trip itself: already nostalgic, despite the fact that I'm not even home-bound yet.



So anyway, this is the day that we allotted for shopping, for a trip is never complete without bringing home a tangible part of the place we've been to. In my case, it's always food, a t-shirt for my collection, and occasionally , trinkets.
Coffee, melting dairy creme, and the piping hot pandesal. Yummmmy! :9

After another delightful breakfast, this time, courtesy of Guillard (thank you!), we all piled into two trikes that would bring us to famous shops in town. Our first stop was at the cashew nuts shop, where we found a cheerful grandma and sacks and sacks of delectable cashew nuts.

The shop deserves a special mention, with it's cheerfully decorated interior and wall plastered with photos of people who dropped by and bought cashew nuts. Some of her patrons were celebrities, and she might have been featured in a TV show or two.

In one corner are piles of stuffed toys. There was a cabinet holding curious displays and even old family photographs. I was about to take liberty of exploring the place and looking at the curiosities, when I spied a bed and realized that the shop was an extension of her home. And it's open to anyone. Wow. That degree of trust and openness is something I've felt throughout our stay in Palawan, and that was why I was never worried about our safety (well, except from mosquitoes and sea urchins and jellyfishes).

I joined my friends crowded around Nanay's table, piling up plastic after plastic of cashews nuts. There were actually three varieties, the pale one, the slightly darker one and the brittle ones. To help us decide, she gave us free taste after free taste. Though all of three were really tasty, I prefer a little crunch, so I bought three bags of the slightly darker kind. We teasingly asked for a discount, but instead of slashing the price, she gave us lots of freebies instead. Haha. Not bad.

After saying a raucous goodbye to her, we hopped back into the tricycle to the dried fish and dried squid store. My favorite!!! I was pleasantly surprised to find out that the price was cheaper than in other places I've been to (yep, I buy dried fish and squid whenever I can. I even buy the grilled ones in the streets of Baclaran despite their questionable cleanliness. Haha)  I bought half a kilo of dried danggit and another half kilo of dried squid. Again our pleas for discount were met with an alternative: a fishnet bag that had launch me into nostalgia mode about my childhood days accompanying my mom to the market).

Our next find is slightly fresher this time: lamayo, marinated danggit which is quite famous in the island. I bought a quarter of a kilo, and we didn't bother asking for discounts since it was little girl who attended to us. The store, by the way, is an out of way home with a red gate. Our driver informed us that this store only makes lamayo out of fresh danggit and not castaways as some shops are wont to do.

Our last stop is the famous souvenir shop in Bancuang. Here you can almost every imaginable trinkets and souvenirs: pearl accessories, key chains, wooden sculptures, paper weights... name it, they probably have it. The place is a cacophony of colors and voices as shoppers fill their native shopping basket with Coron things. There were no haggling for us though, items were marked with tag prices. This is where I bought my Coron t-shirt.

After shopping, half of us went back to the inn, and another half decided to explore the market for more shopping options. I heard they were able to buy nice t-shirts for lower price than in Bancuang.

We all gathered in Centro Coron for a hurried lunch. By that time, we had less than an hour to wolf down our carbonaras before kuya Jayjay, our  van driver, takes us to the airport. We also hurriedly ordered dessert from Ice Valley, a dessert cafe we've been eyeing the past few days. Despite the rush, we managed to take pictures in the place. It was sooo cute. :D After getting our desserts we dashed back to Coron Reef to grab our bags and go. Our last minutes in our room were frenzied as everyone haphazardly checked their areas for stray belongings.

Unfortunately, and also because of crossed signals, we left Jomai's big black bag sitting on one of the beds. We were almost halfway to the airport, so there was no turning back. Jomai grew pale at the thought of all her belongings, and some of the pasalubong in that bag. Kuya Jayjay was quick to assure her that it can still be retrieved. It was still worrying though, considering that the drive to the airport would take about 30 minutes.

We decided to go ahead and check-in, and then just ask Cebu Pacific's personnel to check in her bag later. They graciously agreed, but only as long as it's not the absolute time for boarding. I never thought I'd pray for a flight delay. >.<

Thankfully though, Jomai's bag arrived way ahead of time. Since it was not really that heavy, Cebu Pacific allowed her to hand-carry it to the plane. Although it was very unfortunate, we were all laughing and joking at Jomai's beginner's luck. She was the one stung with the jellyfish, and then it was her bag that got left at a place 30 minutes away from the airport. All on her first out of town trip. I hope she's not traumatized of travelling yet.

This is probably one of the cheapest trip I've been to so far. And yet, also one of most hassle-free. That is not a usual combination.

Perhaps it's the fact that me and my friends share a lot of food preferences. It's quite funny to sit around the restaurant table and we'd all be exclaiming the same dishes. Orders were settled pretty quickly that way, so we get our food a little sooner than usual.

Perhaps it's also the fact that none of the girls had no qualms sharing the shower. Imagine if all seven us queued for the bath room. Oh, imagine the agony of the boys. =))

Of course, it can also be attributed to our well-planned itinerary, and the helpful people who assisted us.

Or simply, it could just be, that travelling with kindred spirits makes every experience fun and memorable.  As much as I love solo travel, there are certain travel experiences that one can appreciate only with friends. :)

Thank you friends, locals, tour operators, inn managers, store owners and basically every one I've been with and met during the trip. Coron is lovelier because of you. <3

And as always, I am definitely coming back.





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