Puerto Princesa is the capital of Palawan, perhaps the Philippines most beautiful province. Palawan owes its popularity to famous tourist sports like El Nido and the St. Paul Subterranean River, said to be the longest underground river in Asia.
To get to St. Paul Subterranean River, you have to go to Sabang, a sleepy town despite the popularity of the St. Paul Subterranean River. Sabang has its own share of beaches and hills where you can spend days of frolicking or exploring. But I would say, the most unforgettable experience that you can have in Sabang is staying in one of the nipa huts.
From Php300-Php500 (about $13), you can stay in a cottage or nipa huts/bahay kubo, an accomodation (and also a local Filipino house) made of bamboo and thatched roof made of a local grass (anahaw/nipa). It already comes with a very small but your own bathroom with a faucet and sink and cold shower.
In 2007 on a writing trip to Palawan, my photagrapher/editor stayed in one of Sabang's nipa huts at Mary's Cottages. We stayed there for almost a week in total unison with nature. The town only has 4 hours of electricity everyday and there is nothing to do for foreigners but explore the St. Paul Subterranean River, bath in the sea, walk or read.
It can be fun for a weekend but a whole week would be boring for those who can't live without laptops and cellphones.
After doing all the necessary touristic activities, there was nothing left for us to do but start living like a local. Our only luxury was eating meals prepared for us by the caretaker of Mary's Cottages, delicious home-cooked meals of grilled chicken, pancit, ham and eggs/bacon and eggs sandwhiches, tocilog (cured meat, eggs and fried rice) and lots of coke and sprite.
In the mornings, we will swim in the sea, walk in the nearby forest afterwards and then take siestas at mid-day and watch the sunset in the afternoon. In the evening, we watch the stars and the moon or just listen to the sound of the night in a typical Philippine province, no noises of anything with motor.
Or we would drink the local Tanduay rum with the caretacker's husband. One night, my editor even took his hammock and tied it to the pillars of the nipa hut and spend an evening looking at the stars.
It was the most peaceful one week of my life.
So if you are planning to go to the Philippine and visit Puerto, Princesa, Palawan, book yourself a bahay kubo in Sabang and stay there for the weekend. It is everything that is about the Phillippines, beaches, simple life, good food and their warm hospitality.
Written and contributed by theweekendtraveller