March 20, 2019
Well, before we arrived here, we crossed the equator again, this time heading north of it. One of the friends we met on the cruise was telling us that he talked to his grandchildren about it and they wanted to know if he saw the red line! So of course they had the crossing ceremony again. I was doing walk around the deck at the time, so I did get a couple of pictures.
We also had the returning guest cocktail party. I probably mentioned in the past that as diamond members, we get invited to both parties – they have two because there are too many returning guests for just one. One of our favorite things is when they award pins to crew members for their length of service.
Mario got some fresh red snapper and tuna in Bali and grilled it outside on the deck – simply delicious.
We also got an additional guest lecturer on the ship, Brian Unger. Always a lot to learn about the places we are so fortunate to visit.
I didn’t mention in my Bali post about the motorbike drivers. Nyoman mentioned a man from France that had contracted with him for tours. The second day, before they were scheduled to meet, he got a call that he needed to transport them to the airport, the man had rented a motorbike and got in a crash – had a broken leg and wanted to go home for the repair. I wouldn’t rent one of them on a bet, especially here as they whiz all around you and come out from seemingly nowhere. We saw one with a woman and 3 children on it, she was both driving the bike and holding an entire flat of eggs in one hand. Too bad I couldn’t get a picture.
We were slightly behind schedule for our arrival in Puerto Princesa, and we saw the pilot boat from our balcony. This is by far the funkiest pilot boat we have ever seen! As I mentioned before, a specially trained pilot boards the ship before every port. The captain is always in charge, but the pilot provides crucial information about conditions specific to the port to assist the captain in his decisions.
Here are some other shots of our arrival. A band was playing on the pier and there were dancers and costumed characters to greet us. We were each presented with these shell necklaces.
This city has a population of about 216,000 people. It is the capital of Palawan, Philippines and is located 301 nautical miles southwest of Manila. It is said that the city was named after a mythical young woman but history says that it was named after Princess Asuncion who was born in 1864 to Queen Isabela II and her consort, Francisco de Cadiz after the Spaniards came in to the country. When the Princess suffered an untimely death, the Queen had the city named Puerto de la Princesa, later changed to its current name. And the area certainly is beautiful, lots of green mountains and of course, surrounded by water and beaches. We have never been here, and we heard it is the first for our ship, so the captain takes part in a special welcome ceremony.
Our plan for the day was to have lunch with Graham and Shuna. Graham is the artist in residence on the ship right now and Shuna is his wife. We became good friends on a previous cruise and have a treasured Denison original that we purchased then. Graham had the name of a restaurant and we decided to walk there. Of course we were constantly approached by the tricycle drivers wanting to take us to our destination. They must have thought we were crazy to want to walk because it was very hot. These vehicles are built on a motorcycle and have a side sort of cab attached.
On the way to the restaurant we stopped at the Immaculate Conception Cathedral. The original church on this site was built in 1872 and in 1961 the small church was renovated and turned into a cathedral. Most of the original architectural design has been preserved. Most of the people in the Philippines practice Catholicism.
The restaurant was one of the most wonderful experiences we have had anywhere in the world. From the art, the design of the building, the food and the wonderful staff, we had a simply spectacular lunch. I would definitely recommend it to anyone who is traveling here.It is called Kalui.
The next pictures were taken either by Graham or by me, impossible to sort that out since he air dropped his to me and they are all together on the iPhone! But I know they will give you a snapshot of this great day.
When you arrive, you need to take your shoes off and leave them in a numbered basket.
Even the bathrooms are stunning.
Clearly, that last one was taken by Graham. I did not go into the men’s bathroom!
And now, the food. The pictures will not do it justice. We had so much different food and it was all delicious. We started with a lemon and ginger broth soup and a side dish of seaweed (I know, sounds like, what?? seaweed?) But it was quite good. The middle plate below is a grilled tuna.
At the end of the meal, the waiter brought us each a coconut filled with fresh fruit, and then, compliments of the owner, another half coconut with a piece of delicious flan in it.
We all enjoyed it so much and were completely stunned when the bill for each couple came to $19. That waiter got nice tips from us for sure.
To get back to the ship, we decided not to walk in the heat of the day, so each couple got into one of the tricycles. Do you think Norm liked it??
Our driver Rodrigo took us on a tour around the city and past markets and the bay walk. The Bong & Rose was our vehicle.
We bought only a magnet that looks like one of the masks in the restaurant. We will never forget this fabulous day.