On Palawan there is not really too much to see. The island has three main attractions: El Nido on the Northern tip of the island and famous for its beaches, the islands in the Honda Bay near Puerto Princesa and the underground river, the longest one in the world. Apart from this the island has beautiful landscapes. And that´s why I was simply driving down the bay around the capital to a small fishing village.
I had to drive lots of kilometres over these bumpy, unpaved trails to reach the fishing village. I went to a small wharf and took some images while the sky was covered with dark clouds again.
On my way back it finally started to rain just after I left the village. I had 40 kilometres to drive back to Puerto Princesa and it was cold. By the way, it has been relatively cold all the time during my trip. Thailand currently has the coolest temperatures for ages. I was freezing but luckily the rain stopped again after fifteen minutes.
I made a pit stop at one of these typical small kiosks and had a coffee. I like these places. You sit down there and watch the people and the sceneries. Most of the people just seem to do nothing apart from hanging around. I think it is because they do not find any jobs. This is very typical for the rural areas in Southeast Asia.
In the late afternoon I was back at my hotel and I said to myself, that I have deserved a few drinks tonight now being back in freedom. I had dinner, a typical Philippine dish, stewed beef and rice. And as much as I like this country I do not really like the food here. It is pretty much influenced by the Western taste. Lots of meat with sauces. Generally heavy food! Not to compare with the versatile, healthy and light Thai food.
After dinner I went to the biggest bar in town, the Tiki Bar. There was a band playing. The music was OK but it was just too loud. After one beer and a tequila I wanted to move on and asked a tricycle driver where there are some typical beer bars as I know them from Thailand. He was taking me to a small, pretty dark street not to far from my hotel.
I found three bars here all looking the same from the outside and entered the first one. There was a small waiting room you had to pass through, where a group of girlies was sitting all greeting me with a nice “Welcome, Sir!”. By now I realised where the tricycle driver had taken me to. This was a dirty brothel.
As I am an open minded man I took it easy and walked to the main room measuring maybe 10 by 3 meters. The room was very dark. Only one lamp was hanging from the ceiling changing the colour of the light continuously. Maybe ten men were scattered around the room.
I sat down on one of the plastic chairs at a plastic table covered with a plastic sheet. One of the girls came to me and took my order. They only served San Miguel beer which I do not like at all. I asked for the price. “50 Pesos, Sir!”. When she served my beer she asked for 65 Pesos because there was a service charge on top of the price, as she explained to me. I gave her 100 Pesos and she gave me 30 Pesos back. I took it easy and just smiled at her.
At the end of the room there was one of these ubiquitous karaoke machines adding a bit more light to the room with its TV-screen. I forced myself to pour down my San Miguel while I was watching how the microphone was passed on from one guest to the next one. And of course I was listening to their singing performance.
I am always fascinated by this karaoke culture in Southeast Asia. We in the Western world grow up with a certain shyness when it comes to singing in front of people you never met before. But here even a baby in a cradle probably holds a microphone in the hand. They just don´t care if they hardly ever hit the right tone and it is great fun for everybody.
I finished my beer and walked over to the next bar which was more or less the same. Then I went to the last one and was lucky. It was a brothel too but a nice one. A large room, the walls covered with bamboo. It looked like a normal bar. I sat at the small bar when Roberto, a pretty old guy, approached me asking whether I like to have a lady. I politely declined. I had to order a San Miguel again. They did not serve any other drinks than this beer.
Near the bar, now guess, a few girlies were sitting in front of a karaoke machine. I had a little chat with the girl sitting behind the bar. Rose was 25 and she was the boss! Her mother owns the bar, äähm brothel! And as her mother has been on an island for quite some time she is running the business. I finally ordered two more beers and then went back to the hotel.
Click the slide show above the post to see more images.